Alabama was No. 9 in Site Selection magazine’s Top 10 rankings in the magazine’s annual Governor’s Cups analysis. The magazine cited the state’s ability to quickly overcome the complex challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly bounce back from the economic shutdown as well as its high job-creating economic development projects per capita, a measurement that places smaller states on a more level playing field in the analysis. Alabama was No. 6 by its per capita ranking.
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said that the positive results in the closely watched Governor’s Cups analysis underscore how economic developers across the state were able to spur job growth and attract new investment even amid the pandemic’s uncertainties.
“These rankings really speak to the commitment of Alabama’s economic development team to identify meaningful opportunities for citizens in our state through job creation and to pursue that mission despite disruptive challenges,” Canfield said. “The rankings also serve as a strong reminder that Alabama remains a very attractive location for corporate decision-makers because of a pro-business environment, a motivated workforce and top-ranked job-training programs.”
Economic developer Nicole Jones said:
“Secretary Greg Canfield and the team at the Alabama Department of Commerce work diligently with the private sector to facilitate high-quality job creation and projects that benefit communities throughout our state. Even amidst a pandemic, Alabama continues to rank high, which is testament to an environment conducive for business. Site Selection Magazine is a leading, respected publication in our industry. For multiple consecutive years, Alabama has earned placement in the Top Ten in several categories. Companies here are able to create jobs that enable Alabamians to earn a good living that they can be proud of. We all benefit from these partnerships and from Alabama working.”
Huntsville, Decatur, Auburn-Opelika and Cullman all earned high rankings in the 2020 “Site Selection” analysis.
Alabama had 121 qualified projects in 2020 and finished just outside the Top 10 in Site Selection magazine’s ranking of the states by the number of projects. Pennsylvania was No. 10, with 123 projects.
Decatur had nine qualified projects, so was ranked second overall for metro areas with a population of less than 200,000 in the total project rankings and finished fourth in the per-capita rankings.
Auburn-Opelika has seven projects counted by Site Selection magazine so placed No. 6 for total projects in the metro areas with less than 200,000 people category. Auburn-Opelika finished No. 9 in the per-capita rankings.
Huntsville had 22 qualified projects, ranking the city third among metros with populations between 200,000 and 1 million in the per-capita projects ranking. The metro was seventh in the total projects ranking.
Cullman had 12 projects, ranking in No. 3 among the 2020 Top Micropolitans for number of projects, reinforcing its perennial ranking in this category of the “Site Selection” analysis. The city ranked No. 6 the previous year.
The magazine noted how two Cullman companies, HomTex and JELCO, both pivoted from their traditional manufacturing activities in 2020 to produce personal protective equipment, or PPE, to help the nation deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine has awarded the Governor’s Cup award each year since 1988 to the state with the greatest number of new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by a proprietary database. In 2014, the magazine launched a per capita category to even the playing field for states with smaller populations. Alabama ranked No. 7 that year.
Qualifying projects are those meeting one or more of Site Selection’s criteria for inclusion in the Conway Projects Database: a minimum investment of $1 million, creation of 20 or more new jobs or 20,000 square feet or more of new space. It does not track retail and government projects, or schools and hospitals.
Mark Arend, the editor-in-chief of Site Selection, said: “The Governor’s Cups recognize not only the winning governors, but their entire economic development teams, and by extension, the many professionals throughout their states who work every day to attract new investment and retain and grow existing businesses.”
Ohio ranked No. 1 for projects per capita in 2020, while Texas was top for the overall number of projects.