Site Selection magazine's annual Governor's Cup rankings placed Kentucky fourth in the nation for new and expanded industry activity per capita in 2013.
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. It's the first year Site Selection has ranked states on a per capita basis.
"This is another strong showing for Kentucky's economic development activity during 2013," said Gov. Steve Beshear. "The ranking reflects our dedication to economic growth, with a focus on attracting new businesses and supporting the expansion of our existing companies, reaching out to global markets through exporting, as well as encouraging innovation and showcasing all of the strategic advantages Kentucky offers."
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.
During 2013, Kentucky generated 163 projects that met the Site Selection criteria requirements. In total, 281 location or expansion announcements were reported in Kentucky, resulting in 14,058 projected new full-time jobs. Capital investment is estimated at nearly $3.3 billion.
"States that appear on our rankings of top locations for new projects are those with the location attributes most in demand by corporate site selectors," says Mark Arend, Site Selection's editor in chief. "Areas compete aggressively for capital investment, so ranking among our Top States is evidence of a highly successful economic development strategy."
Conway Data's rankings are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as "the industry scoreboard." The magazine's circulation base consists of 45,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions.
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 Lexington, Ky. (ranked 8th) in the tier two category (population 200,000 to 1 million) and Bowling Green (ranked 6th) in the tier three category (population less than 200,000).
Kentucky also had 10 communities making the magazine's Top Micropolitans list. Those communities include:
Paducah (tied for 16th)
Danville (tied for 27th)
Mount Sterling (tied for 27th)
Union City, Tenn./Ky. (tied for 27th)
Frankfort (tied for 41st)
Murray (tied for 70th)
London (tied for 70th)
Mayfield (tied for 130th)
Maysville (tied for 130th)
Somerset (tied for 130th).