A new report from CNBC ranks Louisiana as one of America's worst states for business.
The report placed the state 46th out of 50 when it comes to offering an environment favorable to businesses. That's a drop of two spots from last year's rankings. Only Alaska, Mississippi, Hawaii and Rhode Island fared worse in the overall rankings. At the other end of the spectrum, Virginia ranked first, followed by Texas, North Carolina, Utah and Washington.
The report cited the state's overall weak economy, combined with falling energy prices, as factors in the ranking. The state received a "D+" grade on measures related to infrastructure and access to capital, a "D" grade on overall business friendliness and an "F" grade on workforce and innovation. The state did receive positive marks for cost-related matters, including cost of doing business and cost of living.
The harsh rankings should come as no surprise, said Renee Amar, who serves as vice president of Government Affairs for the Pelican Institute for Public Policy.
"This ranking reinforces a well-known fact held by most Louisianans -- our state is at the bottom of the barrel by nearly every metric, and we're continuing to go in the wrong direction," Amar said.
While Amar said the state faces a difficult task in improving its fortunes, she sees a way out. However, she noted the power to turn the state's economy around lies primarily in the hands of Louisiana voters.
"We are on the cusp of an opportunity to fundamentally reform our broken government. This fall, as Louisianans meet with candidates for every office on the ballot, they must ask them if they are willing to reject the status quo, which has gotten us to the lowly state we're in today, and blaze a new path for jobs and opportunity for every working family in our state," Amar said.