More proof of why business works in the South. In this excellent piece, Joel Kotkin explains:
The South’s advantages come in no small part from decisions that many Northern liberals detest—lack of unions, lower wages, and less stringent environment laws. But for many Southerners, particularly in rural areas, a job at the Toyota plant with a $15-an-hour starting salary, and full medical benefits, is a vast improvement over a minimum-wage job at Wal-Mart, much less your father’s fate chopping cotton on a tenant farm.
And the business-friendly policies that keep costs down appeal to investors. Ten of the top 12 states for locating new plants are in the former confederacy, according to a recent study by Site Selection magazine. In 2011 the two largest capital investments in North America —both tied to natural-gas production—were in Louisiana.
More recently, the region—led by Texas—has moved up the value-added chain, seizing a fast-growing share of the jobs in higher-wage fields such as auto and aircraft manufacturing, aerospace, technology, and energy. Southern economic growth has now outpaced the rest of the country for a generation and it now constitutes by far the largest economic region in the country. A recent analysis by Trulia projects the edge will widen over the rest of this decade, owing to factors including the region’s lower costs and warmer weather.
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