WINCHESTER — After taking the top spot in two consecutive studies, Virginia is ranked No. 3 in this year’s CNBC Top States for Business study.
Virginia finished behind North Carolina and Washington but ahead of Colorado and Texas in the Top 5.
CNBC scored all 50 states on 88 metrics in 10 broad categories of competitiveness. Each category is weighted based on how frequently states use them as a selling point in economic development marketing materials. Through that, the study ranks the states based on the attributes they use to sell themselves.
Criteria and metrics are developed in consultation with a diverse array of business and policy experts, and the states. Our study is not an opinion survey. Data from a variety of sources is used to measure the states’ performance.
States can earn a maximum of 2,500 points.
Overall, Virginia scored 1,553 points. Top-ranked North Carolina scored 1,580 and Washington scored 1,558 to narrowly edge Virginia for runner-up in the study.
Virginia’s best score came in education, where it earned an A+ with 129 points and ranked as the second-best state in that category. The Commonwealth scored A- grades in business friendliness (145 points, sixth-best) and access to capital (41 points, sixth-best).
“Ebbs and flows in rankings give room for assessment and measured change. It is fantastic to see Virginia ranked in the top 10 for education, business friendliness, access to capital, and infrastructure,” Top of Virginia Regional Chamber CEO Cynthia Schneider said. “These statistics speak highly of the commitment to excellence demonstrated daily by our community leaders, educators and businesses. While it is a bit disappointing to see Virginia drop in the best for business ranking, I am confident that Virginia’s business leaders are hard at work supporting a healthy business climate.”
Virginia also scored B+ grades in workforce (355 points, 11th), infrastructure (235 points, 9th) and cost of doing business (193 points, 25th-best).
“Virginia’s business leaders are very strong in attracting talent at all levels and supporting worker training programs which is essential in this economy,” Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Baroncelli said. “Virginia supports right to work laws which are important as well for a strong business environment. We have a healthy residential real estate market. Virginia is proud of its diverse economy, along with the number of major corporations headquartered here. I feel all of these attributes contributed to this recognition.”
The Commonwealth’s lowest grade of a D+ came in cost of living, where it scored just 21 points and ranked 30th. Other low grades included C+ ratings in both economy (184 points, 20th) and life, health and inclusion (204 points, 13th).
“The Old Dominion became the first back-to-back Top State for Business in 2021 on the strength of its education system and its workforce. But net migration to the state among college-educated workers has slowed, according to Census figures, hurting the commonwealth’s workforce ranking,” the study said of Virginia.
Nearby Maryland ranked 27th and West Virginia ranked 44th.