Idaho Idaho has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country — about 3.8 percent in April 2016 — due in part to a well-diversified economy and a booming construction market.
2015 Top Projects: Idaho
Population: 1.63 Million
|1.||Gayle Manufacturing Co.||Caldwell||N||105||$24 million||Prefabricated Steel|
|2.||AGC AeroComposites||Hayden||E||134||$2 million||Aerospace Composites|
|3.||Fabri-Kal||Burley||N||150||$50 million||Plastics & Rubber Products|
|4.||Paylocity||Boise||N||551||$5 million||Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services|
|5.||Hilex Poly||Jerome||E||45||$6.5 million||Plastics|
|6.||Quest Aircraft||Sandpoint||E||187||$5.4 million||Aerospace|
|7.||Heartland Recreational Vehicles||Nampa||N||275||$15 million||Transportation Equipment|
|8.||Athlos Academies||Boise||N||50||$6 million||Educational Services|
|9.||GrainCorp Malt||Pocatello||E||10||$75 million||Malting|
|10.||Sykes Enterprises||Boise||N||700||N/A||Customer Support|
Agriculture, combined with food and beverage processing, is the state’s leading industry. And although Idaho is rooted in other traditional industries such as lumber and mining and chemical manufacturing, it has steadily diversified into high-tech industries including healthcare, computers, and advanced materials, such as aerospace composites.
Recent manufacturing announcements include Gayle Manufacturing’s relocation of its steel fabrication plant from northern California to Caldwell, Idaho, where it will build a $24 million facility and hire 105 workers. Fabri-Kal is building a $50 million, 100,000-square-foot plastics thermoforming plant in Burley where 150 workers will manufacture plastic and rubber products.
Idaho’s heavy-equipment industry will soon welcome the addition of Heartland Recreational Vehicles in Nampa, where it plans to build a $15 million, 248,000-square-foot facility and hire 275 workers to produce its popular Heartland line of travel trailers. “We are seeing significant growth of the recreational vehicle market, particularly in the West,” says Chris Hermon, president of Heartland. “As we sought a location to expand our manufacturing capabilities to meet that demand, the Boise Valley brought the perfect mix of location, quality of workforce, and business-friendly environment.”
Kansas Coming back from the Great Recession has been tough on Kansas. Job growth has been fairly flat over the past year. However, there have been major investments in key sectors, especially advanced manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, and logistics. This activity tends to occur where clusters are located, such as automotive (Kansas City) and aviation and composites (Wichita and Kansas City). Wichita produces more than 30 percent of the world’s general aviation aircraft and is home to Cessna, Beechcraft, Bombardier Learjet, and Spirit AeroSystems. It is no surprise that when French-based Figeac-Aero, a supplier of airplane parts to these companies and others, was looking for a location for its new North American headquarters, it chose Wichita.
2015 Top Projects: Kansas
Population: 2.90 Million
|2.||Dairy Farmers of America||Kansas City||N||400||$32 million||Headquarters|
|3.||USA800, Inc.||Lawrence||N||333||$1.9 million||Call Center|
|4.||RiskAnalytics Holdings LLC||Leawood||E||233||$6.3 million||Professional Services|
|5.||S&S Activewear, LLC||Olathe||N||165||$15.9 million||Logistics/Distribution|
|6.||Genesis10||Lenexa||N||200||$2.2 million||Professional Services|
|7.||Excel Industries, Inc.||Edgerton||N||200||$22 million||Turf Care Products|
|9.||WireCo WorldGroup, Inc.||Prairie Village||N||167||$13.5 milion||Headquarters|
|10.||Gill Studios, Inc.||Lenexa||N||165||$2.5 million||Printing|
“Figeac really wanted to be in the ‘Air Capital of the World,’” says Vice President and General Manager Hocine Benaoum. “The fact that available workers are here, and well-trained and experienced with different companies, will definitely help us grow fast.”
Kansas’s central location, infrastructure, and transportation capabilities make it ideal for logistics and distribution. For example, Jet.com plans to build a $1.3 million distribution facility in Edgerton and hire 460 workers. In Olathe, S&S Activewear will locate a $15.9 million, 473,000-square-foot shipping, receiving, and distribution center at I-35 Logistics Park.
“This facility puts us over 1.5 million square feet of inventory, with a big portion of that inventory in the most accessible region of the country,” says Margaret Crow, director of marketing at S&S Activewear. “This will give our customers a larger overnight delivery area with later cut-off times.”
Mississippi Two of Mississippi’s largest industries are also its most traditional — agriculture and timber. Almost one third of Mississippi’s labor force is employed in agriculture or food processing. Investments in these sectors include Raybern Foods’ planned $14.8 million manufacturing operation in Tupelo in Lee County. The project will create about 200 jobs. Koch Foods recently announced it would expand operations at its facilities in Forest and Morton, Mississippi. The expansions represent corporate investments of approximately $2 million and $33 million, respectively, and will create a total of 203 jobs.
2015 Top Projects: Mississippi
Population: 2.99 Million
|1.||Raybern Foods||Tupelo||N||200||$14.8 million||Food Products|
|2.||United Furniture||Verona||E||300||$2.8 million||Furniture|
|3.||Winston Plywood and Veneer||Louisville||N||400||$48 million||Plywood Products|
|4.||H.M. Richards||Guntown||E||500||$8 million||Furniture|
|5.||Koch Foods||Forest & Morton||E||203||$35 million||Poultry Processing|
|6.||Sofidel||Hattiesburg||N||230||$120 million||Tissue Paper|
|7.||Biewer Lumber||Newton||N||125||$85 million||Lumber/Sawmill|
|8.||ABB||Senatobia||E||300||N/A||Power & Automation Technology|
|9.||Steel Dynamics||Columbus||E||40||$100 million||Steel|
|10.||AmerisourceBergen||Olive Branch||N||129||$48 million||Healthcare/Distribution|
Several major projects are moving forward in the lumber industry. Winston Plywood and Veneer, a manufacturer of specialty plywood products, is building a $48 million manufacturing facility in Louisville, Mississippi, that will create 400 jobs. In Hattiesburg, Sofidel plans to construct a $120 million tissue-paper factory that will create 230 jobs. An $85 million, state-of-the-art sawmill is being constructed by Biewer Lumber in Newton, which will greatly expand the company’s mill production in the South.
Mississippi continues to diversify into other industries, including energy. In 2015, the Fraser Institute ranked Mississippi fifth in the world for future oil and gas investment potential. The state could enjoy an increase of over 12,000 jobs and more than $240 million in annual revenue within 20 years, if the federal government lifts a ban on oil and gas drilling in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi’s southern coast.
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.