Texas continued its every-other-year streak of landing at the summit of CNBC’s Top States for Business list, outpacing Utah for its third win in the study’s history.
Texas, which has never finished lower than second in any of the list’s six years of publication, had top-10 finishes in six of the study’s categories, which rank states by the criteria they use themselves to attract business. In addition to a top ranking in infrastructure, the state finished second in technology and innovation, and had the third-lowest cost of living.
Another big boost came from Texas’s economy, which improved to fifth overall this year, after a 14th-place finish in 2011.
While Texas topping the list wasn’t a huge shock, the biggest surprise may have been from Utah, which knocked Virginia out of a top-2 finish for the first time in the study’s history. Utah scored well due to low costs, a “world-class” workforce and a top 10 finish in quality of life, which considers local attractions, crime rate, health care, as well as air and water quality.
A third-place finish for Virginia, which topped the study in 2009 and 2011, is hardly embarrassing, but the state suffered a dropoff in two key categories: infrastructure and economy. With clogged highways incrementally hurting commute times, Virginia’s infrastructure ranking fell to 33rd from 10th a year earlier.
As for its economy, Virginia took a hit after Moody’s threw a negative outlook on the state’s normally healthy bond rating due to the government’s fiscal crisis. That contributed to Virginia’s state economy ranking falling to 10th from eighth a year ago.