CNBC Names Minnesota 'America's Top State for Business'

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is America's Top State for Business in 2015, according to a new report released Thursday by CNBC. Minnesota moved into the top spot this year, after placing sixth in 2014, and 15th in 2013. In the annual study, CNBC scores a...

ST. PAUL - Minnesota is America's Top State for Business in 2015, according to a new report released Thursday by CNBC.

Minnesota moved into the top spot this year, after placing sixth in 2014, and 15th in 2013.

In the annual study, CNBC scores all 50 states on 60 measures of competitiveness, separated into 10 categories. These categories include workforce, economy, infrastructure and transportation, education, cost of living, cost of doing business, access to capital, innovation, business friendliness and quality of life.

Minnesota received the highest overall score this year across the 10 categories, including economy, citing Minnesota's low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent coupled with the high labor force participation rate at 70.8 percent. Minnesota ranked third in the nation for quality of life, noting the low crime rate, clean air and water, and access to quality health care.

"The credit for our state's economic success belongs to the people of Minnesota. We thank the businessmen and women, who chose Minnesota, and their productive employees, who made those investments successful," said Gov. Mark Dayton in a news release. "We are proud to earn this national recognition and determined to continue on our path toward future growth."


Since 2011, the Minnesota economy has added 189,000 jobs - a 7.1 percent increase. These new jobs have been added by the growing number of businesses relocating to Minnesota, in addition to companies that have announced expansions within the state.

"Minnesota has been blessed with hardworking, inventive, and entrepreneurial citizens for generations. This award is a worthy recognition for their efforts," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. "Despite our state's track record of strong economic growth, we must continue to work to ensure all Minnesotans are able to benefit."

In the study, CNBC highlighted Minnesota's workforce, citing the quality and availability of skilled workers in the state. According to the study, Minnesota's workforce is highly educated, and the state also offers unique worker-training programs to ensure future placement in jobs.

"The CNBC ranking underscores Minnesota's ability to offer the complete package to businesses with an emphasis on a talented, educated workforce that is encouraging growth throughout the state," said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "In the coming years, we will need to continue to focus on customized training for workers in order to meet the needs of our growing businesses and sustain our position as the best state for business."

Other study notables

• In 2014, Minnesota tied for 12th place in the education category. This year, Minnesota placed second, citing the state's educated workers and the availability of over 200 public and private higher-education institutions that offer companies the ability to recruit talent. The study also emphasized the state's value of the K-12 education system, including long-term funding trends.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Minnesota ranks fourth in the country for the percent of the population with a high school diploma or higher at 92.4 percent, and 11th in the nation for percent of the population with a bachelor's degree or higher at 33.5 percent.

• In addition to the scoring in each metric, CNBC's "America's Top State for Business" study takes input into consideration from the National Association of Manufacturers, the Council on Competitiveness, the CNBC Global CFO Council and a wide variety of businesses and economic development organizations.


Other recent national rankings for Minnesota

• Best Place for Women - Minnesota is the best place for women according to the Institute of Women's Policy Research.

• Best Place for Renters - Twin Cities among the best places for renters according to Nerd Wallet.

• Most Livable Place for People 50 and Older - St. Paul, Rochester, Minneapolis and Duluth all made the AARP list of the most livable places for people age 50 and older.

• Fittest in the Nation - The Minneapolis-St. Paul region ranks the second fittest in the nation according to a new health index by the American College of Sports Medicine.

• World's Top Cities for Cyclists - Minneapolis is only city in the United States to be included on a worldwide list of bike-friendly cities.

• Best State for Working Moms - Minnesota was named the second best state for working moms according to WalletHub.

• Best Small Cities - Moorhead, Winona, and Mankato all rank near the top of the best small cities in America by Nerd Wallet.


* Best City Parks - Minneapolis and St. Paul tied for the title of best city parks in the Trust for Public Land's annual ranking.

• Most Bike Friendly - Forbes ranks Minneapolis as the most bike-friendly city in the United States.

• Safest Town in America - Hibbing is the safest city in America according to SafeWise, who used research and FBI crime statistics to rank the list.

• Friendliest Metro - Travel and Leisure selects Minneapolis-St. Paul at the third friendliest metro in the country.

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