Among the 50 states, Connecticut and Delaware offer the best economic climate  for entrepreneurs and business, according to a new report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a private research group based in Washington. 

The two states were alone in earning straight As on the group's 20th annual report card of state economies for 2007, based on business vitality, performance, and development capacity.

Colorado, Massachusetts, and Minnesota also garnered high marks across all three categories.

"A strong economy is not measured only by good jobs and good businesses," Andrea Levere, the group's president, said in a statement. "There must also be in place the necessary resources -- financial, human, technological, and infrastructure -- that enable businesses, communities, and individuals to compete."

Last year, Connecticut produced more revenue per worker than any other state, the report said. It was singled out for the high academic achievement  of its high-school students, its solid business financing, and its low poverty rate, among other positive indicators, said David Buchholz, the group's research director.

"Connecticut particularly stands out for the high quality of its jobs," Buchholz said. "It leads the nation in average annual pay, and workers there are more likely to have benefits like health insurance."

On the negative side, the state has a low average homeowner rate and the worst air pollution in the country, the report said.

For its part, Delaware beat all states in the number of initial public offerings, and was among the highest in terms of start-ups, new companies, and investments.

It also provides business and economic opportunities to a broader range of its population, Buchhulz said. 

By category, the highest ranking states for business vitality -- measured by tallying new businesses, job creation, industrial diversity, and investment -- were Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Texas.

For performance, which measures employment, income, and quality of life, the top states were Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington all scored high for development capacity -- the most forward-looking component, which measures infrastructure, financial resources, and R&D investments.

Published on: Feb 2, 2007