Virginia is the best state in the nation for businesses in 2019, according to CNBC’s annual Top States for Businesses ranking.
Along with ranking first overall, Virginia ranked first in two of the subcategories: workforce and education. It also ranked third for business friendliness.
The commonwealth ranked in the top 20 in most of the other subcategories, as well. It ranked 13th for infrastructure, 15th for access to capital, 16th for the economy, 17th for quality of life, and 17th for technology and innovation.
The only two categories in which Virginia ranked in the bottom half were the cost of living ranking and the cost of doing business ranking, for which the commonwealth ranked 32nd and 35th, respectively.
In a news release, Gov. Ralph Northam took credit for the state’s ranking.
“One of my primary goals has been to make Virginia the number one place to do business, and to do it in a way that benefits all Virginians and every region of the Commonwealth,” he said. “This recognition underscores our work to build an inclusive and diversified economy, invest in our workforce, and create quality jobs – and is proof that companies of many different sizes and industries can find a home in Virginia.”
Northam is a Democrat. Both chambers of the legislature are controlled by Republicans.
According to the news release, 50,000 new jobs were created in Virginia since Northam took office and the state secured more than $18.5 billion in statewide capital investments. The commonwealth also saw major business investments in the region, including being chosen as the location for Amazon’s second headquarters. The headquarters, which is expected to provide about 25,000 jobs, received more than $2 billion in subsidies to pick the location.
Only two of Virginia’s neighboring states also ranked in the top half: North Carolina at three and Tennessee at 13. North Carolina was ranked first for its economy.
Each of the other states fell inside the bottom 20. Maryland ranked 31st, Kentucky ranked 39th and West Virginia ranked 45th.
The study weighted each category differently. The six categories that were rated the heaviest were workforce, economy, infrastructure, cost of doing business and quality of life, in that order.