North Carolina ranks second and Georgia third among the 50 states for having the best business climate, according to .

Texas ranks first, as it has in the survey of US corporate executives since 1999. The survey is conducted every three years.

Respondents cited availability, quality and cost of labor, overall operating costs and efficient transportation systems as the top three in forming their opinions.

California, New York and Michigan ranked as having the worst business climates.

Outside of the U.S., the best places for investment are China, India and Mexico. The 2008 survey is the first in which executives were asked about the best foreign countries for business.

Among 281 respondents, Texas received 40.8 percent of the votes as tops for business. North Carolina was second at 30.4 percent, and Georgia was third at 20.4 percent.

"With the battle for business more intense than ever, states and their economic development organizations need to pay close attention to the results of this survey," said DCI President Andrew Levine in a statement. "Whether accurate or misguided, perceptions about a location’s business climate often play a crucial role in site selection decisions and where companies invest money and create jobs."

Executives with site-selection responsibilities cited five key factors in gathering information about state business climates:

• Dialogue with industry peers, 61%
• Articles in newspapers and magazines, 53%
• Business travel, 43%
• Meetings with economic development groups, 32%
• Online sources, 28%

The top five states for business:

1. Texas, 40.8%
2. North Carolina, 30.4%
3. Georgia, 20.4%
4. Tennessee, 15.2% (tie)
4. Florida, 15.2% (tie)

The five worst states:

1. California, 72.3%
2. New York, 42.4%
3. Michigan, 16.8%
4. New Jersey, 13.6%
5. Massachusetts, 12%

Best foreign countries for investment:

1. China, 53.2%
2. India, 45.1%
3. Mexico, 30.1%
4. United Kingdom, 25.4%
5. Canada, 22%