Still the One

North Carolina has been hailed once again as America’s Top State for Business by CNBC. This year’s Number One spot follows 2022’s first place win and a string of top-ten placements for all but one of the past 12 years. Fiscally conservative, pro-business and pro-growth reformers have led the General Assembly since 2011.

“With a world-class workforce and a booming economy, North Carolina repeats as America’s Top State for Business in 2023” announced CNBC’s July 11th headline. 2023 marks only the second time that a state has received consecutive wins, with the other being Virginia, which won the top spot in both 2019 and 2021. (Editor’s note: CNBC forwent its rankings in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.) They go on to say:

“At a time when companies are clamoring for workers while trying to navigate a treacherous economy, no state is meeting their needs more effectively than North Carolina. The Tar Heel State is America’s Top State for Business in CNBC’s annual competitiveness study. It is the second consecutive year at the top for North Carolina — a rare feat in the CNBC study, which launched in 2007. Business and the economy in the state have been on a tear since the pandemic, and the state has scarcely looked back…”

The survey singled out North Carolina’s best-in-the-nation workforce, our booming economy, strong career education, technology and innovation, and access to capital.

“Over the past year, this legislature has worked to keep North Carolina the best in the country for business,” commented Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger in a statement. “We’ve overcome partisan obstructionism, regional competition, and economic uncertainty, and have confirmed that our state’s reputation and economy are stronger than ever.” He went on to say that the conservative majorities in the House and Senate “had a vision and plan when we won control of the General Assembly back in 2010, and improving our state’s business climate was a big part of that. It’s rewarding to see North Carolina prevail over several other qualified contenders.”

Since 2007, the TV network — widely considered as a world leader in business news and real-time financial market coverage — has scored all 50 states on 88 different metrics in ten weighted categories of competitiveness to determine an overall ranking. This year, those included 1) the workforce (400 points or 16%), 2) infrastructure (390 points or 15.6%), 3) the state’s economy (360 points or 14.4%), 4) life, health, and inclusion (350 points or 14%), 5) the cost of doing business (290 points or 11.6%), 6) technology and Innovation (270 points or 10.8%), 7) business friendliness (215 points or 8.6%), 8) education (125 points or 5%), 9) access to capital (50 points or 2%), and 10) the cost of living (50 points or 2%).

The relative importance of any one category can change from year to year. Workforce, for example, was given the greatest weight in 2022 and 2023, but in 2021 it was only the fourth most important category. New metrics introduced last year include child-care resources as well as support for emerging industries like cryptocurrency and cannabis; “quality of life” as a category was replaced with “life, health, and inclusion” in 2021.

Click through the spreadsheets below for detailed rankings of all 50 states since 2011.

CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2023
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2022
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2021
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2019
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2018
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2017
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2016
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2015
CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2014