Tennessee ranked No. 5 ‘Best State for Business’

‘Winning Strategies’ survey reveals insights from key corporate decision makers

Tennessee is the No. 5 state with the best business climate, according to a new survey of U.S. corporate executives released at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference, which is being held from Dallas virtually. Texas ranked first, followed by Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. 

Conducted by Development Counsellors International (DCI) every three years, the “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing”survey has tracked trends in economic development since its inception in 1996. In light of COVID-19, this year’s survey also includes findings about how the pandemic affects corporate location decisions and perceptions of U.S. cities and states. Nearly 50% of the executives surveyed reported that large urban areas – cities with a population of more than 1 million – are less attractive as business locations due to COVID-19.

“Now in its ninth iteration, the Winning Strategies survey reveals the changing perceptions of location decision makers, as well as the tools and tactics that help shape those perceptions,” said Julie Curtin, president of DCI’s economic development practice. “The confluence of a global pandemic, a presidential election and intense scrutiny of equity policies is putting a renewed interest on how location decisions are made, so the results from this year’s survey are especially interesting for communities and site selectors alike.”

Tennessee reclaimed its spot in the top five this year, with 13% of respondents naming the state as a top state for business, after falling out of the top five list in 2017. The Volunteer State was also rated as having one of the top five state economic development organizations, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and is home to one of the top five regional economic development organizations, the Nashville Area Chamber.

Key findings from the 2020 “Winning Strategies” survey, which is based on the aggregate responses of 316 corporate executives with site selection responsibilities, include:

·        Texas ranks No. 1 with 48%, followed by Georgia at No. 2 with 25%, North Carolina at No. 3 with 22%, Florida at No. 4 with 18% and Tennessee at No. 5 with 13%.

·        When asked to identify “best in class” state economic development organizations, 37% of U.S. executives named the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina as their top choice, followed by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (35%), and South Carolina Department of Commerce (32%). The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development and Texas Economic Development Corporation ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. 

  • 55% of respondents reported that their company will make a location decision (such as move, expand or consolidate) during the next 24 months—5 percentage points up from 2017; 31% report that they are not sure if their company will make a location decision during the next 24 months (the same percentage as 2017) and 14% reported that their company would make no location decision during the next 24 months, down from 19% in 2017.
  • The top executives within a company (44%), such as the chairman/CEO/president, are the most likely to lead location decisions, followed by the CFO (16%).

Best States for Business:

1.      Texas                                   48%

2.      Georgia                               25%

3.      North Carolina                  22%

4.      Florida                                18%

5.      Tennessee                          13%

Best in Class – State EDO:

1.      North Carolina                  37%

2.      Georgia                               35%

3.      South Carolina                  32%

4.      Tennessee                          27%

5.      Texas                                   23%

For a free copy of the full “Winning Strategies” survey report or an executive summary, visit aboutdci.com/thought-leadership/winning-strategies

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