Behind Indiana’s Impressive CEO Ranking

Many of you likely saw the news yesterday about Indiana maintaining its No. 5 overall ranking – and tops in the Midwest – in Chief Executive magazine’s 13th annual Best & Worst States for Business survey. A few things that might have been missed:

  • As the name indicates, these rankings are based on CEO perceptions. It’s good for Indiana to be regarded so highly overall by the group making ultimate business decisions, but it also leads to few changes for most states
  • Texas was No. 1 for the 13th straight year and Florida No. 2 for the fifth year in a row. North Carolina (despite the turmoil over its since-repealed transgender bathroom issue) and South Carolina also topped Indiana
  • At the bottom, California was at No. 50 for the sixth year in a row. New York and Illinois were next in line
  • There has been some movement, however, in the middle. Ohio, now at No. 11, was No. 41 in 2011 and No. 22 just two years ago. On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana was No. 7 in 2015 and No. 33 this time around
  • Indiana’s individual category rankings included: Workforce quality, No. 8 (although we know there is much work to do in this area); taxes and regulation, No. 14 (we would have expected to be a little higher there); and living environment, No. 16
  • Industry rankings were also part of the survey. Indiana was second in manufacturing and 10th in energy

Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Fishers-based Ginovus and chair of the Indiana Chamber’s economic development committee, was quoted in the release of the rankings. He said simply, “The top-ranking states have continued to implement public policy supporting economic development to ensure that they remain as leaders.”

Complete rankings are available online.

Gigerich: Indiana Business Climate is Good News, Bad News Scenario

Larry Gigerich of site selector Ginovus penned an informative column for Inside INdiana Business about Indiana's business climate. While we have come a long way and are currently envied by many states, there is still work to be done. He writes:

A few weeks ago, the Kauffman Foundation and Thumbtack.com released an annual ranking of states for their friendliness to small businesses. Indiana ranked 15th for 2013. The study analyzed several factors including items related to tax climate, work force development and regulatory issues. Eight-thousand small businesses were contacted for feedback regarding the study's criteria. Here is how Indiana ranked in each category.

1. Overall Friendliness: B+
2. Ease of Starting a Business: B+
3. Ease of Hiring: F
4. Regulations: C
5. Health and Safety: D
6. Employment, Labor and Hiring: C-
7. Tax Code: D
8. Licensing: A-
9. Environmental: D
10. Zoning: B-
11. Training and Networking Programs: C-

The grades given to Indiana are not surprising. Work force development and job training have been a focus of Governor Mike Pence and the legislature since the beginning of the year. Indiana's educational achievement, continuing learning for adults in the work force and availability of certification/credential programs have not been where they need to be. While progress has been made, there is still much to be done by government, educational providers, not-for-profits and the private sectors.

Indiana has been recognized as a relatively easy place to start and grow a business. This report points to that in terms of licensing, zoning and other factors affecting the launch of a new business.

The tax code ranking is a bit surprising, but the survey asked small businesses if they were paying too much in taxes for their locations. The elimination of the state inheritance tax, which impacts small and family-owned businesses, could help improve this ranking.

Indiana continues to struggle with rankings where health and environmental issues are considered. In particular, the state's obesity and smoking rates are unacceptably high. These items impact healthcare costs, number of missed days of work and quality of life. In terms of the environment, Indiana's long-term large manufacturing presence has impacted water, air and soil quality. While important steps have been taken in the areas, there is much left to be done.

The top five states for small businesses are (in order): Utah, Alabama, New Hampshire, Idaho and Texas. The bottom five are (in order): Illinois, California, Hawaii, Maine and Rhode Island.

In summary, Indiana's ranking relative to the rest of the country is good. Policymakers in the state should focus on ways to improve our weaknesses in order to move Indiana into the top 10. Due to the fact that Indiana has never been a location for large headquarters for companies, small businesses are and will continue to be the lifeblood of the state's economic growth.

Gigerich Breaks Down U.S. Chamber Enterprising States Report

Larry Gigerich of the highly respected site selection firm Ginovus penned a column for Inside INdiana Business, in which he relays and analyzes a recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (to whom we have no direct affiliation) listing the top enterprising states. Interesting stuff:

The Chamber breaks policies down into five major areas.

1. Exports and International Trade
2. Entrepreneurship and Innovation
3. Taxes and Regulation
4. Talent Pipeline
5. Infrastructure

The report combines metrics for the different policy areas to measure performance, which has allowed the Chamber to evaluate the top states based upon quantifiable measurements. Please find below a list of the measurements used to rank the states.

1. Long-term job growth
2. Short-term growth
3. Overall expansion of gross state product
4. Productivity – state output per job
5. Productivity growth – growth in output per job
6. Income growth – growth in per capita personal income
7. Livability – median income of four-person households, adjusted for state cost of living

Based upon the metrics used by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here are the top performing states and a brief summary of why they rank in the top 10.

1. North Dakota: The state ranked in the top 10 in six of the seven measurements. The state ranked first in short-term jobs, long-term jobs, gross state product and per capita personal income. The energy boom in the western part of the state has led the growth of the economy in the state.

2. Wyoming: The state ranked in the top 5 in five different categories. The state is second on long-term job growth and gross state product and third in productivity growth and income growth. Energy, chemicals and metals helped drive the performance of the state’s economy.

3. Virginia: The state has the highest income in the nation, after adjusting for cost of living. In addition, Virginia ranks in the top 25 in all seven categories. The state’s growth in professional services and information technology jobs has helped led to excellent results.

4. Alaska: The state ranked in the top 8 in three key areas: overall productivity, long-term job growth and gross state product. Alaska’s economy has been driven by energy, mining and tourism activities. The growth of these sectors has led to the significant growth of retail support entities in the state.

5. Maryland: The state ranked in the top 25 in all seven measurements. Maryland ranked the highest in adjusted family income, followed by productivity growth. The growth in government jobs in the Washington D.C. area, high technology growth and corporate headquarters helped to propel the state.

6. Texas: Texas ranked second in short-term job growth and fifth in long-term job growth. In addition, the state fared well in the growth of gross state product. Its energy sector, affordability, and business climate fueled economic growth throughout Texas.

7. South Dakota: The state ranked fourth in growth in gross state product and per capita income. Long known for its back-office finance operations due to its well educated workforce, South Dakota can credit growth in manufacturing and professional services for propelling its economy today.

8. Washington: The state of Washington jumped five spots from 2011 largely due to rapid short-term job growth. In particular, aerospace and transportation equipment manufacturing has been growing rapidly. Professional services and technology have also been growing significantly.

9. Iowa: The state ranked fifth in growth in economic productivity, sixth in per capita income growth and eleventh in gross state product. Iowa’s finance and insurance industries have grown by nearly 30 percent. Transportation and warehousing are also growing rapidly.

10. New York: The state ranked in the top 25 in six of the seven measurements. The state jumped eleven spots in this year’s rankings due to the rapid growth of gross state product and per capita income. The rebound in the financial services sector, coupled with the growth of educational entities have assisted New York in these rankings.

Best and Worst States for Business; Indiana in Top 5

Larry Gigerich, managing director of site selector Ginovus, penned a column for Inside INdiana Business about the best and worst states to do business. Following the right-to-work legislation this fall and many other beneficial moves, Indiana finds its way into the top five.

While labor force, tax structure, regulatory environment, real estate, infrastructure and economic development incentive programs are all important considerations in the process of selecting a community and state, the initial list of geographic areas to be considered for the project may be shaped by the thoughts of the senior leadership of an organization. This is why regions and states must work to tell their story to corporate decision makers.

Chief Executive Magazine surveyed 650 business leaders earlier this year. CEOs were asked to evaluate states based upon factors such as tax, regulatory, workforce quality and quality of life. The survey process identified the best and worst states in the United States. Please find below a summary of the best states in the rankings.

1. Texas: Texas scored very well in tax and regulatory environment, along with workforce quality. This is the 8th year in a row that the state ranked No. 1 in the country.
2. Florida: Governor Rick Scott has enacted tax and regulatory reforms resulting in a drop of over 2 percent in the state’s unemployment rate. Florida moved up from No. 3 on last year’s list.
3. North Carolina: The state scored very well in workforce quality, quality of life and regulatory environment categories. North Carolina has solid economic development incentive programs in place.
4. Tennessee: Governor Bill Haslem has brought a business perspective to state operations and economic development. Tennessee scored very well in quality of life and tax climate.
5. Indiana: Indiana is the economic development leader in the Midwest, but also a stiff competitor nationally. Indiana became the 23rd state in the nation to adopt right-to-work this year.

There are a few other interesting notes to share about states that have shown tremendous improvement in the United States. Louisiana, under the dynamic leadership of Governor Bobby Jindal, jumped 14 spots on the list. In addition, Ohio and West Virginia made significant improvements to their business climates and each jumped eight spots on this year’s list.

While there are a number of good stories to share about the 2012 Chief Executive Magazine rankings, there are also some states that rank very poorly in several categories. These states start off in a deep hole due to the negative perception held by site selectors and corporate decision makers and poor business climate conditions. Please find below a list of the five worst states in this year’s rankings.

46. Michigan: Governor Rick Snyder inherited a fiscal mess from his predecessor and is working hard to improve the state’s position. Michigan currently scores very low in tax and regulatory environment.
47. Massachusetts: The state has been known as "Taxachusetts" for a long time. The tax and regulatory climate conditions to be a drag on a state that possesses a well educated workforce.
48. Illinois: Illinois has raised several taxes and created an unfriendly business climate. Neighboring states such as Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin are recruiting companies to move from Illinois into their states.
49. New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken steps to address tax and regulatory issues that adversely impact businesses. Despite these efforts, the state has work to do to convince CEOs to locate there.
50. California: The recent announcement of a $16 billion state deficit does not help perception. In addition, proposed tax increases and elimination of redevelopment incentives, hurts the California’s competitiveness.

Oregon dropped the furthest on the list by falling nine spots – largely due to tax increases in recent years. In addition, Kentucky, Mississippi and New Hampshire each fell eight spots on the list this year as other states took bold steps to improve their business climates, workforce and quality of life. 

What the Outside World Thinks About Indiana

Larry Gigerich of Ginovus, an Indiana Chamber member, penned an enlightening column for the Inside INdiana Business newsletter Wednesday, stating how important it is that Hoosiers in business understand how those outside of the state view us. He points to recent national rankings as trending especially positive for the Indiana business community, but stresses that "Indiana leaders must keep the gas pedal down to ensure that our state maintains its competitive advantage in the Midwest." He lists the following rankings:

1. Chief Executive Magazine: Indiana ranked 1st in the Midwest and 8th nationally for Best for Business. This ranking was based upon a survey of 605 chief executive officers of companies located throughout the United States.

2. The Tax Foundation: Indiana ranked 1st in the Midwest and 12th nationally for low taxes. This ranking was developed through a study completed by economists and researchers who examined the overall tax burden in states.

3. Forbes Magazine: Indiana ranked 1st in the Midwest and 4th nationally for cost of doing business. This ranking was based upon a study completed by economists and researchers who looked at several different factors impacting operating costs of businesses.

4. The American Legislative Council: Indiana ranked 1st in the Midwest and 12th nationally for economic competitiveness. This ranking was based on an analysis of factors impacting the positioning of states for sustained economic growth.

5. Ernst & Young: Indiana ranked 1st in the Midwest and 5th nationally in new and maintained mobile jobs. The ranking was based upon a study that looked at jobs that could be located and/or moved to a different location.