Successful Communities Contribute to States Top Ranking

10/8/2013

Tennessee’s “Fall Season” is confirmed in many different ways. It is exhibited through our numerous fall festivals, great weather and the heightened interest and support of our favorite football programs. In the world of economic development, fall is confirmed when national trade magazines publish their rankings of best states to do business. In Area Development’s third quarter publication, Tennessee received a sixth place ranking among the nation’s top ten states.

The results were taken from an extensive survey of consulting and location firms which examined 17 categories in: Business Environment (costs, taxes, regulations, incentives,), Labor Climate (diversity, costs, development programs) and Infrastructure and Global Access (highway access, available sites, utilities). Locally we may not be able to affect Tennessee’s taxing and other policies, I found it interesting to see how our community and development policies contribute to Tennessee’s overall ranking and to our local and national competition.

Business Environment: While not ranked in the top seven states, Tennessee was identified as having a lower cost of doing business, attractive incentive programs and ease of doing business with governments. I believe that this community contributes to Tennessee’s strength in that we have both a fair and competitive incentive program and a proven track record of governments working together with clients.

Overall Labor Climate: Tennessee’s Right to Work status was the only top rating in the five labors categories. It is obvious that Tennessee and our community must continue our work to increase the availability of skilled labor, maintain our competitive labor costs and to develop meaningful and successful workforce development programs. We have the opportunity to do this through our school Career Technical Education programs and in the opening of the Lebanon Technology Center in the spring of 2014.

Overall Infrastructure & Global Access: Ranked as the nation’s best state, Tennessee has excellent rail and highway services; lower overall utility rates and excels in its distribution and logistics industries. Certainly our community has contributed significantly to Tennessee’s attractiveness in the logistics and distribution field. Tennessee however was ranked only third in the number of available certified/shovel ready sites. Wilson County and its cities must address this issue if we are to remain competitive and successful in the recruitment of corporate, services and manufacturing projects. Our community is beginning to experience a decline in our number of readily available marketable properties.

Wilson County’s lower unemployment levels and overall ratings indicate that our community is doing some good things in the field of work opportunities. Our formula for success must continue to include the ingredients of business s environment, labor and available products. If we can commit to work in these areas of concern, our attractiveness will continue to be reflected in our Fall Rankings.

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