Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama are the top-ranked states, respectively, in BF’s flagship Best Business Climate ranking.

The reality of economic development can’t be expressed in sound bite-sized morsels, and the progress of locations in meeting today’s challenges can’t always be measured in winners and losers. Sometimes it’s the nuances that reveal more: a location may have the lion’s share of an industry’s jobs, but if that industry’s new facilities are going elsewhere, then that location doesn’t have growth potential. A state may have the largest installed capacity of a certain type of renewable energy, but that state won’t meet its renewable energy portfolio standard’s goal if only 10 percent of its electricity is generated from renewables.

Business Facilities’ 15th Annual Rankings Report compiles rankings, categories and criteria to measure the state of play: not just who’s on top, but also who’s moving up the ladder, how fast they’re moving and who has the best chance to succeed.