Fla. second only to Texas as top state for business

October 22, 2014
Author: Florida Realtors

Texas, Florida Georgia and North Carolina are viewed as having the best business climates among the 50 states, according to a new survey of U.S. corporate executives released yesterday at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference.

The Development Counselors International (DCI) conducts the survey of corporate executives and site selection consultants every three years, and has done so since 1996.

Texas has consistently held the No. 1 spot since 1999, and it was the clear-cut favorite among the respondents to the survey: 49.7 percent said the Lone Star state has one of the most favorable business climates in the nation.

Florida ranked second with 18.1 percent of survey respondents heralding the state's pro-business climate. Georgia and North Carolina tied for third with 17.6 percent of the votes, followed by South Carolina and Tennessee.

When asked why they selected Florida and the other top five states as best for business, the corporate executives frequently cited tax climate, "pro-business environment," incentives/financial assistance and workforce quality/availability.

According to IEDC, the top five highest-ranked states have frequently traded top positions over the past decade.

This year's survey also includes international business climates for the first time. Globally, IEDC found that China, the United Kingdom and Germany rank as top countries for international investment opportunities.

In terms of broad international business climates, 41 percent of corporate executives named the Asia/Pacific region as having the best growth opportunities, followed by Western Europe (29 percent). China, the United Kingdom and Germany ranked first, second and third respectively, followed by India and Brazil, as the countries with the strongest international investment opportunities.

The survey also found that 44 percent of the survey's corporate executives said that their firm would make a location decision in the next 24 months – whether it is a move, expansion or consolidation of a manufacturing plant, office, distribution center or other facilities. Forty percent said they would outsource a portion of the site selection process to a real estate broker or site selection consultant.

The comprehensive survey also asked a series of questions to define the most effective economic development marketing tools, the leading sources of information influencing executive perceptions of a community's business climate and the best state and community economic development organizations across the country.

DCI conducted the survey online and received a record number of 356 responses from C-level executives and location advisers. Corporate executive respondents were equally divided among manufacturing and services industries, and nearly a quarter had gross revenues of $500 million or higher.

"With competition for business more fierce than ever, this information is particularly important for communities as they look at how to influence corporate executives' decisions on where to locate, invest and create jobs," says DCI President Andrew T. Levine.

A free copy (registration required) of the full "Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing" survey is available online.

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