Business periodicals and related online websites frequently make rankings of the top places to live, work and do business. Recently, quite a few publications have come out with their picks of the top states for a company to keep or move its headquarters. Below is an overview of five of the states that frequently rank near the top of these lists.
Every year, CNBC names its top states to do business in. Texas was the 2012 winner and has never finished below second place. CNBC ranks states by 10 metrics. The most points are awarded for a low cost of doing business, the availability and quality of workforce, quality of life for company employees, and the infrastructure and transportation system that helps facilitate ease in doing business. Texas received the most points, or just over 1,600 of a total possible score of 2,500. Texas placed in the top-10 in six of the 10 categories, proving that it's one of the more desirable places for a company to do business.
The CNBC survey has ranked Virginia first in every other year of the survey, with the state winning in 2007, 2009 and 2011. It fell to third in the 2012 rankings, but still placed incredibly high given that there were still 47 other states to rank below it. Its undoing in the current study was attributed to infrastructure and economy. Specifically, commuting time is quite long, especially around the Washington D.C. area. Deadlock in Washington politics is also helping send its economy in the wrong direction, though again it still ranks very highly compared to the rest of the nation.
The CNBC study ranked Utah number two in its most recent survey. Forbes has also ranked Utah highly in its studies of the top states for business and won for two consecutive years recently. Forbes detailed that Utah received the top mix of scores in the 15 criteria it tracks. This includes low energy costs that are nearly a third cheaper than the rest of the nation and employment growth that is well above other states. A low corporate tax rate of 5% is also among the lowest out there and below other business-friendly states such as Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico. Technology firms are also opening new offices there and find it a welcome alternative to California, which is seen as less business-friendly and is also very expensive for employees to live in.
A 2012 survey by ChiefExecutive.net also awarded Texas its top slot for most business-friendly state, but ranked Florida second. This survey directly asked CEOs for their input and Florida placed highly in a number of categories. Florida received high marks for low taxation and regulation, workforce quality in terms of an educated workforce in abundant supply and a high-quality living environment. The last category has fluctuated greatly due to the bursting of the housing bubble, but the fact that housing has become highly affordable in major markets has improved the situation for employees looking to move to the state to take advantage of its business-friendly environment and ample number of employers.
North Carolina ranked within the top five of most of the surveys mentioned above. CNBC ranked it very highly in terms of its quality workforce and friendly business environment. Chief executives had it ranked at the top in terms of living environment, favorable taxation and regulation metrics. Charlotte, N.C. is a major business center that was hit hard by the financial crisis, but has come back strongly in the past several years.
The Bottom Line
If you need help finding a state to do business in, a number of publications can help you make a sound decision. Texas is clearly a favorite when it comes to surveys that determine. The other states listed above also ranked highly in a number of surveys.