FRANKFORT, Ky. — The 2022 Governor’s Cup rankings have been released, with Kentucky placing second nationally in economic projects per capita – up from ninth place last year – and first in the South Central region. The state also secured the ninth spot in the country for total qualifying projects, moving up two spots from the previous year.
Kentucky also took the second spot in the South Central region for overall qualifying projects and secured 11 of the Top 100 Micropolitan areas – cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 – and tied for third nationally with 40 micropolitan projects. Those communities include Bardstown, Glasgow and London in the Top 20, followed by Murray, Frankfort, Richmond-Berea, Paducah, Campbellsville, Mayfield, Maysville and Middlesborough.
“Kentucky is an economic powerhouse, and the success we’re seeing is thanks to the people of the commonwealth who are welcoming these businesses with open arms and helping them succeed in communities across the state,” said Gov. Beshear. “These awards are a huge honor, and it’s exciting to see Kentuckians working together to secure that lasting prosperity so every child can chase their dreams right here in our commonwealth.”
Three Kentucky companies – Envision AESC, Ford Motor Co. and Novelis Corp. – were also recently recognized with 2023 Corporate Investment/Community Impact (CiCi) Awards from Trade & Industry Development, which highlight projects that bring extensive capital investment or influential impact to the communities in which they locate.
Envision AESC, which announced a $2 billion investment to build a new, state-of-the-art gigafactory producing electric vehicle batteries in Bowling Green that will create 2,000 skilled jobs in the region, received a CiCi Award for Corporate Investment.
Ford Motor Co.’s $700 million investment in Louisville creating 500 full-time jobs for production of the all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty truck was recognized with a CiCi Award for Community Impact, as was Novelis’ $365 million investment to construct a new recycling center in Todd County that is creating 140 well-paying jobs.
This year represents the 17th edition of Trade & Industry Development’s CiCi Awards, as 30 projects from across the country were highlighted across the two separate award categories, including Kentucky’s three award-winning announcements.
In addition to the commonwealth’s strong Governor’s Cup placement nationally, several Kentucky communities were recognized by Site Selection for their economic success in 2022.
The Louisville/Jefferson County region placed fifth in projects per capita for metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million and ranked as the eighth best metro in the East North Central region. Lexington/Fayette County placed 10th among best metros for the South Central region.
Bowling Green placed second in total projects for metros with populations below 200,000 for the second consecutive year and ranked fourth in projects per capita. The Elizabethtown-Fort Knox area joined Bowling Green in the per-capita Top 10, with the community’s announcements placing it in fifth place for overall projects, one spot higher than last year’s rankings, and seventh in projects per capita.
Since 1988, Atlanta-based Site Selection has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually to the U.S. state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the Conway Projects Database. The rankings are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as an industry scoreboard. The magazine’s circulation reaches 42,000 executives in corporate site selection decision-making.
In 2022, Kentucky had 248 new-location and expansion announcements, according to data from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Those projects include $10.5 billion in new investments and 18,000-plus jobs. The commitments also include the second-highest average incentivized hourly wage since 2010 at $26.78, a 11.5% increase over the previous year.
Kentucky’s recognition in both the 2022 Governor’s Cup and 2023 CiCi Awards furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 43,700 full-time jobs and 838 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24.7 billion in announced investments.
With the books closed on 2022, the Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.
That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
Gov. Beshear also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy. In addition, Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy-day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.