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The Top States for Doing Business in 2011

CNBC has come out with its fifth annual top-ten list for the best for business -- what does this mean for you, the job seeker? Basically, if the state is good at doing business, it means that it provides good incentives for businesses to make their home there, and the more businesses you have, the more opportunities out there for new jobs and career paths.

Over the previous four years, both Texas and Virginia have vied for the title of best state for business. Who won this year? Read on to get the full list below. First, a bit of explanation courtesy of CNBC -- all states are rated in 43 measures of competitiveness that were gathered in 10 categories:
  • Cost of Doing Business (350 points)
  • Workforce (350 points)
  • Quality of Life (350 points)
  • Infrastructure & Transportation (325 points)
  • Economy (300 points)
  • Education (225 points)
  • Technology & Innovation (225 points)
  • Business Friendliness (200 points)
  • Access to Capital (100 points)
  • Cost of Living (50 points)

Without further ado, here's the top 10 list:

10. Nebraska - Nebrasks breaks the top ten thanks to high scores in economy, business friendliness, and cost of living.

9. Iowa - Looking for the cheapest state in the land when it comes to the cost of doing business? You just found it.

8. Utah - Despite middling scores in most of its categories, the Beehive State gets a boost from its high (#4) rank in business friendliness.

7. Minnesota - Yes, the state is suffering from a major budget crisis at the moment, but its high marks in quality of life and education make it an attractive destination for businesses and workers.

6. Massachusetts - The Bay State still ranks high but fell out of the top five this year due to a smaller workforce pool and a dip in its education rank (to fourth from first).

5. Colorado - Workforce, quality of life and business friendliness are all pluses for Colorado; potential drawbacks are relatively high cost of living and cost of business.

4. Georgia - Despite an economy that ranks in the bottom third (35th), the Peach State has superior infrastructure and workforce rankings, plus decent cost of living.

3. North Carolina - A virtual duplicate of Georgia, with #3 rankings in both workforce and infrastructure.

2. Texas - The 2010 top state for business maintained or improved its rank in seven of the ten categories, but saw slight downturns in the cost of doing business, quality of life, and economy. The state's ongoing budget issues are mainly to blame, as well as a diminished number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered there, but number 2 is nothing to sneeze at.

1. Virginia - Virginia's location, economy and business climate have always been strong points in its favor, and this year it earned top honors thanks to improvements in the cost of doing business (jumping up to #21 from last year's #26) and education (#6). On the other hand, the state's quality of life could use some work, as it currently ranks #26 (compared to #18 last year). Still, when you're in the top ten in five categories (Infrastructure & Transportation, Economy, Education, Friendliness, Access to Capital) you're doing something right.

How about the worst five states for doing business? The hall of shame is below:

45. Nevada
46.West Virginia
47.Mississippi
48.Hawaii
49.Alaska
50.Rhode Island

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