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Forbes ranks Washington state as third best for business climate

From the 605-foot-tall Space Needle in Seattle and the aesthetically pleasing Olympic Mountains within driving distance from the tower to the rolling hills of the Palouse, Washington state has a long list of alluring sights to see.

For many people, there's no doubt the area is among their favorite places to visit. Now, according to a recent study released by Forbes, Washington state is the third "best state for business" as well. Washington moved up from its 2007 fifth-place ranking in Forbes' annual 50-state survey ranking the Best States For Business, up from 12th place in 2006.

Virginia finished first, Utah second, North Carolina fourth and Georgia fifth.

Forbes noted Washington state as one of only three states to finish in the top 10 in four out of six categories, ranking second in labor supply and business growth prospects, and achieving high rankings in the regulatory environment and economic climate categories.

"I congratulate our businesses and state agencies for this honorable recognition," said Gov. Chris Gregoire in a July 31 press release. "Our third-place ranking in the Forbes survey confirms that Washington is where you want to do business."

Linda Rotmark, executive director of the Clallam County Economic Development Council, said she is pleased with Forbes' findings, describing the accomplishment as a "great tool as far as trying to recruit businesses to the area."

"Washington state is very desirable," Rotmark said. "It offers a certain quality of life, we already knew that, but now the rest of the nation knows it, too."

Rotmark credits Gregoire greatly for the state's achievement. "Gov. Gregoire is very competitive and supportive of us business-wise," she said appreciatively.

Despite a four-year high in unemployment rates nationwide and in Clallam County, business on the Olympic Peninsula is thriving, Rotmark insisted.

In fact, 17 entrepreneurial businesses are in the works, a few of which may premier as soon as next month, "ranging all the way from big recreational items to personal care items," according to Rotmark.

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