NASHVILLE – Business Facilities, a national economic development publication, has issued its annual 2012 State Rankings Report, and Tennessee has been named the No. 1 state in the nation for Automotive Manufacturing Strength for an unprecedented third consecutive year. Tennessee earned an additional seven Top 10 honors for economic growth potential, job growth, business and education climate, transportation infrastructure, data center hubs and Race to the Top.
“Our strategic focus on the automotive sector has yielded a substantial return for Tennessee and created a magnet for growth, as Tennessee’s many strategic advantages make our state the most compelling location for business expansions and relocations in the U.S.,” Bill Hagerty, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said.
“For an unprecedented third consecutive year, Tennessee has taken the crown as the top state in Business Facilities’ Automotive Manufacturing Strength ranking,” Jack Rogers, editor-in-chief, Business Facilities, said. “Fueled by a national revival in the auto sector, Tennessee’s assembly lines and supplier networks continue to get bigger and better. VW is ramping up production at its new plant in Chattanooga, Nissan is rolling out the all-electric Leaf in Smyrna and General Motors has given a new mission to the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill. The Volunteer State is putting the pedal to the metal as our undisputed automotive king.”
Last month, Magneti Marelli announced that the company will expand its Pulaski, Tenn. outfit, a $53.7 million investment that will create 800 new jobs. The company is a top global automotive systems and components supplier, and a new automotive lighting operation will be housed inside the company’s existing Pulaski facility.
“Magneti Marelli’s decision to expand in our state underscores the success Tennessee continues to enjoy in the automotive sector,” Hagerty added. “Since Governor Haslam took office in January 2011, our growth in the automotive industry in particular has been instrumental in Tennessee’s status as the eighth best state for economic growth potential and business climate.”
The additional seven Top 10 honors in the 2012 Rankings Report include: third for Race to the Top, fourth for Emerging Data Center Hubs, fifth for Best Transportation Infrastructure, eighth for Economic Growth Potential, eighth for Best Business Climate, ninth for Job Growth Leaders and tenth for Best Education Climate.
“Every year, there are a handful of states that deliver the best across-the-board performance in our rankings categories. Our 2012 State Rankings Report was a tour de force for Tennessee,” Rogers said. “In addition to its No. 1 finish in our Automotive Manufacturing Strength category, the Volunteer State was ranked among the top ten in seven other categories, including our flagship Best Business Climate and Economic Growth Potential rankings. Tennessee’s sustained effort to improve its education system placed it among the leaders in our Best Education Climate ranking, an effort which also garnered $500 million in federal Race to the Top funds, third highest in the nation.
“Many states are treading water in today’s sputtering economy. With a thriving manufacturing base, a growing skilled workforce and a business-friendly credo, Tennessee continues to move onward and upward,” Rogers added.
The accolades don’t stop at the state level with Tennessee cities topping several economic development related lists. In the Metro Rankings category, Memphis ranked No. 1 for Logistics Leaders- Air Cargo Hubs and Top 10 for Best Cost of Living, Knoxville ranked eighth for Fastest Growing Cities and Top 10 for Economic Growth Potential and Cookeville ranked in the Top 10 for Best Cost of Living. Memphis not only ranked No. 1 for Logistics Leaders – Air Cargo Hubs in the metro rankings, but No. 1 in the global rankings for the same category.
The complete 2012 Rankings Report will be featured in Business Facilities’ July/August issue and available online in late July at businessfacilities.com.