Ranked: America’s Best States to Do Business In
Ranked: America’s Best States to Do Business In
The United States often ranks as one of the best countries to start a business in, but the ease with which one can do business varies state by state. There are many considerations that factor into starting a business like the available workforce, the condition of local infrastructure, access to investors, a culture that’s open to business, and so on.
This map ranks America’s best states to do business in based on a study from CNBC which measured 88 factors across 10 broad categories.
Here is a further breakdown of the weight given to each of the 10 categories:
The Most Business Friendly States
North Carolina—coming in first place in the ranking—attracts an extremely talented and innovative workforce, largely thanks to the state’s investment in its Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP).
Notably, there are three ties in the ranking: New York and South Carolina had the same score, tying for 36th, Connecticut and Nevada tied for 39th, and Hawaii and New Mexico tied for 46th.
Other states ranking high on the list are Washington, Virginia, and Colorado. One of the newest individual metrics CNBC took into consideration was an openness to the cannabis industry, likely playing into Colorado’s move up from 8th to 4th compared to last year.
Some states that perhaps surprisingly don’t crack the top 10 include California and New York, both often considered centers of finance and entrepreneurship. But with the high costs of living and of starting a business in those states, their overall score is reduced.
A Look at the Scoring — North Carolina, California, and Nevada
To better understand how this ranking works we’ve broken down three different states and how they ranked in all 10 categories that gave them their overall spot. Here’s a brief look at their place in each category:
While North Carolina is the number one state to do business in and has an extremely strong economy, they are 26th when it comes to the Cost of Doing Business.
Whereas California ranks low overall, the state ranks first in terms of Technology and Innovation, as well as Access to Capital.
Although Nevada scored highly in the Infrastructure and Business Friendliness categories, the state scored poorly in Technology and Innovation, and was dead last in the Education category.
Doing Business in America
New business applications have actually decreased 4% this year in comparison to the same timeframe in 2021.
Here’s a look at new business applications by region as of July 2022:
- Northeast: 63,058
- Midwest: 70,827
- South: 197,663
- West: 94,150
New business applications in July were the highest in the retail trade industry, numbering around 69,000 new applications, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Applications for professional service businesses were the second highest at 53,000, followed closely by construction businesses at 43,000.
Here’s a closer look at the industry breakdown:
|Industry||Number of Applications|
|Transportation and Warehousing||34,952|
|Administrative and Support||31,602|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||25,725|
|Accommodation and Food Services||24,166|
|Finance and Insurance||18,890|
|Arts and Entertainment||12,684|
|Management of Companies||4,166|
A potential looming recession, alongside rising interest rates and inflation, may be creating a sense of cautiousness among businesspeople, leading to the lower rate of business applications compared to last year. And, at existing companies, the economic situation has lead to cuts in growth forecasts and subsequently, major layoffs.
But overall, the U.S. is a country which values entrepreneurship—even during the pandemic, massive spikes in new business formations were recorded—and certain industries and states will continue to flourish in any business environment.
Which Countries Hold the Most U.S. Debt?
Foreign investors hold $7.3 trillion of the national U.S. debt. These holdings declined 6% in 2022 amid a strong U.S. dollar and rising rates.
Which Countries Hold the Most U.S. Debt in 2022?
Today, America owes foreign investors of its national debt $7.3 trillion.
These are in the form of Treasury securities, some of the most liquid assets worldwide. Central banks use them for foreign exchange reserves and private investors flock to them during flights to safety thanks to their perceived low default risk.
Beyond these reasons, foreign investors may buy Treasuries as a store of value. They are often used as collateral during certain international trade transactions, or countries can use them to help manage exchange rate policy. For example, countries may buy Treasuries to protect their currency’s exchange rate from speculation.
In the above graphic, we show the foreign holders of the U.S. national debt using data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Top Foreign Holders of U.S. Debt
With $1.1 trillion in Treasury holdings, Japan is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.
Japan surpassed China as the top holder in 2019 as China shed over $250 billion, or 30% of its holdings in four years.
This bond offloading by China is the one way the country can manage the yuan’s exchange rate. This is because if it sells dollars, it can buy the yuan when the currency falls. At the same time, China doesn’t solely use the dollar to manage its currency—it now uses a basket of currencies.
Here are the countries that hold the most U.S. debt:
|Rank||Country||U.S. Treasury Holdings||Share of Total|
|3||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||$655B||8.9%|
|6||🇰🇾 Cayman Islands||$284B||3.9%|
|11||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$221B||3.0%|
|16||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||$120B||1.6%|
|17||🇰🇷 South Korea||$103B||1.4%|
As the above table shows, the United Kingdom is the third highest holder, at over $655 billion in Treasuries. Across Europe, 13 countries are notable holders of these securities, the highest in any region, followed by Asia-Pacific at 11 different holders.
A handful of small nations own a surprising amount of U.S. debt. With a population of 70,000, the Cayman Islands own a towering amount of Treasury bonds to the tune of $284 billion. There are more hedge funds domiciled in the Cayman Islands per capita than any other nation worldwide.
In fact, the four smallest nations in the visualization above—Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Bahamas, and Luxembourg—have a combined population of just 1.2 million people, but own a staggering $741 billion in Treasuries.
Interest Rates and Treasury Market Dynamics
Over 2022, foreign demand for Treasuries sank 6% as higher interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar made owning these bonds less profitable.
This is because rising interest rates on U.S. debt makes the present value of their future income payments lower. Meanwhile, their prices also fall.
As the chart below shows, this drop in demand is a sharp reversal from 2018-2020, when demand jumped as interest rates hovered at historic lows. A similar trend took place in the decade after the 2008-09 financial crisis when U.S. debt holdings effectively tripled from $2 to $6 trillion.
Driving this trend was China’s rapid purchase of Treasuries, which ballooned from $100 billion in 2002 to a peak of $1.3 trillion in 2013. As the country’s exports and output expanded, it sold yuan and bought dollars to help alleviate exchange rate pressure on its currency.
Fast-forward to today, and global interest-rate uncertainty—which in turn can impact national currency valuations and therefore demand for Treasuries—continues to be a factor impacting the future direction of foreign U.S. debt holdings.
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