Compiled ByDeborah Austin In the perception of American corporate executives, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina rank as having the top-three "most favorable" business climates this year while California has fallen from favor, suggest survey findings from Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York marketing firm specializing in economic development. In previous survey editions (1999 and 1996), the three Southern states consistently made top-five "most-favorable." But California, which was the second "most-favorable" in 1999, garnered 2002's "least favorable" slot (57% of respondents) followed by New York (36%). "California remains not a world leader in technology and innovation, but the world leader," reports Rob DeRocker, executive vice president, DCI. "These survey results do nothing to take away from that. But they may be cause for pause among [the state's] economic development leadership, because of the perception of the current business climate there." The most likely facility involved in respondents' next move or expansion? Manufacturing/production plant was cited by 44% of executives, a huge shift from only 20% in 1999.