Alabama Alabama attracted $7.1 billion in capital investment in 2015 and nearly 20,000 new and future jobs. Much of this growth is in key sectors such as technology, aerospace, and automotive. This investment figure is twice the 2014 total and one of the highest annual totals in recent years. Alabama also attracted foreign direct investment approaching $3.5 billion in 2015.
2015 Top Projects: Alabama
Population: 4.78 Million
|1.||Mercedes-Benz US International Inc.||Vance||E||300||$1.3 billion||Automotive|
|2.||Google Inc.||Bridgeport/Stevenson||N||100||$600 million||Data Center|
|3.||Evonik Corporation||Jefferson County||E||150||$27.3 million||R&D|
|4.||GE Aviation||Huntsville||N||300||$200 million||Aerospace|
|5.||SMP Automotive Systems Alabama Inc.||Tuscaloosa||N||650||$153.9 million||Automotive|
|6.||* Polaris Industries||Huntsville||N||2,000||$140 million||Automotive|
|7.||Farm Fresh Foods, LLC||Guntersville||N||600||$4 million||Food Processing|
|8.||Viva Health, Inc.||Birmingham||E||400||$7.3 million||Headquarters|
|9.||Yorozu Automotive Alabama, Inc.||Jasper||N||300||$100 million||Automotive|
|10.||Kamtek Inc.||Birmingham||E||354||$534.8 million||Automotive|
|*An Automotive Project of the Year|
Big projects were announced in aerospace and automotive. GE Aviation is investing more than $200 million to build factories in Huntsville to mass-produce silicon carbide materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composite components for jet engines. Polaris will establish a $140 million automotive manufacturing facility in Huntsville that will employ 2,000 workers. Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plans a $1.3 billion expansion of its operations in Vance. Suppliers are also expanding to keep up. For example, SMP Automotive Systems Alabama will build a $153.9 million, 700,000-square-foot facility in Tuscaloosa to produce painted bumpers, rocker panels, and other parts for the Mercedes Benz U.S. International plant in Vance.
Other sizeable capital investments were secured in the business services and IT sectors. Google has selected Bridgeport for a new, state-of-the-art, $600 million data center that will be powered by renewable energy. It will be built on 350 acres of land owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority at Widows Creek, where an aging electrical plant is being decommissioned.
“For more than 50 years, the Widows Creek plant has generated electricity for the region,” says Gary Demasi, director of Global Infrastructure at Google. “Now the site will be used to bring Internet services and information to people around the world — powered by 100 percent renewable energy. We see a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal plants.”
Kentucky Kentucky announced more than 460 new location and expansion projects slated to create more than 16,000 jobs and $5.1 billion in investment in 2015, the most since the state began recording this data roughly 30 years ago. It far exceeds the 2014 record of $3.7 billion. Thanks to continued economic development activity, Kentucky’s unemployment rate has dropped to about 5 percent. Top industries are automotive, aerospace, food and beverage, logistics, manufacturing, chemicals, plastics, and rubber.
2015 Top Projects: Kentucky
Population: 4.40 Million
|1.||* Ford Motor Co.||Louisville||E||2,000||$1.3 billion||Automotive|
|2.||General Motors Corp.||Bowling Green||E||36||$439 million||Automotive|
|3.||Logan Aluminum||**Russellville||E||190||$240 million||Aluminum|
|4.||Fritz Winter||Franklin||N||343||$193.7 million||Automotive|
|6.||Robert Bosch Automotive Steering, LLC||Florence||E||212||$84.5 million||Automotive|
|7.||Catalent Pharma Solutions||Winchester||E||300||$61.8 million||Pharmaceuticals|
|8.||Kobe Aluminum||Bowling Green||E||112||$57 million||Aluminum|
|9.||Citicorp Credit Services||Florence||E||430||$14 million||Financial Services|
|10.||Bowling Green Metalforming, LLC||Bowling Green||E||450||$261.2 million||Automotive|
|*An Automotive Project of the Year|
Kentucky auto manufacturers produced more than 1.3 million passenger vehicles in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase over 2014, making Kentucky one of the largest U.S. producers of cars and light trucks. Last year, 79 new automotive projects were announced, totaling $2.8 billion in investments. These include Ford Motor Company in Louisville ($1.3 billion, 2,000 new jobs) and General Motors Corporation in Bowling Green ($439 million, 36 additional workers). Kentucky also welcomes Fritz Winter North America LP to Franklin, where the German-owned automotive parts-maker will build a $193.7 million, 240,000-square-foot foundry and production facility, hiring 343 workers to manufacture disc brake rotors.
“Franklin really meets all our requirements in terms of proximity to our customers, availability of skilled labor, favorable electricity costs, and industry-specific training possibilities,” says Fritz Winter CEO Jörg Rumikewitz. “Moreover, Franklin and the Commonwealth of Kentucky have shown tremendous effort in supporting the project.”
And Logan Aluminum, which makes rolled sheets for the beverage industry, is investing $240 million to expand its manufacturing complex in Russellville and add 190 workers, adding the auto industry to its customer base. The company plans to develop aluminum for automakers, which contributes to the overall reduction in vehicle weight, helping to lower fuel consumption and emissions.
Louisiana As one of the top energy-producing states in the country, Louisiana is deeply experienced in riding out the boom-and-bust cycles of the oil and gas industry. Despite the downturn in oil prices, Louisiana’s economy grew at a rate of about 2.4 percent. The decline in oil and gas revenues was partially offset by increased demand in nondurable goods manufacturing, including petrochemical refining (which benefits from abundant and low-cost feedstock).
2015 Top Projects: Louisiana
Population: 4.67 Million
|1.||Formosa Petrochemical||St. James Parish||N||1,200||$9.4 billion||Organic Chemicals Corp.|
|2.||EPIC Piping||Livingston Parish||E||560||$45.3 million||Fabricated Pipes/Fittings|
|3.||IBM Application Management Services||Ouachita Parish||N||400||N/A||Computer Systems Design|
|4.||Monster Moto||Lincoln Parish||N||287||$4 million||Motorcycles, Bicycles & Parts|
|5.||DongSung Finetec||Calcasieu Parish||N||250||$5 million||Urethane Insulation|
|6.||LACC LLC (Axiall Corp. & Lotte Chemical Corp.)||Calcasieu Parish||N||215||$3 billion||Ethane Cracker & Monoethylene Glycol Plant|
|7.||Parallax (Live Oak LNG)||Calcasieu Parish||N||100||$2 billion||Industrial Gas|
|8.||Shintech Louisiana||Iberville||E||100||$1.4 billion||Plastics Material & Resin|
|9.||Pin Oak Holdings LLC||St. John the Baptist Parish||N||70||$600 million||Petroleum Bulk Stations & Terminals|
|10.||Shell Chemical LP||Ascension Parish||E||20||$717 million||Petrochemicals|
Billion-dollar-plus petrochemical projects announced in 2015 include Live Oak LNG in Calcasieu Parish ($2 billion, 100 workers) and Shintech Louisiana in Iberville ($1.4 billion, 100 workers). Formosa Petrochemical Corporation is conducting feasibility studies to build $9.4 billion, 1,200-worker ethane crackers with associated downstream plants in St. James Parish, having invested considerable time and money in the plans to date.
In yet another more than billion-dollar project, LACC LLC (Axiall Corporation and Lotte Chemical Corporation) have announced a joint $3 billion capital investment to construct a new ethane cracker facility and monoethylene glycol manufacturing plant in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish. Combined, the projects will create 215 new direct jobs.
“Calcasieu Parish was selected for this project based on the state’s skilled workforce and familiarity with the petrochemicals industry and projects of this type,” says Jim Rock, Axiall vice president for operational excellence. “It became the preferred site for several key reasons, including the location of raw materials, pipelines, available steam, electric power, other utilities, and deepwater access.”
2016 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
- South Carolina
2016 Silver Shovel Awards
12+ Million Population Category
8 to 12 Million Population Category
- North Carolina
5 to 8 Million Population Category
3 to 5 Million Population Category
Under 3 Million Population Category
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Small Cities’ Projects of the Year
|Liberty Mutual Insurance||Plano, TX||5,000||$355M|
|Capital One Financial||Plano, TX||1,200||$35M|
|Mars Candy||Joliet, IL||500||$130M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Automotive Projects of the Year
|Polaris Industries||Huntsville , AL||2,000||$140M|
|Tesla||Fremont , CA||4,426||$239B|
|Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.||Lafayette, IN||1,204||$140.2 M|
|Ford Motor Co.||Louisville, KY||2,000||$1.3B|
|Faraday Future||North Las Vegas, NV||4,500||$1.4B|
|Volvo Car Group||Berkeley, SC||2,500||$500M|
|Mercedes-Benz Vans Manufacturing, LLC||Charleston, SC||1,300||$500M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Solar Projects of the Year
|SolarCity||Utah County, UT||4,000||$94M|
|Vivint Solar||Utah County, UT||3,143||$91M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: E-Commerce Projects of the Year
|Amazon||San Marcos, TX||1,000||$191M|
|Amazon.com||Etna Township, Village of Obetz, OH||2,000||$180M|
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 2015 (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 — six states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s 2016 Gold Shovels in five population categories: 12+ million, 8+ to 12 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners-up in each of these population categories were awarded 2016 Silver Shovels.