Allison B. Hudson

Today, Area Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 6 in the U.S. in its 2011 ranking of Top States for Doing Business, which surveys leading site-selection consultants on which U.S. states are the most attractive locations for business investment. Louisiana ranked No. 3 among states that are leading the economic recovery, No. 4 for states with the best workforce development programs, and No. 4 for states with the best overall business environment.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Key business and industry decision-makers all over the nation are recognizing the impact of our work to cut taxes, reduce government spending and provide key workforce training solutions that businesses need to grow and succeed in our state. Louisiana’s high ranking by Area Development shows that site selection consultants are taking notice of our improving business climate and our workforce development programs. The payoff is that people all over Louisiana are gaining quality jobs every day. While we still have more work to do, we will not rest until our sons and daughters no longer have to go to other states for great careers. We’re providing more high-paying jobs right here in Louisiana and the nation is taking notice.”

The results show marked improvement for Louisiana, as the state did not make the Area Development overall Top 10 in 2010. That year, the state’s best results came in the categories for the cost of doing business (tied for fifth-highest score) and workforce development (fifth-highest score).

In addition to its other top rankings for 2011, Louisiana tied Michigan for fifth-best in overall labor climate, including a No. 5 ranking for labor costs. Within the overall business environment category, Louisiana landed in a tie with Indiana at No. 3 for business friendliness and landed alone at No. 3 for the overall cost of doing business.

Since 2008, Louisiana Economic Development has secured economic development projects resulting in the creation of more than 45,000 new jobs, more than $10 billion in capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state.

The latest Area Development recognition reinforces a series of much-improved rankings for Louisiana from economic development publications. Louisiana has won State or Co-State of the Year designations from such publications as Southern Business & Development (the past three years in a row) and Business Facilities (2010), which also has honored Louisiana FastStart™ as the nation's No. 1 workforce training program in 2010 and 2011. Site Selection, based on 2010 economic development projects, ranked Louisiana No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 on a per capita basis, and the same magazine in May of this year named LED as the best-performing state economic development agency in the country. In August, Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. ranked Louisiana 18th in its 2011 report on top pro-business states, with Louisiana rising 22 spots since 2008 and having gained Pollina’s inaugural Most-Improved State designation in 2010. In 2011, Pollina ranked Louisiana No. 2 in the U.S. for incentives and economic development agency performance.

Over the last few years, Louisiana has moved up significantly in every national ranking of state business climates, including those published by Area Development magazine, Beacon Hill Institute, Business Facilities magazine, Chief Executive magazine, CNBC, Forbes, Pollina Corporate Real Estate, and Site Selection magazine. In fact, Louisiana now stands at its highest ever position on every national ranking of state business climates. Additionally, three of those national rankings (Area Development, Business Facilities and Site Selection) now rank Louisiana among the top 10 states for business in the U.S.

LED Secretary Stephen Moret said, “We are delighted with this latest recognition of our state’s economic progress, and we are going to continue to work hard to position Louisiana to ultimately rank among the top 10 states in all the national rankings of state business climates. Most importantly, we are working to position Louisiana to create jobs at a faster pace than the South and U.S. on a regular basis.”