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35th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives Commentary: Skilled Labor, Taxes & Incentives Still Paramount in the Location Decision

Companies recognize the importance of a location’s quality of life in in attracting the skilled labor that they need, and taxes and incentives continue to be a top criteria as well.

Q1 2021
This year’s annual Corporate Survey shows that, despite the impacts from COVID-19, location decisions continue to be driven by historically important factors like access to labor, transportation, and energy. The survey highlights that most decision-makers do not anticipate dramatic expansion and relocation activities within their businesses over the next two years. Nevertheless, strategic investment continues to be in the plans of many across a variety of industries.

For these decision-makers, the local availability of skilled labor continues to be at the top of the list of decision criteria, as it has been historically. Quality-of-life trends continue to be an important factor in site location decisions, and it’s no surprise given the importance of quality of life considerations in attracting skilled labor. In fact, quality of life this year ranks higher in the survey when compared to universally important factors as labor, occupancy and construction cost. This trend is likely to continue as many employers attempt to reimagine their workplaces and cater to a more mobile workforce.

Finally, state and local taxes and incentives continue to be top 10 criteria for decision-makers. While recent declines in state and local tax revenue collections resulting from the global pandemic have impacted many public-sector budgets, economic development authorities continue to seek meaningful engagement with the business community and offer financial support. I expect these collaborations to take precedence going forward.

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