Virginia captured first place in CNBC’s top states for business for the fifth time in a row.

The Commonwealth has once again taken top honors in CNBC’s competitive rankings as America’s Top State for Business. This is the fifth time that Virginia has taken the title since the business news channel began releasing these studies back in 2007. This also marks that first time that Virginia has taken this title in back-to-back years.

It should be noted however that CNBC did not release a study for 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic so becoming back-to-back winners is for the years 2019 and 2021. 

According to the study, Virginia’s greatest strengths has been the Commonwealth’s ability to nurture and retain talent as well as what the study considers to be a world-class education system. CNBC sites statistics by the U.S. Bureau Census Bureau that nearly 39 percent of Virginia workers possess a bachelor’s degree or higher, making it one of the best educated workforces in the country. The study praises Virginia for being able to retain these strengths going into and coming out of the pandemic. 

Virginia is also noted in the study for having the nation’s third highest concentration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Education is the best tool we have to make our Commonwealth a better, more equitable place for everyone,” said Gov. Northam in his annual State of the Commonwealth address Jan. 13.

Fairfax County is one region in the state that has been aggressively marketing itself as a business and technology center. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority just in the last few months alone announced deals for StarKist, Microsoft, Guidehouse, Ridgeline International, and others to bring some of their operations to the area. 

“The Commonwealth of Virginia’s business climate is a testament to the collaboration between local and state government, companies and non-profit organizations in the state. In Virginia, there is an outstanding standard of living, excellent schools and universities, and commitment to workforce training and building the talent pipeline,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA about the ranking.

CNBC graded all 50 states in 10 different categories which are weighted based on how frequently states site them in their economic marketing pitches. Virginia scored 1,587 points out of a possible 2,500 based on its pitch. The three categories that the Commonwealth received the highest point totals in were in the cost of doing business, infrastructure, and life, health, and inclusion. Virginia scored lowest in cost of living based on Labor Department statistics that place the state with the 11th highest wage costs in the nation. 

Virginia’s neighbor to the north, Maryland, was praised in the study as the most-improved state rising from its number 31 ranking in 2019 to number 12 in this year’s rankings. 

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