Kentucky has been recognized for its economic growth. Site Selection Magazine recently released its annual Governor’s Cup Rankings for 2014, and Kentucky placed first nationally in Projects per Capita and sixth in Number of Projects. Both rankings are improvements from previous years—in 2013, Kentucky placed 4th in projects per capita and 12th in number of projects—and are proud accomplishments for Kentucky, which has focused on economic development efforts in the past few years.
“Winning the prestigious Governor’s Cup is a true honor,” said Gov. Beshear in a press release. “Kentucky works extremely hard to build and maintain relationships with our companies, and we go the extra mile to support their plans for growth. The Governor’s Cup speaks to the dedication of everyone in this state who’s working to build Kentucky’s economy, grow jobs and create success for our industries, our communities and all Kentuckians.”
Kentucky has been able to help businesses expand in key industries such as manufacturing and offers a bureaucratic climate that encourages and supports new businesses and business expansions. In fact, last year more than 350 new projects were announced, which should create 15,000 jobs and more than $3.7 billion in new investment.
Gov. Beshear attributes Kentucky’s growth to the state’s many programs that help investors and companies quickly move into Kentucky and set up operations. For example, Kentucky’s Build-Ready program helps communities prepare building sites, including building pads, preliminary designs, permits, and utility and transportation infrastructure, which allows companies to quickly move into Kentucky and set up operations. Incentives programs have also helped attract new companies and helped current companies expand.
To further attract and retain companies, Kentucky has prioritized workforce development.
The Kentucky Skills Network is a job training program that has served over 4,000 companies and 84,000 people in its first year. In addition, KY FAME prepares students for manufacturing careers by introducing classroom training and work experience.
To be included in Site Selection’s rankings, projects had to make a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 50 jobs, and add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space. This means that small business growth was not captured in the analysis.
“Kentucky’s small business growth is soaring,” Gov. Beshear told Site Selection. “We have placed tremendous emphasis on creating a culture of entrepreneurship where thousands of small businesses find success on many level.”
Kentucky’s unemployment has followed suite. Between January 2014 to December 2014, Kentucky’s unemployment rate decreased by 2.9 percentage points, from 8% to 5.1%. Every county in Kentucky experienced a decrease, ranging from a decrease of 0.4 percentage points in Russell County to a decrease of 8.4 percentage points in Leslie County.