The state of Georgia received the top ranking in the CNBC’s annual America’s Top States For Business list, released today, with 1,659 out of 2,500 points. The Peach State beat out the first runner up Texas for the top spot; the ranking includes all 50 states.
“Georgia has always been a strong performer in our rankings with its well-developed infrastructure and top notch workforce,” said CNBC’s Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn, who created the study and compiled this year’s results. “For 2014, a rebounding economy propels Georgia to the top, though the state still has work to do on education and quality of life.”
The list was created based on 56 different factors. The Peach State had its highest rank, #1, in Infrastructure and Workforce, and its lowest rank in Quality of Life and Education, #32. Georgia’s economy got #3, Cost of Doing Business #20, Technology & Innovation #16, Business Friendliness #14, Cost of Living #22, and Access to Capital #11.
The top billing for Georgia happens to be excellent news for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R), who is running for reelection against Democrat state Rep. Jason Carter. Deal is currently in Israel on a trip to strengthen business relations between Georgia and the Jewish State, but he took time out to address CNBC’s findings.
“It is the fulfillment of the goal that I had when I was first elected,” said Deal, according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Carter released a statement today in response to CNBC’s study with a list of his rankings that show Georgia in a much grimmer light.
“While Gov. Deal trumpets a new ranking from CNBC, let’s not forget all the other rankings that show how the middle class is really doing in Georgia:
“Georgia has the 8th highest unemployment rate among states (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 6/24/14). More than 346,000 Georgians are unemployed and looking for work as of May 2014. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 6/24/14).
“Georgia is one of only two states in which real per capita GDP has declined in the last 15 years (AJC, 6/20/14). Adjusted for inflation, the average Georgia family in effect makes $6,000 than the average family did 10 years ago (Politifact, 1/23/14).
“Georgia ranks 33rd in median household income (Politifact, 1/23/14). That’s down from 18th in 2002.
“Georgia ranks as the 6th worst state for child poverty (GBPI, 12/13).
“Georgia has the 4th worst high school graduation rate among states (U.S. DOE, 4/14).”
Click here to view the entire list released by Carter.
Carter, who is the grandson of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (D), has focused his campaign on education and family, and even the CNBC ranking shows that Georgia is weaker in those areas than most states. Deal has been running on business and economics, but the Governor has yet to start any aggressive campaigning in his red state. The gubernatorial contest in Georgia is predicted to be quite safely in Republican hands.