Reasons Why Manufacturers Choose a State

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Ford Motor Company factory in Cleveland, Ohio

CEOs responding to this year’s Best & Worst States for Business survey had much to say about the Top 10 States for Manufacturing. “Ohio’s turnaround has been remarkable,” one CEO said. Another felt that both Ohio and Wisconsin were becoming more business-friendly and “willing to help businesses get established while supporting critical worker training.”

One southern CEO said that Georgia “has very active and strong Chambers of Commerce and trade associations that work very well with the state and metro governmental organizations,” adding that the state has a very pro-business posture. “Meanwhile, another CEO noted that Indiana’s tax rates were predictable and that it has a very pro-business culture.”

The Top State for Manufacturing is Texas, home to Texas Instruments, Dell, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Raytheon. The state is ranked 5th for Taxation and Regulation, 4th for Workforce Quality and 13th for Living Environment. Fujifilm recently announced it would invest $130 million in two Diosynth Biotechnologies facilities, one of which is in Texas. The plant is scheduled to open in 2018.

“Ohio and Wisconsin were becoming more business-friendly and “willing to help businesses get established while supporting critical worker training.”

Indiana comes in 2nd, with Eli Lilly, Rolls-Royce and ConAgra Foods. RV maker Forest River is building three more factories in LaGrange, creating up to 425 jobs by 2019, while Bearcat Corp. is expanding its operations in Elkhart County, creating up to 40 new jobs by 2019.

According to Nick Davis, Bearcat’s vice president of operations, the region is “an ideal place to grow a business due to an experienced and proven labor force.” Moreover, the support from both the local and state governments “makes Indiana a great place to be for years to come.”

BMW, Michelin North America and Boeing, with two plants, call South Carolina, which ranks 3rd, home. GE Healthcare is expanding its existing magnet resonance imaging components production operations in Columbia, SC. The new $40 million capacity expansion is projected to create 100 new jobs. Geismar, a manufacturer and distributor of railway maintenance equipment, is building a $2.9 facility in Beaufort County, creating 50 new jobs. Geismar North America President Alan Reynolds said the company chose this location, based on the state and local commitment to supporting a new manufacturing facility. “The local workforce, proximity to major highways and ports, the ability to expand the facility as we grow and the pro-manufacturing attitude made the difference in our decision,” Reynolds said.

North Carolina is No. 4, with Honda Aircraft, Sealy Corp. and Rubbermaid. Automotive supplier Continental is launching a $40 million expansion of its main manufacturing facility in Morganton, North Carolina, and plans to create 160 new jobs there over the next five years.The state has approved a Job Development Investment Grant to support the expansion, in which Continental will be reimbursed by receiving a portion of the new tax base created by the project. Under the grant’s terms, Continental is eligible to receive up to $1.6 million in total reimbursements.

The U.S.’ southern most state on the east coast, Florida, is 5th, with Honeywell, Bosch and Northrup Grumman facilities. 3D Medical Manufacturing, a producer of implants, cutting tools and similar instruments, in March struck a job-growth incentive deal with Palm Beach County, according to South Florida Business Journal. The company will expand its facility, creating an additional 178 jobs. In turn, 3D Medical will receive $890,000 under Florida’s Qualified Target Industry program, with $89,000 from the county, $89,000 from the city and the rest from the state.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. All Top 10 States for Manufacturing on Chief Executive’s list boast of robust infrastructure, favorable tax and regulatory climates, attractive workforces and favorable quality of life to support manufacturing.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert
Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than two decades of experience writing about corporate, financial and industry-specific issues. She is based in Running Springs, Calif.

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