Connecticut shot up more than 10 places on CNBC’s latest ranking of business-friendly states, published Tuesday.
CNBC’s 2021 “America’s Top States for Business” report — which evaluates metrics related to costs of doing business, workforce quality, infrastructure, and other categories — says Connecticut is the 24th-best state for business in the country, up from 35th in 2019.
CNBC did not release a 2020 version of the typical annual ranking.
The report says Connecticut improved in several key areas over the last two years, including infrastructure (43rd in 2019 to 18th in 2021), economic strength (43rd to 32nd), technology and innovation (18th to 8th), and overall business climate (21st to 8th).
While the study did not give specific reasons for the movement in Connecticut’s scores, the state’s upgraded bond rating, a biennial budget with no new taxes and a recent string of high-profile corporate relocations, such as Philip Morris International’s planned move from New York City to Fairfield County, may have factored in. Business groups have also credited Gov. Ned Lamont with fostering a generally more pro-business political atmosphere than his predecessor, Dannel Malloy.
Still, Connecticut stagnated in some metrics and moved backward in others.
The state’s cost of doing business remains among the highest in the nation, as does its cost of living. Notably, Connecticut lost ground in education, sliding from 8th to 11th in the country.
Relative to other Northeast states, Connecticut placed near the middle of the pack, behind Massachusetts (No. 14) and New York (No. 22) but ahead of New Hampshire (No. 37), Vermont (No. 42) and Rhode Island (No. 46).
Overall, CNBC concluded that Virginia was the best state for business in 2021. The commonwealth, which was also ranked 1st in 2019, placed high in workforce quality, access to capital, residents’ health and social inclusiveness. Rounding out the top five on the 2021 ranking were North Carolina, Utah, Texas and Tennessee.
Normally robust Alaska, which in recent years has placed near the top of such lists, finished last in 2021, mainly due to high costs, the near collapse of the cruise industry in 2020 and historically low oil production.