The cantons have attractive tax rates, large numbers of skilled workers and good transportation links, the bank’s annual “Locational Quality” study concludes.
The bank ranks Zug as the most attractive place overall for a company to locate, followed by the cantons of Zurich, Basel, Schwyz, Aargau, Nidwalden and Lucerne.
The canton of Nidwalden has the lowest company taxes in Switzerland, where cantons are empowered to set their own rates.
Following just behind are Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Lucerne, which cut its rates in 2011 and now has the lowest income tax in the country.
The cantons of Geneva (15th) and Vaud (20th) fare relatively poorly, which authors of the report acknowledge may be surprising given the recent high economic and population growth of the Lake Geneva region.
But one reason, the report says, is that the French-speaking cantons grant special tax concessions to certain companies that are not included in the statutory tax rates.
“It is therefore possible that the actual tax burden on businesses and private individuals is lower than that shown by our indicators.”
However, the report said that Switzerland will probably scrap such measures, which have "limited sustainability" and “some of the firms affected are already reported to be leaving”.
Geneva, ranked fifth last year, also scores behind central Switzerland when it comes to availability of skilled workers.
Rural and mountainous cantons are below the national average, with Jura ranked at the bottom of the “locational quality indicator” ahead of Valais and Jura.
“Their natural overall conditions — topography and distance to larger economic centres — make locational policy difficult,” the report says.
It notes that Switzerland remains dependent on immigrants who have moved to the country since 2000 to fill 17 percent of skilled jobs, a figure that rises to 25 percent int he Lake Geneva region.
While the cantons of central Switzerland stand out because of their low taxes, the report says that the two cantons of Basel (City and Country) score highly for their strong transportation systems, along with Zurich and Aargau.
In assessing accessibility in the country’s different cantons, economists for Credit Suisse for the first time included time wasted in time due to traffic congestion and calculated the extra time commuters need to get to urban centres.
Metropolitan Zurich has the highest accessibility scores, benefiting from a “densely populated conurbation that surrounds it by almost 360 degrees”.
Credit Suisse Research has produced its Locational Quality report annually since 1997 but for the latest report its authors said methodology was overhauled with more detailed information about such factors as transport, availability of skilled workers and accessibility of employees.
To check out the full report click here.