Mike Klein Online

Forbes Magazine Drops Georgia from Top Ten Best Business States

Mike Klein

Georgia is no longer among the Forbes Magazine top ten best states for doing business.

Forbes released its sixth annual Best States for Business and Careers rankings on Tuesday, a couple days before Thanksgiving.  Georgia not only fell off the magazine’s top ten list — the state was eighth last year — but Georgia also slipped further behind three other southern states.  Virginia and North Carolina again finished second and third and Texas improved from seventh to sixth.

This has apparently been some kind of economic bad luck week for Georgia.

The Forbes magazine demotion comes one day after Delta Air Lines said it will end direct service from Atlanta to several international cities next year – including Athens, Greece; Copenhagen, Denmark; Moscow; Prague, Czech Republic; Shanghai, China; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

Delta cited low demand among reasons for the decision.  High fuel costs and an overall decline in international travel caused by the uncertain economy were likely contributors.  Atlanta is scheduled to open a new international terminal next year.  It’s never a good branding image when the world’s largest airline starts to cancel scheduled service from its hometown airport.

Forbes ranked all 50 states in six categories.  Georgia suffered from a seemingly Jekyll and Hyde report card.  On the positive ledger, the magazine ranked the state third nationally in regulatory environment, fourth in labor supply and seventh in growth prospects.

But Forbes ranked Georgia way down in three categories, 31st in business costs, 36th in quality of life, and 46th in economic climate.  Ohio, Michigan, Rhode Island and Nevada were the only states judged by the magazine to have a worse economic climate.  This cannot be good news for Georgia because the state continually markets itself as a great destination for doing business.  It invests a lot of human and financial capital in the recruitment of national and international businesses.

Utah won the crown.  Forbes wrote, “Utah repeats this year as Forbes Best State for Business and Careers in our sixth annual look at the business climates of the 50 states.  No state can match the consistent performance of Utah.  It is the only state that ranks among the top 15 states in each of the six main categories…”

Southern states generally placed in the middle or below on the 2011 Forbes’ best business report card.  Tennessee placed 21st, Florida 24th, Kentucky 25th, South Carolina 28th, Arkansas 29th, Louisiana 30th and Alabama 37th.  Mississippi placed 46th, continuing its performance near the bottom of nearly every list that measures anything.

Forbes used a photograph of the Coca Cola museum near Underground Atlanta to illustrate Georgia.  That site closed several years ago when the world famous soft drink colossus opened its new World of Coca Cola attraction at Centennial Park near CNN Center and the Georgia Aquarium.

Forbes has not been kind lately to the Peach State.  Last month the magazine ranked Atlanta as just the 44th best city nationally for working moms.  That study evaluated earnings potential, cost of childcare, cost of living and several other factors.

(Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation) 

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November 22, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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