It may not have felt like it due to a deep recession, but Ohio led the nation in business attractions and expansions in 2009.
In fact, if economic development were a sport, the state would be a dynasty, after winning its fourth straight Governor's Cup and fifth in seven years, according to Site Selection magazine, which announced the awards Wednesday.
Ohio claimed the crown with 381 projects after winning it in 2008 with 503. Texas was second with 374 projects, followed by Michigan with 371, Pennsylvania at 333 and Tennessee at 234.
"Ohio fought hard in 2009 to win new projects and to expand existing operations in the state,'' said Mark Arend, Site Selection editor in chief. ''Its 381 projects and fourth consecutive Governor's Cup are proof that many companies are investing and growing in Ohio because they want to be there.''
The magazine's New Plant Database focuses on new corporate location projects with significant impact. 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: involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 50 new jobs, or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area.
How they ranked
Top states and the number of projects announced according to Site Selection magazine:
1. Ohio, 381
2. Texas, 374
3. Michigan, 371
4. Pennsylvania, 333
5. Tennessee, 234
6. New York, 219
7. North Carolina, 208
8. Illinois, 196
9. Virginia, 193
10. Indiana, 183
Through the Regional Chamber's Project 360 economic development effort, the Mahoning Valley contributed 20 projects with an investment of $81 million.
The area already made a giant contribution toward the 2010 contest with V&M Star Steel's $650 million steel tube plant on the Youngstown-Girard border that was announced last month.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland noted the tough times facing the state but said his administration has ''tried to determine priorities and focus on the factors that are essential to future growth and development.''
Strickland cited tax reform and making the Bureau of Workers' Compensation more effective as two tools the state has used to attract companies. State officials also have cut red tape, kept utility costs competitive, reduced the size of state government and supported the Third Frontier program aimed at strategic, high-tech enterprises, he said.
Additionally, a $1.57 billion economic stimulus bill signed in June 2008 - before the federal stimulus package was enacted in early 2009 - ''also contributed to Ohio's business climate in 2009,'' Strickland said, adding the bill helped encourage investment in logistics and renewable energy sectors.
The oldest publication in the corporate real estate and economic development field, the 56-year-old Atlanta-based magazine has made the awards annually since 1978, using data from parent Conway Data Inc.'s New Plant Database.
Site Selection said its yearly analyses are considered 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, most at the chief executive, president and chief operating office levels.