Texas has been awarded the 2016 Governor’s Cup—an award given annually by Site Selection Magazine recognizing the top performing state for capital investment attraction based on number of new and expanded corporate facilities. This is the state’s fifth consecutive win and eighth win overall since 2004. Governor Abbott will accept the award on behalf of the State of Texas later this month.

The Lone Star State’s 642-project finish for 2016 is down from its 701-project, first place finish last year but is comfortably ahead of the runners-up in the traditional Governor’s Cup facilities race: Ohio is second with 515, followed by Illinois (434), North Carolina (289) and Georgia (271). In the per capita (per 1 million population) contest, Nebraska’s 101 projects allowed it to claim the Governor’s Cup over defending champ Kentucky, which finished second with 231 projects. In addition to placing highly in the traditional rankings, Ohio’s 515 projects gave it a third-place finish in the per capita race. Louisiana (169) placed fourth, while 434 projects earned fifth place for Illinois.

“Texas and Nebraska last shared this recognition in 2013, when the Governor’s Cup for per capita projects was introduced,” says Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. “Different governors were in office at the time, but Governors Abbott of Texas and Ricketts of Nebraska share their predecessors’ drive to make their states the best-in-class locations for capital investment. They and their economic development teams understand how to help businesses succeed, and the projects associated with the 2016 Governor’s Cups are evidence of that.”

Now that Nebraska has reclaimed the Governor’s Cup for projects per capita, Gov. Pete Ricketts won’t relinquish it easily. Ricketts says he wants to make Nebraska a low-cost state in which to do business. “My goal,” says Ricketts, “is to do tax relief every year I’m governor.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who claims his fourth Governor’s Cup for total qualified projects, says CEOs he speaks with are bullish on the talent they find in the Lone Star State. “I ask them, ‘Why Texas?’ ” Abbott tells Site Selection. “Almost to a person they say the key reason is the quality of our workforce.”

Site Selection’s Conway Projects Database focuses on new corporate facility projects with significant impact, including headquarters, manufacturing plants, R&D operations and logistics sites, among others. It does not track retail and government projects, or schools and hospitals. New facilities and expansions included in the analyses must meet at least one of three criteria: (a) involve a capital investment of at least US$1 million, (b) create at least 20 new jobs or (c) add at least 20,000 sq. ft. (1,858 sq. m.) of new floor area.

The March 2017 issue of Site Selection also features state rankings by region. For 2016, the regional leaders according to the traditional, total new projects measure are Pennsylvania (Northeast); Ohio (East North Central); Missouri (West North Central); North Carolina (South Atlantic); Texas (South Central); Arizona (Mountain); and California (Pacific). Per capita regional leaders are Rhode Island (Northeast); Ohio (East North Central); Nebraska (West North Central); North Carolina (South Atlantic); Kentucky (South Central); Nevada (Mountain) and Oregon (Pacific).

Top Metros and Micros

The Top Metros for new and expanded corporate facilities for 2016 were led by Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin, among metro areas with populations over 1 million and Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa, among areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million. Sioux City, Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota, was first among areas with populations between 50,000 and 200,000. Full lists of the Top 10 Metros in each population category appear below.

In the magazine’s ranking of Top Micropolitans — cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county — Findlay, Ohio, was tops among the nation’s 575 micropolitan areas, followed by Cullman, Alabama; Wooster, Ohio; Shelby, North Carolina; and a tie between Tupelo, Mississippi, and Batavia, New York. Ohio once again led as the state with most Top Micropolitans (18).

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