Nevada moves up 18 places in ranking for best states for business

Among the best states for business, the Silver State ranks No. 29 overall, a new analysis shows.

In CNBC’s annual list of top states for business, released in June, Nevada jumped 18 spaces from No. 47 to No. 29.

The study uses a point system to rate 56 criteria such as economy, cost of living and cost of doing business.

For scoring purposes, criteria such as cost of doing business and economy earn states more points than criteria such as business friendliness and access to capital.

The scoring methodology explains that certain categories are weighted more than others, because when a business is choosing a place to go, certain factors simply matter more.

Compared to last year’s rankings, Nevada had the largest jump in rankings of any other state.

Nevada has made strides in most categories, according to the list, but remains static in one crucial category: education.

Nevada ranked dead last in education in 2013 and in 49th place in 2014, according to the list.

“Education is a handicap,” said Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “If we look the sweep of history from 1990 forward, Nevada did really well despite having a low educational attainment.”

From the 1990s until the 2000s, economic growth in Nevada was driven primarily by the construction industry, which didn’t require a lot of formal education, Brown said.

Going forward, Brown said, industries of the future that will thrive such as the drone program in Nevada, are going to require people that are more highly educated. Studies have shown that the states that have done the best economically, have had the strongest educational programs — or a lot of oil, Brown said.

The CNBC list draws on numbers from various sources such as: the Bureau of Labor statistics, the Federation of Tax Laborers and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, among others, but at least one local business advocate said there are also intangibles that these numbers can’t reveal.

“People here really want to do business,” said Cara Clarke, senior director of communications for the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. “They look at Las Vegas as a city where they can pursue the American dream.”

“Although the economy has been very challenging until recently, I still think that people in the community have a real ‘can do’ attitude,” said Clarke.

Nevada also improved in other categories such as: technology and innovation, cost of doing business, and economy.

The state regressed in the cost-of-living category, falling to 30th place in 2014 after holding the 17th spot a year ago.

The top five states for business this year, according to the list were, respectively, Georgia, Texas, Utah, Nebraska and North Carolina. The five bottom states, from No. 46 to No. 50, were Connecticut, Alaska, West Virginia, Hawaii and Rhode Island. CNBC has been compiling the list for the past eight years.

Contact Alex Corey at acorey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0270. Follow @acoreynews on Twitter.

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