By improving South Carolina’s business-friendly climate and developing the skills of the workforce, companies like Boeing, BMW, Bridgestone, Continental and Michelin have made large investments or greatly expanded their presence in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Hawley told Chief Executive magazine in February (in response to last year’s ranking). “These investments have helped advance our state’s manufacturing renaissance, and generated interest from companies around the globe.”
Even states with laws and government attitudes hostile to business can be great places to grow a company in spite of them. That’s the case with nearly half of our “7 Best States for Entrepreneurs.”
Despite losing 1 million chickens to tornadoes over the past year, poultry sales are expected to increase this year due to “factors that are hurting beef and pork,” according to the Mississippi Business Journal. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration has approve a $4.8 million grant to the state for airport safety improvements. Also, the Mississippi Legislature passed $17 million in tornado relief funding, which should help the state’s business economy.
The number of farms in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, was down 8%, but the acreage per farm and the income per farm were up in 2012, according to the Census of Agriculture. Conversely, for the first four months of 2014, 31 business expansions resulted in 1,800 new jobs, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Also, Minnesota is bidding for the 2018 Super Bowl, and local and regional businesses are footing the cost of the bid. Should the state claim the event, the regional economy stands to win tenfold.
Adding to CEOs' negative sentiment, just 18% of Rhode Island residents surveyed ranked their state “the best place to live.” On the positive side, unemployment dropped from 9.3% to 8.7% in March. Rhode Island has had the highest unemployment rate in the country in recent months.
Nashua Community College, in conjunction with Southern New Hampshire University, received a $2.5 million federal grant to develop an advanced manufacturing program. Comcast Cable is bringing 600 jobs to New Hampshire with the opening of its new call center, but economic development continues to be both New Hampshire’s biggest challenge and its focus going forward.
Gov. Rick Snyder defended his state’s economy when he spoke to Chief Executive magazine in February. “Michigan’s economic transformation is well underway and the success of our reinvention, although not captured in Chief Executive’s “Best States / Worst States” rankings, can be summed up as America’s Comeback State … Our economy is at a 10-year high and Michigan has the sixth-fastest growing economy in the country.”
CEOs responded that Tennessee, a right-to-work state, was good for both manufacturing and high tech, “especially in the Nashville area.” Another respondent called Tennessee “outstanding.”
The state maintains one of the most varied biotech sectors in the U.S. and employs more than 62,000 people at more than 2,500 locations. Creatively, North Carolina used $60 million from tobacco-settlement trust funds to form a statewide training program for biomanufacturing workers, which provided North Carolina State University with the money to create a training center.
"Corporate tax rates in Illinois are lower than many competing states in the region and the country," Gov. Pat Quinn told Chief Executive magazine in February. When you take into account the tax incentives we offer for new business investment, Illinois has one of the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the United States… [It’s a] top state for business, as more and more domestic and foreign firms are realizing every day.”