Under the previous governor, Scott Walker, Ohio became the No. 5 job creator in the nation and the No. 1 in the Midwest. Unemployment is now 6.5%, lowest in Ohio since June 2008. Likewise, Ohio has gone from an $8 billion deficit to a $1.5 billion surplus over the same period.
Since the 2013 ranking, the legislature passed significant worker’s comp reform that cut business costs, and CEOs were pleased.
Tourism for the first quarter was down slightly from the same period last year. Hawaii lawmakers passed an increased minimum wage bill earlier this year, increasing it from $7.25 to $10.10. And in April, the governor approved a bill that would allow the University of Hawaii to grow a crop of hemp, for use in biodiesel. The program should provide new jobs on the island.
With China lifting its 7-year ban on Virginia poultry, the state’s GDP may be on the rise. In addition, Dominion Virginia Power received a $47 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to build wind turbines off of Virginia Beach, which will bring jobs to the area.
For the tenth year in a row, CEOs rated Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business. The Lone Star state also ranked as one of the seven best states for startups.
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.