FRANKFORT, KY (3/7/1mad eco2) - In its highest ranking ever, Kentucky has been rated eighth in the nation for new and expanded industry activity in 2011 by Site Selection magazine's annual Governor's Cup rankings. The Atlanta-based publication has rated the states annually since 1978.

The ranking is based on a state's total number of qualified projects as tracked by Conway Data Inc.'s New Plant database.
"We're thrilled to finish as one of the elite eight in the nation for business expansion activity during 2011," said Gov. Steve Beshear. "This ranking shows Kentucky's determination to succeed and grow our industrial base, despite the challenges during the recent economic climate. Plus, this high ranking is even more impressive when one considers Kentucky has the smallest population of any state at the top of the list."

Qualified projects include those that meet at least one of three criteria:
-involve a capital investment of at least $1 million,
-50 or more jobs, or
-add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space.

During 2011, Kentucky generated 198 projects that met the database requirements. In total, 326 location or expansion announcements were reported in Kentucky resulting in 13,230 projected new full-time jobs. Capital investment was estimated at more than $2.6 billion.

"Kentucky's eighth-place finish in our annual Governor's Cup facilities race means its business climate is considered highly desirable by capital investors," said Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. "Gov. Beshear, his business-recruitment team and local economic developers across the state are clearly delivering the location solutions companies require."

Conway Data's rankings are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as "the industry scoreboard." The magazine's circulation base consists of 44,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions.

In addition to the Governor's Cup, eight Kentucky Micropolitan areas are recognized for their economic development successes. The magazine's Top Micropolitan Ranking includes Danville (tied for 13), Somerset (tied for 13), Glasgow (21), Paducah (tied for 32), Madisonville (tied for 48), Corbin (tied for 48), Mount Sterling (tied for 48), and Richmond (tied for 48).

"It's exciting to see Kentucky communities performing so well in the Micropolitan rankings, where they are compared to hundreds of areas of similar size all over the country," said Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. "Kentucky as a whole has been a consistent top performer in the Governor's Cup, ranking among the top 15 over the past four years."

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