The diversity of the west — geographically, politically, culturally and economically—thwarts most attempts to pigeonhole this complex, nine-state region.
The strong dollar has undercut export potential for just about every American company. But middle-market firms, in particular, seem to be weak in this area. A new report from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet found some strong but limited outposts for exporting. For example, just 10% of mid-market companies in Florida, the leading percentage, engaged in exports, followed by New Jersey, 8%; North Carolina, 7%; and Illinois, 6%. And these are the U.S.’ leaders.
A number of developments have shaken the nation’s economic-development community of late, casting individual states in new or different lights, and underscoring just how heated the competition is among states for major economic-development wins and CEO business. If you are looking for a new location to move or grow your business, make note of these latest events before making any decisions.
In the face of gridlock at the federal level in Washington, D.C., states and cities are turning to the economic development profession as never before for help in spurring their regional economies.
The nasty electoral battle in Michigan over a one-percentage-point sales-tax increase to cover road repairs climaxed with a vote on the measure this week. But it’s just one indication of the fact that, across the country, CEOs and site consultants are more concerned than ever about the fitness of the transportation infrastructure when it comes to supporting business expansion.
With the U.S. economic recovery in full swing, governors are going head to head to land the next big manufacturing operation and bring thousands of new jobs to their state. A half dozen or so, including Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Washington, and of course, Nevada and Texas—already have major wins to report—but with the ink dry, governors have been quick to look toward their next big win, from companies such as Volvo, which is currently in the market for a state in which to hang its manufacturing hat.
In the Northeast, the Recession isn’t over yet.
More governors than ever understand and embrace the idea that cutting and reforming taxes is the best way to improve the business climate, promote job creation, and ensure economic growth. So while politicians in Washington may not have gotten that message, about 20 Republican governors are moving forward with pro-growth tax-relief initiatives in 2015. That is on top of the 14 states whose 2014 tax cuts will take effect this year.
If you run a mid-market company, create jobs, pay taxes and ensure community stability, but you’re not feeling the love from your state government, have a little patience: A governor may come calling soon. More state chief executives are dumping politeness and protocol and making job-raiding expeditions to other states.
In the Southwest, Texas is the Leader. Hands down.