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story.lead_photo.caption Sarah Machann (from left), executive assistant, and Leigh Meyers, CEO and president, with Encore Industrial based in Houston, Texas, stop to talk to Mollie Thorsen, COO of The Little Burros based in Washington, about their Burro Buddy wheelbarrow accessory between pitch meetings Wednesday, June 19, 2019, during day two of Walmart's annual Open Call event at the Walmart Home Office in Bentonville. ( Ben Goff)

Arkansas has gained a top 10 ranking for overall cost of doing business in a national survey of site-selection experts.

The state ranked eighth in cost of doing business in the survey conducted by Area Development magazine. Site-selection consultants work with numerous industries to help them find the right location for new or expanded operations. Overall cost of doing business is a top consideration for industries looking at new locations.

"Having a low cost of doing business definitely helps our recruiting efforts, especially in the manufacturing sector," said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, who noted that manufacturers can find skilled workers in Arkansas at competitive rates. "These companies also need land and buildings, regardless of whether they rent or lease. While site costs aren't quite as important as proximity to infrastructure, they still play a role in many companies' decisions to locate or expand here."

Arkansas finished 14th in the main category of doing business in a state. That evaluation considered 12 areas that included overall cost of doing business, labor environment, business incentive programs, utility rates, workforce development programs, corporate tax environment and speed of permitting, among others.

Georgia placed first in the main category for the sixth year in a row.

The top states were determined through a survey of site-location consultants and specialists. They are experts in evaluating which states have the friendliest tax or regulatory environments, which lead in workforce development and which have the most competitive cost of doing business, the magazine noted.

Overall cost of doing business is an essential location factor for businesses. Preston noted that the ranking is a boost for Arkansas.

"Businesses of all sizes want to make money, and the more money they can save through such things as wages, rental costs and utilities means more profits for the company," he said.

"Those profits can be used to increase wages, invest back into the company in growth and equipment, and even invest back into local communities. Being ranked as a state with low costs of doing business by the leading magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation is certainly helpful for the state."

The magazine also ranked Arkansas sixth in speed of permitting, which relates to a state's regulatory environment and the potential burdens that can be placed on business operations.

Business on 10/10/2019

Print Headline: State's business climate lauded


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