CEOs Rank 2017 Best & Worst States for Business

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

For the 13th year in a row, CEOs weigh in on what each of the 50 states has to offer your business.

While there is a level of constancy when it comes to the very best and very worst states for business as ranked by CEOs, there is plenty of jockeying for position within the ranks, and even some leaping and plummeting.

Because of how CEOs view business climates, because states themselves have varying priorities and because of the slow pace of change in many state governments, the same states have held top five spots for six years running.

Texas was ranked No. 1 for the 13th straight year in 2017 by the hundreds of CEOs surveyed by Chief Executive. Florida was No. 2 for the fifth year in a row. Five of the remaining eight top-10 states were the same as in 2011, albeit shuffled a bit. On the other end of the spectrum, California anchored the bottom of the list at No. 50 for the sixth consecutive year, New York wallowed at No. 49 and Illinois listed at No. 48.

Yet this consistency at the top and bottom ranks occurred at the same time as dynamic movement by those in the middle 30: Ohio leaped to No. 11 from No. 22 just two years ago and No. 41 in 2011, for instance, and Louisiana slid to No. 33 this year from No. 7 just two years ago. Others, such as Wisconsin, have gradually edged upward. (Gov. Scott Walker explains the Badger State’s rise at ChiefExecutive.net/2017-BWStates.)

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