Forbes.com’s latest ranking of the best states for business ranks Colorado at No. 4, up from No. 6 last year. Virginia topped the list, followed by Washington and Utah.
The annual rankings are based on six factors: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.
Forbes rates Colorado No. 1 in the nation on labor supply, based on educational attainment, net migration and projected population growth; No. 2 on prospects for growth; and No. 5 on economic climate, which includes unemployment and presence of big companies as well as gross state product, job and income growth. The state’s regulatory environment places No. 17 on the list and quality of life comes in at No. 15.
Business costs, including labor, energy and taxes, were the only areas where Colorado ranked below the median at No. 33 — and were also the most heavily weighted of the criteria.
“Colorado is honored to be recognized by Forbes.com as the fourth best state to do business,” said Gov. Bill Ritter Thursday in a prepared statement. “We have one of the nation’s most highly skilled workforces and tremendous job growth opportunities. There’s no question Colorado will emerge from this downturn quicker, stronger and healthier.”
The top 10 states for business this year, according to Forbes.com: Virginia, Washington, Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, North Dakota, Texas, Nebraska and Oregon.
Rhode Island, which finished last for its regulatory environment, brought up the rear at No. 50 on the list. Michigan was No. 49, Wisconsin No. 48, Vermont No. 47, West Virginia No. 46 and New Jersey No. 45.
Earlier this year, Forbes ranked Fort Collins as the second-best metro for business and careers, right after Raleigh, N.C., and right ahead of Durham, N.C. Colorado Springs came in No. 10 on that list.