Indiana Looking ahead to 2012, the head of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, Jerry Conover, predicted just modest economic improvement. “I’m glad to report now that I underestimated the state’s rebound,” Conover said in releasing the 2013 outlook. By that time the state’s employment was averaging more than 50,000 jobs higher than a year earlier, and the increase was accelerating. Moreover, according to Conover, “Job growth has been spread across nearly all sectors.”
Manufacturing has been picking up nicely, though it still has a long way to go to make up for recessionary losses. Health services growth has been robust, as have the advances in professional and business services. The state’s GDP took a bigger hit during the recent downturn than the nation’s GDP, but the manufacturing recovery helped the GDP rebound faster than the nation as a whole, too.
Projects of the Year : Indiana
Population: 6.5 Million
|1.||Roche Diagnostics Operations, Inc.||Indianapolis||E||100||$300 million||Biotechnology/R&D/Hdqtrs.|
|2.||Amazon.com LLC||Jeffersonville||N||1,050||$74.9 million||Distribution|
|3.||Farbest Foods, Inc.||Vincennes||E||600||$69.2 million||Food Processing|
|4.||ExactTarget, Inc.||Indianapolis||E||500||$55 million||IT/ Hdqtrs.|
|5.||Toyota Motor Mfg. Indiana, Inc.||Princeton||E||421||$131 million||Automotive|
|6.||Advanced Metal Technologies of Indiana, Inc.||Jeffersonville||N||350||$19.2 million||Automotive|
|7.||Supreme Indiana Operations, Inc.||Goshen||E||350||$7.7 million||Automotive|
|8.||The Finish Line, Inc.||Indianapolis||E||327||$32.4 million||Hdqtrs.|
|9.||Steel Dynamics, Inc.||Pittsboro||E||50||$75.8 million||Steel|
|10.||Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.||Lafayette||E||100||$75 million||Automotive|
Indiana’s economic success owes a lot to the rebounding automotive industry, as auto-related manufacturing is huge in the state. Expansions at the Toyota plant in Princeton and the Subaru plant in Lafayette were among Indiana’s recent success stories, as were expansions at other automotive operations.
Even so, the top economic development news of the past year or so has been a real showcase of the diverse drivers — from steel to biotech, from IT to food processing and more.
Michigan It shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that Michigan makes the Silver Shovels list, given its strong ties to the dramatically rebounding automotive industry. Eight of the state’s 10 most prominent success stories have ties to motor vehicles, primarily makers of auto parts and supplies — everything from power trains to sunroofs to sound insulation. In the last quarter of 2012, the nation’s auto industry had an output nearly three times what it had been at the worst part of the recession, and the best since 1995 — and much of that growth was felt in Michigan. It’s not all automotive in Michigan, though. There is growth in the tech sector too, such as the expansion at Web security firm Barracuda Networks in Ann Arbor.
Projects of the Year : Michigan
Population: 9.8 Million
|1.||Detroit Manufacturing Systems||Detroit||N||572||$29.2 million||Auto Interiors|
|2.||Sakthi Automotive Group||Detroit||N||183||$18.6 million||Automotive Parts|
|3.||Brose||New Boston, Auburn Hills, Warren||N||450||$60 million||Auto Supplies|
|4.||Mahle Industries||Farmington Hills||E||350||$11 million||Technology Hdqtrs.|
|5.||Barracuda Networks||Ann Arbor||E||184||$6.2 million||Web Security|
|6.||Magna Sealing & Glass Systems||Holland Township||N||177||$10.1 million||Sunroof Technology|
|7.||Janesville Acoustics||Southfield||N||225||$10 million||Fiber Products|
|9.||Henrob Corp.||Lyon Township||E||158||$68 million||Auto Supplies|
|10.||Lacks Enterprises||Cascade Township||N||120||$31.9 million||Auto Supplies|
The signs of a strengthening economy are everywhere. There are certainly plenty of people still looking for work, but Michigan has come a long way from the days when its unemployment rate was the highest in the nation at 14.2 percent. Michigan engineers commanding six-figure salaries are finding that they can land a job in a week or less. The state’s GDP grew by 4.9 percent in 2010 and 2.3 percent in 2011, in both cases higher than the national figures. And by 2012, the professional hockey team in Detroit was selling more tickets than it had in years.
“Michigan has been experiencing its best economic performance since 2000, both on an absolute basis and when measured in comparison to the national average,” economic journalist David Sowerby wrote in Crain’s Detroit Business recently. “Encouragingly, the economic performance of Michigan over the last three years, and our prospects for continued growth in 2013, has a stronger foundation than any time in the last 15 years.”
North Carolina Like most other states, North Carolina is pulling out of the downturn bit by bit, and is making the kind of solid gains needed to land on the Silver Shovels list. A recent report from the North Carolina Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center found that the state’s business climate is in fine shape, with some of the region’s fastest economic growth. The fact that its jobless rate is higher than many would like to see is a reflection of its manufacturing heritage and that many companies in the manufacturing sector took big hits during the economic downturn.
Projects of the Year : North Carolina
Population: 9.7 Million
|1.||Aramark Healthcare||Mecklenburg Cnty.||E||80||$150 million||Life Sciences|
|2.||Ashley Furniture||Davie Cnty.||N||550||$80 million||Furniture|
|3.||AT&T||Cleveland Cnty.||N||19||$851 million||Data Center|
|4.||Denver Global||Lincoln Cnty.||N||450||$30.6 million||Machinery/Eqpt.|
|5.||Herbalife||Forsyth||N||493||$130 million||Nutritional Products|
|6.||Polo Ralph Lauren||Guilford||E||500||$142 million||Inventory Mgmt./R&D|
|7.||Sierra Nevada Brewery||Henderson Cnty.||N||95||$107.5 million||Food/Beverages|
|8.||MSC Industrial Direct||Mecklenburg Cnty.||N||400||$31.3 million||Headquarters|
|9.||Red Hat||Wake Cnty.||E||540||$109 million||ICT|
|10.||Sentinel NC One||Durham Cnty.||N||19||$180 million||Data Center|
That said, manufacturers still have a prominent role on the state’s list of recent success stories, and there’s even one in the traditional sector of furniture-making, a 550-job announcement from Ashley Furniture that is expected to be up to full speed by 2016. If all goes well with this phase, there has even been talk of significant expansion. Manufacturing growth is diverse, with significant investments in everything from beer to nutritional products to machinery.
But North Carolina growth also reflects the sectors of tomorrow and the state’s prominent place in the knowledge-based economy. Red Hat, for example, announced a move to downtown Raleigh that promises to create more than 500 new jobs. And two data centers (AT&T and Sentinel NC One) add up to a billion dollars in technology investment in the state.
Tennessee Growth was solid in Silver Shovel winner Tennessee in 2012 — that’s why the state’s economy was judged one of the nation’s most improved by the financial network CNBC last year. While things are expected to slow a bit this year, the path remains positive. The University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research, in its annual economic report to the Governor, said the economic recovery is chugging along. “For Tennessee, the economic outlook calls for modest growth in 2013 followed by substantially stronger growth in 2014,” said the report’s author and the center’s Director Matthew Murray. The center expects the jobless rate to drift downward to 7.9 percent for this year and 7.5 percent for 2014, still higher than pre-recession levels but headed in the right direction.
Projects of the Year : Tennessee
Population: 6.4 Million
|1.||Nissan North America, Inc.||Smyrna & Decherd||E||2,200||$325 million||Automotive*|
|2.||Volkswagen||Chattanooga||E||1,000||N/A||Automotive Group of America|
|3.||Parallon Business Solutions, LLC||Nashville||N||800||$87.6 million||Healthcare Hdqtrs.|
|4.||Magnetti Marelli Suspension USA, LLC||Pulaski||E||800||$53.7 million||Automotive|
|5.||Saks, Inc.||LaVergne||N||313||$13 million||Distribution Center|
|6.||Agero||Clarksville||N||549||$8.2 million||Call Center|
|7.||U.S. Solutions Group, Inc.||Bristol||N||548||$4.1 million||Call Center|
|8.||Access America Transport||Chattanooga||E||450||$3.2 million||Headquarters|
|9.||La-Z-Boy Co.||Dayton||E||436||$2.4 million||Furniture|
|10.||Team 3 Logistics||Chattanooga||E||425||$993,000||Automotive Logistics|
The rapidly recovering automotive industry has been quite good to the Volunteer State. One of this year’s Projects of the Year is here — the Nissan expansion in Smyrna and Decherd that is creating more than 2,000 jobs. And Volkswagen’s quest to take on the world’s biggest automakers is paying dividends in Tennessee, where its Chattanooga plant is still young and already expanding by a thousand jobs. That kind of activity helps to propel all kinds of other activity, including growth in auto parts manufacturing as well as in auto-related logistics, such as the more than 400 new jobs planned by Team 3 Logistics in Chattanooga.
Still, Tennessee growth is multifaceted. The state that FedEx calls home has an ever-growing distribution sector and the call center industry is phoning in healthy results as well.
Virginia If there’s one word to describe Virginia, it could be “diverse.” From an economic point of view, that’s a great thing. There’s growth to be found in many corners of the economy, and that bodes well for prosperity as well as for making it onto the Silver Shovels list. The growth in the private sector is a positive sign, as Virginia is more vulnerable than many states when it comes to federal budget cuts.
The most recent annual Virginia Economic Forecast, produced last year by Chmura Economics & Analytics for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy in Charlottesville, was expecting a solid 2013. Employment growth in the forecast was expected to be 1.9 percent this year, a faster pace than the previous couple of years, with the possibility that employment could soon be back at pre-recession levels. Salary growth was projected to be healthy, too, along with growth in retail sales. Meanwhile, the Virginia Council of CEOs and the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business check in with the region’s top executives on a quarterly basis, and the most recent report found the economic outlook on the rise. According to the group’s Executive Director Scot McRoberts, “This data reflects what many of the CEOs I work with tell me — they are as busy as they have been in years.”
Projects of the Year : Virginia
Population: 8.1 Million
|1.||Green Mountain Coffee Roasters||Isle of Wight Cnty.||N||800||$180 million||Coffee Roasting/Grinding/Pkg.|
|2.||Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL)||City of Richmond||E||706||$68.5 million||Clinical Lab/Diagnostics Services|
|3.||Bechtel Corp.||Fairfax Cnty.||N||625||$18 million||Hdqtrs./Project Management|
|4.||Metron Aviation||Loudoun||E||350||$2 million||Aviation Services Cnty.|
|5.||Web Parts LLC||Danville||N||260||$10 million||Computer Programming/Data Center|
|6.||McKesson Corp.||Frederick Cnty.||N||205||$36.9 million||Distribution|
|7.||Ply Gem Windows||Franklin Cnty.||E||200||$9 million||Windows & Doors|
|8.||The Vitamin Shoppe, Inc.||Hanover||N||174||$39.4 million||Distribution Cnty.|
|9.||Phoenix Packaging Operations, LLC||Pulaski Cnty.||E||100||$20 million||Headquarters|
|10.||BAE Systems Ordnance Systems||Montgomery Cnty.||N||N/A||$240 million||Ordnance|
As for economic diversity, consider some of the top recent projects cited by state officials as exemplary of recent progress. The $180 million investment by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Isle of Wight County is reported to be the state’s largest project of the year. There’s also growth in weapons and ordnance, window and door manufacturing, aviation services, medical diagnostics, and computer programming, among other sectors. Certainly no problem with too many eggs being in the same basket.
2013 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
2013 Silver Shovel Awards
10+ Million Population Category
5 to 10 Million Population Category
- North Carolina
3 to 5 Million Population Category
- South Carolina
Under 3 Million Population Category
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
2013 Gold Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year
|Apple, Inc.||Austin, TX||3,635||$304M|
|Samsung Semiconductors||San Jose, CA||2,000||$300M|
|Baxter Internationa||Atlanta, GA||1,800||$1B|
|Nissan North America||Smyrna/Decherd, TN||2,200||$325M|
|GE Consumer & Industrial||Louisville, KY||1,214||$649.8M|
|Xactware Solutions Inc.||Orem, UT||859||$130M|
MethodologyArea Development's annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. We collected information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2012 (only those projects that actually had monies invested, "broke ground,"" began an expansion, started new hiring, etc. were considered). Based on a combination of weighted factors - including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, the diversity of industry represented - four states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Area Development's 2013 Gold Shovels in four population categories: 10+ million, 5+ to 10 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2013 Silver Shovels.