Maine is no longer the worst state in which to do business, an inglorious distinction the state has held for the past four years. It is now only the penultimate worst, according to Forbes magazine.

Forbes on Wednesday released its annual rankings of the best and worst states in which to do business. Maine improved by one spot, to 49, upended from its dogged last-place finish by Mississippi.

Forbes’ annual rankings have been a focus of attention in Maine for the past several years as the state has consistently ranked 50th since 2010.

“Much of the blame for the poor showing in recent years can be placed on the state’s high corporate tax burden and lousy job and economic growth forecast,” writes Kurt Badenhausen, the Forbes staff writer who compiles the list every year. “Job and income growth are expected to be among the slowest in the U.S. through 2018.”

Forbes compiles its list by weighing six metrics: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. It then pulls data from 36 different sources to compile a ranking in each metric.

Maine ranked 40th for business costs, 36th for labor supply, 45th for regulatory environment, 48th for economic climate, 48th for growth prospects, and 27th for quality of life.

The best state in which to do business is Utah, according to Forbes’ rankings.

“Utah has a very pro-business climate, and companies benefit from energy costs that are 26 percent below the national average – third lowest in the U.S.,” writes Badenhausen. “Utah’s economy expanded 2.4 percent a year over the past five years – fifth best in the U.S. It is the only state to rank in the top 10 in five of the six main categories we used to determine the Best States.”

Whit Richardson can be contacted at 791-6463 or at:

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Twitter: whit_richardson

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