Out-of-state perception of workforce quality and living environment shows room for improvement.
More than 500 CEOs across the country took part in Chief Executive magazine’s annual “Best and Worst States for Business” survey, and Alabama ranked just above the middle of the pack at No. 20. However, there were discrepancies between out-of-state CEOs and those who operate businesses located in Alabama.
Across the board, the CEOs surveyed had a generally positive view of the state’s business-friendliness, but non-Alabama CEOs tended to have a less positive impression of the workforce and living environment. Forrest Wright, president of the Economic Development Authority for the Shoals area, told the Associated Press this was a common perception that recruiters fight to overcome in discussions and that some parts of the state do better than others. But when prospective industries listen to presentations about Alabama’s business climate with an open mind, he said, it’s easier to show them that the state is a good place to locate a company.
The survey focused on three factors—taxes and regulation, workforce quality, and living environment—all of which incorporated several variables:
- Taxes and regulation included state income tax, corporate tax rates, perceived attitude government has toward business, employment rates, environmental compliance regulations, and tax incentives.
- Workforce quality included employee-management relationships, work ethic, education level, wage rates, and availability of workers with specialized experience and education.
- Living environment included crime rate, quality of education and healthcare, cost of real estate, transportation access, and arts and cultural institutions.
Alabama ranked No. 17 in taxes and regulation, No. 33 in workforce quality, and No. 33 in living environment. Its overall No. 20 ranking was up from last year’s ranking of No. 24, but down from No. 17 in 2014 and No. 16 in 2013.