I'm not surprised to see labor availability continue to be a high priority, and I expect that this factor will only continue to be more important for location strategy in the United States. Eventually, availability of skilled labor will become the most critical factor for a great number of companies. Given the current climate of rising oil prices, we have seen availability of railroad service re-emerge in recent years as a location priority for many users.
It is interesting to see state and local incentives and tax exemptions slip somewhat in importance in the 2007 survey versus the 2006 results; I would view this as an indicator that more companies are looking at the underlying location attributes and advantages rather than incentives as a driving factor.
Also interesting to note is the large jump in respondents who viewed proximity to suppliers as important. This is consistent with what we are seeing from manufacturers as more pressure is exerted to reduce supply-chain costs and minimize inventory through just-in-time management practices.