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Charlotte ranked No. 1 in business climate survey

Charlotte has been ranked as having the best business climate in a survey of U.S. site selectors, beating Atlanta, Chicago and other major cities.

The results of the survey, conducted by New York-based Development Counsellors International, were released today.

The survey, which polled 228 location advisers, had 61 respondents. It was conducted over two weeks in November.

Location advisers help companies find cities to open or expand operations.

According to the results:

• Charlotte ranked No. 1 in business climate, beating out Atlanta; Chicago; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; Nashville; Tenn.; Raleigh-Durham; and Richmond, Va.;

• Of the location advisers who have explored the Charlotte region for a project, 26 percent reported that the region was chosen because of an appropriately skilled work force, the accessibility of the region to the market and the quality and availability of incentives;

• The top industry associated with the Charlotte region is financial services and insurance. Awareness of some of the region’s growing sectors — energy and environment; defense, security and aerospace; and health and life sciences — exists but they do not rank as highly.

“The consultants know the region and they view it very favorably. That’s great news for Charlotte,” said Andy Levine, DCI president and chief creative officer.

“If there is a concern, it is that the region’s image is so closely tied to the banking and finance sector,” he said. “Communicating assets in other industries — energy, life sciences, defense and others — is needed.”

Ernie Reigel, co-chairman of the Charlotte Public Relations Campaign Board, called the survey “an important step in benchmarking the perceptions of Charlotte held by an audience that’s important to our continued economic growth. We are pleased with the overall positive impression that our region has and now have a clearer understanding of which of our economic strengths need increased awareness through the media relations campaign.”

The survey is part of a national and international media relations program — being handled by Charlotte-based in partnership with DCI — to promote the Charlotte region. Charlotte Center City Partners, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Regional Partnership launched the campaign, which Advantage Carolina, a Charlotte nonprofit focused on economic development, is funding.

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