Chief Executive Magazine ranks Indiana fifth best state for business

The flags of the United States and the state of Indiana fly over the copper dome on the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. Indiana ranked the 5th best state of business, according to Chief Executive Magazine.

Chief Executive magazine ranked Indiana the fifth best state for business, and first in the Midwest.

Indiana trailed only Texas, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina nationally, according to the annual ranking by the trade publication for chief executive officers. The Hoosier State also placed fifth in 2017.

"CEOs have come to rely on Indiana as the business-friendly center of the industrial Midwest, thanks to a corporate income tax rate on its way to falling below 5 percent by 2021, reasonable regulations, right to work, global-caliber talent, a growing workforce — and affordable costs," the magazine said in a related article naming Indiana one of "5 states to watch."

"Then there’s the the state’s plan to become a digital hub by investing $100 million a year for the next decade in innovation and entrepreneurship programs in schools and businesses," according to the magazine.

The magazine ranked Indiana eighth in workforce quality, and 12th in both taxes and regulation and living environment.

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"Thanks to a collaborative effort between state government, local government, universities and the private sector to drive a pro-business culture, Indiana boasts one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing operations in the country," Chief Executive said in its ranking.

"Advanced manufacturing, which makes up 30 percent of the state GDP and employs roughly 20 percent of the workforce, is also spurring development in IT," according to the magazine. "The tech sector has added nearly 15,000 jobs in the past two years, largely driven by an influx of companies escaping the high costs of the coasts."

The magazine ranked Illinois 48th nationally, same as last year, placing it 46th in taxes and regulations, 37th in workforce quality and 44th in living environment. 

Despite the discrepancy in rankings, executives have been more likely to invest in Illinois — specifically in Chicago, which has a gross domestic product that's more than double that of the entire state of Indiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Illinois ranked third nationwide in corporate investment with 419 major projects last year, according to Site Selection magazine, and 50 gleaming new skyscrapers are currently under construction in the city.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.