by Pete Julius

The winners of the 2004 Governor’s Cup were just announced in the latest issue of Site Selection Magazine . For the sixth time since 1978, Texas is number one with 668 facility announcements. Michigan , Ohio , New York and Illinois round out the top five. All new and expanded facility announcements consisted of at least $1 million in investment, a minimum of 50 employees and at least 20,000 square feet. In response to this article, we took a closer look at new and expanded activity over the past six years. The following table compares overall average investment, employment and square footage for new and expanded projects from 1999-2004.

YearTotal Number of ProjectsAverage Investment ($M)Average EmploymentAverage Square Footage (1,000s)
Expanded 23,395 $11.5 73 48
New 26,432 $16.3 69 109
Grand Total – New & Expanded 49,827 $14.0 71 83
Source: Conway Data & Whittaker Associates, Inc.

Facility expansion projects in 2004 increased in the total number of projects, average employment and square footage from the previous year. During the same time period, new facility projects increased in investment, employment and square footage. New and expanded activity is still nowhere near the levels of 99-01 but these figures show some promise in the recovery of our national economy. The table below compares two different time periods: 1999-2001 and 2002-2004.

Year Total Number of Projects Average Investment ($M) Average Employment Average Square Footage (1,000s)
1999-2001 14,048 $10.8 65 36
2002-2004 9,347 $13.0 91 257
Expanded23,395 $11.5 73 48
1999-2001 17,638 $14.8 59 103
2002-2004 8,794 $21.0 102 129
New 26,432 $16.3 69 109

Source: Conway Data & Whittaker Associates, Inc.

The number of new and expanded announcements in these two time periods is drastically different. There were twice as many new facility announcements from 1999 to 2001 than there were during the time period from 2002 to 2004. There were approximately 5,000 new facility projects in 1999 to 2001 than there were from 2002 to 2004. It is also interesting to point out that average investment, employment and square footage were all higher for new and expanded activity from 2002 to 2004 than the time frame from 1999 to 2001. This point illustrates that there are far fewer new and expanded announcements in the past three years, but the projects are bigger. This is a great sign and is an indication that the economy may finally be turning around.