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2015 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards Recognizing Excellence in State Job Creation and Economic Development Efforts

Q2 2015

If the last year in the economic development arena has shown anything, it’s how serious the competition for new projects has become. States and localities understandably have raised their general expectations with the U.S. economy generating stronger growth prospects, confidence in American manufacturing on the rise, and a number of high-profile siting, expansion, and relocation decisions fueling economic development pursuits. But many companies at home and abroad have remained reluctant to part with capital to invest in new and augmented facilities while the U.S. and global economies remain “iffy.” And a handful of states have indicated they’re getting more serious about chasing new business by cutting tax rates and taxes.

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize individual states for their overall economic development effectiveness. This year, we honor 21 states for their achievements in 2014 in garnering company investment and job creation. At a time of intensifying competition, these states and communities have proven that they understand what makes for winning economic development strategies. Their governors and legislatures not only have determinedly held the line on taxes, in most cases, but also have relentlessly pursued other paths to business-friendliness, including providing reasonable incentives, improving infrastructure, training workforces, and establishing an overall environment of cooperation with business that helps create vibrant new economic presence in communities and sustainable employment today and for the future.

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
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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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