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Press Release

Texas Claims Top State Business Climate for 2023
Site Selection also publishes U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone and Ohio River Corridor rankings


Atlanta, November 1, 2023:   Site Selection magazine has named Texas the state with the Top Business Climate in the U.S. The state heads the list of top 25 state business climates published in the November 2023 issue of the magazine, followed by perennial top-shelf competitors Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, in that order. The findings are based on an index that includes a survey of corporate real estate executives and site selectors; criteria derived from corporate facility investment data in the Conway Projects Database; and a number of external sources touching on such business climate factors as taxation, infrastructure, tech employment and startup ecosystem. Tennessee, Illinois, Florida, California and New York round out the top 10.

The executive survey portion of this year’s rankings has Texas No. 1, followed by North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

“Having won Site Selection’s Governor’s Cup for total capital investment projects in 2022 earlier this year, Texas for the second time in 2023 is demonstrating that it has in place what businesses look for most when expanding or relocating,” says Site Selection’s Mark Arend. “We congratulate the state level and local economic developers throughout Texas for working to cultivate a business climate that is the best in the U.S.”

In the “What Matters Most” survey of site selectors published with the rankings — perhaps reflecting the overlapping trends of reshoring of manufacturing, EV/battery plants and ramped-up semiconductor industry investment — ease of permitting and regulatory procedures jumped from the No. 5 criterion to No. 1 this year. Next most important was workforce skills (No. 1 last year), followed by land/building prices and supply, utilities cost and reliability, and quality of life.

The overall Business Climate Ranking is based on the following list of criteria: a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank the states based on their recent experience of locating facilities in them; total qualifying projects in 2022 cumulative and per capita, Conway Data Projects Database; total projects 2023 YTD cumulative and per capita; 2023 Tax Foundation state business tax climate data; Inc. 5000 firms cumulative and per capita; performance in the Rankings that Matter in Site Selection’s State of the States report, Jan. 2023; CNBC America’s Top States for Business 2023; Cyberstates 2023 tech employment and % of overall employment; bipartisan infrastructure bill projects/funding as of Sept. 2023 (GSA).

Top FTZs, Top Ohio River Corridor Metros

The November 2023 issue also ranks the top U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones and top states for FTZ economic impact using an index derived from figures in the U.S. FTZ Board’s annual report to Congress released in August. In the individual zone category, San Jose’s FTZ 18 in California is No. 1, followed by the Port of South Louisiana’s FTZ 124 in Gramercy at No. 2 and the Port of Houston Authority’s FTZ 84 in Harris County, Texas, at No. 3. Again this year, with five FTZs among the top 20 and ties, Texas leads the list of Top 10 States by FTZ Impact, followed by Louisiana, California, South Carolina and Tennessee, repeating last year’s top five. The feature also includes coverage of international ports (many of them affiliated with special economic zones) from the Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) produced by World Bank in collaboration with the Global Intelligence & Analytics division of S&P Global Market Intelligence, and global maritime centers from the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index (ISCDI) Report.

The November 2023 issue also includes our annual look at top Ohio River Corridor metros for project wins over the preceding 18 months, evaluating their capex and job creation numbers on a cumulative and per-capita basis. The multistate region of Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky-Indiana, finished No. 1, followed by upstart Weirton-Steubenville, West Virginia-Ohio, at No. 2 and Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana at No. 3.

Site Selection magazine, the leading publication covering global corporate real estate strategy and economic development, is in its 70th year of publication, and goes to a qualified circulation of more than 41,000* corporate end users, in addition to publishing all of its material at Global corporate expansion experts Conway Data Inc. — publisher of Site Selection, state economic development guides under its Custom Content Publishing Division, and the Site Selection Investor Watch, Project Bulletin and Snapshot newsletters, has been a trusted source of business intelligence to corporations, government economic development and investment promotion agencies around the world since 1954. Conway Data also manages the Atlanta-based Industrial Asset Management Council, a professional association of corporate real estate executives, economic developers and commercial real estate service providers.

*June 2023; all circulation information is publisher’s own data unless otherwise specified.

(2022 rank in parentheses)

1. Texas (3)
2. Georgia (2)
3. Virginia (1)
4. North Carolina (4)
5. Ohio (6)
T6. Tennessee (15)
T6. Illinois (10)
8. Florida (7)
9. California (T8)
10. New York (11)

(2022 rank in parentheses)

1. Texas (T4)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Florida (T9)
4. Georgia (3)
5. Tennessee (1)
6. South Carolina (6)
7. Alabama (T4)
8. Arizona (T9)
9. Ohio (T7)
10. Indiana (T7)

(2022 rank in parentheses)

1. Ease of permitting and regulatory procedures (5)
2. Workforce skills (1)
3. Land/building prices and supply (T6)
4. Utilities (T6)
5. Quality of Life (T8)
6. Workforce development (T2)
7. Economic Development Strategy (NA)
8. State and local tax scheme (T2)
9. Transportation Infrastructure (4)
10. Right-to-work state (NA)
Source: Site Selection survey of corporate site selectors, October 2023

Top States by Total FTZ Economic Impact
(2022 rank in parentheses)

1. Texas (1)
2. Louisiana (2)
3. California (3)
4. South Carolina (4)
5. Tennessee (5)
6. South Carolina (6)
7. Florida (7)
8. Arizona (9)
9. Puerto Rico (8)
10. Mississippi (NA)