Best and Worst States for Business

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36. Wisconsin
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.3% (19th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $54,244 (25th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.4% (24th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.3 per 100,000 people (23rd most)

Wisconsin’s tax code is less business-friendly than that of most other states, according to the Tax Foundation. Additionally, Wisconsin’s economy grew by just 1.3% in 2017, slower than most other states.

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37. Missouri
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.9% (16th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $52,550 (19th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.1% (20th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.1 per 100,000 people (21st fewest)

Growing a business often requires hiring more employees, but new workers may be in short supply in Missouri in the coming years. Between 2020 and 2030, the state’s prime working-age population is projected to grow by just 0.9%, far slower than the comparable 4.6% national growth.

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38. Arkansas
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.3% (10th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $46,286 (3rd lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 23.4% (3rd lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.9 per 100,000 people (15th fewest)

As is the case in many of the worst states for business, Arkansas does not have a well educated population. Just 23.4% of Arkansas adults have a bachelor’s degree compared to 32.0% of adults nationwide.

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39. Pennsylvania
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.2% (19th best)
> Avg. earnings: $62,276 (10th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.4% (23rd highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 2.1 per 100,000 people (15th most)

Business owners in Pennsylvania must contend with some of the highest operating costs of any state, largely due to high payroll costs. Partially because of the state’s higher than typical unionization rate, the average annual wage per job is $62,276 in Pennsylvania, more than in all but nine other states.

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40. Alabama
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.6% (25th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $49,310 (9th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 25.5% (8th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.5 per 100,000 people (8th fewest)

Venture capitalists have found relatively few worthy investments in Alabama. There were only 0.5 VC deals for every 100,000 state residents in 2018, less than one-sixth of the nationwide rate. Alabama also has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the nation. Women in the state make only about 73% of what men do on average.