Forbes Drops Connecticut’s Business Ranking
Citing high business costs, a restrictive regulatory environment and a weak economic climate, Forbes dropped Connecticut’s ranking to 39th in the nation in its “2015 Best States for Business” rankings.
The state fell three spots from No. 36 last year in the 2015 rankings, which take various economic and workforce indicators into account.
Connecticut had a particularly poor showing in certain areas.
The state, for instance, came in 45th when it came to business costs, 44th in economic climate, and 41st in regulatory environment.
“Business costs are 11 percent higher than the national average, due in part to energy costs that are 64 higher,” the Forbes profile of Connecticut says.
The state’s economy continues to be a hurdle for businesses in the state, said Bonnie Stewart, vice president of government and public affairs and general counsel for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.
“Connecticut is lagging where economic recovery is concerned,” she said. “This is a challenge we are aware of, but unfortunately don’t have a silver bullet to jumpstart our economy overnight.
CBIA is working with its members, she said, “to identify opportunities to approve our economy and business climate, and will begin meeting with legislators on those recommendations soon.”
The group, which lobbies on behalf of businesses, was vocal in its opposition to several taxes on businesses included in the most recent state budget. Several companies in the state have threatened to relocate elsewhere in light of the tax increases, including General Electric Co.
A bright spot in the Forbes ranking was the state’s quality of life, which ranked fourth in the nation. The ranking was bolstered by “low crime, a healthy populous and strong schools,” according to Forbes.
Connecticut’s labor supply ranked 25th, while its growth prospects ranked 29th.
In its profile of the state, Forbes notes, “Income inequality is huge in Connecticut, with the disparity most pronounced when comparing southern towns like New Canaan and Greenwich with Hartford, the state’s capital.”
The profile lists Connecticut’s median household income as $68,001 and its 2015 job growth rate at 1.6 percent.
It also notes that 38 percent of those who graduate from college here subsequently enter the Connecticut workforce, meaning most graduates of Connecticut colleges go elsewhere to seek employment.
Utah ranked No. 1 on the list, for the fifth time in the past six years, with Forbes praising its “very pro-business climate” and energy costs that are 23 percent lower than the national average. North Carolina and Nebraska also topped the list, at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
West Virginia’s “anemic” population growth and lowest college attainment rate in the country earned it the No. 50 spot on the list. Mississippi and Maine also fared poorly, ranking No. 49 and 48, respectively.
Compared with the other New England states, Connecticut’s showing was fairly middle-of-the-road. Neighboring Massachusetts ranked 18th and New Hampshire edged out Connecticut at No. 37, but Vermont came in 42nd and Rhode Island ranked 46th.
Even though Massachusetts’ business and labor costs, energy prices and taxes are among the highest in the country - and it has a “lousy” regulatory climate - Forbes said the state’s ranking was bolstered by the number of graduates from Massachusetts’ “top-notch universities” and stay in state to find jobs.