N.J. drops 6 spots in CNBC’s 2024 Top States for Business ranking

New Jersey dropped six spots in CNBC’s 2024 Top States for Business ranking, placing No. 25 overall. The rankings were released Thursday morning.

New Jersey fell below its neighboring states of New York (No. 22) and Pennsylvania (No. 17) in the list, which rates states on 10 categories, everything from cost of doing business to cost of living — infrastructure to education.

“Last year there was great pride when New Jersey climbed 23 places, earning the distinction as the most improved state for doing business on CNBC’s Top States for Business list. That’s why it is disappointing that New Jersey is moving in the wrong direction, falling from No. 19 to No. 25 in 2024. We placed second to last in business friendliness, we have one of the highest costs of doing business – and we fell in the infrastructure, cost of living, and technology and innovation categories.  We realize that there are initiatives in place to improve infrastructure and technology, but we need to continue to provide enhanced focus on those two areas,” Tom Bracken, president & CEO, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said.

“As in past years in this ranking, there is both good and bad to be found for New Jersey as it relates to business. It’s encouraging to see our state fares well in areas like quality of life (3rd), access to capital (7th) and education (8th),” New Jersey Business & Industry Association CEO & President Michele Siekerka said in a statement. “Our disappointing rankings in business friendliness (49th) and cost of doing business (42nd) are unfortunately not surprising, particularly after New Jersey just maintained the top corporate business tax in the nation after a broken promise in the reduction of that tax.”

How N.J. ranks

A look at where New Jersey ranked among the 10 categories that determine CNBC’s annual Top States for Business ranking:

  • Workforce: No. 15
  • Infrastructure: No. 30
  • Economy: No. 17
  • Quality of Kife: No. 3
  • Cost of Doing Business: No. 42
  • Tech and Innovation: No. 26
  • Business Friendliness: No. 49
  • Education: No. 8
  • Access to Capital: No. 7
  • Cost of Living: No. 37

New Jersey’s drop still keeps it in line with other key Northeast/mid-Atlantic states it is most often compared with: Pennsylvania (No. 17), New York (No. 22) and Connecticut (No. 32). And then there’s Delaware (No. 34).

Pennsylvania and New York dropped two spots from last year’s ranking, while Connecticut only dropped one and Delaware dropped a whopping 16 spots from 2023.

“Also, of great concern is neighboring New York and Pennsylvania are ahead of us; states that are actively luring companies and jobs away from us. This year’s ranking does not take into account the negative impact of the recent budget, including the Corporate Transit Fee, which gives New Jersey the highest CBT rate for large companies and will certainly impact our future business attraction and retention efforts.  All of this reinforces our longstanding plea for the Administration and the legislature to provide more support and attention for the business community,” Bracken said.

New Jersey ranked highest in the “Quality of Life” category (ranking No. 3 overall) and Access to Capital (No.7).

The state still ranked poorly in two key categories: Cost of doing business (No. 42) and being business-friendly (No. 49). And it didn’t rank very well in cost of living (No. 37).

Here’s a look at the Top 10 states overall:

  1. Virginia
  2. North Carolina
  3. Texas
  4. Georgia
  5. Florida
  6. Minnesota
  7. Ohio
  8. Tennessee
  9. Michigan
  10. Washington