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Kentucky Places Second In National Rankings For 2016 Economic Development Success

Kentucky placed second nationally in economic development projects per capita last year and first in the South Central region according to Site Selection magazine, Gov. Matt Bevin announced earlier this month.

The rankings – part of Site Selection’s annual Governor’s Cup awards – make 2016 the third consecutive year Kentucky has placed first or second in the per-capita competition. Numerous Kentucky metropolitan and micropolitan regions also placed on top-10 lists for their economic development achievements. As well, Kentucky ranked seventh nationally in total projects, beating out states of far greater size.

“Kentucky continues to distinguish itself as a top location for new business growth and expansion,” Gov. Bevin said. “The strong performance outlined in this report stands as further proof of this fact, ranking us among the top 10 states by total economic projects announced. This is a great achievement for a state much smaller than many of our competitors, and is a testament to the efforts of thousands of people. It is exciting to see what happens when city, county, regional, state and federal levels collaborate to attract growth in communities across the commonwealth. The incredible beauty, quality of life, work ethic and abundant opportunities in Kentucky are becoming increasingly well known, and the future is bright indeed.”

In addition to the state’s high ranking, Site Selection named five Kentucky communities among its Top 10 Metro Areas Ranking. These include the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati region, which ranked fifth among areas with populations exceeding 1 million; Lexington, which ranked fourth for communities with populations between 200,000 and 1 million; and Bowling Green, Owensboro and Elizabethtown, which placed  second, seventh and ninth, respectively, among metropolitan areas with fewer than 200,000 people.

Kentucky also ranked fourth in total projects in micropolitan areas and 11 of its communities placed on the magazine’s 2016 Top Micropolitans list, including:

  • Bardstown – Nelson County, 7th
  • Danville – Boyle and Lincoln counties, tied for 9th
  • Mayfield – Graves County, tied for 18th
  • Frankfort – Franklin County, tied for 32nd
  • Richmond-Berea – Madison County, tied for 32nd
  • London – Laurel, Knox and Whitley counties, tied for 51st
  • Maysville – Mason County, tied for 51st
  • Somerset – Pulaski County, tied for 51st
  • Glasgow – Barren and Metcalfe counties, tied for 78th
  • Madisonville – Hopkins County, tied for 78th
  • Mt. Sterling – Bath, Menifee and Montgomery counties, tied for 78th

Additionally, Paducah earned 10th place in total projects in communities along the Mississippi River Corridor.

“Our local economic development partners statewide share credit for this success. Their dedication to a team approach helps make Kentucky such a strong player,” said Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Considering the showing by 11 of our micropolitans and five metros, Kentucky owns a winning formula for attracting, retaining and growing businesses. As we apply that formula in the coming years, we’ll continually hone our approach to maintain our leading edge.”

Last year, Kentucky announced more than 310 new location and expansion projects. Those are expected to create more than 16,000 jobs and over $3.1 billion in investment. Site Selection counts 231 of those projects toward its rankings. For inclusion in the magazine’s database, qualifying projects must meet one or more of these criteria: a minimum capital investment of $1 million, 20 or more new jobs created, and 20,000 or more square feet of new space.

Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988 to the US state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the Conway Projects Database.

Corporate real estate analysts regard the rankings as an industry scoreboard. The magazine’s circulation reaches 48,000 executives in corporate site selection decision making.

The full rankings can be viewed at

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