AR Ranks 29th Best State for Business

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GREENWICH, CT, (News release) – CEOs rated Arkansas the 29th best state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States for Business survey, released today. This year’s ranking is one spot down from the state’s position in 2013.

Arkansas outranked neighboring Mississippi, which came in 37th, but none of its other neighbors. Louisiana came in 9th, while Oklahoma was 20th and Missouri 22nd. Texas was the No. 1 best state for business for the tenth year in a row.

The Best & Worst States Survey gauges the sentiment of CEOs on a variety of measures that they themselves have viewed as critical. These include the tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment. Five hundred CEOs participated in the 2014 survey. The rankings are crucial, as CEO sentiment drives investments in offices, factories and other facilities that bring jobs to a region.

Arkansas, which is home to large organizations including Wal-Mart Inc., Dillard’s, Tyson Foods, Acxiom, Murphy Oil and J.B. Hunt transport, has an unemployment rate that is slightly above the national average (7.4%). It’s state-local tax burden is also slightly higher than the national average, at 10.0%.

Wal-Mart and Acxiom reported losses in the most recent quarter. Wal-Mart’s loss was directly related to the storms and tornadoes that damaged Arkansas in April.

Improving international trade is one way to boost the economy. Recently, a Vietnamese furniture maker opened up a factory in Arkansas, investing $5 million into the local economy and adding 75 jobs, according to the Southwest Times Record.

For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, CEO comments, methodology and more, click here.

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