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Texans hate being No. 2, but that’s where we rank in the latest CNBC ranking of best states for business, released last week.
This is the Lone Star State’s fourth consecutive year to hold down the No. 2 slot after holding down the No. 1 slot in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
But, to be honest, in this case being No. 2 is not so bad. If you recall the oil bust years of the late 1980s, the state would have been well down the list with banking in a freefall, real estate prices in a runaway roller coaster and former oil barons hocking their ex-wives’ Picassos on the corner for a cup of soup.
According to CNBC, Texas’ strength is its economy, even in the midst of collapsing oil prices. We have diversified. While energy remains the state’s top economic engine, it is no longer all eight cylinders. Industries like health care and technology were but a faint gleam in George Kozmetsky’s eye in the era of stirrup pants and MTV. The Austin innovator and businessman began pushing for a diverse economy and, as this study reveals, he got it. Without his vision, Texas would be in a world of hurt.
But the state does have an Achilles heel, according to the study: education. According to the CNBC study, Texas ranks 40th this year, down from 28 a year earlier. CNBC says funding is lagging behind the rest of the nation. Quality of life issues also have an impact. Texas remains the most uninsured for health care in the nation, though things have improved under the Affordable Care Act.
If you want some solace at being No. 2, know that Chief Executive magazine released its annual Best & Worst States for Business survey in May and CEOs again rated Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business, with No. 2-ranked Florida close on our heels.