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2015 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio Awarded Silver Shovels - States with Populations 8 to 12 Million

Q2 2015

MichiganMichigan’s Governor Rick Snyder has led a vast reform of the state’s business culture in favor of companies and growth, including adopting a right-to-work law in 2013 and elimination of an onerous Michigan Business Tax. The entire state came together to pull the City of Detroit through bankruptcy last year. “Michigan is making slow but steady progress,” Chief Executive magazine reported in its annual “Best States/Worst States for Business” survey of CEOs.

Basically, Michigan is riding the auto wave, which has been a great vehicle for the state since the depths of the Great Recession and the U.S.-taxpayer bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. American consumers have kept the industry recovery building for six years, and the Detroit Three and major suppliers have been adding jobs and capacity in Michigan.

In April, for instance, GM announced that it would invest $5.4 billion in factory enhancements in the U.S. during the next three years — including nearly $800 million in three facilities in Michigan. Of last year’s top projects for Michigan, six were automakers or suppliers, including GM’s decision to invest another $800 million in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant and add 1,750 jobs there to make sedans.

2014 Top Projects: Michigan

Population: 9.99 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. General Motors LLC Detroit E 1,750 $800 million Automotive
2. Plasan Carbon Composites Inc. Wixom E620 $29 million Automotive
3. Eberspacher North America Inc. Brighton N 545 $122 million Automotive
4. Molina Healthcare of Michigan Troy E462 $20.3 million Healthcare Servicing
5. Challenge Manufacturing Co. Pontiac E450 $50 million Automotive
6. S&P Data LLC Troy N421 $4.4 million Call Center
7. Spartan Stores Grand Rapids E 372 $18.3 millionDistribution
8. HA Automotive Systems Inc.Troy N 368 $28.8 million Automotive
9. Suniva Saginaw N350 $12.2 million Alternative Energy
10. Dicastal North America, Inc. Greenville N300 $139.6 millionAutomotive

North CarolinaThe state continues its reputation as one of the most business-friendly places in the country, rising to No. 3 in Chief Executive’s 2015 “Best States/Worst States” rankings. Governor Pat McCrory switched horses for economic development, bringing in a new czar who had done well in Missouri. But, more important were the comprehensive tax reforms that North Carolina passed, dramatically bumping the state up from No. 44 last year in the Tax Foundation ranking of state business climates to No. 16 this year, the single largest jump in the history of its listing. The largest improvement was restructuring of individual income taxes into a single-bracket system with a rate of 5.8 percent, compared with a previous top rate of 7.75 percent, and a generous standard deduction. The corporate income tax also is phasing down to 6 percent from 6.9 percent.

The durable diversity of the North Carolina economy was evident in top projects that ranged across many verticals. Vertex Rail Technologies has been hiring people for its plan to build railcars in New Hanover County with a $51 million investment, creating 1,300 jobs. India-based information technology services company HCL America plans to add more than 1,200 jobs in the state, as does specialty packaging manufacturer Sealed Air Corp. And, Enviva, a biomass-fuel provider to industrial-scale customers, will spend more than $200 million to construct new facilities in Richmond and Sampson counties.

2014 Top Projects: North Carolina

Population: 9.86 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Vertex Rail Technologies New Hanover County N 1,300 $50.9 million Railcars
2. Sealed Air Corp County Mecklenburg County N 1,262 $68.4 million Plastics
3. HCL America Wake County E 1,237 $9 million Information Communications & Technologies
4. Aon Hewitt Mecklenburg County E 270 $7 million Human Resources Consulting
5. Enviva Richmond & Sampson Counties N 160 $214.2 million Energy Products
6. Reynolds American, Inc. Forsyth County N 293 $120 million Vapor Cigarettes
7. GKN Driveline Catawba County E 228 $113 million Automotive
8. AvidXchange Inc. Mecklenburg County N 603 $21.4 million Business Services
9. Advanced Auto Parts, Inc. Wake County N 600 $5 million Business Services
10. BorgWarner Turbo Systems Buncombe CountyE 150 $55.8 million Gas Engines

OhioThe Buckeye State has been making a bigger case for itself in economic development circles lately, cutting taxes by more than $3 billion since Governor John Kasich took office, streamlining its regulatory climate, and modernizing workforce-development programs to better align Ohio workers’ skills with in-demand jobs. Its leap in the 2015 Chief Executive “Best States/Worst States” rankings was one of the biggest this year, to No. 22 from No. 27, echoing the types of gains recently achieved by Midwestern gainers Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. In part, this reflects a recognition that Ohio is competing against the entire world — not just against the rest of the region — for global manufacturing jobs.

To that end, some of Ohio’s biggest wins were manufacturers, such as Fuyao Glass, a China-based company that will build its first North American automotive-glass manufacturing facility in Moraine. Initial plans were for about 800 jobs over five years with a total investment of more than $232 million. However, in January, the company increased job projections to 1,550 with a total investment of $360 million. Procter & Gamble and McLane Co. both announced big new distribution centers. Still, one of the biggest wins for Ohio in 2014 was the white-collar Global Operations Center of General Electric, which chose a gentrifying downtown Cincinnati location for a new headquarters that will add 1,400 to GE’s jobs base in the city in a $107 million development.

2014 Top Projects: Ohio

Population: 11.57 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. General Electric Cincinnati N 1,400 $106.8 million Global Operations Center*
2. zulily, Inc. Gahanna E 900 $430,000 E-Commerce
3. Proctor & Gamble Union N 801 $108.7 million Distribution/Logistics
4. Fuyao Glass America, Inc. Moraine N 800 $232.5 million Automotive
5. ADS Alliance Data Systems, Inc. Columbus E 700 $84 million Financial Services
6. Columbus Steel Castings Co. Columbus E 550 $16 million Steel
7. McLane Company, Inc. Findlay N 425 $121 million Distribution
8. Whirlpool Corp. Greenville E 400 $40 million Appliances
9. Speedway LLC Springfield N 350 $13.3 million Energy Hdqtrs.
10. Borger’s Ohio Inc. Norwalk N 230 $60.5 million Automotive

2015 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • Nevada
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2015 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year

Project Location Jobs Investment
Solar City Buffalo, NY 3,000 $5B
General Electric Cincinnati, OH 1,400 N/A
Volkswagen of America Chattanooga, TN 2,200 $600M
Giti Tire Chester County, SC 1,700 $560M
Tesla Reno, NV 6,500 $5B
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 2014 (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 — five states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Area Development’s 2015 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 are awarded 2015 Silver Shovels.

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