For the second year straight, Virginia has ranked as the Top State for Business by CNBC.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced the recognition Tuesday morning alongside Virginia delegates.
CNBC explained how they rank their top states by saying they, "scored all 50 states on 85 metrics in 10 broad categories of competitiveness. Each category is weighted based on how frequently states use them as a selling point in economic development marketing materials. That way, our study ranks the states based on the attributes they use to sell themselves. We developed our criteria and metrics in consultation with a diverse array of business and policy experts, and the states." They go on to say the study is "not an opinion survey."
Virginia ranked first, followed by North Carolina in second. Click here to view the full list of rankings.
With previous wins in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2019, Virginia surpassed Texas for most years as the top state for business since CNBC debuted its ranking in 2007. This year, CNBC adapted its formulas to address the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, with a new focus on areas like health care, inclusiveness, and sustainability.
Gov. Northam said, “We are so proud to receive this acknowledgment. We are continuing to invest in people.”
When noting efforts to boost Virginia's economy, Northam listed investments that leaders have implemented. Some of those examples included raising teacher pay and the minimum wage, expanding Broadband, investing in clean energy, fighting climate change and updating roads.
Northam added that his path forward is to "keep up policies that we know are working that support business and the economy and that are open and welcoming."
George Berry owns a trucking company in Chesapeake called Pioneer Transport and says he faces some challenges operating his business in Virginia.
“We have high volumes of freight coming into our ports on a day-to-day basis, and at this point right now, we just need more truck drivers to be able to meet the demand,” he explained.
He says his lot should be filled with cargo containers, but the trucking industry continues to struggle with a lack of drivers.
“We’re unable to go down Hampton Boulevard after 4 p.m. despite the fact that our ports are still open, so that really cuts off an artery for us to be able to traverse to the other ports,” he explained.
Even with challenges, Berry say he’s thankful for local support to keep his business going.
Chesapeake Economic Development Authority awarded Berry a grant for $12,500, helping him save his small business during the pandemic.
“That is really going to help me sustain my operations in the office, keep my employees on payroll without having to lay them off or cut their hours; it’ll also help me with office rent," said Berry.
Berry says he’s one of the lucky ones, but Black business owners in particular could use more support from cities and the state to take advantage of similar opportunities.
As a man who built his career in transportation starting as a cargo specialist in the Army, Berry says despite some challenges he has plenty to be thankful for.
“I made a great living here so far, so I’m just thankful I made Virginia my home.”