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HomeIllinois NewsSurvey of 12,000 Small Businesses Gives Illinois an "F"

Survey of 12,000 Small Businesses Gives Illinois an “F”



In largest study of its kind, Illinois rates one of the worst states for small business.


In a period of declining business startups in the United States, the fifth annual Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey offers critical insights about what governments can do to support entrepreneurship and reverse the tide. Skilled professionals say the most important factor affecting their success and ability to start, grow and sustain a thriving business is regulation that is straightforward and easy to follow – not overly simplistic fixes like lower tax rates.

Conducted since 2012, the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey is the largest continuous study of small business perceptions of government policy in the United States. In 2016, more than 12,000 U.S. respondents participated in the survey, allowing Thumbtack to create a side-by-side ranking of 35 states and 78 cities.

Some key findings for Illinois include:

  • Disappointing grades for labor regulations and tax regulations drove an F overall for Illinois.
  • Neighboring Iowa earned a C overall and ranked #26 nationally.
  • Illinois fails overall, earning an F for its ease of starting a business as well as its regulations.

Detailed Illinois information can be found HERE

“Skilled professionals on Thumbtack report that when government regulations complicate obtaining licenses and permits, hiring employees, and paying taxes, it is harder to start and grow a business,” said Lucas Puente, economist at Thumbtack. “The highest-rated governments make regulations easy to comply with and enforce them consistently. They also invest in helpful training programs and government websites. These insights provide a roadmap for policy makers to create environments that foster entrepreneurship and innovation-outcomes critical for continued economic growth.”

Best and Worst Climates for Skilled Professionals

  States Cities

Top Ten


  1. Texas
  2. Utah
  3. Tennessee
  4. Georgia
  5. Colorado
  6. Kansas
  7. Virginia
  8. Arkansas
  9. Oregon
  10. South Carolina
  1. San Antonio, TX
  2. Nashville, TN
  3. Memphis, TN
  4. Fort Worth, TX
  5. Houston, TX
  6. Dallas, TX
  7. Akron, OH
  8. Virginia Beach, VA
  9. Jacksonville, FL
  10. Atlanta, GA

Bottom Five


  1. Connecticut
  2. Illinois
  3. California
  4. New York
  5. Alabama 
  1. Syracuse, NY
  2. Oxnard, CA
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Bridgeport, CT
  5. Tucson, AZ


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