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Inward Investment Guides
2012 Top States for Doing Business Survey Results
For the third consecutive year, Area Development magazine's editors have conducted a survey of a select group of highly respected location consultants who work with a nationwide client base. We asked the consultants to name their top-5 state choices in 14 site selection categories.
Area Development Magazine Special Presentation (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
States were ranked in each of the 14 categories based on the number of times they were named as a "top-5" choice by the responding consultants. According to the results, the top-10 states for doing business are Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, in that order. Texas, which was cited more than 200 times overall, significantly led all other states as the consultants' #1 choice for doing business. The top-five states were each mentioned in at least 8 of 14 categories.

There were many ties filling the top-five slots, and then the remaining states that were named by at least 25 percent of the respondents were listed as "Next Best." However, in some categories, only four slots were filled because no other states had enough mentions to be listed.

An examination of the top-10 states' site selection attributes - as well as some noted business location and expansion projects - offers insight and confirms the rankings. Let's examine these individual states and find out what their government and business leaders have to say about why they were singled out by the consultants as the 2012 "Top States for Doing Business."

Texas is Named the Top State for Doing Business for the Second Year in a Row by Location Consultants

Everyone knows it's tough to topple Texas - the Lone Star State ranked first last year in this survey and, with more than 200 mentions, is again the Top State for Doing Business. Texas has a diverse economy, skilled work force, no corporate or personal income taxes, and a state government that is committed to tort reform and economic development. More...

Strong Business and Labor Climate Propels South Carolina to Number Two Overall

South Carolina is on a roll - the Palmetto State brought in a total investment of $3.37 billion from new and expanding businesses in 2011. Manufacturing is also on the mend, with total exports up by 21 percent last year. These are just some of the reasons South Carolina was ranked second by the consultants among the Top States for Doing Business, up from fourth place in 2011. More...

Georgia's Leading Workforce Training Program Lands the State in Third Overall

Georgia ranked third among the Top States for Doing Business. Its consistent, high-level performance is the result of a pro-business government and diverse economy, including aerospace, agribusiness, IT, advanced manufacturing, and logistics and distribution. The life sciences industry continues to show strong gains in the state, generating about $23 billion annually toward the GDP and employing more than 100,000 workers. More...

Alabama: Ranked First for its Competitive Labor Costs and Fourth Overall

For the third consecutive year, Alabama was among the top five states for doing business. Alabama was also first for competitive labor costs and near the top of the list for its work force development programs. More...

Fifth Ranked North Carolina Boasts a Recently Updated Certified Sites Program and Outstanding Labor Climate

North Carolina took fifth place among the Top States for Doing Business, up from seventh place in 2011 and eighth in 2010. The state ranked second (tied) for its overall labor climate because of its availability of skilled labor, competitive labor costs, and leading work force development programs. More...

Government Cooperation with Business Helps
Louisiana Lead in the Economic Recovery and Rank Sixth Overall

Louisiana has taken a very aggressive, targeted approach to improve its business climate over the past five years, and those efforts are clearly paying off. Louisiana ranked sixth overall among the Top States for Doing Business - the same spot that the state held in the 2011 survey. Louisiana also ranked in the top five in several key categories. Most notably, the state ranked first for its cooperative state government and second for both its incentives programs and as a state that is leading in the economic recovery. More...

Seventh Ranked Tennessee Polls as the Best in the Nation for its Overall Infrastructure and Global Access

Tennessee ranked seventh overall among the Top States for Doing Business - up one spot compared to 2011 survey results. Tennessee also scored the top ranking for its overall infrastructure and global access, and also beat out its competitors in ranking first for its distribution/logistics hub access. More...

Indiana, The Nation's Newest Right-to-Work State, Ranked Eighth Among the Top States for Doing Business

Indiana ranked eighth overall among the Top States for Doing Business. The state tied for a number- one ranking for its rail and highway accessibility. It also scored in the top five in several other categories including tying for third among states that are leading in the economic recovery. More...

Competitive Utility Rates and Ease of Permitting Help Land Mississippi in Ninth Place

Mississippi once again ranked ninth overall among the Top States for Doing Business. Mississippi scored high in several categories, including ranking among the top-five positions for its competitive utility rates, competitive labor costs, speed of permitting, and overall cost of doing business. More...

Consultants Rank Oklahoma Tenth Overall, Noting its Incentive and
Work Force
Development Programs

Oklahoma ranked tenth overall among the Top States for Doing Business. The state also ranked fifth for both its incentives programs and as a leader in work force development programs, and also tied for fifth as one of the states leading in the economic recovery. Those standings are a testament to the fact that Oklahoma has continued to strive to improve its economic development platform and remove impediments that have been standing in the way of business expansion. More...

 
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