Published Mar 01, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta
Texas continues to dominate the nation when it comes to total economic development project wins, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lone Star State took the top spot for the ninth year in a row on Site Selection Magazine’s list of best performing states for economic development by total number of projects. That’s earned Texas the publication’s Governor’s Cup award once again.
Texas logged 781 projects in 2020, down from 859 qualifying projects the year before but still more than any other state as the U.S. grappled with the effects of the pandemic.
Ohio took the top spot on Site Selection’s list of most projects per capita.
According to Site Selection: “Both Ohio and Texas have diverse economies, as do the other high-ranking states, so that was a factor in their capital investment success. All states benefited from a strong national economy heading into 2020 — until COVID-19 slammed the brakes on their momentum. Economic development agendas turned to business recovery and assistance, and suddenly governors were seen leading daily pandemic updates and determining to what extent they would remain open for business.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told the magazine that all metrics are now moving in the right direction in terms of the state’s economic recovery. The Governor pointed to the drop in new cases and hospitalizations as well as other positive indicators.
“We undertook a number of measures that were focused on trying to maximize businesses being allowed to remain open and operate safely and to minimize any type of shutdown,” Abbott told Site Selection, “and find the right blend of that and maximum public safety. We focused on keeping businesses open as much as possible and providing them the guidance and the tools, meaning we were able to surge testing supplies through chambers of commerce to help businesses be able to test employees, for example.”
Abbott said businesses use challenging periods like this one as an opportunity to chart their paths forward. “That’s something we saw from the phone calls we got during the course of the pandemic this past year — businesses wanting to either come to Texas or grow in Texas and using this time as an opportunity to do those expansions. What they see in Texas is extremely promising, and I believe our economy will be booming the latter part of this year and next year.”
Houston specifically had a strong year in economic development, as well. In November, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced plans to move its headquarters from California to North Harris County, giving the region yet another Fortune 500 company. A month later, Axiom Space said it would build the world's first commercial space station at the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport. That project is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the area. Greentown Labs, Amazon and Google Inc. all announced projects earlier in the year. View other significant economic development projects in this region here.