Best and Worst States for Business

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31. Alaska
> 1-yr. real GDP change: -0.5% (4th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $67,785 (8th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 28.8% (17th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.4 per 100,000 people (6th fewest)

Driven in part by high average earnings per job and average monthly utilities spending, the cost of doing business in Alaska is higher than in most states. The average commercial electricity bill in the state is $796 per month, compared to the national $655 average.

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32. South Carolina
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.6% (10th best)
> Avg. earnings: $50,067 (13th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 28.0% (15th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.8 per 100,000 people (10th fewest)

South Carolina’s 2.6% GDP growth rate in 2017 was the 10th highest of all states. Yet the state still ranks as one of the worst places in the United States for business, due in part to the relatively less educated workforce, which can make hiring skilled employees more difficult. Just 28.0% of adults in South Carolina have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well below the 32.0% national bachelor’s degree attainment rate.

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33. Indiana
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.8% (23rd best)
> Avg. earnings: $54,906 (24th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.8% (10th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.4 per 100,000 people (22nd most)

Businesses needing to fill high skill positions may struggle to find employees more in Indiana than other states. Indiana is one of only 13 states where fewer than one in every 10 adults have a graduate or professional degree.

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34. New Jersey
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.6% (24th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $69,651 (5th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.7% (3rd highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.0 per 100,000 people (16th fewest)

A near nation-leading cost of living is not the only factor driving up business expenses for employers in the Garden State. Infrastructure is also a problem. Roadway congestion cost commercial trucking in the state an estimated $3.4 billion in 2017, the fifth most of any state.

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35. Maine
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.9% (21st best)
> Avg. earnings: $48,622 (7th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.1% (20th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.8 per 100,000 people (18th most)

Maine is one of only a few Northeastern states to rank so poorly for its business environment. The state’s struggle to attract and retain workers is part of the problem. Between 2020 and 2030, the number of prime working-age Maine residents is projected to decline by 6.1%.