CNBC Ranks Virginia Number One State for Business in 2021


Virginia won first place in CNBC’s ranking of top states for business in 2021, a repeat performance from 2019, the last time the ranking was issued. On Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam stopped in the Port of Virginia for a CNBC broadcast and a press conference.

“Virginia continues to be the best place to do business because of our world-class education institutions, talented workforce, and shared commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” Northam said in a press release.

The Commonwealth earned high marks for workforce (3 out of 50), education (2 out of 50), and access to capital (9 out of 50). Its lowest scores were in categories including cost of living (32 out of 50), cost of doing business (26 out of 50), and infrastructure (24 out of 50).

“With previous wins in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2019, Virginia surpassed Texas for most years as the top state for business since CNBC debuted its ranking in 2007. This year, CNBC adapted its formulas to address the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, with a new focus on areas like health care, inclusiveness, and sustainability,” Northam’s press release states.

Northam touted policies he helped enact as reasons for the ranking. As evidence of Virginia’s business-friendly environment, his press release cited jobs coming to Virginia as Amazon, Facebook, and Micron invest in Virginia.

“Since Governor Northam took office in January 2018, the Commonwealth has created nearly 90,000 new jobs and secured more than $45.4 billion in statewide capital investment, including approximately $7 billion in distressed communities,” his press release states.

Rounding out the top five states are North Carolina, Utah, Texas, and Tennessee, in 2nd through fifth place respectively.

Northam said, “I am proud of what this coveted recognition says about the policies we have put in place and how they are driving growth and innovation across our Commonwealth. Our success is a blueprint for creating a vibrant economic climate in the post-pandemic world—and proves that when you lift everyone up, when you treat people right, and when you celebrate diversity, it’s also good for business.”

After the announcement, Terry McAuliffe tweeted, “First state ever to be ranked # 1 back to back. Yet Glenn’s still saying our economy is in the ditch?! C’mon Glenn.

Congressman Ben Cline (R-Virginia-06) replied, “During the McAuliffe administration, Virginia received its WORST rankings from #CNBC (8th in 2014, 12th in ’15, 13th in ’16 and 7th in ’17). Kaine, McDonnell, and Northam all saw Virginia achieve #1 rankings during their administrations (’07, ’09, ’11, & ’19.) #MediocreMcAuliffe”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].








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