Nevada ranks No. 36 on Forbes list of best states for business

In yet another wake-up call for Nevada policymakers, the state ranks in the bottom half of a new Forbes magazine list of the best states for business.

Nevada ranks 36th overall and came in dead last in the subcategory of “economic climate,” which measures job, income and gross state product growth. Other factors in the economic climate analysis include the unemployment rate and the number of big public and private companies headquartered in the state.

That said, Nevada ranked No. 2 on a separate Forbes list projecting employment gains, which is good news in a state enduring 13.4 percent unemployment after being hit particularly hard by the recession.

In the rankings of best states for business, Nevada also was ranked poorly by Forbes at No. 49 in the subcategory of quality of life, which looks at such factors as poverty and crime rates, cost of living, school test scores, health of the population, cultural and recreational opportunities, weather conditions and the number of top-ranked colleges in each state.

Nevada fared better on the Forbes list in subrankings of business costs (No. 7), labor supply (No. 33), regulatory environment (No. 36), and growth prospects (No. 6).

Topping the Forbes list overall is neighboring Utah, which compared to Nevada is known for having a more diverse economy, a more stable tax structure and for its investments in higher education.

“Technology companies particularly have had Utah on their radar as an affordable alternative to California with overall business costs in Utah 10 percent below the national average,” Forbes commented.

Three other states adjacent to Nevada also fared better than the Silver State on the Forbes list, with Oregon coming in at No. 9, Idaho ranked 16th and Arizona 20th.

Nevada did top California (No. 39) in the Forbes list.

The Forbes list follows issuance of a report this month by the Brookings Institution finding — as have previous studies — Nevada underperforming in education and health care and suggesting new initiatives to diversify and strengthen the economy.

Despite Nevada’s low ranking in the overall Forbes best states for business list, Nevada came in at No. 2 inanother Forbes list this week projecting employment growth.

Forbes ranked Nevada No. 2 behind Texas in projected job growth over the next five years.

Based on data from Moody’s Analytics, Forbes said employment in Nevada is expected to grow 2.9 percent annually.

“Nevada has been decimated by the collapse of the housing market and recession” with home prices off 60 percent, Forbes noted. “Yet Nevada and the rest of the Southwest remains an attractive spot for businesses thanks to low business costs relative to California, an abundance of land and its proximity to Mexico."

The publication added that Nevada and most of the states where strong job growth is expected are right-to-work states where workers can’t be forced to join a union.

In a related list issued in June, Las Vegas ranked No. 135 and Reno No. 142 in Forbes’ list of the best places for business and careers. That list ranked the 200 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in the nation.

In subcategories, Las Vegas was ranked No. 123 for the cost of doing business, No. 173 for job growth and No. 158 for education. That list was topped by Raleigh, N.C.



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  1. I moved my business to Nevada from Washington. It is much harder and more time consuming to figure out and obtain all the general business licenses you need in Nevada. That should be streamlined. And as for education, until the right stops its mindless assault on public education, teachers and anything that relates to schools, big companies won't move to Nevada. The lack of qualified employees is a real stumbling block. We need to get rid of politicians who think it's a bad thing to be smart. I'm looking at you Governor Sandoval!

  2. I'm amazed!!!! What does Forbes magazine know about stuff like this? That magazine must be some liberal rag. EVERYBODY KNOWS that low taxes are an incentive for business growth. That's why one of Governor Sandoval's first initiatives was to develop a task force to get businesses to move from that horribly ridden high tax state next door (California) and move their businesses to "tax friendly" Nevada. Wonder how that's working out??

  3. We've repeated our own "we are low-tax, low-regulation, and business-friendly" mantra for so long that we cannot see the reality we have created: Most businesses consider us poison. Then we go back chanting our mantra -- and do nothing about the real problems that block businesses from setting up here.

  4. I know that what I am about to propose is way too simple, BUT the miracle of modern computing makes it quite possible to have one (1) business license application anywhere in the State and automatically, based on the address, (A) apply for and grant additional business licenses for each overlapping jurisdiction, and (B) divide the revenues proportionately among the jurisdictions. One application, one fee. And we could do the same thing for renewals.

    And we could do the same thing with other licenses and permits, so that a new business could do it all with one application.

    Now that would actually be business-friendly.


  5. More business propaganda. Forbes obviously doesn't have a clue concerning business in Nevada. 50th more like.

  6. once wynn and adelman pull up stakes, nevada is finished. actually, its already terminal but dont tell anybody! we'll pretend everything is hunky dory!

  7. "Three other states adjacent to Nevada also fared better than the Silver State on the Forbes list, with Oregon coming in at No. 9..."

    Why Oregon rates higher is an indicator of the listmaker's ignorance. Oregon has no economic engines and its liberal government is anti-business. Nike is the only Fortune 500 company with situs in that state and all its manufacturing -- what actually creates jobs -- is overseas. Intel is based elsewhere and is constantly teetering on shutdown. There are no major military bases, no big manufacturing since the lumber mills and processors were forced out of business twenty years ago.

    "If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability." -- Henry Ford

  8. @KillerB perhaps you should call Rush Limbaugh and get a new talking point because Oregon IS liberal and it DID score higher than Nevada. Of course in Oregon, the people aren't afraid of education. They don't work to stop people from getting an education like we do in Nevada. Nevada is pretty much a right wing state with the exception of Harry Reid. So if you believe we need a so-called "conservative" government - like the one we've had forever, you need to explain why those "conservative" policies aren't working. When will you right wingers start holding the republicans you elected accountable for Nevada's failures? Or is it just that your ideology is more important to you than facts?

  9. "Of course in Oregon, the people aren't afraid of education."

    Scott_Bourne -- I'm originally an Oregonian and I keep in touch. Try moving there and getting a job -- education or not, for jobs it's an economic wasteland

  10. So @KillerB you want to change the subject now? Don't blame you. By the way, I have lots of friends in Oregon and it's harder to get a job here than there. I ask you again - when will you start to hold your republican pals here in Nevada accountable for their failure to turn things around. Or do you just want to change the subject again?