R.I. slips into last place again in CNBC’s ‘Top States for Business’

After advancing slightly in last year’s ranking, Rhode Island dropped once again to dead last in CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2014 report. The 2014 ranking represents the third time in the last four years that Rhode Island came in at No. 50 in the CNBC report, which scored all 50 states on 56 measures of economic competitiveness. More

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R.I. slips into last place again in CNBC’s ‘Top States for Business’

COURTESY CNBC
WHILE RHODE ISLAND made progress in some categories in this year's CNBC Top States for Business report, the state's low scores for cost of doing business and infrastructure caused Rhode Island to rank 50th in the country overall.
Posted 6/24/14

NEW YORK – After advancing slightly in last year’s ranking, Rhode Island dropped once again to dead last in CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2014 report.

The 2014 ranking represents the third time in the last four years that Rhode Island came in at No. 50 in the CNBC report, which scored all 50 states on 56 measures of economic competitiveness. Each of those 56 measures falls into one of 10 broad categories: cost of doing business, economy, infrastructure and transportation, workforce, quality of life, technology and innovation, business friendliness, education, cost of living and access to capital.

The categories were weighted based on how frequently they were cited in state economic development marketing materials. “That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves,” said the CNBC report.

Out of a possible 2,500 points, Rhode Island earned 922 points, lower than last year’s overall score of 983 that boosted Rhode Island into the No. 49 spot in the 2013 ranking.

Georgia clinched the No. 1 ranking this year, with a score of 1,659, followed by Texas, Utah, Nebraska and North Carolina. Massachusetts ranked at No. 25 with a score of 1,326, the highest of any New England state, while New Hampshire came in at No. 30, Vermont at No. 42, Maine at No. 45 and Connecticut at No. 46.

Several categories actually showed improvement in the Ocean State in the 2014 report, including the economy score, which ranked No. 44 nationwide this year compared with No. 49 last year; technology and innovation, which climbed to No. 34 from No. 42 in 2013; workforce, which moved up to No. 38 from No. 42 last year; and education, which moved up to No. 18 from No. 23.

However, serious declines in the state’s cost-of-doing-business score (which dropped to No. 43 from No. 34 in last year’s report) and infrastructure and transportation score (which dropped to No. 50 from No. 47) offset improvements elsewhere in the state’s overall business climate. In addition, Rhode Island’s “business friendliness” score improved only slightly over last year, inching upward to No. 45 from No. 46.

Rhode Island ranked in the bottom 10 in six out of 10 categories in the 2014 report, and ranked in the top half of all states in only two categories: education and quality of life.

Citing the state’s high unemployment rate, “anemic” housing market and “less-than-stellar” bond rating, CNBC wrote that “more than two dozen” pieces of legislation aimed at improving Rhode Island’s business climate have yet to pay off, but said recent actions like the move to cut the corporate tax rate from 9 percent to 7 percent could help the state move up in next year’s rankings.

To view the complete Top States for Business 2014 report, visit www.cnbc.com.

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