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2013 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Mississippi, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia Awarded Silver Shovels - States with Populations Less than 3 Million

Q2 / Spring 2013

Mississippi One of the biggest growth areas in the Mississippi economy last year was durables manufacturing, according to the “Mississippi Economic Outlook” from Mississippi Public Universities. That sector, healthcare, and transportation/utilities each enjoyed employment growth of about 2 percent in 2012. And those sectors are likely to be at the heart of job creation this year, too, the report predicts. “Job creation in the future will depend more than ever on the ability of Mississippi-owned firms to market their goods and services outside the state,” senior economist Marianne Hill noted in the report.

Projects of the Year : Mississippi

Population: 2.9 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1.Nissan North AmericaCantonE1,000N/A*Automotive
2. VT Halter MarinePascagoulaE400N/A*Shipbuilding
3. TeleflexOlive BranchE225N/A*Distribution Center
4. Comfort RevolutionBelmontN200$5 millionSleep Products
5. RoxulByhaliaN150$130 millionInsulation Products
6. Drax BiomassGlosterN45$80 millionWood Pellets
7.Kimberly-ClarkSouthavenE100$2 millionDistribution
8. Rolls-Royce North AmericaHancock Cnty.E35$50 millionJet Engine Testing
9. General Atomics systemsShannonE25$12 millionAircraft Launch
10.Milwaukee Electric ToolOlive BranchE25$8 millionDistribution Center

The list of the biggest recent project announcements reflects the importance of durables manufacturing — a thousand jobs at the Nissan plant in Canton, for example, 400 shipbuilding jobs in Pascagoula, and several hundred all told in sleep products, insulation products, and aircraft launch systems. Mississippi also happens to be an excellent gateway to broader destinations, which makes it a prime spot for distribution, with the three cited distribution projects together adding 350 jobs.

North Dakota Many of the hottest economies have shale gas exploration to thank for much of their success, and North Dakota is no exception. As economists with J.P. Morgan Chase observed earlier this year, “North Dakota is booming, thanks to the development of its new gas shale discoveries.” And, indeed, two of the top 10 projects on the state’s list are tied to energy — the ONEOK Partners and Garden Creek projects that together represent an investment of half a billion dollars. Other noted projects are connected to a healthy industrial variation and a series of accomplishments that puts North Dakota on the Silver Shovels list.

Projects of the Year : North Dakota

Population: 670K

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1.Ultra Green Packaging Inc.Devils LakeN400$2.3 millionPackaging Materials
2.Horsch AndersonMapleton LLCN300$12 millionIndustrial & Commercial Machinery
3.Bobcat Co.BismarckE210$10 millionConstruction Machinery
4.John Deere Seeding GroupValley CityE100$20 millionFarm Machinery & Eqpt.
5.PhoenixFargo International Corp.N60$22 millionElectronic Components
6.CNH America LLCFargoE48$3 millionFarm Machinery & Eqpt.
7.Eid Passport Inc. ServicesMinotE33$16.8 millionSecurity Systems
8.ONEOK Partners LPNorthwesternN25$160 millionNatural Gas
9.Minn-Dak Farmers CooperativeWahpetonE20$70 millionBeet Sugar
10.Garden Creek II PlantWatford CityNN/A$345 millionNatural Gas

For example, the desire for more environmentally friendly packaging materials translates into 400 jobs at Ultra Green Packaging in Devils Lake. About 150 new jobs are in the manufacture of farm equipment and machinery in two separate projects, a couple hundred more in the creation of construction machinery, and about 300 more in industrial and commercial machinery manufacturing. Agriculture drives investment here, too, including a $70 million expansion at the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative beet sugar facility in Wahpeton. “At the end of the day, agriculture is still the central pillar of the economy, and that’s a pretty good thing,” Delore Zimmerman, president of the Praxis Strategy Group, told Dakota Business in January.

Utah “Utah is coming out of the recession more rapidly than the U.S., as has been the case with every downturn since World War II.” So says the “Economic Outlook 2013” report from the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. For example, employment in Utah grew by 3.2 percent last year, more than double the national rate. The jobless rate, meanwhile, dropped to 5.7 percent, also quite a bit better than the national average for 2012. As for 2013, the state’s economists are expecting growth of 3.5 percent, which is a few tenths ahead of the average for Utah and far above the 1.4 percent they expect to see nationally. And they’re figuring on a further drop in the unemployment rate, in part because they expect housing construction to finally play a bigger role in the recovery.

Projects of the Year : Utah

Population: 2.8 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1.Family DollarSt. GeorgeN450$90 millionWarehouse/Distribution
2.Xactware Solutions Inc.OremE859$130 millionSoftware/IT*
3.FLSmidthMidvaleE124$16 millionEngineering/Mineral Processing
4.Xi3Salt Lake CtiyE250$32.2 millionComputer Hardware
5.BoeingSalt Lake CityE104$219 millionAerospace
6.BioFire Diagnostics, Inc.Salt Lake CityE657$50 millionMedical Devices
7.ENVE Composites, Inc.OgdenE342$20 millionComposites
8.GAFCedar CityN50$40 millionConstruction Materials
9.WorkdaySalt Lake CityE500$20 millionSoftware Implementation
10.Orbit Irrigation Products, Inc.N. Salt LakeE60$36.9 millionIrrigation Eqpt.

Considering that construction was only just getting back up to speed in 2012, Utah’s accomplishments are all the more impressive, and certainly worthy of a Silver Shovel. One of the Projects of the Year can be found here — the $130 million expansion at Xactware Solutions Inc., an insurance software company in Orem that is creating nearly 900 jobs. Another 500 software-related jobs were announced by Workday and 250 more in computer hardware at Xi3, both in Salt Lake City, but the list of top projects also includes hundreds of distribution jobs, hundreds more in the manufacture of medical devices, and still more in composites, aerospace, and other industries.

West Virginia Natural gas also is driving massive investments in West Virginia. Two projects in Marshall County together add a billion and a half dollars to the investment tally. But as in North Dakota, it’s just a piece of a much more diverse puzzle. The booming auto industry is rippling its effects into West Virginia, creating jobs. And there’s been more investment in wood products and metals and chemical manufacturing. Away from the manufacturing floor, there are hundreds of jobs opening up business services operations.

Projects of the Year : West Virginia

Population: 1.8 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1.American WoodmarkHardy Cnty.E187$15.2 millionWood Products
2.Constellium Rolled ProductsJackson Cnty.EN/A$42 millionMetals
3.Ergon West VirginiaHancock Cnty.EN/A$78 millionChemicals
4.Gestamp West Virginia, LLCKanawha Cnty.N400$113.5 millionAutomotive
5.Protea Biosciences, Inc.Monongalia Cnty.EN/A$484,000Biotechnology
6.TRG Customer SolutionsRaleigh, Randolph & Kanawha Cntys.E525$200,000Business Services
7.The Williams Partners L.P.Marshall Cnty.N100$1.3 billionNatural Gas
8.DupontKanawha Cnty.EN/A$30 millionChemicals
9.GastarMarshall Cnty.NN/A$200 millionNatural Gas
10.ToyotaPutnam Cnty.E80$45 millionAutomotive

It’s all part of an ongoing trend, according to the West Virginia University economists behind the “West Virginia Economic Outlook 2013” report. There was strong economic growth in 2011, and the researchers expect it’ll continue for at least five years. “Employment is forecast to reach pre-recession levels by 2013, and the state’s gross state product is forecast to continue to rise at a pace higher than the previous five years,” according to the report. As a result, the economists predict, the jobless rate will tick downward with each passing year, dropping well below 6 percent by 2017.

2013 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Kansas
Read More

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
Read More

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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