Best and Worst States for Business

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16. Virginia
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.8% (22nd best)
> Avg. earnings: $62,117 (11th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.7% (5th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.7 per 100,000 people (19th most)

Virginia has one of the best educated adults populations of any state, a boon for the larger than typical share of employers in the state offering jobs in STEM fields. Of adults in the state 25 and over, 16.7% have a graduate or professional degree, the fourth largest share among states.

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17. Nevada
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +3.8% (2nd best)
> Avg. earnings: $51,785 (17th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 24.9% (6th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.3 per 100,000 people (25th fewest)

Economic growth is often a sign businesses are doing well, and Nevada has one of the fastest growing economies in the country. The state’s GDP climbed by 3.8% in 2017, more than every state except for Washington.

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18. Maryland
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.2% (18th best)
> Avg. earnings: $67,936 (7th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.7% (3rd highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 2.3 per 100,000 people (12th most)

With a nearly 40% bachelor’s degree attainment rate, Maryland is one of the best states for business partially because it has a large pool of educated workers for businesses to choose from. Maryland has the highest proportion of jobs in STEM fields of any state, at 9.2%.

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19. Arizona
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +3.1% (5th best)
> Avg. earnings: $54,193 (24th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.4% (21st lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.3 per 100,000 people (25th most)

Arizona has some of the most favorable economic conditions of any state. Its 3.1% GDP growth in 2017 is one of the highest among states, there were nearly 127,000 small business loans issued in the state in 2015, more than in most other states. However, Arizona is hurt by the fact that some business costs, such as average energy bills, are among the highest of any state.

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20. Montana
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.3% (12th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $44,470 (2nd lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.3% (19th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.1 per 100,000 people (22nd fewest)

The average commercial electricity bill in Montana is just $391 per month, the lowest of any state. Despite the low overhead, Montana is not home to many innovative, new businesses. Montana-based companies drew in just $44.6 million in venture capital funding in 2018, less than in the majority of states.