AEDI/Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States Minimize the Impact of Automation on Middle Class & Unemployment

aediCHICAGO-(July 16, 2014)-“Rapid technological advances will spread a new wave of automation across the U.S., increasing unemployment, depressing American consumer spending and further shrinking the middle class. It is a Catch 22-we need automated manufacturing if we are to compete internationally, but this means fewer jobs,” says economist and corporate relocation expert Dr. Ron Pollina in the just-released Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2014, co-published with the American Economic Development Institute ( ).

“That means the middle class will spend less on discretionary items, which will result in decreased income for businesses producing products and services for the domestic market, thereby pressuring these companies to lay off workers. This is the cycle the American people and American companies servicing the domestic market are currently caught up in,” Dr. Pollina explains.

“But a handful of states have shown exemplary leadership in growing their economies and employment base while countering these trends by improving their business environment, adding new companies and growing existing companies. These states have broken the bonds that hold others back and positioned themselves for success today, tomorrow and the remainder of the decade, which is a remarkable achievement in the aftermath of the Great Recession.”

The Pollina Corporate annual 50-state ranking indicates how well each state has or has not positioned itself to retain and create jobs as well as sustain America’s middle class. Now in its eleventh edition, the study has also become an important tool for corporations to evaluate their current and future U.S. locations.

One state stands above all others. Brent Pollina, Vice President of Park Ridge, Illinois-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate and co-author of the 2014 study, says Utah is a symbol of economic growth that other states should emulate.

“Under Governor Gary Herbert‘s leadership, Utah has held the top position for the third year in a row. In 2005, Utah ranked #23 and by 2012 it ranked #1 moving up in rank 22 places in only seven years,” he explains. “Utah is a great example of what enlightened and motivated political leadership can accomplish with a solid plan. Like the early Utah pioneers, the recent political leaders of Utah have relied on their own ‘industry’ to prosper.”

Michigan is the Most Improved State for 2014 because of a spectacular 21-position climb in rank from 2011 to 2013. Their Most Improved State status reflects political leadership that has come to grips with 21st century international competition for jobs and business investment. Certainly, two of the state’s boldest moves were to pass Right-to-Work legislation and repeal of the maligned MBT business tax.

The Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2014 are: 1) Utah 2) Wyoming 3) Nebraska 4) Virginia 5) Kansas 6) North Dakota 7) Indiana 8) Missouri 9) South Carolina and 10) South Dakota.

The study, considered the most comprehensive, unbiased and unvarnished by the economic development industry, is the “Gold Standard” for evaluating and ranking states based on 32 factors controlled by state government, including taxes, human resources, education, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, regulatory environment, workers compensation laws, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts.

The states suffering the greatest drop in the study-Oklahoma and New Mexico-also deserve special attention so their leadership can modify their economic strategy in order to keep pace with their peers. California moved from #49 to dead last in 2014, a spot it has occupied for 10 of 11 years.

2014 – Pro-Business 50-State Ranking

Rank State   Rank State
1 Utah   26 Tennessee
2 Wyoming   27 Texas
3 Nebraska   28 Delaware
4 Virginia   29 Maryland
5 Kansas   30 New York
6 North Dakota   31 Kentucky
7 Indiana   32 Arkansas
8 Missouri   33 Alaska
9 South Carolina   34 Washington
10 South Dakota   35 New Mexico
11 North Carolina   36 Hawaii
12 Alabama   37 Oregon
13 Idaho   38 New Hampshire
14 Iowa   39 Pennsylvania
15 Florida   40 Minnesota
16 Louisiana   41 Massachusetts
17 Nevada   42 Vermont
18 Michigan   43 Connecticut
19 Arizona   44 Maine
20 Oklahoma   45 West Virginia
21 Mississippi   46 Wisconsin
22 Georgia   47 New Jersey
23 Ohio   48 Rhode Island
24 Montana   49 Illinois
25 Colorado   50 California



AEDI is a nonpartisan public policy and economics research institution whose mission is to improve the American economy by fostering economic growth and prosperity through employment creation and international trade. AEDI also seeks to improve federal, state and local economic development planning in the United States. Through research, training, conferences, demonstration projects, publications and multimedia, AEDI provides the highest quality, nonpartisan analysis and evaluation for federal, state and local economic development planning and policy decisions.