Kristina Slattery
Kristina Slattery
Business Development

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

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Andy Beshear
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Jeff Noel
For Immediate Release
Brandon Mattingly

Gov. Beshear: Kentucky Earns Back-to-Back Gold Shovel Awards for New Business and Job Growth

Commonwealth home to a 2023 Manufacturing Project of the Year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 13, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Kentucky has earned back-to-back Gold Shovel Awards from the national publication Area Development, which cited the commonwealth’s strong gains in attracting new businesses and growing jobs.

Each year, Area Development awards only one Gold Shovel Award for states with populations between 4 million and 6 million. Kentucky has now won the award for the past two years. The publication also named AESC, formerly known as Envision AESC, as a 2023 Manufacturing Project of the Year.

“We continue to see record-breaking economic development in Kentucky, and we are only going to build on that momentum,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our continued success, especially our hard-working Kentuckians and growth-minded communities and companies. This recognition shows the rest of the country that Kentucky really is the best place to do business.”

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value-added investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. The awards are based on a combination of weighted factors, including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities and the diversity of industry represented.

Five states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Gold Shovels in five population categories: 10 million-plus, 6 million to 10 million, 4 million to 6 million, 2 million to 4 million and fewer than 2 million.The Governor joined AESC company leaders in April 2022 to announce the state-of-the-art AESC facility in Bowling Green is helping lead the way in Kentucky’s electric vehicle (EV) sector as the $2 billion project will create 2,000 new full-time jobs in the region. AESC will produce battery cells and modules to power next-generation EVs by multiple global automotive manufacturers, supporting up to 300,000 vehicles annually by 2027.

Kentucky’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.

Last month, Gov. Beshear announced there are more than 2 million jobs filled in Kentucky – the most in state history – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its federal survey of business establishments. And the Governor highlighted that 57,000 new jobs have been filled since the beginning of his administration.

The Governor recently announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 860 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $26 billion in announced investments.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.

The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In addition to the AESC announcement that was recognized by Area Development, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On in September 2021 celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.

That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.

Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.

Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.

Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history. This week, the state reported receipts for fiscal year 2023 totaling $15.1 billion, which exceeded budgeted estimates by $1.4 billion, making it the largest revenue surplus in history.

Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.


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