August 9, 2023

Acing the Test: Illinois Earns Positive Grades in 2023 Best States for Business Report

Moving up in overall rankings, Illinois boasts top marks in Education, Infrastructure and Cost of Living.

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Illinois earned top rankings for its infrastructure, education, and several other categories used to determine the best states for business, according to a recent report by CNBC that underscores why hundreds of businesses are expanding or relocating in the state.

Illinois landed in the top 10 for Infrastructure (#2), Education (#2), Access to Capital (#6) and Cost of Living (#9), beating out states including New York, Iowa, California and Missouri, CNBC said in its 2023 Top States for Business report.

The state earned an A+ grade in Education thanks to continued investment in homegrown talent. Since 2010, Illinois has invested more in education than any other state in the Midwest, developing 10 of the nation’s 50 best high schools and growing community college enrollment. Among its 247 higher education institutions, Illinois is home to the two top business schools in the country: the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Illinois’ A grades continue with Infrastructure, which recently received a $41 billion boost for the next phase of Governor JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois Infrastructure program. The six-year plan includes funding for roads, bridges, airports, rail, freight and ports across the state, expanding Illinois’ already world-class transportation system. The state is home to all seven of the nation’s top railroads and boasts the third-largest interstate highway system in the country as well as the third biggest intermodal port in the world.

The state received an A- in Cost of Living, highlighting the livability and high quality of life for Illinois residents. Illinois previously ranked high in WalletHub’s 2023 “Best & Worst States to Raise a Family” report, placing 3rd in median family income and 11th for affordability. Bloomington was also named as the second top city for new graduates, according to an earlier CNBC report that pointed to the metro’s affordable homes and big-name employers.

Earning a B in Technology & Innovation, Illinois is growing as an important hub for cutting edge scientific developments. Collaboration among Illinois’ top universities recently won a historic investment for the upcoming Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub, a research and development lab in Chicago with the mission of curing, preventing, or managing all diseases by the end of the century. In addition, Argonne National Laboratory also plans to complete the supercomputer of the future within the year, an accomplishment that promises to transform scientific research entirely.

Improving across categories and moving up two spots in the overall rankings, the report underscores Illinois as a great place to do business, and companies are taking note. The state’s world-class infrastructure, educated workforce and affordable cost of living drew 487 business projects last year. Ranking  for corporate expansion and relocation projects, Illinois is acing the test for business opportunity.

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