Americans want change. Many are tired of real personal incomes barely climbing each year and with the share of unemployed and underemployed workers still north of 10%.
But there are parts of the U.S. that are thriving thanks to strong workforces, low business costs and pro-business regulatory environments. With that in mind, Forbes embarked on its annual look at which states have the best business climates.
Forbes’ Best States for Business ranking factors in 40 data points across six main areas: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes, are weighted the most heavily. We added several new criteria this year, including the number of millennials as a percent of the population. We relied on 14 data sources.
Best States: #7 Virginia
2014 Rank: 4
Gross State Product: $464 billion
5-yr annual GSP growth: 0.8%
Virginia falls three spots thanks to higher business costs and a declining economic climate. The state ranked among the top two every year from 2006 to 2013.