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Top States Commentary: Survey of Location Consultants Fails to Capture Progress Made by Many States

Fall 2012
Top States for Doing Business
OVERALL RANKINGS
2012

1.  Texas
2.  South Carolina
3.  Georgia
4.  Alabama
5.  North Carolina
6.  Louisiana
7.  Tennessee
8.  Indiana
9.  Mississippi
10.  Oklahoma

2011

1.  Texas
2.  Georgia
3.  Alabama
4.  South Carolina
5.  Indiana
6.  Louisiana
7.  North Carolina
8.  Tennessee
9.  Mississippi
10.  California

2010

1.  Tennessee
2.  Texas
3.  South Carolina
4.  Alabama
5.  Georgia
6.  Indiana
7.  Mississippi
8.  North Carolina
9.  Virginia
10.  Oklahoma

BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
overall business environment

1.  Texas
2.  South Carolina
3.  Alabama
4.  Louisiana
5.  North Carolina

NEXT BEST
Indiana, Mississippi,
Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma

COST OF DOING BUSINESS

1.  Texas
2.  Alabama
3.  South Carolina
4.  Louisiana
5T. Indiana
     Mississippi
     North Carolina

NEXT BEST
Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia

CORPORATE TAX ENVIRONMENT

1.  Texas
2.  Nevada
3T. Florida
     South Dakota
4.  Alabama
5T. South Carolina
     Virginia

NEXT BEST
Indiana, Wyoming

INCENTIVES PROGRAMS

1.  Texas
2.  Louisiana
3.  South Carolina
4T. Alabama
     Georgia
5.  Oklahoma

NEXT BEST
Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee

CORPORATE STATE GOVERNMENT

1.  Louisiana
2.  South Carolina
3.  Alabama
4.  Texas
5.  Indiana

NEXT BEST
North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona

SPEED OF PERMITTING

1.  Texas
2T. Alabama
     Mississippi      South Carolina
3T. Georgia
     Louisiana

ACCESS TO CAPITAL & PROJECT FUNDING

1.  Texas
2.  California
3.  North Carolina
4.  Massachusetts
5T. New York
     Ohio

LABOR CLIMATE
Overall labor Climate

1.  Georgia
2T. North Carolina
     South Carolina
3.  Alabama
4.  Texas
5.  Louisiana

NEXT BEST
Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Oklahoma, California, Indiana, Arizona

Availability of Skilled Labor

1.  Michigan
2.  Texas
3T. California
     North Carolina
4.  Ohio
5.  Georgia

NEXT BEST
New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey

Competitive Labor Costs

1.  Alabama
2.  South Carolina
3.  Mississippi
4.  Georgia
5.  North Carolina

NEXT BEST
Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky

Leading Work Force Development Programs

1.  Georgia
2.  South Carolina
3.  Louisiana
4T. Alabama
     North Carolina
5.  Oklahoma

NEXT BEST
Florida

INFRASTRUCURE & GLOBAL ACCESS
OVERALL INFRASTRUCURE & GLOBAL ACCESS

1.  Tennessee
2.  Georgia
3.  South Carolina
4T. Indiana
     Texas
5.  Illinois

NEXT BEST
North Carolina, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, California

Rail & Highway Accessibility

1T.  Illinois
     Indiana
2T. Georgia
     Ohio
     Texas
3.  New Jersey
4T. California
     Missouri
     Tennessee

Certified Sites or Shovel-Ready Programs

1.  South Carolina
2.  North Carolina
3.  Tennessee
4.  Alabama
5.  Indiana

NEXT BEST
Georgia

Competitive Utility Rates

1.  South Carolina
2T. Alabama
     Mississippi
     Tennessee
3.  Georgia
4T. North Carolina
     Oregon
5T. Kentucky
     Washington

NEXT BEST
Utah

Distribution/
Logistics Hub Access

1. Tennessee
2. Illinois
3T. Georgia
     Texas
4T. California
     Indiana
5.  Ohio
     Washington

NEXT BEST
Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia

LEADING in the ECONOMIC RECOVERY

1.  Texas
2.  Louisiana
3T. Indiana
     North Carolina
4T. Georgia
     Michigan
5T. Florida
     Ohio
     Oklahoma
     South Carolina
     Virginia

NEXT BEST
California, Tennessee


CONSULTANTS COMMENTARY
Winning States Offer Low Taxes, Generous Incentives, and Fewer Regulations
Eric Stavriotis, Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
States With Deep Pools of Skilled Workers Come Out on Top
Scott Redabaugh, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
Ranking state competitiveness is a tricky business because during an actual corporate site selection project, all 50 states are never really in competition against one another. Rather, different subsets of states are typically in play depending upon the type of industry/function involved and the geographic requirements of the client. Consequently, the geographic diversity that I see in my projects is not reflected in the results of this survey in which a handful of states dominate the top rankings.

About half of all states, for example, were not ranked as being competitive in a single category. Yet these omitted states include [many] of those with the lowest unemployment rates during 2012. Other omissions were equally surprising. Texas, for example, did not rank among the top five states in terms of competitive labor costs; nor did any northeastern state appear among the [top-five] in terms of those with the greatest availability of skilled labor. That is not to say that there is a total disconnect between the survey results and the real economy. No one can argue, for example, that in terms of overall regulatory and tax climate the southern states are every bit as competitive as the survey's results suggest.

What the survey fails to capture, however, is the tremendous progress that almost all states have made in improving their business climates post-Great-Recession. Moreover, different states respond very differently depending upon the type of project that is being considered. And sometimes a state that responded really well to one project appears disinterested in another. In my experience, state competitiveness is best-measured one project at a time.
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