In Chief Executive’s eighth annual survey of CEO opinion of Best and Worst States in which to do business, Texas easily clinched the No. 1 rank, the eighth successive time it has done so. California earns the dubious honor of being ranked dead last for the eighth consecutive year.
This year, 650 business leaders responded to our annual survey, up from 550 in 2011. CEOs were asked to grade states in which they do business among a variety of areas, including tax and regulation, quality of workforce and living environment. The Lone Star State was given high marks foremost for its business-friendly tax and regulatory environment. But its workforce quality, second only to Utah’s, is also highly regarded.
Florida moved up from number three last year to number two. Last year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott penned a tongue-in-cheek letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, warning him that Florida is coming after the Lone Star State’s top ranking. Since Scott took office, his administration has enacted business tax and regulatory reforms that have contributed to the creation of more than 140,000 private sector jobs and an unemployment drop of 2.1 percentage points last year—one of the biggest decreases in the nation.
It is perhaps no coincidence that Texas and Florida have the highest net migration of people to their states from 2001 to 2009. (By contrast, New York and California lost over 1.6 million and 1.5 million in net migration out of the states, respectively, over the same period.) People migrate in search of employment, but this can cut both ways. Texas is justly proud of adding to its employment numbers, something Gov. Perry cited numerous times during his brief campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination. Between June 2009—which marked the official end of the recession—and July 2011, the number of jobs increased in the state by 328,000. Nationally, the job growth in that time period was 697,000 according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This translates to Texas jobs making up 47 percent of the national net job creation. However, neither Texas, nor the nation, is adding jobs at a pace fast enough to bring down unemployment to historically normal levels. And Texas’ unemployment rate—while still below the national average—is now higher than that of 26 states.
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