Kentucky Gains Five Spots on Chief Executive Magazine’s 2023 List of Best and Worst States for Business, Boosted by Booming Manufacturing Sector and Influx of New Investment

NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Chief Executive magazine’s annual list of the Best and Worst States for Business has ranked Kentucky as the 18th-best state overall, a significant jump from last year’s ranking. Kentucky’s booming manufacturing sector and influx of new investment have helped to propel the state forward and make it a top destination for businesses looking to grow and innovate.

The rankings, released in the Spring issue of Chief Executive, are based on a survey of more than 500 CEOs across the country who were asked to rate states based on how easy it was to do business in that state versus others. Kentucky’s focus on creating a business-friendly environment has helped to attract a number of major companies to the state, including Ford and Toyota.

Kentucky’s jump in the rankings is a testament to the state’s commitment to building a strong business climate and investing in workforce development,” said Chris Chalk, Publisher, Chief Executive magazine. “The state’s booming manufacturing sector and influx of new investment make it an attractive destination for businesses looking to grow and innovate.”

While the Bluegrass State has seen its share of challenges in recent years, it is flush with business opportunities and is becoming known as a manufacturing hub for everything from bourbon to electric vehicle batteries. In 2021, of the 21,000 jobs that were created statewide, 90% were in manufacturing, according to the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers. That momentum continued in 2022. Toyota, Ford, GE Appliances and AESC have made new investments or expansions here in the past couple of years.

“The state’s continued commitment to workforce development and investment in technology and infrastructure seem to have created a business-friendly environment that is attracting new investment and driving economic growth,” said Chalk. “CEOs seem to be taking note.”

Here’s what some of the CEOs we surveyed had to say about why they ranked Kentucky so highly:

  • “Economic development is booming in virtually all sectors.” – Donald H Lloyd II, President and CEO, St. Claire Healthcare
  • “Employer friendly policies” – Greg Batts, Prizer Point Marina & Resort, LLC,
  • “Low cost of doing business” – exporter of food packaging, <$5 mil 
  • “Lower cost of living and good access to skilled workers” – $25 to 49 mil, tech 
  • “Like bourbon and love the trail. Good, hard-working people not like states much further west.” – Ralph Costen, Costen Family of Floors 
  • “Low taxation.  Healthy, profitable state government.  Distribution.  Great workforce.” – $50 to 99 mil, pharma 

The Top 5 States for 2023:

1.  Texas
2.  Florida
3.  Tennessee
4.  North Carolina
5.  Arizona

The Bottom 5 States for 2023:

46. Oregon
47. New Jersey
48. Illinois
49. New York
50. California

Biggest Gain, 2022-23:
Kentucky, + 5 to 18th place

Biggest Loss, 2022-23
New Hampshire, – 7 to 28th place

See the full list in the Spring Issue of Chief Executive:

Enhanced Coverage online:

About Chief Executive/Chief Executive Group
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Dan Bigman

SOURCE Chief Executive Group