Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015
BY DAVID ZOELLER
Kentucky’s economic development efforts continue to gain national recognition, with the state placing third in the 2015 Business Climate Ranking by Site Selection magazine.
The commonwealth rose five spots from its eighth place finish in last year’s survey of state business climates by the Atlanta-based publication. Kentucky had the largest increase of any state in moving up to its highest position ever.
The business climate ranking “is a barometer of which states have the right mix of actual project successes and high favorability as indicated by site selectors,” according to Mark Arend, Site Selection editor.
“This ranking reflects the culmination of my administration’s focus on economic development,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Since January, we announced nearly 2,300 new or expanding facilities, bringing more than 86,000 jobs and a total investment of $19.2 billion into Kentucky.
“From Kentucky’s automotive-related manufacturing to our thriving aerospace industry to our world-renowned bourbon distilleries, business leaders recognize the Bluegrass State as a premier location for commerce, and this ranking underscores that fact,” Beshear said.
According to Site Selection, the results are based in part on a survey of corporate real estate executives, who considered existing workforce skills, state and local taxes, transportation and utility infrastructure, and land/building prices and supply as the most important factors.
Among the eight categories considered, Kentucky placed first in the ranking’s new plants-per-capita for January through August 2015, and ranked fourth in the 2014 new plants-per-capita category. The state narrowly missed placing second, coming two points behind North Carolina. Georgia placed first for the third year in a row.
“Our goal at the Cabinet for Economic Development is to provide jobs for Kentuckians by helping existing businesses expand and new businesses locate in our commonwealth,” said Larry Hayes, cabinet secretary. “Kentucky’s low business costs, robust shipping and logistics options, dedicated workforce, and network of state and local economic development experts and resources make our state the clear choice as a top location for business.”
Both the state of Kentucky and the Paducah area have been previously honored by Site Selection magazine.
Earlier this year, Kentucky placed first in the magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for new and expanded industry activity per capita for 2014. Paducah was ranked 13th among the magazine’s 2014 Top Micropolitans by number of job creation projects recruited during 2014. It marked the second year in a row Paducah was the highest ranked of the 10 Kentucky micropolitans making the list.
Micropolitans are urban areas based around an urban cluster with at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.
Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.