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Top States Combine Pro-Business Environments With Low Costs and Natural Location Advantages

Although the South dominates the list of Top States, their manufacturing legacy helped land the Great Lakes States among the consultants’ top choices.

Q3 2014
Overall Ranking:
Georgia continues to lead the pack through an undeniably strong operating environment lead by a seamless economic development effort inclusive of all key representatives. This is demonstrated by high rankings in speed of permitting and cooperative state government. A “can do” attitude pervades all aspects of the economic development approach.

Business Environment:
South Carolina has leveraged its low cost of doing business to transform into an advanced manufacturing powerhouse and a favored destination of foreign direct investment.

A coordinated effort to train and ensure the constant supply of skilled labor along with aggressive incentive programs has yielded one of the most competitive markets in the country.

Labor Climate:
Availability of skilled labor is typically the most important location decision factor. The survey results reflect the long-standing advantage of the Great Lakes region (MI, IN, OH, IL) drawing from its manufacturing legacy. The region may not be as competitive on cost, but companies are willing to pay for the peace of mind in a deep labor pool.

Low-labor-cost locations generate significant interest from companies, especially in manufacturing. However, many companies locate plants in more expensive locations with larger skilled labor pools in an effort to control for risk.

Tennessee enjoys being at the center of everything — population growth, legacy and emerging manufacturing belts, and major consumer hubs. The state’s strong interstate highway system and air cargo capabilities give the state a multimodal advantage. A robust utility network tied in with development-ready sites ensures that Tennessee sites regularly make it to the short list.

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