COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio was ranked No. 4 in Site Selection magazine’s annual business climate rankings, up from seventh in 2008.

The Buckeye State’s jump in the rankings is a reflection of the state’s efforts to improve its business environment and create jobs for people living in the state, according to Gov. Ted Strickland’s office.

“The global recession hit Ohio hard, but we refuse to let our challenges define us,” Strickland said.

Ohio leads the Midwestern states on the list. North Carolina was ranked No. 1, followed by Texas and Virginia. Other states ranked in the top 10 include Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Kentucky.

North Carolina has been No. 1 on the list eight times in the past nine years.

Site Selection’s annual business climate rankings are determined by performance in Conway Data’s New Plant Database, which tracks new and expanded business facility activity and by a national survey of corporate selectors. Ohio’s performance in the executive survey helped the state jump from 17th in 2008 to eighth in 2009, according to the governor’s office.

Texas, North Carolina and Georgia topped the executive survey.

“Business executives continue to discover that Ohio is a great place for capital investment,” said Lisa Patt-McDaniel, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “Ohio’s improved rank in this Site Selection poll demonstrates our commitment to an economic development strategy that makes our state the best place in the nation to do business.”