North Carolina is second in the U.S. for business climates, according to a from Chief Executive magazine.

Georgia, meanwhile, is fourth and South Carolina is ninth in the fifth annual survey of 543 CEOs.

in the “Best & Worst States” survey for the fourth consecutive year.

CEOs were asked to rank states based on taxation and regulation, work force quality and living environment.

“Texas and the Carolinas are great for business,” said one CEO in the survey. “South Carolina’s Research Authority is exemplary in terms of creating new economic growth, and Texas is strategically centered (and) has low taxes and outstanding demographics.”

North Carolina was third in the 2008 survey.

“Our survey, year-over-year proves that those states with the worst records continue to practice the same policies that alienate businesses,” said JP Donlon, the editor in chief of Chief Executive. “As the nation’s economic problems continue to snowball and an increasing number of states experience budgetary problems, state governments ought to take a hard look at their taxation and unionization policies if they want to turn the page and attract new businesses and capital to their provinces.”

As in previous surveys, California and New York ranked as the worst states in which to do business. Michigan ranked third worst for the second straight year.

“Michigan and California literally need to do a 180 if they are ever to become competitive again,” one CEO told the magazine. “California has huge advantages with its size, quality of work force, particularly in high tech, as well as the quality of life and climate advantages of the state. However, it is an absolute regulatory and tax disaster, as is Michigan.”

In the nine categories ranked by the CEO survey, North Carolina finished best in work force (third) and 10th in business friendliness as well as access to capital.

The rankings:

  • Cost of Business, 22
  • Technology & Innovation, 18
  • Transportation, 15
  • Business Friendliness, 10
  • Work force, 3
  • Economy, 23
  • Education, 27
  • Quality of Life, 38
  • Access to Capital, 10

Georgia ranked best in transportation (second) and shared third with North Carolina in work force.

Georgia’s rankings:

  • Cost of Business, 16
  • Technology & Innovation, 16
  • Transportation, 2
  • Business Friendliness, 14
  • Work force, 3
  • Economy, 31
  • Education, 32
  • Quality of Life, 42
  • Access to Capital, 14

South Carolina’s best ranking came in work force (second) followed by transportation (fourth) and cost of business (ninth).

The S.C. rankings:

  • Cost of Business, 9
  • Technology & Innovation, 31
  • Transportation, 4
  • Business Friendliness, 28
  • Work force, 2
  • Economy, 39
  • Education, 37
  • Quality of Life, 49
  • Access to Capital, 25