With 70 projects meeting the magazine’s criteria, Kansas ranked 10th in the nation in economic development projects per capita in 2020. The new ranking increased from 2019 when Kansas was ranked No. 20.
“Our latest Site Selection ranking proves what we already know: Kansas is on the right track to continue strengthening our economy,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “More businesses means more, higher-paying jobs for Kansans. As our economy continues to recover from COVID-19, our ability to attract new development and maintain existing businesses will be critical.”
This achievement comes in the wake of sweeping changes to the state’s Department of Commerce, including a new International division, a fully-staffed Business Recruitment team, an overhauled In-State Development team, and other improvements. These strategic shifts for Commerce led to 2020 being one of Kansas’ most successful capital investment years ever. In 2020, the Kelly Administration broke the all-time capital investment record since the Department of Commerce was formed with more than $2.5 billion in new capital investment.
“This is a testament to how our state’s approach to economic development has fundamentally changed,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “We’re aggressively pursuing new avenues for business, and in much higher quantities than Kansas ever has before. To go from 20th to 10th in one year is a major achievement, and I’m proud of my team at the Department of Commerce and our partners throughout the state for making this incredible progress possible.”
The criteria for projects per capita in this ranking include new corporate facility projects like headquarters, manufacturing plants, research and development operations and logistics sites, among others. Retail, government projects, schools, and hospitals are not counted.
New facilities and expansions must meet at least one of three criteria to be included:
- Involve a capital investment of at least $1 million
- Create at least 20 new jobs, or
- Add at least 20,000-square-feet of new floor area
In addition to this new ranking for the state, several Kansas communities were recognized as top-performing “micropolitan” areas, including Coffeyville, Hutchinson, McPherson, Pittsburg, and Salina. These rankings can be seen here.
Site Selection’s full state rankings report can be seen here.