FloridaFlorida’s diverse economy is driven by manufacturing, aviation and aerospace, life sciences, defense, IT, finance, logistics and distribution, and clean technology. Aviation is represented by more than 2,000 aerospace and aviation companies that generate an estimated $144 billion in annual revenues. Florida is also home to two of the nine active spaceports in the U.S.: Cape Canaveral Spaceport and the Cecil Spaceport. A new addition to the aerospace sector is Blue Origin in Brevard County, owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The $205 million, 330-person complex will include both launch and manufacturing facilities.
2015 Top Projects: Florida
Population: 20.27 Million
|1.||Blue Origin||Brevard County||N||330||$205 million||Aerospace|
|2.||Johnson & Johnson-Vistakon Vision Care Inc.||Duval County||E||100||$301 million||Life Sciences|
|3.||ICAMR, Inc.||Osceola County||N||215||$280 million||R&D|
|4.||Walmart||Polk County||N||625||$230 million||Distribution Center|
|5.||Hoerbiger||Broward County||E||420||$55.2 million||Compressors|
|6.||UTC Building & Industrial Systems||Palm Beach County||N||380||$115 million||Headquarters|
|7.||DS Waters of America, Inc.||Polk County||N||509||$16 million||Contact Center|
|8.||VOXX||Orange County||E||134||$17.3 million||Automotive Electronics|
|9.||Sancilio & Co., Inc.||Palm Beach County||E||275||$6.7 million||Nutritional Supplements|
|10.||Merritt Island Boat Works||Brevard County||N||380||$16 million||Yachts|
Florida is also a hub for the life sciences, with more than 5,000 companies supporting 79,000 jobs. The state is home to world-renowned biomedical research institutes and pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and is ranked second among the states for FDA-registered medical device manufacturing facilities. Recent announcements in this sector include Johnson & Johnson’s $301 million expansion in Duval County (100 jobs) and Sancilio and Co.’s $6.7 million expansion in Riviera Beach, which manufactures branded prescriptions, over-the-counter and generic prescription pharmaceutical products, and nutritional supplements.
Other manufacturing sectors in Florida include electronic components, compressors, and transportation equipment. For example, VOXX in Orange County is spending $17.3 million to expand its automotive components production facility with a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing center and corporate headquarters in Orlando. And Hoerbiger, a leading player in the fields of compression, drive, and automation technology, is opening a new manufacturing facility in Coral Springs, which will create 420 jobs. “The strength of the workforce makes South Florida the right place for our newest facility,” notes Don York, president of Hoerbiger Corporation of America, Inc. Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, explained that Hoerbiger has been a “good corporate citizen” that has worked to develop a machinist apprentice program at Broward College.
IllinoisTwo key sectors that drive the Illinois economy are agriculture/food processing and manufacturing. Top agricultural products are corn, soybeans, wheat, pork, and cattle. Additional crops grown in Illinois include oats, sorghum, fruits, and vegetables. Food processing is the state’s second-largest manufacturing sector. Recent announcements include ConAgra Foods locating its $106 million headquarters in Chicago, where it joins other food companies including Kraft Heinz and Wrigley. Costco also plans to build a $110 million meat-processing plant in Morris and hire 85 workers.
2015 Top Projects: Illinois
Population: 12.83 Million
|1.||Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.||Rolling Meadows||N||500||$141 million||Financial Services|
|2.||Baxalta International||Bannockburn||N||800||$22 million||Headquarters|
|3.||ConAgra Foods||Chicago||N||150||$106 million||Food Products|
|4.||Aux Sable Liquid Products||Channahon||E||25||$130 million||Natural Gas Liquids|
|5.||Cronus Chemicals, LLC||Tuscola||N||130||$450 million||Chemicals|
|6.||*Mars Candy||Joliet||N||500||$130 million||Distribution Center|
|7.||*Amazon**||Joliet||N||1,500||$155 million||Fulfillment Center|
|8.||HSBC Holdings||Arlington Heights||N||1,500||$10 million||Financial Services|
|9.||*Ikea||Joliet||N||250||$120 million||Distribution Center|
|10.||Costco||Morris||N||85||$110 million||Meat Processing Plant|
|*A Small Cities Project of the Year
**An E-Commerce Project of the Year
Another powerful force in the Illinois economy is manufacturing, especially heavy machinery for construction and agriculture, and farm tools. Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cleaning solutions, and paint are other top manufacturing sectors. Last year was especially beneficial for the chemical market, with Cronus Chemicals announcing plans for a $450 million, 130-person plant in Tuscola and Aux Sable Liquid Products planning to increase the capacity of its extraction and fractionation facilities in Channahon by 24,500 bpd.
Last but not least, the three new distribution/fulfillment centers bringing a total of 2,250 jobs and $405 million in investment to Joliet — Mars Candy, Amazon, and Ikea — helped Illinois garner a Silver Shovel.
TexasTexas continues to expand its economy and create jobs, despite the slide in oil prices (unemployment rate in 2015 was about 4.2 percent). This is because the state has aggressively diversified into other industries, with strong support from the Texas Enterprise Fund and cluster initiatives. Technology, healthcare, and the insurance/financial sector are hot spots in the Texas economy.
2015 Top Projects: Texas
Population: 26.96 Million
|1.||* Liberty Mutual Insurance||Plano||E||5,000||$355 million||Headquarters|
|2.||*Capital One Financial||Plano||E||1,200||$35 million||Financial Services|
|3.||**Amazon||San Marcos||N||1,000||$191 million||Fulfillment Center|
|4.||Indeed.com||Austin||E||1,000||$17 million||Job Search Services|
|5.||**Amazon||Dallas||N||900||$20 million||Fulfillment Center|
|6.||Sempra Energy - Port Arthur LNG||Port Arthur||N||100||$4 billion||LNG Export Facility|
|7.||Total Petrochemicals||Port Arthur||N||45||$2 billion||Ethane Cracker|
|8.||General Motors||Arlington||E||600||$1.4 billion||Automotive|
|9.||BASF/Yara||Freeport||N||10||$1.1 billion||Ammonia Production|
|10.||Fort Worth||N||40||$1 billion||Data Center|
|*A Small Cities Project of the Year|
**An E-Commerce Project of the Year
For example, Liberty Mutual is building a $355 million, nearly one-million-square-foot office campus in West Plano. Also in Plano is Capital One Financial, which is undertaking a $35 million, 205,000-square-foot extension of its corporate campus and will hire 1,200 workers, bringing the total overall campus to 1.5 million square feet.
“The things that one would see in this building, from a work perspective, would be the things that one would see in a leading-edge Silicon Valley company,” states Sanjiv Yajnik, president of financial services for Capital One. “We have a great workforce here and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Although a surplus of cheap natural gas hurts the oil and gas industry, these stockpiles are attractive feedstocks to the petrochemical industry. Recently announced billion-dollar projects include Sempra Energy ($4 billion LNG export facility) and Total Petrochemicals in Port Arthur ($2 billion ethane cracker), and BASF/Yara in Freeport ($1.1 billion ammonia production facility).
2016 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
- South Carolina
2016 Silver Shovel Awards
12+ Million Population Category
8 to 12 Million Population Category
- North Carolina
5 to 8 Million Population Category
3 to 5 Million Population Category
Under 3 Million Population Category
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Small Cities’ Projects of the Year
|Liberty Mutual Insurance||Plano, TX||5,000||$355M|
|Capital One Financial||Plano, TX||1,200||$35M|
|Mars Candy||Joliet, IL||500||$130M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Automotive Projects of the Year
|Polaris Industries||Huntsville , AL||2,000||$140M|
|Tesla||Fremont , CA||4,426||$239B|
|Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.||Lafayette, IN||1,204||$140.2 M|
|Ford Motor Co.||Louisville, KY||2,000||$1.3B|
|Faraday Future||North Las Vegas, NV||4,500||$1.4B|
|Volvo Car Group||Berkeley, SC||2,500||$500M|
|Mercedes-Benz Vans Manufacturing, LLC||Charleston, SC||1,300||$500M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Solar Projects of the Year
|SolarCity||Utah County, UT||4,000||$94M|
|Vivint Solar||Utah County, UT||3,143||$91M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: E-Commerce Projects of the Year
|Amazon||San Marcos, TX||1,000||$191M|
|Amazon.com||Etna Township, Village of Obetz, OH||2,000||$180M|
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 2015 (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 — six states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s 2016 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 were awarded 2016 Silver Shovels.