Georgia’s superb business climate

When Gov. Nathan Deal took office in January 2011, he made a promise that he wouldn’t stop until Georgia was the No. 1 place in the country to do business.

He kept that promise.

Earlier this month, Gov. Deal announced that Georgia is the No. 1 place for business in the United States, according to Site Selection magazine’s annual rankings of states based on their attractiveness to corporate facility investors.

Not only is this trade publication ranking a testament to the governor’s dedication to improving our state’s business climate, it also speaks to the commitment from our partners, communities and citizens.

I am thrilled to be part of an organization that has become a catalyst for the more than 75,000 jobs and more than $14 billion in investment in the state since 2011. These jobs and investment numbers, supported by close to 400 company relocation or expansion announcements, have seen an 86 percent job increase and 70 percent investment increase since 2008. It’s no wonder our state is climbing in the rankings of CNBC, Entrepreneur, Forbes and Site Selection magazines.

Georgia’s outstanding year in global commerce is a byproduct of our pro-business environment. When companies look to relocate or expand, they mainly consider the efficiency of a state’s logistics network, the quality of the workforce and the low cost of doing business. These key aspects have been the foundation from which our No. 1 business climate has been built.

Today’s businesses are more globalized than ever. A company’s need to access key global markets remains vital to staying ahead of competition. Sixteen of Georgia’s Fortune 500 companies can access 80 percent of the U.S. market using Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Ourtransportation network, including 5,000 miles of rail, connects in less than two days to 80 percent of the U.S. market. Georgia’s deep-water ports host more than 40 lines of shipping service and assist companies in gaining access to 70 percent of the nation’s population.

A primary building block of Georgia’s business climate is our highly skilled workforce. The state ranks No. 1 in workforce development and has one of the largest university systems in the U.S. It houses more than 50,000 annual graduates from 31 public colleges and universities. Georgia Quick Start, our workforce program, has trained more than 1 million Georgians and continues to be one of our greatest resources.

These are exciting times for our state, and we will continue to advocate Georgia as the best place to do business.

Chris Carr is commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.