Category Archives: Ranking

Kentucky Receives National Recognition for Economic Development Projects

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.


What Makes a Business Climate Competitive?

 “We’re proud to offer companies a pro-business environment, including an educated workforce, strong infrastructure and progressive incentives. This ranking reflects our dedication toward creating more jobs and supporting our Kentucky families.” – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear

With some of the nation’s lowest industrial electricity costs, a competitive tax structure, aggressive and effective incentive programs, an ideal location and a high quality of life, Kentucky has become a top location choice for globally competitive enterprises. In fact, Kentucky was recently ranked as having the eighth best business climate in the country by Site Selection Magazine, the leading publication for corporate real estate strategy and area economic development.

That’s an improvement from last year, when the state ranked ninth. In 2012, it was 12th. In 2014, Kentucky scored strong in project activity categories, including a top five finish in new facilities per capita for 2013 and 2014, and top 10 in competitiveness and taxes for new firms.

While Site Selection’s rankings of economic development success are heavily project-based, it takes a competitive business climate for those projects to land in locations that rank in the winning states and metros. Fifty percent of the overall Business Climate Ranking is based on a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank the states based on their recent experience on locating facilities in them. The other 50 percent is based on an index of seven criteria: performance in Site Selection’s annual Competitiveness Ranking; total New Plant Database-compliant facilities in 2013; total new facilities in 2013 per capita; total 2014 new projects year to date; total 2014 projects year to date per capita; state tax burdens on mature firms and on new firms according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG Location Matters analysis.

Kentucky Business Climate Ranking
Site Selection’s 2014 Top State Business Climate Rankings


In 2013 alone, over 200 manufacturing facilities announced a new location or expansion in the Commonwealth. So why are more companies choosing Kentucky as a place to do business?

  • Kentucky has the lowest cost of electricity in the industrial sector among states east of the Mississippi River – sixth lowest nationally – averaging nearly 20 percent less than the national average.
  • A 2012 Tax Foundation report ranks Kentucky as the seventh most business-friendly state in the country for new firms and the sixth lowest cost state in the country for new corporate headquarters.
  • Kentucky borders are within 600 miles of over 65 percent of the nation’s population, personal income, and manufacturing establishments.
  • Kentucky is well-served by 19 interstates and major highways, major rail networks, barge traffic on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, five commercial airports and dozens of regional airports.
  • Kentucky offers one of the nation’s lowest cost of living and housing costs up to 30 percent lower than the national average.
  • Thanks to the UPS Worldport in Louisville and DHL in Northern Kentucky, Kentucky ranks 3rd in the nation in total air cargo shipments.
  • Our educational partners work closely to train workers in industry-specific skill sets, and our ability to provide the flexibility and customization that companies require sets us apart. 

CLX Economic Development Team

Commerce Lexington Update

  • Global Entrepreneurship Week is November 17th through the 23rd.  Click here to learn more and to view the schedule of events.
  • Last week, Butler Animal Health Supply, a subsidary of Henry Schein Animal Health, held their Grand Opening Celebration for their new facility in the University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus. The expansion will create 31 new jobs and have invested over $2.6 million in the expansion project.
  • Lexington was ranked the 12th Best City for Veterans by WalletHub.
  • This week, Commerce Lexington will be taking their annual Regional Tour to Northern Kentucky to hear about the area’s key attributes, challenges, and collaborative possibilities from elected officials, and business and community leaders throughout the region.
  • This week, members of Commerce Lexington’s Economic Development team will head to the Kentucky Association for Economic Development’s Annual Conference in Louisville, KY.

Lexington, KY Recognized by Business Facilities for Economic Development Excellence

Business Facilities has introduced a new annual series of Economic Development Awards to honor the agencies and organizations that have established and consistently executed the best practices in our industry, bringing measurable success in targeted economic development to the locations they represent.

We have created more than a dozen new awards categories, including overall economic development excellence awards, best practices awards that cite achievements in specialized programs like workforce training and incentives, and awards for marketing excellence in the use of new media (including social networks and video).

The finalists for our new overall Economic Development Excellence awards were asked to prepare a detailed submission that summarized the most productive project development in their locations and gave our judges an overview of the economic development strategy they have deployed to ensure sustained long-term growth. The information provided to the judges included the top projects (initiated since the beginning of 2011), in terms of capital investment and job creation. These projects included new facilities, expansions, relocations or corporate headquarters.

In their strategic narratives, finalists identified the growth sectors they are targeting and described the specialized tools being deployed to achieve growth in these sectors. We encouraged them to specify their approach to workforce training, specialized incentives and the support they provide to the development of start-ups, small businesses and other entrepreneurial initiatives. Our judges assessed the diversity and scope of the agency

New Ranking: #5 Best Real Estate Market Buy

In the inaugural article of their buying advice column, MSN Real Estate decided to team up with Local Market Monitor to determine the best and worst real estate markets for people looking to buy soon. Lexington made the list at the #5 spot of the best markets to buy in with an expected small decline of 1% in actual average home price in 2011.

December buying advice: A new home for the holidays?