Georgia is on everyone’s mind! The Peach State is packing a punch, taking a leap to the 4th spot in CNBC’s Top States for Business 2023 ranking, up six positions from last year. This juicy slice of news, no doubt, has Georgia’s business community thinking positively peachy thoughts about the future.
So, how did the rankings pan out? North Carolina clinched the number one spot, with Virginia and Tennessee tailing behind. Not far off, Georgia strutted in at number four, besting Minnesota, Texas, Washington, Florida, Utah, and Michigan, which rounded out the top 10.
CNBC’s crack team of business experts churned the numbers, scoring all 50 states on 86 different metrics. They divided these into 10 categories, covering all facets of business competitiveness. These aren’t just arbitrary markers; each category is weighted based on how frequently states use them as bragging rights in their economic development marketing materials. And let’s be clear; this is no popularity contest. Data, not opinions, guided the judgment.
So, where does Georgia shine? Infrastructure! Yes, highways, railways, ports, and more, Georgia snagged the top spot in this category. The Peach State also made the top 10 in the economy (4th) and workforce (8th) categories, proving that its business backbone is as strong as a ripe, southern-grown peach pit.
That said, it wasn’t all peach cobbler and sweet tea. Georgia fell flat in the life, health and inclusion category, coming in at a rather underwhelming 39th place. This category covers important quality-of-life factors like crime rates, environmental quality, healthcare, worker protections and inclusiveness in state laws. So, for the second year in a row, the study ranks Georgia as the 11th worst state to live in. There’s room for growth there, folks.
Yet, the state still managed to bag the top 20 rankings in cost of living (14th) and technology and innovation (19th).
Georgia’s economic profile is looking relatively robust under the stewardship of Republican Governor Brian Kemp. With a population of just over 10.9 million, Georgia saw GDP growth of 2.4% in Q1 2023 and a rather peachy unemployment rate of just 3.2% in May 2023. The top corporate tax and individual income tax rates sit at a tolerable 5.75%, while the gasoline tax is a slightly prickly 55.95 cents/gallon. With a bond rating of Aaa, Stable/AAA, Stable, according to Moody’s and S&P respectively, the Peach State presents a fruitful economic landscape.
While Georgia’s dramatic leap in the rankings is a cause for celebration, let’s not overlook that the Peach State can still grow. It has some pruning to do in life, health, and inclusion, but with its robust economy, solid workforce, and booming infrastructure, it’s clear that Georgia’s roots run deep. Georgia, sweet Georgia, may you keep rising.