On Tuesday, business news channel CNBC released its annual “America’s Top States for Business” list, and Virginia leads the pack, once again.
It was the first list since 2019 after skipping the pandemic year, which means that Virginia was both No. 1 going into COVID-19 and coming out of it. This marks the first time that a state has led consecutive lists.
It was also Virginia’s fifth win since the list began in 2007, which is more than any other state. Virginia did well in an extensive study of 85 distinct metrics across 10 competitiveness categories, including ranking in the top one-third for seven out of 10 factors:
- Education: 2nd (A+)
- Workforce: 3rd (A)
- Access to Capital: 9th (B+)
- Business Friendliness: 11th (B+)
- Life, Health & Inclusion: 11th (B)
- Economy: 13th (B+)
- Technology & Innovation: 16th (B-)
“Virginia continues to be the best place to do business because of our world-class education institutions, talented workforce, and shared commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” Governor Ralph Northam said. “I am proud of what this coveted recognition says about the policies we have put in place and how they are driving growth and innovation across our Commonwealth.
“Our success is a blueprint for creating a vibrant economic climate in the post-pandemic world—and proves that when you lift everyone up, when you treat people right, and when you celebrate diversity, it’s also good for business.”
Nowhere is Virginia’s story stronger than Loudoun County.
- Education: Loudoun County Public Schools academically ranks in the top 5% nationally, according to Niche.com. Loudoun has reinvested much of its economic windfall into education, delivering universal full-day kindergarten years ahead of schedule, consistently building two or three new schools per year to keep pace with population growth, and earmarking funds in the budget to rapidly increase teacher salaries. Top Loudoun County companies—including Raytheon, Google, Amazon and Telos—have partnered directly with LCPS to enhance STEM educational offerings.
- Workforce: Companies located in Loudoun draw from a labor pool where 60% have at least a bachelor’s degree. Four D.C. Metrorail stations serving the county are expected to deliver in early 2022, further tying Loudoun into the region’s technical workforce. Located within four hours of hundreds of top universities, Loudoun also has a strong talent pipeline for the future.
- Life: For quality of life, it’s #LoudounPossible to enjoy the best of all worlds, including a continuum of workforce housing in urban, suburban and rural settings. Loudoun is consistently named the safest county for crime in the national capital region, and FEMA recently named Loudoun County the safest county in the U.S. from natural disasters. It’s no wonder that SmartAsset has also ranked Virginia as its Happiest Large County in the U.S. for several years running.
- Health: Loudoun is the fourth-healthiest county in America, according to new rankings from the U.S. News and World Report. This includes mental health scores of 94 out of 100, health outcomes of 90/100, a smoking rate that is half of the national average, and a life expectancy that’s seven years longer than the national average. Loudoun also toasts to its health at one of its 50-plus wineries or 40-plus breweries—two figures that also lead Virginia by a wide margin.
- Inclusion: A new factor on the CNBC rankings this year, inclusion is another area that benefits Loudoun County, where one-in-four residents were born internationally and more than 150 languages are spoken at home. During COVID-19, concerted effort was placed in advertising available business grants in underrepresented communities across the county, including translated materials and services, advertising in the faith communities, ethnic chambers of commerce, and community centers. These inclusive steps are just part of Loudoun’s commitment to an equitable economic recovery for all.
“Over the past 15 years, Loudoun has built a solid economic base that has served us well during this time of uncertainty. Our economy is built on a diverse base of businesses from thriving rural enterprises in Western Loudoun to the successful commercial companies throughout the Dulles Technology Corridor,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said in January. “Remarkably, our economy continued to grow this year, which is a testament to our business leaders and our talented workforce.
“In 2020, Loudoun attracted more than $6.75 billion in new investment and added more than 3,500 new jobs.”
For the sixth year in a row, Loudoun led Virginia in new commercial investment, building on strengths with dozens of wins in the data center and agricultural industries. In efforts to diversify the economy, Loudoun also saw cluster growth around health IT, highly specialized manufacturing, aviation and logistics, cybersecurity and government contracting.
This economic momentum is part of the reason why, in 2021, Loudoun has already welcomed announcements of a future 9 million-square-foot development on Metro’s Silver Line, the creation of 3,000 new jobs around United’s hub at Dulles International Airport, and one of the D.C. region’s largest lease renewal announcements.
Thinking of starting or relocating your business in Loudoun County? We are a full-service economic development organization, dedicated to your #LoudounPossible business success. Working with us is like adding a team of no-cost specialists to your team, with expertise in the following areas:
- Site selection and real estate searches;
- Workforce development and pipeline support;
- Process and permit navigation;
- Fast-track and financial incentives;
- Marketing and communications outreach;
- Networking, resource and industry introductions.
Contact Dave Diaz today to launch your #LoudounPossible journey.