Where Should I Relocate My Company? It May Not Be Where You Think

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If you are a Midwestern businessman considering relocating your company, the first two destinations that come to mind are probably Texas and Florida. After all, both states garner national recognition for being very welcoming to business, and neither has a state income tax. Both have high-profile governors aggressively pursuing out-of-state businesses with all manner of enticements. But, overall, these two states play second fiddle to the state of South Dakota.

Granted, winters in South Dakota are a bit chillier than winters in Florida and Texas. OK, maybe a lot chillier — but the climate for businesses and their employees is warm and inviting. No personal income tax? Check! No corporate tax? Check! How about no individual capital gains tax? Check there, too.

According to a poll conducted by, in 2013, the state of South Dakota has an overall ranking of number one when compared head-to-head in 51 relevant categories. Categories include things like the cost of doing business, the state economy as a whole, the strength of the workforce, business friendliness, and overall quality of life. The report goes on to say that these weighted categories result in the overall criteria that the states actually use to sell themselves. South Dakota can also tout a low (3.9%) unemployment rate.

Retail, finance, and healthcare make up the primary service industries in the state. Back In 1981, Citibank established significant operations in South Dakota in order to take advantage of its favorable banking regulations; the company employs more than 3,000 people there today. The government comprises another important segment of the state’s economy. Ellsworth Air Force Base is the second-largest employer in the state.

Then there is South Dakota’s seat at the table in the oil and natural gas boom. On April 30, 2013, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released an updated oil and gas resource assessment for the Bakken Formation and a new assessment for the Three Forks Formation, involving North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota. The updated assessment for Bakken and Three Forks represents a twofold increase over what has previously been thought, meaning more energy-sector jobs being created in all three states.

So, with all things now considered, the new home for your business and your employees may be a bit farther north than you previously thought.