Virginia falls from #1 spot on America’s Top States for Business list. Here's who's king now...

Watchful Eye

Virginia has lost one of its key bragging rights—claim to the title of being the top state for business.

In America’s Top States for Business in 2022, which is produced by CNBC, Virginia fell to #3 from the #1 spot it held last year.

And not only did Virginia lose its crown, but the state suffered that loss to its southern neighbor, North Carolina, which ranked #2 in the 2021 rankings.

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Virginia in the rankings

Each year, CNBC scores all 50 states based on metrics in 10 categories of competitiveness.

“Each category is weighted based on how frequently states use them as a selling point in economic development marketing materials. That way, our study ranks the states based on the attributes they use to sell themselves, CNBC explained.

In 2021, Virginia claimed the #1 spot for the second year in a row, and that marked the fifth time that the state had held the top spot since the rankings began in 2007—more than any other state, reported CNBC.

Virginia’s record is “a testament to the resilience of the state’s business climate,” CNBC noted, and it added that Virginia’s strong workforce and solid education system propelled the state to its leading position.

“Going into the pandemic and coming out of it, Virginia’s greatest strength has been its ability to nurture and retain talent. Public schools perform well in terms of test scores, and a world-class higher education system is reliably funded,” CNBC noted.

Of 2,500 possible points, Virginia’s 2021 score was 1,587.

In 2022, Virginia still ranked in the top 10 in categories including business friendliness, access to capital, infrastructure and education. But, “even though the state has a great education system that is building a strong workforce, net migration among college-educated workers has slowed to Virginia,” a CNBC press release noted. It also pointed to the living costs, which “are high according to Census figures, lowering its ranking in the commonwealth’s workforce.”

Of the possible 2500 points, Virginia’s 2022 score fell to 1,553.

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North Carolina's rise

Meanwhile, North Carolina rose to the top spot for the first time. CNBC noted that Virginia’s southern neighbor was “powered by an economy that has hit its stride, and turbocharged by a long track record of innovation.”

One of the key things that made a difference for North Carolina this year is that “state leaders keep managing to put aside their very deep political divisions to boost business and the economy,” CNBC added.

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