Indiana Business Climate on the Rise Again

Improvement for Indiana in another national economic development ranking is nothing new. The latest: a rise from sixth to fifth in Chief Executive magazine’s "Best and Worst States for Business." (Indiana had moved from 16th in 2010 to sixth a year ago).

Below is the key passage from the article detailing the opinions of CEOs from across the country:

North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Utah held their positions in the top 10, with Indiana moving up a notch to fifth. CEOs indicate that workforce quality is the state’s single greatest strength, and since it became the 23rd right-to-work state last year {actually this year}, the Hoosier State is likely to punch above its weight competitively in the future. “Indiana is like a breath of fresh air,” volunteered one manufacturing CEO. “I have operated on both coasts, the Southeast and Chicago, and Indiana is where I will keep my manufacturing operations.”

It may be no accident that most of the states in the top 20 are also right-to-work states, as labor force flexibility is highly sought after when a business seeks a location. Several economists, most notably Ohio State’s Richard Vedder and Harvard’s Robert Barro, have found that the economies in R-to-W areas grow faster than other states, have higher employment and attract more inward migration.

By my count, the entire top 10 and 17 of the 20 are RTW states. Texas earns No. 1 for the eighth year in a row with California at the opposite end — also for eight consecutive years. Rounding out the top five: Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. The bottom five has Michigan at No. 46, followed by Massachusetts, Illinois and New York.

Full story; Indiana breakout; Indiana Economic Development Corporation release.