Mass. takes big drop on CNBC list of ‘America’s Top States for Business’

Texas ranked first in CNBC’s 2012 list of America’s Top States for Business, and Massachusetts was 28th, down from last year’s ranking of 6th, the biggest year-to-year drop of any state.

This is CNBC’s sixth annual list. And in compiling annual rankings, CNBC looks at such categories as the cost of doing business, quality of life, infrastructure and transportation, economy, and education. Other categories examined include technology and innovation, business friendliness, access to capital, and cost of living. The 2012 list was reported by CNBC senior correspondent Scott Cohn.

“Massachusetts did see the biggest decline among all 50 states in our rankings this year,” Cohn wrote in an e-mail. “The state fell in a number of categories, including cost of doing business and workforce, as well as infrastructure. A number of big states took hits in that category, partly as a result of newly updated census data on the nation’s roads.”

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In the cost-of-doing-business category, Massachusetts slipped from 41 in 2011 to 49 in 2012. In the infrastructure category, the Bay State went from 29 to 45.

Another interpretation of the rankings is that the Bay State is a much gruffer place in 2012 than it was in 2011.

Perhaps the Bruins winning hockey’s Stanley Cup gentled the condition of the locals last year and infused all hands with bonhomie and high spirits. But for whatever reason, the Commonwealth’s scores in the business friendliness category went into free fall. Last year, Massachusetts ranked 15th among states in business friendliness. In 2012, it ranked 29th as surliness seemingly grew more rampant.

Among the bright spots: Massachusetts received the top score for access to capital, and it ranked 3rd on the education front.

Other tops states for business, according to CNBC, are Utah, ranked 2nd; Virginia, ranked 3rd; North Carolina, ranked 4th; and North Dakota; ranked 5th.

States at the bottom of the list include West Virginia, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, which was 50th.