STATES RANKED BY BUSINESS CLIMATE

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Delaware has the most attractive manufacturing climate, according to an annual study by Grant Thornton, an accounting and management consulting firm. Looking at the 29 states that are manufacturing-intensive, the national firm praises Delaware's ``supportive government policies toward manufacturing, the availability of a skilled work force, and an increase in wages which is below the national average over the last five years.''

The next most attractive states listed by the study were Virginia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Missouri. Virginia is cited for its relatively low labor costs and favorable government fiscal policies. New Hampshire puts the lowest tax burden in the country on its citizens.

Among the 21 low-manufacturing-intensity states, North Dakota is ranked as No. 1 in attractiveness, partly because of its low labor costs and low worker-compensation insurance levels.

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