ChiefExecutive.net has released its eighth annual survey of CEOs’ opinions of our states' business climates. I find it intriguing that the nation’s five most populous states fared both magnificently and miserably in the survey. Texas and Florida topped the poll at Nos. 1 and 2; Illinois, New York and California dragged the bottom at 48, 49 and 50, respectively.
Evidently, population does not belong on the list of factors that make a state’s business climate good or bad.
The items that do belong on the list are taxes, government regulation, quality of work force and living environment, according to the survey of 650 CEOs. Perennial poll-toppers Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana all scored well in these areas. Perennial cellar dwellers California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan did not. So it goes.
Other tidbits gleaned from the survey:
- The fastest riser in the poll was No. 13 Louisiana, which climbed an eye-popping 14 spots in the ranking after finishing No. 27 in 2011. Louisiana was followed by Mississippi and West Virginia, up eight spots each; and North Dakota and Ohio, up six spots each.
- The fastest dropper in the poll was No. 42 Oregon, down nine spots from its No. 33 finish in 2011. Oregon was followed by Kentucky and New Hampshire, down eight spots each; and Minnesota and Nebraska, down seven spots each.
- As noted above, population is not a factor in the quality of a state’s business climate — but net migration evidently is. Texas and Florida have the highest net migration gains from 2001 to 2009. At the other end of the spectrum, New York and California lost 1.6 million and 1.5 million in net migration, respectively, during the same period.
- Most of the states that rank in the top 20 are right-to-work states.
- California contains 12 percent of the nation’s population and a third of its welfare recipients.
- From mid-2009 through mid-2011, the number of new jobs created in Texas was equal to 47 percent of the entire country’s net job creation.
Here’s my favorite quote from the survey: “[California’s] status as the most ruinously contentious place to operate remains undisturbed in eight years. … Once the most attractive business environment, the Golden State appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell.”
Nine circles? Who knew?
PETE FEHRENBACH is a senior associate editor at Smart Business. His cover story in the May issue of Smart Business Dallas features CiCi’s Pizza CEO Mike Shumsky.