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Washington a top state for business, No. 1 in technology: 50-state ranking

July 13,2016 06:11

Washington comes in No. 6 in the new, multi-category, CNBC survey of the business climate in all 50 states, and leads the nation as America's top state for climate and technology. The survey was entitled "America's Top States for Business: A scorecard ...and more »



BY JOEL CONNELLY, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Photo: GRANT HINDSLEY, SEATTLEPI.COM

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A variety of tools for making tools fill the workshop at the Intellectual Ventures laboratory in Bellevue.  A 50-state survey by CNBC ranks Washington as No. 6 as a top place for business, and as the nation's leading state for technology and innovation.  We rank ahead of California and Massachusetts in a coveted category. GRANT HINDSLEY, seattlepi.com) less
A variety of tools for making tools fill the workshop at the Intellectual Ventures laboratory in Bellevue.  A 50-state survey by CNBC ranks Washington as No. 6 as a top place for business, and as the nation's ... more

Photo: GRANT HINDSLEY, SEATTLEPI.COM

Washington comes in No. 6 in the new, multi-category, CNBC survey of the business climate in all 50 states, and leads the nation as America's top state for climate and technology.
The survey was entitled "America's Top States for Business: A scorecard of state economic climate," with input from business experts, government officials, the states themselves and the network's CNBC Global CFO Council.

Utah ranked No. 1 in the survey despite author/conservationist Edward Abbey's famous quip:  "Visitors are always welcome in the Beehive State. Just set your watch back 50 years."  Utah did not get a No. 1 ranking in any category but scored highly across the board.
Texas is No. 2, rated as having the nation's best economy but in 40th place in the quality of its education.  Colorado ranks No. 3 and was evaluated as having the nation's top workforce.  Minnesota was No. 4, highly evaluated for its quality of life, with North Carolina at No. 5.  The Tar Heel State, a banking center,  got high marks for access to capital.
Washington, at No. 6, was tops in technology/innovation, rated highly on quality of life and its economy.  But the survey took note of the growing expense of living here:  The Evergreen State ranks 37th on cost of living.
In technology and innovation, Washington is ranked ahead of three high-profile competitors, California, Massachusetts and New York.
Michigan, Georgia, Iowa -- rated highly for its low cost of doing business -- and Florida round out the top 10 states.
Idaho is No. 15, rated as business-friendly but scoring a dismal 49th of the 50 states in the quality of education.
Oregon is No. 17 , praised for its economy and quality of life but ranked down (in 38th place) for its friendliness to business.
Now, to the dregs of the survey.
Alaska is No. 45, rated low across the board except for its quality of life.  At the far northeast end of the country, Maine ranks 46th and is evaluated dead last for the quality of its workforce.
Mississippi, tied for No. 47, is embarrassed on a number of fronts.  It is a polar opposite of Washington, ranking 50th and dead last in technology and innovation.  The Magnolia State is also evaluated as having the country's worst economy.
The other No. 47 finisher is West Virginia, with the dubious honors of being in 49th place in both technology/innovation and business friendliness.
Hawaii is No. 49. It tops the country in first place for quality of life, but trails the country (in 50th place) for its high cost of living and cost of doing business.
The nation's tiniest state, Rhode Island, is No. 5.  It is rated as having the nation's worst infrastructure, and given bad marks for the quality of doing business.  Despite the mansions of Newport millionaires, the state ranks 45th in access to capital.
Gov. Jay Inslee proudly posted a tweet about topping the nation in technology and innovation.
The basic fact remains:  Washington is having its growing pains.  Business groups grumble about regulations and minimum-wage initiatives.  Downtown Seattle is torn up.  Areas like southwest Washington do not share the prosperity of Central Puget Sound.
But ...
When business publications and TV channels look at the Evergreen State from the outside, they almost always give this corner of the "Left Coast" top marks for its business climate, its technology economy, and as a place to live.

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