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Forbes magazine: Minnesota ranks as nation's 9th for 'business friendliness'


Minnesota ranked ninth overall on Forbes magazine's latest rankings of business-friendly states. North Dakota came in second.

The magazine explains that it uses a formula of 36 data points across six main areas: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

Why does Minnesota rank in the top tier? Here's how Forbes puts it: "Minnesota cracks the top 10 for a second straight year based on a strong current economic climate and quality of life....with companies such as Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, 3M and Medtronic headquartered there. Minnesota has the fourth highest percentage of adults with a high school degree at 92.4 percent."

North Dakota gets high marks for having "the country’s most robust economy over the past five years" due to oil field expansion. The story goes on to praise North Dakota's 9.5 percent annual gross state product growth since 2008, noting it has grown almost three times faster than Texas, which is ranked second.

The Star Tribune's look at the list noted that South Dakota, which runs radio commercials in Minnesota to recruit businesses to move west, was 14th on the list. Wisconsin moved up nine spots to be ranked 32nd; business opportunities in the state emerged as a campaign issue in this month's gubernatorial race.

In July a national website ranked Minnesota as fifth best for small business. In its third annual survey, Thumbtack. com surveyed some 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide, looking at factors including regulations, taxes and ease of starting a business.

Earlier this year, Minnesota ranked sixth in a survey of the top states for business conducted by CNBC. The business cable TV network has released its rankings for the past eight years, scoring each state on 56 different measures of competitiveness. Minnesota had been ranked 15th in the previous year's survey.

Last year, Minnesota placed eighth on the Forbes list. This year, Utah supplanted Virginia for first place on the 2014 list; Mississippi came in last.

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