CRN 2017 Best States Methodology

The goal of the CRN Best States analysis is to provide readers with a comprehensive view of the economic, business and channel climate in each state. The information can be used by entrepreneurs who are considering starting a solution provider business or by solution provider owners that might be looking for opportunities to expand.

This year's Best States analysis incorporated many of the same criteria used in previous years – with the most up-to-date information available. The criteria fell into several broad categories including the education and experience level of a state's workforce, labor and business costs, and tax and regulatory burden. Data was also analyzed to rank states for their innovation and growth potential and business opportunities.

This year a state infrastructure criteria category was added with data about states' roads, airports and transit systems, and the availability of high-speed internet. Mindful of the damage recently caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, respectively, this category also included data and rankings for natural disaster preparedness and the number of major disaster declarations.

[Related: 2017 Best States To Start A Solution Provider Business]

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Data for the Best States analysis came from a wide range of sources. The annual CompTIA Cyberstates Report was the data source for tech industry employment, job postings and wages; the number of tech business establishments in each state; and the tech sector as a percentage of total gross state product.

Government agencies are the source for much of the data including the Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment rate and union affiliation), the Bureau of Economic Analysis (state GDP), State Economic Snapshots – Joint Economic Committee – U.S. Congress (state GDP growth), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (violent crime statistics), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (disaster preparedness), the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Patent Office.

Most of the state taxation data, including corporate, sales and personal income tax rates, came from The Tax Foundation's 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index and from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council June 2016 report.

Data from a wide range of educational and research institutions was used in the analysis including the American Community Survey and the Economic Policy Institute for data on education level attainment, the 2017 Kauffman Index for information on entrepreneurs and startups, and Nerdwallet for data on venture capital and Small Business Administration loans.

The Best States analysis also incorporated state rankings on a range of criteria developed by other business media including the CNBC America's Top States for Business 2017, Forbe's Best States for Businesses 2016 and Bloomberg's ranking of the most innovative states.

Data about the number of small and midsize businesses in each state came from a Dun & Bradstreet/American Express report. Information about job growth came from while data about each state's road conditions came from

The number of solution providers per state – and the solution provider competitive saturation rank – came from a database maintained by The Channel Company, the parent company of CRN.