April 6, 2016

Kentucky wins second consecutive Governor's Cup

Site Selection magazine also recognizes Commonwealth communities, metros in national economic development rankings


Kentucky’s second consecutive win of Site Selection magazine’s Governor’s Cup, a nationally recognized award, highlights the state’s achievements in attracting the most industry activity per capita in 2015.

The magazine also ranked more than a dozen Kentucky metros and communities highly in national comparisons for their economic development success last year.

“I congratulate the Commonwealth’s cities and communities on their achievements and well-deserved national recognition,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “I am particularly grateful to the companies that recently located and expanded in Kentucky. We are going to build Kentucky’s reputation as a manufacturing hub with a well-trained workforce and a pro-business environment. As we add momentum to this trend, we look forward to bringing additional business investment to every corner of the Commonwealth.”

Site Selection’s Top 10 Metro Areas Ranking includes Northern Kentucky – fourth – and Louisville – seventh – for areas with populations exceeding 1 million. Lexington ranked eighth among communities with populations between 200,000 and 1 million. Bowling Green ranked second in areas with populations below 200,000.

A dozen Kentucky communities made the magazine’s Top Micropolitans list. Those include the following communities and counties:

  • Bardstown – Nelson County
  • Campbellsville – Taylor County
  • Danville – Boyle and Lincoln counties
  • Frankfort – Franklin and Anderson counties
  • Glasgow – Barren and Metcalfe counties
  • London – Laurel, Knox and Whitley counties
  • Madisonville – Hopkins County
  • Mayfield – Graves County
  • Maysville – Mason County
  • Mt. Sterling – Bath, Menifee and Montgomery counties
  • Paducah – Ballard, Livingston, McCracken counties and Massac County, Ill.
  • Somerset – Pulaski County

Last year, Kentucky announced more than 460 new location and expansion projects slated to create more than 16,000 jobs and $5.1 billion in investment, the highest single-year investment since the state began recording this data roughly 30 years ago. It far exceeds the 2014 record of $3.7 billion.

Thanks to continued economic development activity, Kentucky’s unemployment rate dipped as low as 4.9 percent in recent months, the lowest mark in nearly 15 years.

“We congratulate these communities for their hard work and success,” said Erik Dunnigan, Cabinet for Economic Development acting secretary. “At the same time, it’s our goal to stimulate and attract economic development in every Kentucky county, and we will continue working to help bring more jobs and opportunities to all parts of the state.”

The collected performance of Kentucky’s metros and communities gave it the edge to win the Governor’s Cup for per-capita development activity.

As well, for the first time, the Commonwealth broke into the top five state rankings for overall economic development regardless of population. That comes despite its population of 4.4 million, less than half of each of the four states it trails – Texas, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina. Texas received a Governor’s Cup for 2015 development activity regardless of population size.

“These are the same winning states in their respective categories as last year, and both are under new leadership in the governor’s office,” said Mark Arend, editor-in-chief of Site Selection, of Kentucky and Texas. “Both governors tell me they are very proud of the economic development professionals in their states who do the hard work year in and year out of attracting new businesses and retaining existing ones. And both are committed to maintaining and building on the capital investment success they currently enjoy.”

Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988 to the U.S. state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the Conway Projects Database. Qualified projects include those meeting at least one of three criteria:

  • Capital investment of at least $1 million
  • Creation of 50 or more jobs
  • Addition of 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 reaches 48,000 executives in corporate site selection decision making.

The full rankings can be viewed at www.siteselection.com.

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