Kentucky You know the economy is on the rebound when people start buying appliances again. And people buying appliances made it possible for GE Consumer and Industrial to make plans for about 1,200 new jobs in Louisville — at a facility the company seriously thought about abandoning only a few years earlier, recovering from near-certain doom to being named one of the Projects of the Year and helping land Kentucky on the Silver Shovels list. The Kentucky economy also has been on the rebound, and a forecast released earlier this year by the University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research was positive about 2013. The Bluegrass State, according to the forecast, should outperform the national economy, with the fastest growth likely in central Kentucky.
Projects of the Year : Kentucky
Population: 4.4 Million
|1.||GE Consumer & Industrial||Louisville||E||1,214||$649.8 million||Household Appliances|
|2.||Westlake Vinyls Inc.||Calvert City||E||N/A||$217 million||Commodity Chemicals|
|3.||Metalsa Structural Products Inc.||Elizabethtown & Hopkinsville||E||389||$104.5 million||Automotive Stamping/Parts|
|4.||Berry Plastics||Madisonville||E||420||$96 million||Plastics|
|5.||Florida Tile Inc.||Lawrenceburg||E||123||$77.5 million||Ceramic & Porcelain Tiles|
|6.||L'Oreal USA||Florence||E||211||$42.1 million||Cosmetics|
|8.||Bingham McCutchen LLP||Lexington||N||250||$22.5 million||Global Services Center|
|9.||Amazon.com||Winchester||N||550||$20.7 million||Back Office Technology Center|
|10.||Nasty Gal||Shepherdsville||N||300||$18 million||Distribution & Call Center|
Plenty of positive trends are making growth happen in Kentucky. There seems to be ever-increasing interest in natural remedies and supplements, and that translates into 600 new jobs at an iHerb distribution facility in Hebron. The online retailer picked Kentucky for its work force and central location, according to Cliff Cowing, iHerb’s director of strategic planning and analytics, commenting, “We know the Northern Kentucky work force is strong and the geography favorable — two primary factors for choosing our location.”
Beyond the healthy market for appliances and natural supplements, the Kentucky economy is benefiting from strong sales in cars, cosmetics, and vintage clothing, along with a wide range of goods available on Amazon.com, which added more than 500 new back-office tech jobs in Winchester.
Louisiana When Loren Scott talks, the business and academic communities in Louisiana listen closely. The retired professor from Louisiana State University is well known for preparing the Louisiana Economic Outlook. The latest report, authored by Scott and LSU Economics Professor James Richardson, paints a healthy picture for Louisiana — the state is expected to add 22,700 jobs this year, leading to a record total employment number, and then it will add another 27,500 jobs in 2014, according to the economists. The job total has continually increased since 2008, and could surpass two million next year. Seven of the eight metro areas in the state are expected to gain jobs both years. “Louisiana is doing way better than the national economy,” Scott told observers, as the report was unveiled in Baton Rouge.
Projects of the Year : Louisiana
Population: 4.6 Million
|1.||Benteler AG||Caddo Parish||N||675||$890 million||Steel Mill|
|2.||Sasol Ltd.||Calcasieu Parish||N||403||$4.4 billion||Industrial Gas|
|3.||General Electric Capital Corp.||Orleans Parish||N||300||$12.1 million||Software Development & IT Support|
|4.||Avalon Rare Metals Processing LLC||Ascension Parish||N||225||$352.9 million||Nonmetallic Mineral Mining|
|5.||Sempra Energy||Cameron Parish||E||130||$6 billion||Natural Gas|
|6.||Methanex Corp.||Ascension Parish||E||120||$400 million||Chemicals & Allied Products|
|7.||CF Industries||Ascension Parish||E||93||$2.1 billion||Nitrogenous Fertilizer|
|8.||Dyno Nobel Parish||Jefferson||E||60||$768 million||Synthetic Rubber|
|9.||Westlake Chemical Corp.||Ascension Parish||E||60||$467 million||Petrochemicals|
|10.||Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC||St. James Parish||N||53||$700 million||Nitrogenous Fertilizer|
Petroleum and petrochemicals are the drivers of much of Louisiana’s prosperity, and are represented in the majority of the state’s biggest economic development success stories. Yes, the good news includes 675 new steel jobs in Caddo Parish, 300 IT jobs in Orleans Parish, and 225 jobs in the mining of nonmetallic minerals in Ascension Parish, but the rest of the top 10 reveals just how much the Louisiana economy revolves around petroleum and chemicals: jobs and heavy investment in natural gas, nitrogenous fertilizers, synthetic rubber, industrial gases, chemicals and allied products, and petrochemicals.
The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster continues to play into the economic story. For one thing, fines and settlement payments are still circulating through the local economy. Also, the oil business is picking up again in the Gulf of Mexico, as oil companies return following a drilling moratorium and strict new federal permitting standards.
South Carolina It was a great year in South Carolina in 2012, according to economists at the University of South Carolina. Economic growth was about 3 percent, employment growth nearly doubled what it was in 2011, the unemployment rate dropped, and growth was spread nicely across multiple sectors, from manufacturing to healthcare to construction to education. And, as 2013 began, the economists noted that South Carolina’s leading economic indicators were just about the best in the country.
As spring approached, the picture remained pretty. The state Department of Commerce updated its index of leading indicators and found it at its highest level since 2008. Among the things on the rise were personal income, nonfarm employment, manufacturing hours, and online job postings; and the unemployment rate ticked downward. According to the department, “The South Carolina Leading Index has been above the 100 mark for 15 consecutive months and has consistently forecast positive economic growth since the beginning of 2011.”
Projects of the Year : South Carolina
Population: 4.7 Million
|1.||BMW||Spartanburg Cnty.||E||1,000||$900 million||Automotive|
|2.||Michelin North America||Anderson Cnty.||E||600||$700 million||Tires & Rubber|
|3.||JTEKT Automotive.South Carolina, Inc||Richland& Greenville Cntys.||E||275||$250 million||Automotive|
|4.||Nucor Corp.||Darlington City||E||25||$120 million||Bar Steel Products|
|5.||Shutterfly Inc.||York Cnty.||N||380||$60.1 million||Photo/Stationary/Customer Services|
|6.||Red Ventures||Lancaster Cnty.||E||1,000||$33.5 million||Hdqtrs./Mktg./Customer Service|
|7.||Physicians Choice Laboratory Services, LLC||York Cnty.||N||364||$24.1 million||Laboratory Testing Services|
|8.||Time Warner Cable||Lexington Cnty.||E||644||$24 million||Telesales/Payment Services|
|9.||SPARC||Berkeley Cnty.||E||310||$11.1 million||Software Development|
|10||Albemarle Corp.||Orangeburg Cnty.||E||20||$65 million||Flame Retardant Chemicals|
The developments that earned South Carolina a Silver Shovel included a 1,000-job, $900 million expansion at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, preparing for production of the BMW X4 there. It’s been two decades since the automaker first announced plans to produce vehicles in South Carolina, and as the company shared its latest expansion news in early 2012, it passed a significant production milestone. “Two million vehicles have prepared our team well to meet the new opportunities that lie ahead for our plant,” Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing, said at the time. “We look forward to a new model with great anticipation.”
There were more new automotive jobs elsewhere in South Carolina, but also plenty of prosperity in other sectors, including technology-based strategic marketing, software development, and medical laboratory services.
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.