FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky continued its strong economic development success as ranked by Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings in 2018, earning the top ranking in the South Central region and second nationally per capita. The commonwealth also moved into the top 5 nationally for total projects for the first time since 2015, ahead of numerous states with greater populations.
Kentucky also performed well in the metropolitan and micropolitan rankings, highlighted by Bowling Green’s top placement among metros with populations of 50,000 – 200,000.
“We are grateful that Kentucky’s strong business environment and record-breaking economic growth are reflected in Site Selection’s most recent rankings,” Gov. Bevin said. “Even with our modest population size relative to other states, Kentucky consistently ranks among the national leaders in total projects. We are relentless in our mission to make the Bluegrass State the premier location for engineering and manufacturing, as well as for new and expanding businesses of all types. Additionally, the inclusion of several Kentucky communities on Site Selection’s metropolitan and micropolitan rankings signifies a truly statewide focus on unleashing our vast economic potential. Congratulations to each community recognized through this year’s Governor’s Cup rankings.”
The rankings mark the fifth consecutive year Kentucky has earned a top-2 placement in the per-capita competition. In addition, three Kentucky communities were named to Site Selection’s Top 10 Metro Areas list. Bowling Green (16 projects) earned first place among metros with populations less than 200,000; Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati (103 projects) ranked sixth among metros with populations over 1 million; and Lexington (23 projects) tied for eighth within the 200,000 to 1 million category. Danville cracked the Top Micropolitans list with seven projects. Kentucky also tied for second among states with the most top micropolitan areas appearing on the list – cities between 10,000 and 50,000 – with 40 projects representing 10 communities.
In 2018, Texas led the way nationally with 608 qualifying projects, followed by Ohio (454) and Illinois (444). Georgia (300) and Kentucky (228) rounded out the top 5, as Kentucky pushed ahead of North Carolina and California from the previous year. Nebraska, the top ranked state per capita in 2018, reported 118 economic development projects during the year.
Last year, Kentucky announced 374 new location and expansion projects, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Those are expected to create more than 14,500 jobs across the coming years and nearly $5.3 billion in investment. Site Selection counts 228 of those projects toward its rankings. For inclusion in the magazine’s database, qualifying projects must meet one or more of these criteria: a minimum capital investment of $1 million, 20 or more new jobs created and 20,000 or more square feet of new space.
“We want to thank our economic development partners throughout the state for helping to make the past year a success. We could not accomplish what we do year in and year out without the support of local economic development teams in communities throughout the state,” said Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “We also recognize there is still room for growth, and we fully believe there are even bigger things to come for Kentucky in the years ahead.”
Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988 to the US state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the Conway Projects Database.
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.
The Cabinet for Economic Development’s 2018 report on new and expanding industry projects can be found here.