Two of Montana’s neighbors are on the Forbes top ten Best States for Business list – North Dakota and South Dakota. Montana is ranked 23rd. Wyoming is ranked 35th and Idaho, 18th.
Released in November, the 11th annual Forbes list puts Utah as the top ranking state, followed by North Carolina, Nebraska and Texas.
West Virginia is the worst state for business, followed by Maine, Mississippi, Alaska and New Mexico.
Forbes said that Utah scores well across the board, with particularly high marks for its regulatory climate and growth prospects, which are both second best among the 50 states. The state is cutting red tape, eliminating 400 regulations over the past seven years. It also boasts a business-friendly legal climate and a fiscally sound government – it’s one of only 10 states to hold a AAA bond rating from all three ratings agencies. One marker of fiscal responsibility: State government employment is down 11% over the past five years despite an 8% rise in the population.
In terms of business costs in the state, Montana ranks a bit lower, 24th. Surprisingly, it ranks 16th in terms of labor supply, and not so surprisingly, it ranks considerably lower in regard to regulatory environment, 32nd. Montana’s economic climate ranks a bit better at 20th. Prospects of growth is down there at 27th, and it is worse for quality of life at 29th.
Compared to our neighbors – North and South Dakota – their quality of life ranking is no better, but South Dakota’s business costs is the lowest in the nation and North Dakota’s is 14th. But North Dakota ranks 3rd in labor supply and economic climate. North Dakota ranks 14th in regulatory environment and South Dakota is 20th.


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