CNBC dealt Governor Dennis Daugaard’s propagandists a body blow last year by dropping South Dakota’s business-friendliness ranking from #1 to #11. Now CNNC twists the knife, leaving South Dakota at 11th and saying the best state for business in 2015 is our economic arch-rival, Minnesota.
|Cost of Doing Business||35||25||15||8||5||20||16|
|Quality of Life||3||19||15||9||17||17||13|
|Technology and Innovation||6||41||32||24||44||49||41|
|Cost of Living||32||29||8||14||35||18||30|
|Access to Capital||23||31||36||39||27||50||39|
Now to be fair, 11th place isn’t bad. I’d be thrilled to see South Dakota rise to 11th place in average teacher salary. This new CNBC ranking is just one of several rankings that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development can cite showing South Dakota in the top quarter of states.
But look what’s keeping us out of the top ten for business. Last year our sandbags were education, infrastructure, and technology and innovation. This year, tech/innovation is still our lowest score, but we’ve sunk on workforce (not enough skilled workers available, a fact acknowledged by our governor’s vo-tech push) and—another kick in the teeth for GOED propagandists—cost of living. According to CNBC, South Dakota’s current cost of living is the worst in the region. Even Minnesota comes out better on cost of living (personal note: I was regularly getting milk, orange juice, cereal, and pizza for less in Minneapolis last winter than I am now in Aberdeen).
CNBC’s methodology gives far more weight to cost of doing business than cost of living, and South Dakota beats Minnesota and the rest of our neighbors in that category, but that’s the only category we top. We’re near the bottom of our region for quality of life (but remember: the entire region places in the top 20 for quality of life).
South Dakota can continue to claim it’s a good place to do business, but we have to acknowledge that our sole clear advantage, a low cost of doing business, is not enough to set us apart from our regional competitors.
Update 08:48 CDT: The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development quickly touts its #1 ranking.