Virginia Is America’s Top State For Business – CNBC

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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., July 13, 2021—CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, today unveiled the results of its fourteenth list of America’s Top States for Business with Virginia taking the number one position. The Old Dominion scored 1,587 out of 2,500 points.

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CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn reported today live from Port of Virginia in Norfolk, VA and counted down the top five states during CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) and on CNBC Digital. Coverage of America’s Top States for Business will continue on-air and online through CNBC’s Business Day programming today.

Virginia’s Fifth Win

This is Virginia’s fifth win, having previously taken the title in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2019 – more times than any other state. At a time when companies are clamoring for talent, Virginia performed well in the critical categories of Education (#2) and Workforce (#3). High-performing high school students feed a well-funded higher education system. That, in turn, has helped Virginia assemble one of the most educated workforces in the nation.

“This year’s Top States study was always going to be a verdict on which states were best poised to succeed coming out of the pandemic, and Virginia is a clear winner on that score,” Cohn said. “Not only does it have the talent that companies are craving, it has also taken major steps in the area of inclusiveness, which is especially important this year. But perhaps the best evidence of Virginia’s competitive strength is the fact that it was our Top State before the pandemic in 2019, and is back on top coming out of it.”

CNBC Digital offers a detailed analysis of how Virginia claimed the top spot including a complete economic snapshot (employment, budget, tax and housing data). The rankings for all 50 states are available at In addition, the site also has exclusive stories, lists and videos including the best and worst states to live in, the least and most expensive states in 2021, among others.

This year’s report also includes in-depth coverage looking at the unique issues facing all of the states this year, from inclusiveness to sustainability to recovering in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Follow us on Twitter @CNBC and take part in the social conversation surrounding CNBC’s Top States coverage using hashtag #TopStates.

CNBC’s exclusive study scores all 50 states on 85 metrics across ten categories of competitiveness. The methodology grades the states based on the qualities they deem most important in attracting business. To do that, CNBC assigns a weight to each of the ten categories by analyzing every state’s economic development marketing materials. The more frequently a selling point appears, the more weight it carries in the study.

America's Top 5 States for Business

  1. Virginia (Highest Rank - #2 in Education; Lowest Rank - #32 in Cost of Living)
  2. North Carolina (Highest Rank - #4 in Economy; Lowest Rank - #37 in Life, Health & Inclusion)
  3. Utah (Highest Rank - #3 in Economy; Lowest Rank - #27 in Life, Health & Inclusion)
  4. Texas (Highest Rank - #1 in Workforce; Lowest Rank - #49 in Life, Health & Inclusion)
  5. Tennessee (Highest Rank - #2 in Economy; Lowest Rank - #46 in Life, Health & Inclusion)

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