11/2/07

Right To Work law good for business climate

In an annual comparison of each state's business climate, Georgia has come in at No. 2, moving up two notches from last year.

The rankings, released Thursday in Site Selection magazine, showed that the Southeast continues to dominate as the region most attractive to business leaders.

THE TOP 20
1. North Carolina
2. Georgia
3. Texas
4. Virginia
5. Alabama
6. Tennessee
7. Ohio
8. Kentucky
9. Florida
10. South Carolina
11. Indiana
12. Michigan
13. Illinois
14. Pennsylvania
15. Oklahoma
16. Iowa
17. Mississippi
18. Missouri
19. Nevada
(tie)
19. New York (tie)
• Source: Site Selection magazine's 2007 Top 20 Business Climate Rankings

Magazine editor Mark Arend said the latest survey confirms the well-established pattern of moving factories and offices to the less-unionized South, he said. The most popular sites "tend to be right-to-work states," he said.

Also, Southern states "are the fastest-growing states, so they have a good supply of labor with the right skills," he said.

"And they have great logistical infrastructure, like state highways, ports and airports."

Moreover, the South has warmer weather, which many people prefer. "Quality of life factors in there," said the editor of the bimonthly magazine based in Norcross.

The magazine bases its annual rankings, released each November, on a survey of corporate real estate decision makers and data on projects announced or under construction.

The decision makers say their highest priority is the availability of workers with the right skills, Arend said. Second is the ease of permitting, and third is the level of state and local taxes. Other priorities include the availability of land and buildings at good prices and the quality of higher education, he said.

One state excels in all areas, he said. For the third straight year — and the sixth time in seven years — North Carolina topped the list.

Behind the Southeast, the Midwest is the No. 2 preferred region for new business sites.

(ajc.com)

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