Chief Executive Magazine again has named Texas the best U.S. state for business, marking the 14th year in a row the Lone Star State topped this list.
Every year, the business publication surveys hundreds of leading executives from across the nation, rating all 50 U.S. states from best to worst based on criteria including business climate, taxes, regulation, workforce quality, and living environment.
“It is no accident that the nation’s top CEOs continue to rank Texas as the best state for business,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a statement Wednesday. “Innovation and ingenuity are thriving in the Lone Star State, and as a result, businesses are relocating and expanding their footprint in Texas, further strengthening our economy.”
Texas touts the state is “wide open for business” and top executives agree. The state’s low taxation and low regulation has led to the relocation or expansion of major companies including Toyota, McKesson Corp. Liberty Mutual, NTT DATA, Charles Schwab, J.P. Morgan Chase, Pei Wei, Kubota Tractors, Brakebush Brothers, and Jamba Juice.
“Their business-friendly climate, state incentives, and geographical location were important factors in our final decision,” said Masato Yoshikawa, president and CEO of Kubota Tractors, which relocated its corporate headquarters from Southern California to North Texas.
“Texas has no corporate or personal state tax,” commented Bill Hall, CEO of Ultravision International, an LED lighting manufacturer that, in 2014, established its global headquarters in Dallas. “And Texas gives us very highly skilled workers because of the number of great colleges we have.”
Chief Executive Magazine highlighted pro-business incentives like the Texas Enterprise Fund, which makes the state attractive to out-of-state companies whether they decide to relocate their headquarters or expand regionally with the goal of creating more jobs and economic growth within the state. Others like the Texas Enterprise Zone Program bolsters job creation and capital investment in economically distressed areas and the Skills Development Fund pairs companies with community colleges and technical schools for job market talent.
A surprising perk mentioned by one surveyed CEO was the state’s central location. Don Daseke, whose eponimously owned flatbed trucking company spans the country, calls the Dallas area home base. “That’s not talked about much, but from DFW airport you can fly almost anywhere nonstop, and that’s a terrific advantage for a national company like us,” said Daseke.
Texas got high marks for its skilled workforce and good quality of life, making it Chief Executive’s “top state to watch.” The magazine identified leading industries in Texas as advanced manufacturing, aviation, biotechnology, chemicals products, and energy.
Recently, Forbes reported that Texas also ranks first in the U.S. for oil production and wind energy, has a robust agricultural sector, and is a leading hub for life sciences, aeronautics, and advanced technology. The business magazine identified, Austin, the state capital, as “steadily emerging as the most dynamic U.S. filmmaking city outside of Hollywood.” In April, WalletHub ranked four Texas cities, led by Laredo (No. 1), in their top 10 best U.S. cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs.
Chief Executive placed Austin-Round Rock and San Antonio-New Braunfels among the fastest growing regions nationwide. In 2o16, these metros had the highest GDP growth, 5 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. That was more than double the 2.5 percent average of U.S. metropolitan areas.
Breitbart Texas reported Texas experienced 40-year record low unemployment with the jobless rate dropping to 3.9 percent in October and then, to 3.8 percent in November. The state’s manufacturing sector hit an 11-year high in December, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which forecasted a strong 2018 economy for the Lone Star State. The unemployment rate remained steady at four percent during the first three months of the year, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. In March, the state marked 21 months of consecutive growth. The commission said the state added 306,900 jobs in 2017 and gained 210,200 in 2016.
On this year’s Chief Executive rankings, Florida continued to place second to Texas as the best city to do business. The publication noted the Orlando area continues to flourish with an “advanced manufacturing sector.” They credit this to the city’s proximity to a nexus of colleges and universities and its ability to tap into the expertise of engineers in the nearby “Space Coast” on the state’s east coast.
Behind Florida, the Carolinas tied with each other for third place, and Indiana took fifth on the list. Tennessee, Georgia, Colorado, Arizona, and Ohio rounded out the top 10.
On the plus side, Colorado moved up five points to No. 8. Three new states cracked the top 20 — South Dakota (No. 16), Wyoming (No. 18) and Kansas (No. 19). Michigan climbed nine points to No. 27. Chief Executive Magazine also named Texas, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, and Alabama their “Five States to Watch.”
On the downside, Nevada slipped six points to No. 12., Idaho plunged 10 points down to No. 28, and Alaska tumbled from No. 34 to No. 43. The magazine’s “worst” list of least business friendly states reflected many from last year — Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and, again, at No. 50, California.
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