MONTGOMERY, Alabama – After landing a series of major projects in 2013, Alabama scored high in Site Selection’s economic development success rankings, claiming the No. 7 spot for the most new and expanded facilities per capita last year, according to an announcement today from the magazine.
In addition, Site Selection ranked three Alabama cities – Cullman, Decatur and the Auburn-Opelika area – in the national Top 10 in their respective categories for economic development activity in 2013.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said the high rankings in the publication’s closely watched “Governors Cup” competition shows that economic developers across the state are making progress in achieving the goals outlined in the Accelerate Alabama strategic growth plan.
“This high ranking confirms that Alabama is a very attractive location for corporate decision-makers because of our pro-business policies, our dedicated workforce and our top-ranked job-training program,” Canfield said. “With Accelerate Alabama acting as our blueprint, we are being more strategic and focused in our economic development efforts, which are helping to reshape Alabama’s economy.”
Site Selection, an Atlanta-based magazine that has been published for 60 years, has awarded the Governors Cup each year since 1978 to the state with the greatest number of new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by a proprietary database. This year, it launched a per capita category to even the playing field for states with smaller populations.
“By either measure, the states ranking at or near the top are to be commended for fostering business climates that are most conducive to attracting capital investment and creating jobs,” said Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection.
Texas ranked No. 1 for the state with the most projects in 2013. Nebraska was No. 1 in the per capita Governors Cup, with 109 projects. Alabama’s 159 “qualified” projects in 2013 put it just ahead of Michigan, Georgia and Illinois in the per capita Top. 10. To be counted by Site Selection, a project must involve an investment of at least $1 million, create at least 50 jobs or add at least 20,000 square feet of floor area.
In its ranking of Top U.S. Micropolitans, cities with a population of between 10,000 and 50,000, Site Selection listed Cullman at No. 3, recognizing the considerable economic development activity that has occurred in the city. (Read an article about Cullman’s recent economic development successes.)
In the magazine’s rankings of U.S. metro areas with populations of less than 200,000, Decatur was No. 6 and the Auburn-Opelika area was No. 9. Both metro areas have become a magnet for corporate investment, with a variety of projects in different industries being announced.
The scoreboard featuring all on the rankings can be found on the Site Selection web site. The magazine says its circulation base consists of 45,000 subscribers, most of whom are involved in corporate site selection at the C-suite level.
Alabama has received high rankings and several awards in recent months for its economic development successes and for its business climate. Alabama was one of four states in 2013 to receive Area Development magazine’s Golden Shovel Award for economic development success. In addition, Area Development ranked Alabama No. 4 in its 2013 list of “Top 10 States for Doing Business.”
In addition, Business Facilities last year called Alabama a “rising automotive powerhouse” and ranked the state No. 2 for auto manufacturing strength as Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota all expanded output in Alabama. The publication also ranked Alabama No. 2 for “Most Improved Business Climate,” and gave it high marks in other categories such as economic growth potential and labor force training programs. (Read a full breakdown of Alabama’s rankings.)