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Survey: Florida's business climate ranks 11th among states

Site selectors have a sweet spot for Georgia, saying it has the best business climate in the country for the fourth straight year. Its southern neighbor, Florida, came in 11th. [Georgia Peach Council]

Site selectors have a sweet spot for Georgia, saying it has the best business climate in the country for the fourth straight year. Its southern neighbor, Florida, came in 11th. [Georgia Peach Council]

Corporate site seekers who scour the country for the best places to locate or expand businesses think of Florida as a top 10 state.

But the state does not measure up in economic competitiveness in other areas, according to Site Selection magazine's annual ranking of states with the top business climates.

Florida ranked ninth among site selectors themselves — based on their personal experience of establishing or expanding facilities here.

But that assessment only accounted for 50 percent of the overall ranking. When other criteria were factored in — such as existing workforce skills, taxes, transportation and utility infrastructure — Florida wound up 11th overall.

For the fourth year in a row, Georgia came out on top. Rounding out the top five: North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Tennessee.

Florida — and Tampa Bay in particular — has been actively wooing site selectors. In April, six top site selectors spent several days touring Hillsborough County at the invitation of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. It was the second such trip organized in the last few years.

Previous Coverage: Despite Enterprise Florida turmoil on job incentives, site selectors find plenty to praise in Tampa

When they left, many of them were singing the area's praises.

"You can compete with any city in the world on many projects," site selector Deane Foote of Foote Consulting said at the time. But he called for better marketing. "Tell your story. Get the word out there," he said.

Note: An earlier version of this story online included incorrect data on Florida's latest ranking.

Contact Jeff Harrington at jharrington@tampabay.com. Follow @JeffMHarrington.

Survey: Florida's business climate ranks 11th among states 11/02/16 [Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2016 10:55am]
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