Washington ranks No. 8 in latest Forbes “best states for business” rankings

In Forbes magazine’s 2014 Best States for Business, Washington finishes in 8th place. Not bad in the 50 state field. Win, place and show go to Utah, North Dakota and North Carolina, respectively.

As is common in the Forbes rankings, Washington fares best on measures of economic vitality and falls down on business costs and quality of life metrics. I’ve clipped in below the table showing the various factors rolled into the index.

Best States for Business List   Forbes

Washingtonians who celebrate the quality of life here may raise their eyebrows at the #29 ranking. Forbes has its own definition of quality of life (full methodology).

Quality of life takes into account poverty rates per the Bureau of Economic Analysis and crime rates from the FBI. Other factors include cost of living from Moody’s, school test performance via the Department of Education and the health of the people in the state per the United Health Foundation. We considered the culture and recreation opportunities in the state based on an index created by Bert Sperling, as part of our annual Best Places for Business. We factored in the mean temperature in the state as a proxy for the weather. Lastly, we included the number of top-ranked four-year colleges in the state from Forbes’ annual college rankings.

As we’ve written before, these things tend to be subjective. They provide some useful information and spark some good conversation. But they’re far from the last word on what makes a state the “best state for business.”