Top States for Doing Business 2013 Consultant Commentary: Project Requirements Limit Site Searches
From availability of skilled labor to overall cost of doing business to global access, each project begins with a set of specific requirements that steer the decision toward a limited search area.
Dan Levine, Practice Leader, Location Strategies and Economic Development, Oxford Economics, Inc. (Q3 / Summer 2013)
Each site selection engagement begins with the corporate client specifying project requirements that tend to
limit search areas to a relatively few number of states. This year’s survey of consultants captures this dynamic
more effectively than has sometimes been the case in years past.
Massachusetts and Michigan, for example, rank among this year’s leaders in availability of skilled labor. Similarly,
Illinois and Indiana are in the top tier for distribution and logistics. Not surprisingly, the survey results rank the
southern states as national leaders in the overall cost of doing business and for favorable regulatory climate. But
strong though the South might be, does anybody really believe that any of these states deserves a higher ranking
than does New York City or Los Angeles in terms of global access?
Similarly, it is not true that utility costs are always lower in the South as the results suggests, and some northern
states (think South Dakota) have every bit as competitive a state tax climate as do any of the survey leaders.
Nevertheless, Texas getting top honors as the best state for doing business should come as no surprise to anyone,
whereas California ranking in the top ten is certainly an unexpected result.
One of the most interesting variables to watch during the upcoming year is the availability of basic industrial space.
The availability of suitable existing industrial space has proven to be a critical limitation during several recent
engagements. Similarly, as domestic energy production soars and natural gas prices decline, those states that pass
these savings along to industrial users will find their competitive positions greatly enhanced.
Finally, a comment on incentives: It seems that the states that ranked well in the survey were those that not only
offer significant incentives but tend to make their best programs available to most projects. In many other states
that offer equally large incentive awards as do the survey leaders, it is much more of a hit or miss proposition as to
whether your particular project will qualify for the most significant programs.
Top States For Doing Business 2013
Full Rankings and Results
Top State's Analysis
- 2.tSouth Carolina
- 5.North Carolina