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2021 Top States Commentary: Auto Industry Projects Driving Top-Ranked States

Their pro-business environments — with skilled labor, top workforce training programs, competitive utility rates, fast permitting processes, and more — have propelled states across the South to be ranked highly for auto-related and other projects.

Q3 2021
The Top States for Doing Business survey results show several states in the Southeast and Southwest on top. The top three — Georgia, Texas, and Tennessee — have seen major project investments in the electric vehicle and battery industry (SK Batteries/$2.6 billion, Tesla/$1.5 billion, GM/LG $2.3 billion).

The auto industry is booming and lots of supplier projects are also happening. Why are such projects selecting these regions? These states offer a business-friendly environment, competitive utility rates, availability of skilled labor, excellent training programs, and fast permitting processes. As projects have to be realized much faster than in the past, an easy regulatory environment is very attractive to clients. Low utility costs in the southeastern states add another benefit when competing for large energy-demanding projects like the battery plants.

The survey also shows that the southern states surpass states like Michigan for their competitive labor market. Although post-pandemic, unemployment rates are back down to around 4 percent and lower in Alabama, for example.

Beyond the top three, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama have been aggressive in providing an ideal project environment. They are also running national advertising campaigns to get companies’ attention.

Indiana and Ohio join the top 10 with top scores in logistics and infrastructure as well as available real estate. The pandemic highlighted the importance of logistics capabilities and available real estate.

Training programs have also become more and more important to clients, and Louisiana and Virginia have established very strong programs. The states are tied for second place for their workforce development programs, behind Georgia’s Quick Start program.

Florida, Arizona, Mississippi — states that are getting more and more popular for manufacturing projects in addition to their corporate, aviation, and life science clients — also rank in the top 10 overall — whereas Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and New York score highly for their access to capital and funding, but overall only rank in the mid-tier.

TOP STATES FOR DOING BUSINESS 2021

  1. 1. Georgia
  2. 2. Texas
  3. 3. Tennessee
  4. 4. South Carolina
  5. 5. North Carolina
  6. 6. Alabama
  7. 7. Indiana
  8. 8. Virginia
  9. 9. Ohio
  10. 10. Florida
  11. 11. Arizona
  12. 12. Mississippi
  13. 13. Louisiana
  14. 14. California
  15. 15. Nevada
  16. 16. Kentucky
  17. 17. Utah
  18. 18. Oklahoma
  19. 19. New York
  20. 20. Kansas

Individual Categories

Overall Cost of Doing Business

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

Business Incentives Programs

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

Access to Capital & Project Funding

  1. 1. California
  2. 2. Texas
  3. 3. New York
  4. 4. Massachusetts
  5. 5. Georgia
  6. 6. North Carolina
  7. 7. Illinois
  8. 8. Florida
  9. 9T. Tennessee
  10. 9T. Arizona

Competitive Labor Environment

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

Workforce Development Programs

  1. 1. Georgia
  2. 2T. Virginia
  3. 2T. Louisiana
  4. 4. South Carolina
  5. 5. Alabama
  6. 6T. North Carolina
  7. 6T. Tennessee
  8. 8T. Arizona
  9. 8T. Ohio
  10. 10T. Texas
  11. 10T. Florida
  12. 10T. California

Energy Availability & Costs

  1. 1. Tennessee
  2. 2. Georgia
  3. 3. Texas
  4. 4. North Carolina
  5. 5.
  6. 6T. South Carolina
  7. 6T. Kentucky
  8. 8T. Arizona
  9. 8T. Alabama
  10. 10. Oklahoma

Logistics & Infrastructure

  1. 1. Texas
  2. 2. Georgia
  3. 3T. Tennessee
  4. 3T. Indiana
  5. 5T. Virginia
  6. 5T. South Carolina
  7. 7. Ohio
  8. 8. California
  9. 9. North Carolina
  10. 10T. Kentucky
  11. 10T. Illinois

Site-Readiness Programs

  1. 1. Tennessee
  2. 2. Georgia
  3. 3. North Carolina
  4. 4T. South Carolina
  5. 4T. Ohio
  6. 6T. Virginia
  7. 6T. Indiana
  8. 8. Alabama
  9. 9T. Texas
  10. 9T. Arizona
  11. 9T. Kentucky

Available Real Estate

  1. 1T. Texas
  2. 1T. Georgia
  3. 3. North Carolina
  4. 4T. Ohio
  5. 4T. South Carolina
  6. 6. Tennessee
  7. 7T. Arizona
  8. 7T. Alabama
  9. 9. Indiana
  10. 10. Florida

Cooperative & Responsive State Government

  1. 1. Georgia
  2. 2. Tennessee
  3. 3. Indiana
  4. 4. South Carolina
  5. 5. North Carolina
  6. 6T. Alabama
  7. 6T. Virginia
  8. 8. Mississippi
  9. 9. Arizona
  10. 10T. Texas
  11. 10T. Ohio

Corporate Tax Environment

  1. 1. Texas
  2. 2. Florida
  3. 3T. Nevada
  4. 3T. North Carolina
  5. 5. Tennessee
  6. 6. Ohio
  7. 7T. Indiana
  8. 7T. South Dakota
  9. 9. Georgia
  10. 10T. Utah
  11. 10T. Wyoming

Favorable Regulatory Environment

  1. 1. South Carolina
  2. 2. Texas
  3. 3T. Georgia
  4. 3T. Alabama
  5. 5. Indiana
  6. 6. Tennessee
  7. 7. Mississippi
  8. 8T. Arizona
  9. 8T. Nevada
  10. 10T. North Carolina
  11. 10T. Florida
  12. 10T. Utah

Speed of Permitting

  1. 1. Alabama
  2. 2. South Carolina
  3. 3. Georgia
  4. 4. Mississippi
  5. 5. Texas
  6. 6. Tennessee
  7. 7. Virginia
  8. 8. North Carolina
  9. 9T. Arizona
  10. 9T. Louisiana
  11. 9T. Indiana

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