These may be far from the best of times, but they are no longer the worst. Last year's annual "Best Cities for Jobs" list was by far the most dismal since we began compiling our rankings almost five years ago. Between 2009 and 2010, only 13 of 397 metropolitan areas experienced any growth at all. For this year's list, which measured job growth in the period between January 2010 and January 2011, most of the best-performing areas experienced actual employment increases -- even if they were modest.
For Forbes' list of the best cities for jobs, we ranked all 398 current metropolitan statistical areas, based on employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported from November 1999 to January 2011. Rankings are based on recent growth trends, mid-term growth and long-term growth and momentum. We also broke down rankings by size -- small, medium and large -- since regional economies differ markedly due to their scale.
Chief Executive magazine listed Texas the #1 state to do business after surveying 550 CEO's from across America.
"More than 500 CEOs considered a wide range of criteria, from taxation and regulation to workforce quality and living environment, in our annual ranking of the best states for business. The charts and articles in this special report and at http://www.chiefexecutive.net/states2011 show how each state fares on the factors most essential for a business-friendly environment—as well as what states are doing to attract and retain companies in the increasingly competitive battle to win site selection."
When a group of legislators proposed a trip to the state capitol of Texas to see what they do right that California does wrong, I first thought "I don't need to go because I'm a business owner and I know why businesses are leaving California -- we're over-regulated, we're taxed too much, and there's a constant war being waged against business and job creators."
But I decided to go -- at my own expense -- and in those three days, I heard first-hand testimony from political and business leaders in Texas and came away with great respect for their political leadership , something sorely missing here but something I hope to restore.
When our company recently expanded the number of its restaurants in Texas, I was startled to receive a call from Gov. Rick Perry thanking me for our decision.
In the 10 years I've been CEO of CKE Restaurants, no governor had ever made such a gesture. Perry went further during our conversation and asked what it would take to move our headquarters from California to Texas.
It wasn't your usual legislative hearing. A group of largely Republican California lawmakers and Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom traveled here last week to hear from businesses that have left their state to set up shop in Texas.
"We came to learn why they would pick up their roots and move in order to grow their businesses," says GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue, who organized the trip. "Why does Chief Executive magazine rate California the worst state for job and business growth and Texas the best state?"
The contrast is undeniable. Texas has added 165,000 jobs during the last three years while California has lost 1.2 million. California's jobless rate is 12% compared to 8% in Texas.
Gov. Rick Perry today announced the state is investing $2.8 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) in eBay Inc. for the expansion of its Austin facility. This investment will create 1,050 high-paying jobs and generate an estimated $5.1 million in capital investment.
Recently, Governor Perry announced that idX Corp. would build a manufacturing facility in Cuero and create 125 jobs because of an investment by the Texas Enterprise Fund.
"To have an international company of the stature of idX locate here is a testament to Cuero's pro-business climate and commitment to manufacturing," Cuero Development Corporation Executive Director Randall Malik said. "Our ideal location for manufacturing and the Texas Enterprise Fund played a significant role in idX's decision to locate in Cuero."
At a ceremony in Richardson, Governor Perry announced a new corporate headquarter in Texas that will create more than 400 jobs.
"I have the great privilege today to announce Richardson will be home to the new corporate headquarters for Virtual Computing Environment, with a $2.45 million Texas Enterprise Fund investment helping close the deal that will bring hundreds of new jobs to town."