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We always knew that Kentucky was a great place to do business in; and now we can offer some hard proof. A succession of expanding businesses, new facility openings, thousands of jobs added and dedicated efforts by economic developers statewide helped Kentucky place third nationally in the 2015 Business Climate Ranking by Site Selection magazine.
Kentucky leapt from eighth place last year – the largest increase of any state in the 2015 Ranking – to achieve its highest position ever.
“This ranking reflects the culmination of my administration’s focus on economic development. Since January 2008, we announced nearly 2,300 new or expanding facilities, bringing more than 86,000 jobs and a total investment of $19.2 billion into Kentucky,” Governor Steve Beshear said. “From Kentucky’s automotive-related manufacturing to our thriving aerospace industry to our world-renowned bourbon distilleries, business leaders recognize the Bluegrass State as a premier location for commerce and this ranking by Site Selection magazine underscores that fact.”
As revealed in the November 2015 issue of the magazine, the results are based in part on a survey of corporate real estate executives, who considered existing workforce skills, state and local taxes, transportation and utility infrastructure, and land/building prices and supply as the most important factors.
“Our goal at the Cabinet for Economic Development is to provide jobs for Kentuckians by helping existing businesses expand and new businesses locate in our Commonwealth,” said Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes. “Kentucky’s low business costs, robust shipping and logistics options, dedicated workforce and network of state and local economic development experts and resources make our state the clear choice as a top location for businesses.”
Kentucky placed first in the ranking’s new plants-per-capita category, which measured 2015 through August, and ranked fourth in the 2014 new plants-per-capita category. Overall, only two points separated third-place Kentucky (582) from second-place North Carolina (584). Georgia took first place with 601 points.
The ranking provides further evidence of Kentucky’s continuing momentum. In just the past month, two aluminum-related companies – Logan Aluminum, a casting and rolled-coil producer in Logan County, and Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products in Bowling Green – announced expansions that will collectively add more than 300 jobs to the state’s metals sector.
Shipping giant UPS last week announced it would invest nearly $310 million in its Centennial Ground Hub facility in Louisville, roughly doubling its capacity for handling packages. Another logistics leader, DHL Express, in May committed to a $108 million expansion of its hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which is creating 50 new jobs.
And last month, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky began producing the Lexus ES 350 luxury sedan, the first U.S.-built Lexus. That project is creating 750 new Kentucky jobs with an investment of $360 million.
Within the Business Climate Ranking’s methodology, 50 percent is based on a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank the states based on their recent experience of locating facilities in them. The other 50 percent is based on an index of seven criteria: performance in Site Selection's annual Competitiveness ranking; total New Plant Database compliant facilities in 2014; total new facilities in 2014 per capita; total 2015 new projects year to date; total 2015 projects year to date per capita; state tax burdens on mature firms and on new firms according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG Location Matters analysis.
Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 48,000 executives of fast-growing firms. The senior publication in the development field, Site Selection is also available via Site Selection Online. The publication also publishes or co-publishes e-newsletters, including The Site Selection Dispatch, Life Sciences Report, Aerospace Report and Energy Report; Site Selection International; The FDI Report; Trust Belt.com and the OnSITE Travel blog.