Louisiana Leaps 14 Spots In Forbes' 'Best States For Business'

Over the past four years, no state has improved more than Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana vaulted 14 positions in the latest Forbes ranking of "Best States For Business," capping a year in which the state climbed to its highest-ever business climate ranking by every leading publication that measures the economic progress of states.

Until recently, Louisiana had been ranked 49th or 50th in every year of the Forbes ranking. When Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2008, Louisiana stood 49th in the U.S. Since then, the state’s Forbes ranking has improved to 44th in 2009 and 2010, and 30th this year. Louisiana's improvement of 19 spots since Gov. Jindal took office ties for the largest gain made by any state in the U.S. in that period of time.

Gov. Jindal said, “When I took office in 2008, I promised to make economic development our top priority, and we've done that by making Louisiana one of the best states in the country for businesses to invest in and create jobs. Before we entered office, Louisiana was losing companies and jobs because of our ethics laws, outdated workforce development system and burdensome taxes, but we turned our business climate around by fostering an economic environment where businesses want to expand or invest. We have made incredible progress in moving up in business climate rankings from leading industry magazines, but we will not stop until Louisiana is the number one place in the world for businesses to invest in and create opportunity for our people.”

The Forbes ranking evaluates the 50 states on six different categories, including business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. In just the past year, according to Forbes, Louisiana moved up nine spots for business costs, from 25th to 16th, and the state gained 15 spots in regulatory environment, up from 27th to 12th. Forbes said Louisiana's economic climate also improved 15 spots from 41st to 26th, and the state's growth prospects climbed four spots, from 18th to 14th.

Louisiana's dramatic improvement from last year's ranking was based on a variety of factors, including, for example: an improvement in Louisiana's relative economic performance and growth outlook; an increase in the number of Fortune 1000 headquarters based in Louisiana (Amedisys Inc. and Superior Energy Services Inc. recently joined the list, increasing the total to six); a new assessment of state tax competitiveness from the Tax Foundation that reflects recent business tax cuts in Louisiana; reduced energy costs; and a jump in Louisiana's economic development competitiveness ranking (from No. 10 to No. 2) by Pollina Corporate Real Estate.

Over the past 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.

Louisiana now stands at its highest-ever position on every national ranking of state business climates. Three of those national rankings (Area Development, Business Facilities and Site Selection) now rank Louisiana among the Top 10 states in the U.S. for business.

Since 2008, Louisiana Economic Development has secured economic development projects that are creating more than 46,000 new jobs, more than $10.5 billion in capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state.