Indiana fared quite well in the 2018 Site Selection Magazine’s Top Business Climate rankings that were released a few weeks ago.  It is important to note that rankings do not drive decisions for site selection projects, yet they are reflective of various factors that are considered during the process.  While every project has its own set of nuances, being ranked highly suggests that positive elements are in place for companies to be successful.  

Site Selection Magazine evaluated key business climate factors including; competitiveness, new facilities (total and per capita), mature firm tax index, new firm tax index, and ranking by professional site selectors, to complete it ranking order.  Professional site selector rankings were weighted most heavily at 50%, while all other factors were combined to comprise the remaining 50%.

Overall Top State Business Climate Rankings – 2018

1. Georgia
2. North Carolina
3. Texas
4. Ohio
5. Tennessee
6. South Carolina
7. Virginia
9. Alabama
10. Kentucky
10. Louisiana

Within the individual key criteria evaluated by Site Selection, Indiana had a very strong showing as outlined below:

  • Executive Survey:  Ranked #6 – points to Indiana’s efforts to promote the state to corporate decision makers and site selection consultants.
  • Competitiveness:  Ranked #13 – considers cost and quality factors impacting business operations in the state. 
  • 2017 New Plants:  Ranked #10 – counts the number of new facilities opening in the state during the calendar year.
  • January – August 2018 New Plants:  Ranked #17 – based on the number of new facilities location in the state for the first eight months of the calendar year.
  • Mature Firm Tax Index:  Ranked #43 – tied to the tax (income, property and sales) liability for a mature firm located in the state.   
  • New Firm Tax Index:  Ranked #15 – relates to the tax burden for young companies operating in the state.

What Matters Most:  Professional Site Selectors’ Most Important Location Criteria

Workforce skills

Transportation infrastructure
Workforce development programs
Higher education resources
Utility cost and reliability
Right-to-work state
State and local tax structure
Ease of permitting and regulatory process
Quality of place
Economic development incentives

Overall, Indiana should be proud of its ranking and reflects the hard work of many economic development professionals, non-profit organizations and elected officials in the state over the last 15 years.  However, being ranked highly does not mean that the state can rest.  It is vitally important that Indiana continues to innovate and implement meaningful economic development changes.  Governor Holcomb has proposed many important changes to move Indiana forward and this upcoming budget session for the Indiana General Assembly presents a great opportunity to move Indiana forward.  In order to leverage our strength in advance manufacturing, life sciences, logistics and information technology, we must have an outstanding business climate, top notch human capital, excellent infrastructure, and competitive incentive programs.  In order for our businesses and citizens to prosper, the Hoosier state must continue to strive for excellence.

To read the entire rankings report, click here.

Larry Gigerich serves as Executive Managing Director of Ginovus and a member of the Site Selectors Guild.

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