Countdown to CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business Starts Wednesday, July 10


CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn to Reveal the 2024 America’s Top States for Business across CNBC Platforms on Thursday, July 11

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., June 13, 2024 – A flood of government money and the rapidly changing nature of work are helping to transform the competitive landscape among the states. CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business for 2024 reflects that transformation with new metrics on factors including infrastructure, artificial intelligence innovation, regulations, rising costs, and foreign direct investment in the states.

Beginning Wednesday, July 10, CNBC will broadcast coverage of its 17th America’s Top States for Business study. The network will present special coverage around the exclusive study with the rankings being revealed during the network’s Business Day programming on Thursday, July 11. will feature the complete overall ranking for all 50 states and include an in-depth look at each of their corresponding rankings across the ten broad categories of competitiveness.

CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn will broadcast live from the top-ranked state beginning on Wednesday and will announce the top five states on the 2024 list on “Squawk Box” (6AM-9AM ET) Thursday morning.

In addition, CNBC Digital will feature a variety of coverage on about each state including economic snapshots (employment, budget, tax and housing data) and exclusive stories looking at the unique issues facing all of the states this year.

Follow @CNBC and take part in the social conversation using #TopStates.

CNBC’s exclusive study scores all 50 states on 128 metrics across ten categories of competitiveness. The methodology grades the states based on factors companies consider each year when making site selection decisions, and that states pitch in their efforts to win business. Then, every state’s economic development marketing pitches are analyzed to determine the appropriate weight for each category. The more weight a category carries, the more metrics it includes.

Here are the 2024 categories and weightings:

Infrastructure (425 points – 17%)

Revitalizing domestic manufacturing, rebuilding supply chains and redefining the very nature of work takes a reimagined infrastructure. We measure the vitality of each state’s transportation system by the value and volume of goods shipped by air, waterways, roads and rail. We look at the condition of highways and bridges, the availability of air travel, and the time it takes to commute to work. With remote work here to stay, we also consider the quality, availability, and price of broadband service in each state. We consider access to markets by measuring the population living within 500 miles of each state. We look at the availability of vacant land, and office and industrial space. New in 2024, we measure state site readiness programs in terms of their overall funding and the number of certified sites. We rate each state’s utility infrastructure including the condition of drinking water and wastewater systems, the reliability of the electrical grid, and the availability of renewable energy. And we measure each state’s sustainability in the face of climate change, looking at the risk of flooding, wildfires, and extreme weather.

Workforce (375 points – 15%)

With skilled workers in such short supply, and with the rising role of advanced manufacturing, the definition of a qualified worker is expanding. In addition to measuring each state’s concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers and the percentage of workers with college degrees, we also consider workers with associate degrees and industry-recognized certificates. We look at which states are most successful in attracting talent at all levels, considering the net migration of educated workers to each state. We look at state worker training programs, right to work laws, and worker productivity based on economic output per job.

Economy (350 points – 14%)

Particularly in uncertain times, companies are seeking states with stable finances and solid economies. We examine the economic strength of each state by looking at gross domestic product (GDP) growth and job growth over the past year. We measure each state’s fiscal condition by looking at its credit ratings and outlook, its overall budget picture including spending, revenues and reserves, as well as pension obligations. We rate the health of the residential real estate market based on multiple factors including inventory, price appreciation, equity, foreclosure activity and mortgage delinquencies, affordability and property taxes. Because a diverse economy is important in any environment, we consider the number of major corporations headquartered in each state. We measure each state’s entrepreneurial economy based on new business formations. New in 2024, we measure foreign direct investment in absolute terms and as a percentage of state GDP.

Quality of Life (325 points – 13%)

With unemployment low and workers still in short supply, companies are seeking to locate in states that can attract a broad array of talent. That makes quality of life an economic imperative. We rate the states on livability factors like per capita crime rates, environmental quality, and health care. We look at worker protections. We look at inclusiveness in state laws, including protections against discrimination of all kinds, as well as voting rights, including accessible and secure election systems. With studies showing that childcare is one of the main obstacles to employees returning to the workforce, we consider the availability and affordability of qualified facilities. And with surveys showing a sizeable percentage of younger workers would not live in a state that bans abortion, we factor reproductive rights in this category as well.

Cost of Doing Business (275 points – 11%)

As stubborn inflation continues to erode company balance sheets, we measure each state’s tax burden and the strength of its business tax climate. We also measure wage and utility costs, as well as the cost of office and industrial space. New in 2024, with the nation gripped by an insurance crisis, we measure increases in commercial property and casualty premiums. We consider the incentives and tax breaks that states offer to reduce business costs, and we consider available incentives targeted toward development in disadvantaged communities.

Technology and Innovation (250 points – 10%)

Truly competitive states prize innovation, nurture new ideas, and have the resources to support them. We measure the states based on results, including the number of patents issued per capita, as well as health, science and agriculture research grants. With domestic semiconductor research, development and manufacturing taking center stage, we look at how each state’s place in this crucial technological ecosystem. New in 2024, we measure each state’s role in the artificial intelligence revolution in terms of where new AI models are being developed and where the AI jobs are. Also new in 2024, we look at how states fared in the Tech Hubs program authorized through the federal CHIPS and Science Act.

Business Friendliness (250 points – 10%)

Companies follow the path of least resistance. That includes a legal and regulatory framework that does not overburden business. We measure each state’s lawsuit and liability climates, regulatory regimes covering areas such as trade and labor, as well as overall bureaucracy. We also consider how hospitable states are toward emerging industries. New in 2024, we look at which states are leading the way in providing a regulatory framework to guide but not stifle the artificial intelligence industry. Also new in 2024, with infrastructure being so crucial, we look at state land use regulations.

Education (125 points – 5%)

A state’s education system is its main source for talent and an engine of innovation. It is also a key consideration for companies and families deciding where to put down roots. We look at multiple measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending. We consider the number of colleges and universities in each state as well as long-term trends in state support for higher education. We also consider historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), with which companies are increasingly seeking to partner. With the search for talent expanding to include employees with marketable, industry-recognized skills, we measure each state’s community college and career education systems.

Access to Capital (75 points – 3%)

As business costs and interest rates remain stubbornly high, companies large and small need ready access to financing. We look at venture capital investments in each state, as well as traditional bank lending by state in relative and absolute terms. We also look at state-backed capital assistance and loan guarantee programs. New in 2024, we measure foreign direct investment in each state.

Cost of Living (50 points – 2%)

With inflation persisting, companies and workers are seeking states where prices are stable and daily living is affordable. The cost of living helps drive the cost of doing business. We measure the states based on an index of costs for basic items, with an added emphasis on housing affordability. New in 2024, as the insurance crisis spreads, we consider the cost to insure a median priced home in each state.

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