Connecticut is 43rd in the nation in CNBC’s 2016 Top States for Business rankings, sliding 10 spots from last year.
The high cost of doing business and poor infrastructure were cited among the state’s weak points, while Connecticut’s innovation and quality of life were bright spots in the report.
In compiling its annual list, CNBC examined various economic indicators, including workforce, business friendliness and education.
Connecticut ranked No. 33 on last year’s list.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see Connecticut had a significant drop in its business climate ranking from last year,” Joe Brennan, president of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said in a statement.
“This ranking not only reflects the major tax hikes we saw last year, but also the fact that we are continuing to experience fiscal uncertainty,” he said.
The state ranked 47th in the country when it came to both the cost of doing business and infrastructure. The cost of living here ranked 46th, up slightly from last year’s 49th rank in that indicator but still among the worst in the nation.
Connecticut’s economy ranked 43rd, down from 26th last year. The state economy, measured in gross domestic product, grew just 0.6 percent over the past year.
The cost of living ranked three spots higher this year than last year but still came in at No. 46.
“We have tremendous assets in Connecticut but bad policy choices over the years limit those strengths,” Brennan said. “We can and must do a better job in order to see increased economic and job growth. We know we have long-term challenges in areas like the cost of doing business in Connecticut, but we also saw dramatic drops in our traditional strengths.”
Connecticut’s highest rankings came in the workforce and education indicators; the state landed at No. 18 for both. But the education ranking dropped from No. 11 last year and the workforce one sank from No. 4 a year ago.
“Connecticut workers are still among the nation’s most productive, based on economic output per job,” the CNBC study said. “But the state is losing population — 16,000 people left Connecticut last year. That includes skilled workers, and that hurts its workforce.”
The state’s quality of life — traditionally a selling point for businesses — ranked 25th this year, down from 11th last year.
“If we want our economy to grow, we have to make different policy choices,” Brennan said.
With General Electric Co., one of Connecticut’s biggest employers, leaving the state, Brennan said the November elections will be “critical.”
“Voters can’t just focus on the presidential race because races for the Connecticut legislature will have a major impact on the direction of Connecticut over the next two years,” he said. “We must elect candidates who will be serious about getting the state’s fiscal house in order and making Connecticut a top state for economic growth and job creation.”
There still is reason for optimism, he said.
“The good news is that there’s recognition by virtually everyone in Connecticut that we need greater economic growth. We are working with many individuals and groups to make sure everyone in state government shares that goal.”
The top ranking states, overall, on the CNBC list were Utah, Texas and Colorado, respectively. The three worst-ranking states, respectively, were Rhode Island, Hawaii and West Virginia.