Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina Viewed as Best States For Business in Survey of Corporate Executives

October 20, 2014

China, United Kingdom and Germany Top New List for Best International Investment Opportunities

Winning Strategies in economic development marketing coverNew York, N.Y. – October 20, 2014 – 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 today at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference. For the first time, the survey also includes international business climates, finding that China, the United Kingdom and Germany rank as the top countries for international investment opportunities.

Conducted by Development Counsellors International (DCI) every three years, the “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing” survey has tracked trends in economic development since its inception in 1996.

“Winning Strategies provides a glimpse into the minds of corporate executives and site selection consultants and their perceptions of locations across the United States and the world,” said DCI President Andrew T. Levine. “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.”

Texas, which has consistently held the No. 1 ranking since 1999, was the clear-cut favorite among the respondents to the survey, with 49.7 percent naming the Lone Star state as having one of the most favorable business climates in the nation. Florida ranked second with 18.1 percent; and Georgia and North Carolina tied for third with 17.6 percent of the votes. South Carolina and Tennessee came in fourth and fifth place, respectively. This year’s highest-ranked states have frequently traded top positions in the survey during the past decade.

When asked why they selected the states they did as being best for business, the corporate executives frequently cited tax climate, “pro-business environment,” incentives/financial assistance and workforce quality/availability.

In terms of international business climates, 41 percent of corporate executives named the Asia/Pacific region as having the best international growth opportunities, followed by Western Europe, which garnered 29 percent of the survey respondents’ votes. 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.

Additionally, the survey revealed that executives involved in manufacturing and those involved in the services industry have different views on where they see the most opportunity for international growth. Manufacturing executives selected the Asia/Pacific region, whereas executives in the services industry see Western Europe as the most promising region. They noted market access, followed by cost savings, as the primary drivers for a potential international expansion.

The survey also found that nearly half – 44 percent – of the corporate executives who responded indicated 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 advisors. Corporate executive respondents were equally divided among manufacturing and services industries, and nearly a quarter had gross revenues of $500 million or higher.

View and download the full “Winning Strategies” survey report here.

Best States for Business

1. Texas 49.7%

2. Florida 18.1%

3Georgia; North Carolina 17.6%(tie)

4. South Carolina 12.6%

5. Tennessee 11.6%

Best Countries for International Investment Opportunities

1. China 30%

2. United Kingdom 22%

3. Germany 20%

4. India 17%

5. Brazil 14%

About DCI

Considered the leader in marketing places, Development Counsellors International (DCI) specializes in economic development and tourism marketing. The agency has worked for more than 400 cities, regions, states, provinces and countries since it was established in New York City in 1960.

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Rachel Deloffre

Written by Rachel Deloffre

Rachel Deloffre is an Account Director at DCI. Since joining the company in 2011, she has carried out strategic media relations and marketing campaigns for clients ranging from the country of Colombia, to the city of Calgary, Alberta, to the Port of Long Beach. She has also assisted in executing a talent attraction campaign for the Research Triangle region of North Carolina.

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