Corporate Executive Survey Commentary: Some Anomalies in the Location Factor Rankings
Inconsistent with our findings, skilled labor is not the primary concern of this year’s corporate respondents. We have, however, also observed a corporate “wait-and-see” attitude.
Based on what we continue to hear from our clients, especially our international clients who are expanding their U.S. presence, it is not surprising that the right-to-work (RTW) state factor rose in ranking from #11 to #7. This increase could in part be due to the attention RTW has gotten in the past few years with several union-entrenched Midwest States successfully having RTW legislation passed. That said, states that are RTW continue to see more pipeline activity than those that are not RTW. One confusing aspect of this jump in ranking is that on a related factor — low union profile — we actually saw a decrease in the ranking from #9 to #14. Common sense would suggest that these two factors would have been more closely aligned in their movement.
It should also be noted that availability of advanced ICT services dropped from #5 to #24. We believe that this may have been due to an anomaly in last year’s rankings, and that this factor was incorrectly ranked at #5 last year.
The majority of respondents have had no change in the number of facilities in the past year. While there has been an increase in sales and production in many companies, this has often been achieved through new technology and efficiencies, as opposed to new employees and locations. From an economic outlook standpoint, 61 percent of the executives surveyed believe the economy has not achieved a continuous growth track. In fact, the survey shows that most executives do not expect the economy to recover until 2016 or 2017. This correlates to many companies having taken and continuing to take a cautious, if not wait-and-see, approach.
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