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2013 Gold Shovel Awards: Recognizing Excellence in U.S. State Economic Development

Q2 / Spring 2013

When the economy is bustling, many people tend to take economic development successes for granted - growth happens, it's a good thing, everyone's happy about it, but it's easy to overlook the work that goes into making it occur. On the other hand, when the economy is struggling, or perhaps taking baby steps toward recovery, every job created is truly something to savor and celebrate.

Our annual Shovel Awards are, indeed, a celebration of the kind of economic development success that should never be taken for granted. The 19 states we honor with Gold or Silver Shovels were stars in 2012, making growth and investment happen in a climate that - going on five years after the bottom dropped out - is still far from hospitable. These are states whose economic development leaders have been building relationships with existing businesses and newcomers alike, making strong cases for their communities, working to become ever-more business-friendly, crafting enticing deals and incentive packages...and hitting pay dirt. They've landed big projects worth millions or even billions of dollars in investment, creating jobs by the thousands. Growth doesn't just happen - these states have shown that they know how to make it a reality.

2013 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Kansas
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2013 Gold Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year

Project Location Jobs Investment
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
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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.

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