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Commonwealth's Counties

Virginia Improves Ranking on “Best States for Business” List

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on November 28 that Virginia was ranked fifth on’s 2017 “Best States for Business” list, an improvement over its rankings in 2015 (when it ranked seventh) and 2016 (when it ranked sixth). rates states in six categories to establish the overall ranking: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life. Virginia scored particularly well in the labor supply, regulatory environment, and quality of life categories, ranking third, second, and eighth, respectively. Forbes calculates labor supply rankings based on high school and college attainment, net migration, population growth, union representation, and the proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds within the state’s population. States’ regulatory environments are scored based on rankings from several sources, including Moody’s bond ratings; analyses by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University of labor regulations, insurance coverage requirements, tort liability, and the state’s debt obligations; and an index by Pollina Corporate Real Estate measuring tax incentives and economic development efforts. Quality of life is determined based on cost of living, crime rates, commute times, and health measures such as air pollution, among other factors.

Virginia’s scores were lower in the business costs and economic climate categories (29th and 33rd, respectively). Business costs are determined by a “Cost of Doing Business” index generated by Moody’s Analytics and an analysis of business taxes produced by the Tax Foundation. Factors in the calculation of economic climate include unemployment rates, growth in jobs, income, and gross state product, and the number of large companies with headquarters in the state.

The full list is available at

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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