Washington is America's Top State for Business, According to CNBC Exclusive Study

CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, today unveiled the results of its eleventh annual list of America's Top States for Business with Washington taking the number one position. The Evergreen state scored 1,621 out of 2,500 points.

CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn reported today live from Mount Rainier National Park and counted down the top five states throughout CNBC's Business Day programming and on CNBC Digital. Coverage of America's Top States for Business will continue on-air and online through Wednesday, July 12th.

Washington has placed in the top ten for the last four years and celebrates 2017 in first place. This year, the state had top ten finishes in five of the ten categories of competitiveness - coming a long way from its number 21 position in 2012 and 2013. Washington's economy grew 3.7 percent in 2016, the largest increase of any state and nearly 2.5 times the national rate. That, along with solid job growth and one of the hottest housing markets in the country, won the state third place for Economy, its best category in the study along with Technology & Innovation. However, Washington is notoriously expensive. And even though the state has no individual or corporate income tax, it took the number 37 spot for Cost of Living, its worst category, and number 32 for Cost of Doing Business as the state's wages and rents are among the highest in the country.

"Washington has assembled an amazing roster of both household business names and rising stars to position itself as a powerhouse for some time to come. But the state faces some substantial challenges. How it meets them will determine whether this is just the start of a long period of business dominance, or if this is the peak," Cohn said.

CNBC Digital offers a detailed analysis of how Washington claimed the top spot including a complete economic snapshot (employment, budget, tax and housing data). The rankings for all 50 states are available at topstates.cnbc.com. In addition, the site also has exclusive stories and slideshows including the best and worst states to live in, the least and most expensive states, and the smartest states in 2017, among others.

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

To determine the rankings for America's Top States for Business, each state was scored on 66 different measures of competitiveness. We developed our methodology with input from a broad and diverse array of business and policy experts, official government sources, the CNBC Global CFO Council and the states themselves. A full list of sources that were used for this year's data can be found here. States received points based on their rankings in each metric, which were then separated into ten broad categories. The categories are weighted based on how frequently they are used as selling points in state economic development marketing materials. That way, we grade the states on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

America's Top 5 States for Business:

1. Washington (Highest Rank - #3 in Economy and Technology & Innovation; Lowest Rank - #37 in Cost of Living)

2. Georgia (Highest Rank - #1 in Economy; Lowest Rank - #33 in Education)

3. Minnesota (Highest Rank - #2 in Education; Lowest Rank - #36 in Cost of Doing Business)

4. Texas (Highest Rank - #1 in Workforce and Infrastructure; Lowest Rank - #37 in Quality of Life)

5. North Carolina (Highest Rank - #6 in Technology & Innovation; Lowest Rank - #32 in Education)

Image courtest of NBC.



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