Best and Worst States for Business

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21. Iowa
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.2% (17th worst)
> Avg. earnings per job: $52,556 (15th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.0% (16th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.1 per 100,000 people (18th fewest)

Iowa has a relatively low cost of living, which both can reduce the cost of doing business and also make the state more attractive to potential employees. Homeownership costs as a percentage of the median household income ranks second lowest among states. Workers also benefit from shorter average commute times and good road quality.

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22. Georgia
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.4% (24th worst)
> Avg. earnings per job: $56,843 (22nd highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.9% (20th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.1 per 100,000 people (23rd fewest)

Georgia ranks among the top 10 states in the economy component of our index, thanks to rapidly falling unemployment and relatively strong growth in the number of businesses in the state. The state does not rank as well in measures of quality of life. Georgia has a relatively low concentration of arts, entertainment, and recreation centers, and also has the third-worst rate of health insurance coverage in the country.

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23. Oregon
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +3.8% (7th best)
> Avg. earnings per job: $58,347 (19th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.0% (16th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 2.4 per 100,000 people (10th most)

Like neighbors California and Washington, Oregon ranks relatively well in the technology and innovation component of our index. The state ranks among the top 10 in patent grants and venture capital deals per capita. It also ranks 10th in the Milken Institute’s 2018 State Tech and Science Index ranking. It ranks less favorably for businesses in matters of regulation and state infrastructure, which pushes the state down the ranking.

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24. Arizona
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +4.1% (4th best)
> Avg. earnings per job: $55,254 (23rd lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.7% (21st lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.2 per 100,000 people (25th fewest)

Arizona ranks better than the majority of states in the economy component of our index, thanks in part to recent healthy GDP growth and growth in the number of businesses in the state. The state compares less favorably to others in the quality of life component of our index thanks to a low concentration of arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments as well as a relatively high property and violent crime rates.

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25. New York
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.2% (7th worst)
> Avg. earnings per job: $79,182 (the highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 37.2% (8th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 5.4 per 100,000 people (3rd most)

The Tax Foundation ranks New York’s tax climate as the second least favorable for business. The state also boasts the highest average earnings per job in the country, which is good for workers but less favorable for the companies that must pay the salaries. Cost of living is also quite high in the state. New York rates much more favorably for business in areas like technology and innovation and state economy.

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