Area Development’s 15th Annual Gold & Silver Shovel Awards Recognize 2019 State and Local Economic Development Efforts

WESTBURY, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Area Development, the leading publication covering site selection and facility planning, recognizes 17 states with its Gold & Silver Shovel awards. States in five population categories — Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Utah, and Mississippi — are being awarded Gold Shovels in recognition of projects begun in 2019 creating a significant number of high-value-added jobs as well as large capital investments. Silver Shovels are being awarded to 12 other states.

While the current COVID-19 crisis may alter or put on “pause” some of these projects, our Annual Shovel awards recognize states and local economic development agencies that garnered large job-creating and investment projects over the course of the previous year through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, and other processes that attract new employers as well as investments in expanded facilities. The Gold and Silver Shovel awards are presented annually to the states that have achieved the most success in terms of new job creation and company investment.

Each of the 50 states was invited by Area Development to submit information about its top-10 job creation and investment projects. Only those projects that began to materialize in 2019 were considered. The Shovel Awards are given to the states with the highest weighted scores based on the number of high-valued added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities, and industry diversity.

States are compared only to others in their population tier. This year, Silver Shovels are being awarded to Florida (12+ million); Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio (8+ to 12 million); Arizona and Missouri (5+ to 8 million); Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oklahoma (3+ to 5 million population); and Kansas and Nebraska (3 million or fewer population).

The 2019 projects promising 1,000 or more jobs are in diverse industrial sectors, including financial services, automotive and aerospace, IT, distribution/logistics, among others. Five projects are distinguished as “Projects of the Year” for their job creation and investment numbers: Apple (TX), Amazon (VA), Raytheon (AZ), and Qualtrics (UT).

A report on the 2020 Shovel Award winners is published in the Q2/2020 issue of Area Development and posted online at

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Area Development Magazine

Gerri Gambale, Editor, 516-338-0900 Ext. 211

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