Best States for Manufacturing in 2022

by Josh Bays, on Sep 21, 2022 9:42:20 AM

Site Selection Group, a full-service location advisory, economic incentives and real estate services firm, helps manufacturing companies find the optimal location by employing an objective top-down approach to site selection. This top-down select process requires the application of innovative analyses and filters until the most competitive locations are identified.

One of the most critical proprietary tools used by Site Selection Group is GeoCision®, a weighted model that can score and rank candidate geographies based on pertinent site selection variables.

Ranking states by competitiveness for manufacturing investment

Each year, Site Selection Group utilizes GeoCision® to score and rank states based on their competitiveness for corporate investment (Best States for Manufacturing). This year, rather than simply scoring states, we took a more granular approach by scoring and ranking every metropolitan and micropolitan area (MSA) in the lower 48 states based on key variables important to manufacturing projects. We then averaged the scores of every MSA within each state to produce a state score.

Although location criteria are unique to each specific project’s needs, there are standard site selection drivers that typically drive most manufacturing location decisions. A company’s ability to hire and retain a qualified workforce, as well as its ability to receive and ship goods in a cost-effective and timely manner are typically the most influential factors that drive final site selection decisions. However, business environment, regulatory climate, utilities, infrastructure, real estate and economic incentives also play an important role in the process. Since no location is going to score the best in each of these categories, the optimal location for a project is one that has a good balance of these characteristics and no critical deficiencies.

Variables and weightings used in Site Selection Group’s Best States for Manufacturing

In our 2022 rankings, Site Selection Group scored states based on the following categories and weightings.

Category Weighting Summary
Labor Availability 40% Measures population statistics & projections, fundamental demographics, and occupation supply & demand 
Labor Cost 15% Assess current workforce costs, wage escalation and other pertinent economic data (cost of living, housing costs, etc.)
Operating Costs & Conditions 25% Assesses all pertinent taxes, organized labor trends, utility costs and business continuity
Transportation & Logistics 20% Measures population base within a one-day truck drive time, distance to a major port and airport capabilities 


2022 Best States for Manufacturing

The table and interactive map below shows the results of the 2022 rankings. The top five states in Site Selection Group’s 2022 Best States for Manufacturing are South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia. Their success is due in large part to favorable demographics and migration patterns, a strong manufacturing presence, low cost of doing business, access to consumer bases and proximity to major ports.

But despite these rankings, states that might not score as well still have their own unique value proposition as each project has its custom needs and supply chains.


Topics:Distribution CentersEconomic IncentivesSite Selection GroupSite SelectionLocation Advisory



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