Business leaders in Lufkin explain why Texas leads nation in new business creation

Business leaders in Lufkin explain why Texas leads nation in new business creation
Updated: Jul. 11, 2019 at 2:55 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - A study published by WalletHub put Texas in the top spot in the ranking of the best states to start a new business, and business leaders in Lufkin said the list couldn’t be more right.

For its study, WalletHub compared all 50 U.S. states across three elements: the overall business environment, access to resources, and business costs.

“I think people are looking at Texas because we have so many opportunities,” said Tara Watson-Watkins, president of the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce. “I think if the companies are looking at East Texas, the reason they’re looking at our area is because of location.”

Watson-Watkins explained that many areas of East Texas are on a direct route of Highway 69, there’s easy access for ports, which makes it easy for shipping, and East Texas is typically missed when it comes to major weather events, specifically hurricanes.

It takes people to make businesses run, and it appears location also gives businesses in East Texas the best opportunity in finding qualified workers.

“We have an outstanding, qualified workforce here, and we draw from a 12-county region of approximately 145,000 people,” said Bob Sanford, director of Lufkin Economic Development. “We’re seeing a lot people transitioning out of metroplexes into more rural settings, and we think Lufkin is poised to do that.”

The Lone Star State also nabbed the study’s top score for business environment. Texas saw the fourth-highest average growth in the number of small businesses among U.S. states in 2018, according to WalletHub.

Sanford took that statistic one step further; he said compared to the large metroplexes, which make up a large number of the jobs created in the state, Lufkin is not only outpacing smaller cities, but the largest ones as well, when broken down into comparative proportions.

“If we have 30,000 people and create 500 jobs, that’s proportional to 100,000 jobs in Houston, Austin, or Dallas,” Sanford explained.

Watson-Watkins added that the growing number of jobs being created in Lufkin and surrounding cities does more than offer opportunities to people living in the area, it promotes growth by bringing businesses which previously moved from the area.

“I think that people are starting to come back to this area because of the resources we have,” Watson-Watkins explained. “Whether it be timber, whether it be water; it’s a major resource manufacturers need and we have plenty of it.”

The runner-up behind Texas on WalletHub’s overall ranking is Utah, which is one of the top states for making financing accessible for business owners, according to WalletHub. Georgia ranked third.

Here at the Top 10 U.S. states for starting a new business, according to WalletHub:

  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Georgia
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Montana
  • Colorado

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