BATON ROUGE, La. -- Today, Site Selection magazine announced its 2010 Competitiveness Awards, which recognize excellence on the part of state-level economic development groups. Site Selection ranked Louisiana Economic Development the No. 1 state economic development agency in the country. This is Louisiana's highest ranking in the nine-year history of Site Selection's Competitiveness Awards. LED was ranked No. 2 in last year's ranking and did not appear in the top 10 in any prior year.
LED, with 431 points based on Site Selection's quantitative ranking criteria, beat Virginia (402) for the top spot this year. Texas (391), North Carolina (373) and South Carolina (369) round out the top five, respectively.
"Since day one our top priority has been working to retain and attract good jobs for our people so that our sons and daughters will no longer be Louisiana's top export," said Gov. Bobby Jindal. "Over the last three years, Louisiana's economy has outperformed the South and U.S. We are going to work aggressively to keep our state's economy headed in the right direction, including helping existing Louisiana companies to expand, attracting new business investment to Louisiana, supporting the formation and growth of small businesses, and fighting tax increases that would kill jobs and hurt our business climate in Louisiana."
Since January 2008, Gov. Jindal and LED have secured business development projects that are creating more than 39,500 new direct and indirect jobs and more than $8.5 billion in new capital investment, as well as billions in new sales for small businesses.
"We are delighted to receive this recognition for our efforts, yet we know we have a lot of work left to do to position Louisiana's economy to outperform the South and U.S. on a regular basis," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. "We are especially grateful that Gov. Jindal and the Legislature have provided us with the tools necessary to be recognized as the best performing state economic development agency in the nation, including our Business Expansion and Retention Group, State Economic Competitiveness Group, and LED FastStart workforce solutions program, as well as increased funding for small business development programs."
The Site Selection rankings calculate the total points a state-level economic development agency received based mainly on Conway Data Inc.'s New Plant Database of new and expanded facilities and new facility announcements. The following 10 criteria were utilized in the indexing system:
- Total new and expanded facilities in 2010
- Total new and expanded facilities in 2010 per 1 million population
- Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities in 2010
- Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities per 1 million population in 2010
- Total new jobs created in 2010
- Total new jobs created in 2010 per 1 million population
- Rank in the corporate real estate executive portion of the 2010 Site Selection Business Climate Ranking
- State Gross Domestic Product per 1 million population
- State unemployment rate
- Business Incubation Index component of the Beacon Hill Institute's State Competitiveness Report for 2010
In addition, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance made Site Selection's Top Groups ranking, with Greater New Orleans Inc. making Honorable Mention. Regional/local economic development agencies were ranked on four criteria: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. Then they were scrutinized for more subjective attributes -- among them innovation, leadership and customer service. This is the second year BRAC made the magazine's Top Groups ranking and the first year SWLA made the Top Groups ranking.
Nucor Corp., which is launching one of the largest industrial projects in Louisiana history, also made Site Selection's 2010 Top Deals of the Year awards, which were determined by level of capital investment, degree of high-value jobs, creativity in negotiations and incentives, regional economic impact, competition for the project and speed to market. The multiphase iron and steel project could create 1,250 jobs and $3.4 billion in capital investment in St. James Parish.
Over the last three years, Louisiana has moved up significantly in nearly every major national ranking of business climate, business investment, economic development or economic performance. In the last year alone, Louisiana has secured a variety of impressive nationalrankings and improvements in national rankings, for example:
- Pollina Corporate Real Estate gave Louisiana its first ever "Most Improved State" designation based on Louisiana's improved business climate ranking from 2008 to 2010. Louisiana ranked 20th on Pollina's 2010 business climate ranking, up from 27th in 2009 and 40th in 2008.
- Site Selection magazine ranked Louisiana's business climate the ninth best in the nation, which represented Louisiana's first appearance in the top 10. Louisiana also was the most improved state in Site Selection's ranking of top business climates based on its recent jump to No. 9 in 2010 from No. 25 in 2009.
- Southern Business & Development magazine named Louisiana "Co-state of the Year" for the second year in a row, citing Louisiana's success in attracting more significant business development wins per capita than any other Southern state.
- Business Facilities named Louisiana FastStart the best state workforce training program in the U.S., and ranked Louisiana's business climate eighth best overall in the U.S.
- Site Selection ranked Louisiana third best in its 2011 "Governor's Cup" ranking, behind only Texas and Ohio. Additionally, on a per-capita basis, Louisiana's ranking jumped from ninth in 2009 to first in the U.S. for 2010.
Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Data Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 44,000 executives of fast-growing firms. Now in its 57th year, Site Selection is also the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council. To read Site Selection's release, visit www.siteselection.com.