Site Selection, a national expansion planning publication, has ranked Louisiana Economic Development the No. 1 state economic development agency in the country.

The official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council, the magazine this week announced its 2010 Competitiveness Awards, which for the past nine years have recognized excellence on the part of state-level economic development groups. LED was ranked No. 2 last year and did not appear in the top 10 in any prior year.

LED, with 431 points based on Site Selection’s quantitative ranking criteria, beat Virginia (402) for the top spot. Texas (391), North Carolina (373) and South Carolina (369) round out the top five.

Since January 2008, LED has secured business development projects that are creating more than 39,500 new direct and indirect jobs and more than $8.5 billion in new capital investment, as well as billions in new sales for small businesses.  

“We are especially grateful that Gov. Jindal and the Legislature have provided us with the tools necessary to be recognized as the best performing state economic development agency in the nation, including our Business Expansion and Retention Group, State Economic Competitiveness Group and Louisiana FastStart™ workforce solutions program, as well as increased funding for small business development programs,” said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. “We are delighted to receive this recognition for our efforts, yet we know we have a lot of work left to do to position Louisiana’s economy to outperform the South and U.S. on a regular basis.”

The Site Selection rankings calculate the total points a state-level economic development agency received based mainly on Conway Data Inc.’s New Plant Database of new and expanded facilities and new facility announcements. The following 10 criteria were utilized in the indexing system:

Total new and expanded facilities in 2010
Total new and expanded facilities in 2010 per 1 million population
Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities in 2010
Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities per 1 million population in 2010
Total new jobs created in 2010
Total new jobs created in 2010 per 1 million population
Rank in the corporate real estate executive portion of the 2010 Site Selection Business Climate Ranking
State Gross Domestic Product per 1 million population
State unemployment rate
Business Incubation Index component of the Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Report for 2010

In addition to LED's honor, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (Lake Charles) made Site Selection’s Top Groups ranking, with Greater New Orleans Inc. receiving Honorable Mention. Regional/local economic development agencies were ranked on four criteria: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. Then they were scrutinized for more subjective attributes — among them innovation, leadership and customer service.

This is the second year BRAC made the magazine’s Top Groups ranking and the first year SWLA made the Top Groups ranking.

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