April was the fifth consecutive month of manufacturing activity expansion, according to the latest ISM (Institute for Supply Management) report. And, the U.S. economy as a whole grew in April for the 47th consecutive month. More importantly, the ISM’s Business Survey Committee projects U.S. economic growth to continue through the rest of 2013 in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors.
The pace of U.S. economic growth is evident in the 19 states receiving 2013 Shovel Awards from Area Development magazine for their efforts in attracting business investment and creating high value-added jobs last year. Their qualified work forces, well developed infrastructures, pro-business policies, creative incentives, and other advantageous attributes convinced companies to locate new facilities or expand existing ones within their borders. In recognition of these efforts, for the eighth year in a row, Area Development awarded a Gold Shovel to one state in each of four population categories and a Silver Shovel to each of 15 runner-up states. We also recognized five “Projects of the Year” within these states in varied industrial sectors for their sizable investment and job-creation numbers. (See report beginning on page 27.)
Also in this issue is Area Development’s second annual 100 Leading Locations report. This year we ranked 380 MSAs nationwide against 21 economic and work force indicators to determine the 100 leaders, as well as leading MSAs overall in three population groups and for their “Prime Work Force Growth,” Economic Growth/Year-Over-Year Growth,” and “Recession-Busting” indicators. (See report beginning on page 81.)
As we went to press on the Q2/Spring 2013 issue, it was reported that 200,000 jobs were created in the past month, helped along by discoveries of vast U.S. oil and gas reserves; unemployment had dipped to 7.5 percent; and there was a record rally in the stock market, which closed above 15,000 for the first time.
“There is now more money out there that can be lent, it can be lent to businesses so businesses can hire,” said Ben Chuckrow, senior vice president and resident branch manager, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for Wells Fargo Advisors. “The expectation now is that the economy may pick-up steam in the second half of the year, and I think that’s what the stock market is indicating right now,” he added. Maybe this will be the year we can stop referring to MSAs’ “recession-busting” tactics and safely say that period is behind us.