Governor Steve Beshear hoisted Kentucky's historic Governor's Cup trophy in Owensboro to highlight ongoing economic development and investment in the region by Daviess, Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties. The Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership and Engagement, KYNDLE, oversees Economic Development efforts in Kentucky's Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties.
Gov. Beshear joined community officials from the region to celebrate Site Selection magazine naming Kentucky the top state for economic development projects per capita last year.
"It's an honor to receive the Governor's Cup, but it's the meaning behind the award that's so significant," said Gov. Beshear. "Think about where we were seven years ago when Kentucky's unemployment rate was 11 percent and business growth was at a near standstill. We've come so far. Our statewide unemployment rate is now 5.1 percent, and the Governor's Cup is further proof of the fruits of our labor. This success would not have been possible without this region's dedication to supporting businesses, creating jobs and making Kentucky a better place for all of us."
These counties have made huge strides in attracting and growing jobs, as well as in improving education, promoting workforce training and supporting healthy lifestyles.
Henderson County announced 45 new and expansion projects since 2008, which are projected to create 950 jobs and $157 million in new investment.
Union County announced 11 new and expansion projects, which are projected to create more than 200 jobs and $18 million in new investment.
Webster County announced six projects, which are projected to create more than 300 jobs and nearly $5 million in new investment.
Projects in these communities include:
- US Bank (2014): 696 jobs
- Gibbs Die Casting (2014): 180 jobs and $8.9 million investment
- TerrePURE Kentucky Distillers (2014): 70 jobs and $23 million investment
- Castlen Welding and Manufacturing (2014): 30 jobs and $3.9 million investment
- Century Aluminum (2014): $3 million investment
- Gibbs Die Casting (2013 and 2014): combined 340 jobs and $37 million investment
- Tyson Foods (2011): 200 jobs and $3.5 million investment
- Metalsa (2010): 240 jobs, $12.6 million investment
- Unilever (2008): 89 jobs, $40 million investment
The unemployment rates in these counties continue to decline.
In Henderson County, the unemployment rate in March 2014 was 7.4 percent. It is currently 5 percent.
In McLean County, unemployment has fallen from 7.8 percent to 5.4 percent.
In Webster County, unemployment has dropped from 6.6 percent to 5.2 percent.
In Union County, the unemployment rate continues to fall. It was 7 percent in March 2014 and is currently 6.4 percent.
The region is also seeing an increase in tourism. A report released in early May, 2015 showed that the economic impact of Kentucky's tourism industry topped $13 billion in 2014, with growth in every tourism region of the state.
Henderson County's 2014 tourism economic impact was $88.9 million, a 6.7 percent increase from the previous year. The county's 2014 tourism employment was the equivalent of 1,046 jobs.
"In 2009, I was proud to work with Gov. Beshear and the Cabinet for Economic Development as I sponsored the law that modernized our state tax incentive programs," said Rep. Tommy Thompson, of Philpot. "That legislation has played a crucial role in helping grow Kentucky's economy and is a key reason why we won the Governor's Cup this year. Because of this type of cooperation and dedication, I am certain that this award will not be our last."
The Governor's Cup is just one of the Commonwealth's recent economic development successes.
- Kentucky announced more than 350 new industry location and expansion projects last year, which are projected to create nearly 15,000 jobs and more than $3.7 billion in new investment. That is the most business investment since the state started keeping track nearly 30 years ago.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Coincident Index, which measures wages, unemployment rates and payrolls, indicates Kentucky's economic activity not only recovered from the Great Recession, but has also reached an all-time high.
- Kentucky's jobless rate is below the national average and is half of what it was during the height of the recession.
- Kentucky exports reached an all-time high of more than $27.5 billion last year. It's the fourth-straight year Kentucky has set a state record.
Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, rates states, metropolitans and micropolitans annually for its Governor's Cup. The rankings are based on the number of projects that involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create 20 or more jobs or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space.