After slipping for five years, Virginia has moved up this year in a prominent ranking of the best states for doing business.
Virginia came in at No. 7 on this year’s list of the top states, released Tuesday by business-focused news channel CNBC.
The state was ranked the 13th best place for business in 2016, having slipped in the rankings from No. 12 in 2015, No. 8 in 2014, No. 5 in 2013 and No. 3 in 2012.
“I am pleased to see Virginia in the top 10 of the national rankings,” said Barry DuVal, president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of states are working to improve their national rankings, and Virginia still has more work to do to get back to the No. 1 state for business.”
Rankings such as CNBC’s are important, DuVal said, because businesses across the country consider them when looking at potential places to expand or relocate.
“Site selection consultants actually look at national rankings to rule states in or out as potential locations,” he said. “If you are not in the top 10, you don’t even make the cut on certain site selection or expansion opportunities.”
CNBC said it scored all 50 states on more than 60 measures of competitiveness, developed with input from business and policy experts, government sources and the states themselves. States receive points based on their rankings in each metric.
The top state for business this year is Washington. The news channel cited Washington’s economic growth rate of 3.7 percent in 2016 — more than twice the national rate — and the state’s high concentration of science, technology, engineering and math workers as positives.
Virginia posted economic growth of 1.5 percent in 2016, and the state’s unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent in May. CNBC said the state ranked in the top 10 for workforce and business friendliness out of the 10 categories on which states were judged.
Georgia ranked No. 2 on this year’s list, followed by Minnesota, Texas, North Carolina and Colorado. Utah placed just behind Virginia at No. 8, with the top 10 rounded out by Tennessee and Massachusetts.
DuVal said the chamber has surveyed more than 5,000 business as part of the organization’s Blueprint Virginia process. Businesses have cited workforce training, tax reform and regional cooperation in economic development as key areas they see for improvement. “I think if we can focus on those three, we will get back to No. 1 where we belong,” DuVal said.