Wisconsin ranks 32nd in Forbes business climate study

Wisconsin ranks as the 32nd-best state for business climate, according to the newest Forbes magazine ranking.

Wisconsin ranks behind neighboring Minnesota (ninth), Iowa (12th) and Indiana (15th), but ahead of Illinois (40th) and Michigan (42nd).

The magazine ranked Wisconsin high in quality of life (17th) and growth prospects (18th), but poorly in economic climate (27th), regulatory environment (29th), business costs (34th) and labor supply (37th).

Forbes estimated Wisconsin’s annual gross state product at $283 billion for 2014.

“Wisconsin’s economy is driven by manufacturing, agriculture and health care,” Forbes stated. “The state is also the nation’s leading producer of cheese. The Badger State adopted the slogan of ‘Open for Business’ in 2011, erecting signs along the state border. Wisconsin’s forecasted job picture has improved dramatically since then moving from No. 49 to No. 21 this year.”

Kurt Badenhausen, author of the Forbes report, told BizTimes that Wisconsin is “heading in the right direction,” after ranking 42nd in 2012 and 41st in 2013.

The five best states for doing business were Utah (first), North Dakota (second), North Carolina (third), Virginia (fourth) and Colorado (fifth). Eight of the top 10 states lie west of the Mississippi River.

Mississippi holds the dubious distinction of ranking No. 50 for the first time due to bottom five rankings in four of our six main categories, including labor supply, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. The state ranks in the bottom three on both college and high school attainment rates. Other issues: the lowest median household income at $37,432 and the highest poverty rate in the United States.

To view the full rankings, visit http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business.

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