Even in tough economic times, states and local communities engage in intense competition for
major projects that bring in significant investment and cherished jobs and increase the tax base.
The most serious economic development efforts are usually the most multifaceted. They bring together public officials at various levels of government - from mayors and governors to planning officials and building inspectors, all of whom have a role to play in accelerating approval processes. They also bring together local real estate brokers and property owners, who ensure that land is available and can be acquired with a minimum of trouble. And they bring together educational and training resources, which help ensure that the local labor force is not only available, but also well prepared for the challenges of the new or expanding employer.
That's what happens when economies are booming and projects are plentiful. In tough times, states and local communities have to do all this in the face of limited resources. They have to carefully consider incentives at a time when budgets are tight. But, in good times or bad, no state will get ahead if it can't attract jobs and investment.
This year's Gold and Silver Shovel Awards are presented by Area Development magazine to the states that were able to find "the winning formula" over the past year - some using innovative approaches, but all putting in the kind of effort necessary to achieve success when it's never been more important to do so. Let's look at the winners:
This year's Gold Shovel Award goes to the state of New York, which embarked on a course of extensive public and private cooperation to achieve economic success - in a big way.
Gold Shovel Project of The Year: GLOBAL FOUNDRIES
Texas, Michigan, and Florida have been awarded Silver Shovels in the over 10 million population category. These large states reflect diversified growth trends.More
In the 5 to 10 million population category, Georgia, Tennessee, and Indiana were awarded Silver Shovels. These three mid-size states have made consistent efforts to attract new industry and jobs.
Four smaller states - Louisiana, South Carolina, Kansas, and Alabama - received Silver Shovel awards this year. Cooperative efforts between industry and government helped these states achieve success.
Area 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 2009 (only those projects that actually "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 - New York, which achieved the highest weighted overall score, is the recipient of Area Development's 2010 Gold Shovel Award. Runner-ups in three population categories - over 10 million, between 5 and 10 million, and under 5 million - are awarded Silver Shovel Awards.