FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 3, 2015) – The nation is taking notice of Kentucky’s record-breaking 2014 economic development efforts.
Gov. Steve Beshear today announced that Kentucky placed first nationally in Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for new and expanded industry activity per capita in 2014.
Site Selection editor Mark Arend presented the Governor’s Cup trophy to Gov. Beshear at a ceremony today at the state capitol in Frankfort.
“Winning the prestigious Governor’s Cup is a true honor,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky works extremely hard to build and maintain relationships with our companies, and we go the extra mile to support their plans for growth. The Governor’s Cup speaks to the dedication of everyone in this state who’s working to build Kentucky’s economy, grow jobs and create success for our industries, our communities and all Kentuckians.”
Last year, Kentucky announced more than 350 new location and expansion projects, which are projected to create nearly 15,000 jobs and more than $3.7 billion in new investment. That is the most business investment in Kentucky since the state started recording investment data nearly 30 years ago.
This economic development activity has been a contributing factor in the dramatic decrease in Kentucky’s unemployment rate. Kentucky is at its lowest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent in seven years – down from 10.7 percent in 2008. Jobless rates have dropped in every single county year-to-year in four of the past five months.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Coincident Index, which measures wages, unemployment rates and payrolls, Kentucky’s economic activity reached an all-time high last year. Much of Kentucky’s economic growth can be attributed to the expansion of companies already in the Commonwealth. Last year, nearly 70 percent of the state’s announced new investment and new jobs came from existing Kentucky businesses looking to expand.
“Though we still have plenty of work to do, this is a very exciting time for Kentucky’s economy,” said Secretary Larry Hayes with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “More and more companies are seeing the value of doing business in the Commonwealth, and the ones that are already here are growing. Winning the Governor’s Cup shows that what we’re doing to help businesses succeed is working.”
Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, has rated the states annually since 1978. The ranking is based on a state’s total number of qualified projects as tracked by Conway Data Inc.’s New Plant database. Qualified projects include those that meet at least one of three criteria:
- Involve a capital investment of at least $1 million,
- Create 50 or more jobs, or
- Add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space.
Corporate real estate analysts regard the rankings as an “industry scoreboard.” The magazine’s circulation base consists of 48,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions.
“Not only did Kentucky win the Governor’s Cup for the most new projects per capita, but it also placed sixth in the ranking of states with the most total qualifying projects,” said Arend. “This demonstrates to our readership that the Commonwealth is competing quite effectively with states of all sizes for capital investment.”
In addition to the Governor’s Cup, Site Selection recognizes top metropolitan and micropolitan areas for their economic development successes. The Top 10 Metro Areas Ranking includes Cincinnati/northern Kentucky (ranked third) and Louisville (eighth) in the top tier category (population over 1 million), and Bowling Green (fourth) in the tier three category (population less than 200,000).
Kentucky also had 10 communities make the magazine’s Top Micropolitans list. Those communities include: Paducah, Danville, Campbellsville, Frankfort, Glasgow, Mount Sterling, Maysville, Madisonville, London and Fulton/Union City.
The article and rankings can be viewed in their entirety at www.siteselection.com.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2015 totaled a state record $5.1 billion, spurring more than 16,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.