July 14, 2022 News & Press Releases

What Virginians Are Reading: Gov. Youngkin Loses Virginia’s Best State for Business Status

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA – After inheriting the strongest economy in Virginia's history, Governor Youngkin’s divisive, ineffective start to his governorship has stripped Virginia of the top spot on CNBC's best state for business ranking. For three years in a row, Virginia was the top state for business under Governor Northam and Democratic leadership.


ABC 8: Why Virginia lost its ‘best state for business’ status

Virginia is losing its status as CNBC’s “Top State for Business,” according to new rankings released on Wednesday.

In 2021, Virginia became the first state to win the top spot for two years in a row. The title was often used to deflect Governor Glenn Youngkin’s campaign-trail claims that Democratic leadership “drove Virginia’s economy into a ditch.”

Now, with Youngkin at the helm, the state has fallen from number one to number three, behind North Carolina and Washington state.


Democrats argued that Youngkin’s stances on things like abortion and same-sex marriage are driving business away.

“Governor Youngkin’s culture war and failed business practices are hurting Virginians and making our commonwealth less competitive,” said Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth). “That’s a damn shame if you ask me.” 

“We’re an open and welcoming state in Virginia and all the work that Governor Northam and the Democrats in Virginia did to make us number one, it doesn’t take far to fall down into that ditch,” said Virginia’s Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Swecker.

CBS 6: Virginia falls from ranking as best state for business in new report

Virginia has been dethroned as the best state in America for doing business, according to a new report from CNBC.

North Carolina took the top spot with Washington scoring the second place spot.

States were scored on 88 metrics in 10 broad categories all tied to economic development and policy.

While Virginia fell in the rankings for 2022, the Commonwealth has fairly consistently ranked in the top five.

Even though there was no ranking assigned in 2020 due to the pandemic, Virginia held the top spot in 2021 and 2019 under former Gov. Ralph Northam, in 2011 under former Gov. Bob McDonnell and in 2007 and 2009 under former Gov. Tim Kaine, according to CNBC.

Last year, CNBC praised Virginia for maintaining its top spot going into and coming out of the pandemic.

The Washington Post: Youngkin defends portrayal of gay-marriage rights as business ranking slips

Youngkin, a Republican who has leaned into some culture wars but mostly sidestepped LGBTQ issues, defended his remarks as the state he’s led for six months slipped in an annual best-states-for business ranking — due in part to a lower score for “life, health and inclusion.” The state’s workforce grade also took a hit in the CNBC ranking, which covers a period partly governed by Youngkin’s Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam.


In a conference call Wednesday, Democratic legislators called the dip in state’s CNBC ranking proof that Youngkin’s conservative social agenda has made the state less appealing to business. Virginia snagged the top ranking two years in a row under Northam before falling to third place this year, behind North Carolina and Washington state.

“High-tech companies want a welcoming and friendly Virginia,” state Sen. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-Fairfax). “That’s why they left other states. … Governor Youngkin is focusing on socially divisive issues because he thinks it’s going to give him a leg up in a presidential nomination with a bunch of people trying to out-right themselves. And it’s hurting Virginia.”

NBC 12: Gov. Youngkin, state Democrats spar over inflation, business ranking drop for Virginia

Virginia’s governor is responding to a drop from number one to three on CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business rankings. At an event Wednesday, Glenn Youngkin blamed past decisions.

CNBC says the drop to third place was due in part to a slowdown in college-educated workers moving to the state.

Virginia did improve when it came to “business friendliness,” but remains in the middle of the pack when it comes to the cost of doing business.

“We all really need to work together to make sure that our families across America are able to have income and raise their families and work together,” said Susan Swecker, Democratic Party of Virginia chairwoman.

State Democrats say Virginia ranked number one for business while former Gov. Ralph Northam was running things.

“Governor Youngkin’s culture war and failed business practices are hurting Virginians and making our commonwealth less competitive,” said State Sen. Louise Lucas, D-18th District.

Virginia Business: Virginia ranks 3rd in CNBC’s Top States for Business, North Carolina bumps Va. from No. 1 after two years at top

After two consecutive years at the top, Virginia slipped to third place in CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business rankings, the business news channel announced Wednesday morning. North Carolina achieved the coveted No. 1 ranking this year. 


In 2021, Virginia took the top spot in the annual rankings of business-friendly states for a second, consecutive time. Virginia also won in 2019, 2011, 2009 and 2007. CNBC did not rank the states in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.