July 10, 2017

With nearly $6.8 billion in corporate investments this year, Kentucky shatters all-time record

State also on pace to create most new jobs since 2006


Since Gov. Matt Bevin stood in front of the Capitol this spring and announced a record-shattering corporate-investment high for Kentucky, the state attracted another $1 billion-plus in new projects, which rocketed this year’s planned investments to nearly $6.8 billion.

Halfway through 2017, the state far outpaced its previous, full-year record from 2015 of $5.1 billion in new corporate investment. The 87 individual corporate projects also put Kentucky on pace this year to create the greatest number of new jobs in a decade. Through June, nearly 10,500 new jobs have been announced. And the numbers for both jobs and investment are increasing daily.

“The net result is a sense of enthusiasm within the business community like never before about Kentucky. The world truly is watching the commonwealth, and we’re just getting warmed up,” Gov. Bevin said.

Three billion-plus-dollar announcements spearhead this year’s economic development success. In January, Amazon announced it would locate its Prime Air hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Hebron, a $1.49 billion investment that will create 2,700 jobs.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown, followed with plans to invest $1.33 billion for its Reborn project that secures its 8,200 jobs and overhauls the facility to increase manufacturing flexibility.

Braidy Industries was the third company to announce a billion-dollar enterprise with the announcement it will construct a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill in Greenup County in Eastern Kentucky, which will create 550 full-time jobs.

In June, Ford announced it would invest $900 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant to gear up production of the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, full-size SUVs that feature high-strength aluminum-alloy bodies for the first time. The Louisville facility also produces the Super Duty pickups and chassis-cab trucks.

Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, noted the investments and jobs slated for smaller cities and rural counties can mean just as much.

“Dozens of other projects announced this year also propelled Kentucky to its all-time investment record. They form the fabric of job opportunities and economic stability that stretches across the state. In many senses, the 10 and 35 and 50-job projects are just as important as the billion-dollar investments,” Sec. Gill said.

“Achieving these results truly takes strong relationships between governments, businesses, educational institutions and non-profits. This success speaks to Kentucky’s tremendous network of city, county and regional developers, utility providers and higher education organizations. From rapid coordination across state agencies to establishing custom workforce programs that will train employees for years to come – the efforts by all partners make the case why businesses should think Kentucky.”

Among the 87 projects announced are 58 manufacturing-related and 29 in the service and technology sector. Top industries include distribution and logistics, automotive, general manufacturing and primary metals production.

Through mid-year, announced investments by existing industries were 303 percent higher than in the same period in 2016. And, in the last six months, investment by new companies coming to Kentucky was 711 percent greater than during the same period last year. By dollar amount Japan, India and Germany rank as the state’s top international investors.

Kentucky’s low costs of housing, innovative workforce-training and pipeline programs, and its ideal location within 600 miles of 65 percent of the US population all make it a top choice for new business locations and expansions.

Twenty interstates and highways, major rail networks, barge traffic on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, six commercial airports and dozens of regional airports all serve Kentucky businesses. As well, electricity costs for industrial use are nearly 20 percent lower than the national average.

Kentucky holds a leading position in air cargo capability, offering the UPS Worldport and Centennial ground hub in Louisville, DHL Americas hub and Amazon Prime Air in Northern Kentucky and several large FedEx facilities throughout the state. This strong distribution logistics presence allows products to move anywhere in the world virtually overnight.

The commonwealth’s geographic advantage as a gateway between the Midwest and South, make it an ideal location for engineering and manufacturing operations including steel and aluminum-related operations. A strong automotive, appliance and aerospace presence –including factory systems designers and integrators – provide new and expanding businesses with ready sources of raw materials, finished components, expertise and customers.

Other core and high-growth sectors include food and beverage production – which encompasses the bourbon and spirits industry – technology, healthcare research and development and chemicals and rubber production.

To learn more about Kentucky’s advantages for businesses, visit www.ThinkKentucky.com.

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