Virginia Ranked as Top State for Business for Fourth Straight Year

Virginia has just been ranked as the top state for business for the fourth straight year by Forbes Magazine.  According to reporter Kurt Badenhausen, the Best States ranking measures six vital categories for businesses:

  • costs
  • labor supply
  • regulatory environment
  • current economic climate
  • growth prospects
  • quality of life

Thirty three different points of data determine the ranks in the six main areas. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes are weighted the most heavily. Nine different providers supply data with Moody’s being the most utilized resource.

Badenhausen goes on to say:  Relative to the rest of the country, Virginia is booming. Its 6.5% unemployment rate is fifth lowest in the country with the four states ahead of it all having dramatically smaller economies and employment bases.

Virginia is the only state ranked in the top 20 in each of the six broad categories we examined. The state finished in the top three in half of those categories (labor supply, regulatory environment and quality of life). Virginia’s $325 billion economy is expected to be the 10th largest in the U.S. in 2009.

The state benefits from a highly educated workforce that is expected to expand over the next five years. Energy costs are 30% below the national average.  The state government’s finances are in good shape–it’s held on to a top AAA rating from Moody’s since 1971.

Eleven public companies with more than $10 billion in revenues call it home and smart incentives help, too. Each year Park Ridge, Ill.-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate does a study that compares states’ economic development departments and programs. This year Virginia topped the Pollina study after finishing second last year.

“Virginia’s economic development department truly understands what global competition is all about,” says Brent Pollina, who authored the study. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program, for example, is open to both new and existing companies and offers flexible and customized employee recruiting and job training for businesses. The program has helped more than 2,400 companies over the past five years recruit and train 75,000 Virginians.

On the downside, Badenhausen did note that Virginia’s economy has deteriorated, with the number of unemployed soaring 60%, while gross state product is flat and household incomes are expected to fall 4 percent.

All in all, Virginia’s rank as the top state for business in the US is continued good news for the housing market.


Related story: Northern Virginia Ranks at #3 for Nation’s Healthiest Housing Markets