Virginia is on the rise again. A recent ranking by CNBC shows that Virginia is now 7th on the list of best states to do business in which is a large improvement compared to last year’s 13th place ranking. After having been ranked #1 in 2007, 2009, and 2011, Virginia has dropped in the ratings for the past few years, but the recent increase shows the resilience of our economy and government. CNBC’s rankings were based off of 10 categories which are cost of doing business, economy, quality of life, technology & innovation, education, business friendliness, access to capital, and cost of living. I am proud to say that Virginia ranked 2nd in workforce quality and was in the top 10 for workforce and business friendliness.
In the past 3 years, unemployment rates have dropped from 5.4% to 3.8% and unemployment claims have dropped to a 44-year low. In addition to lowered unemployment, there has been a large influx of capital investment, job openings, and people in the workforce. To be more specific, Virginia has experience a record breaking $16.16 billion in capital investment while adding over 187,500 new jobs. Now that Virginia is back in the top 10, it will likely continue to grow as our high ranking will be very appealing to companies who are looking to expand or relocate.
Despite all of the improvements we have made there are still areas which we can improve upon. Despite being highly ranked in workforce quality and business friendliness, Virginia received a poor ranking, 35th in the nation, for cost of doing business, which might make it difficult to establish new businesses. In addition to the CNBC ranking, over 5,000 businesses were surveyed, and their biggest issues were workforce training, tax reform, and regional cooperation in economic development. It’s obvious that Virginia is moving in the right direction with lowered unemployment and increased capital investment, but now we need to focus on making our state more business friendly in order to continue rising and regain our #1 ranking.