Louisiana and Mississippi are on a fast track toward gaining rankings as top places in the nation for doing business, a survey published in CEO Magazine found.
While Texas continues to be the top-ranked, Louisiana and Mississippi showed the largest one-year gains in rankings, with the Bayou State climbing from number 27 to 13 and Mississippi rising from 38 to 30.
The Best & Worst States Survey measures the sentiment of CEOs on business conditions around the nation, the magazine says. For the 2012 survey, 650 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states on a broad range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure. The survey was conducted from Jan. 24 to Feb. 26, 2012.
CEO’s editors gushed over Louisiana’s progress, calling it the “Cinderella of business improvement.”
It can be assumed Mississippi’s improved ranking comes for some of the same reasons as those cited for Louisiana.
Here’s a sampling of what the magazine’s May issue of the Louisiana ascendancy:
“In 2006, it ranked 47th—where Massachusetts is today. And Katrina didn’t help matters. But since then it has climbed steadily up the ranks so that it is now 13th—up from 27th last year—the biggest leap in a single year of any state.
“In Louisiana there is an active government push to reduce taxes and regulation and to encourage new industry to relocate to the state,” commented one chairman.
“This was valuable for one of our companies, which decided to make the state our headquarters.” Other chiefs point to the big strides the state has made in workforce training and economic incentives. Its economic development office is also aggressive in luring disaffected businesses from the Northeast and California.”
Joining Louisiana and Mississippi as fast risers was West Virginia, which climbed form 42 to 34.
Florida rose one spot to take second place behind Texas. Florida’s economic development entity – the public-private partnership Enterprise Florida – is run by Gray Swoope, former head of the Mississippi Development Authority.
North Carolina finished behind Florida at number 3, dropping from its second-place ranking of the year before.
In addition to Louisiana, the three other states bordering Mississippi all finished ahead of it, with Tennessee remaining in fourth place, Alabama moving from 26 to 21 and Arkansas sliding into 29 from 30.
Oregon showed the steepest decline in ranking, falling nine spots to number 42.
The worst states?
California, followed by New York and Illinois, according to CEO’s survey.
CEOs surveyed attributed California’s poor ranking to hostility to business, high state taxes and overly stringent regulations, which is driving investment, companies and jobs to other states. According to Spectrum Locations Consultants, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year and five times as many as in 2009.