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Greenville Business Magazine

South Carolina ranked #4 in business survey

Sep 18, 2017 01:05PM ● By Kathleen Maris

South Carolina ranks fourth among the 50 states for having the best business climate, according to a new survey of U.S. corporate executives released at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference in Toronto. Texas ranked number one. Florida and Georgia claimed the second and third spots respectively, and North Carolina took the fifth spot.

Conducted by Development Counsellors International (DCI) every three years, the “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing” survey has tracked trends in economic development since its inception in 1996. For the first time, the survey also includes findings about how the current political climate affects business perceptions.  A majority of the executives surveyed, 57 percent, reported that the Trump presidency hasn’t impacted their investment plans, and 33 percent were more likely to explore domestic expansion. 

“The Winning Strategies survey provides insights into the minds of key decision makers—from their perceptions on locations around the world to how they get the information that shapes those perceptions,” said DCI President Andrew T. Levine. “As the competition for business expansions and talent intensifies, this information can be crucial to communities looking to set themselves apart from other locations.”

South Carolina ranked No. 4 with 16 percent of respondents naming it the best state for business, maintaining its ranking from the 2014 survey. Thirty percent of respondents rated the state as the “Best in Class State Economic Development Organization,” making it second overall.

Key findings from the 2017 “A View from Corporate America” survey, which is based on the aggregate responses of 331 corporate executives with site selection responsibilities, include:

· Texas, which has consistently held the No. 1 ranking since 1999, was again a favorite among survey respondents, with 42 percent naming the state as having one of the most favorable business climates. Rounding out the top 5 states for business are Florida at No. 2 with 22 percent, Georgia at No. 3 with 20 percent, and North Carolina at No. 5 with 15 percent.

· When asked which international countries they were most likely to explore for investment, 31 percent of U.S. executives named China as their top choice, followed by the United Kingdom (22 percent) and Canada (21 percent). Germany and Mexico ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

· 50.3 percent of executives report that their company will make a location decision (move, expansion or consolidation) in the next 24 months. This is a 6 percent increase from 2014 results.

· 54 percent of the survey audience report that they plan to outsource a portion of the site selection process during their next site selection search, a significant increase from 2014 (40 percent).

Best States for Business:

1.    Texas                     42%

2.    Florida                    22%

3.    Georgia                  20%

4.    South Carolina       16%

5.    North Carolina        15%

Best Countries for International Investment Opportunities:

1.    China                      31%

2.    United Kingdom     22%

3.    Canada                   21%

4.    Germany                16%

5.    Mexico                   15%

For a free copy of the full “Winning Strategies” survey report or an executive summary, visit

About DCI:

Considered the leader in marketing places, Development Counsellors International (DCI) specializes in economic development and tourism marketing. The agency has worked for more than 450 cities, regions, states, provinces, and countries since it was established in New York City in 1960.