Best and Worst States for Business

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21. Georgia
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +3.1% (4th best)
> Avg. earnings: $55,838 (23rd highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.9% (25th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.2 per 100,000 people (23rd fewest)

Businesses generally benefit from economic growth, and Georgia’s economy grew by 3.1% in 2017, more than all but three other states. Some employers in the state may have difficulty filling high-skilled positions, however, as just 11.9% of adults in the state have a graduate or professional degree.

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22. Iowa
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.3% (11th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $50,512 (14th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 28.9% (18th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.1 per 100,000 people (18th fewest)

Businesses in Iowa benefit from the state’s low cost of living and reliable infrastructure. Conditions in the state, however, are not ideal for employers requiring high skilled labor as less than one in 10 adults have a masters or professional degree, compared to 12.3% of adults nationwide.

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23. Oregon
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +3.6% (3rd best)
> Avg. earnings: $57,502 (19th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 33.7% (14th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 2.4 per 100,000 people (10th most)

Oregon’s economy has grown at a much faster rate than almost all other states in recent years. The state’s GDP grew 3.6% in 2017, and over the last five years it grew by 19.0% — both the third highest growth rates among states. However, Oregon is not a right-to-work state and has a higher union membership rate than most states, which can drive up payroll costs for businesses.

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24. Connecticut
> 1-yr. real GDP change: -1.1% (the worst)
> Avg. earnings: $72,728 (3rd highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.7% (5th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 2.5 per 100,000 people (9th most)

The cost of doing business is high in Connecticut. The state has an unfavorable business tax climate relative to most other states, and the average monthly commercial electricity bill is well above the national average. However, employers in the state aso have access to a relatively skilled labor force, as 17.3% of adults in the state have a graduate or professional degree, the third largest share of any state.

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25. Nebraska
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.9% (17th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $54,765 (25th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.7% (21st highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.0 per 100,000 people (17th fewest)

Though Nebraska’s unemployment rate is shrinking and its GDP is growing, the state is lagging behind most other states in these crucial economic measures. Nebraska also has relatively few venture capital investments coming into the state. Its business climate, however, is buoyed by the state’s relatively low cost of living and cost of operations.