Texas Named Business Facilities’ State Of The Year

The Lone Star State wins BF's top annual honor for the third time.

Texas State of the YearTINTON FALLS, NJ — January 3, 2017 — Texas has been named Business Facilities‘ 2016 State of the Year. The Lone Star State joins Tennessee as one of only two states to win the magazine’s top honor three times since it was created in 2007.

Texas lassoed in five top projects that created nearly 6,000 new jobs from a diverse mix of growth sectors, including facilities for Charles Schwab, Amazon, Lockheed Martin and two top pharma players. In addition to multi-billion-dollar investments in petrochemical expansions, the top five for capex in TX included $2.2 billion in spending commitments from Samsung and Lockheed Martin.

“Texas is a perennial contender for our State of the Year award, but in 2016 Texas blew away the competition,” BF Editor in Chief Jack Rogers said. “Already a leader in semiconductors, a top-tier data-center hub, a burgeoning aerospace giant and home to the nation’s largest wind-power grid, the Lone Star State continues to maximize its advantages to expand the most dynamic state economy in the U.S.”

In addition to the 2016 award, Texas snared BF‘s inaugural State of the Year honor in 2007; TX also won the top BF honor in 2012.

Texas dominated BF’s 2016 State Rankings Report, published in the magazine’s July/August issue. Texas notched the best across-the-board results in the annual rankings competition, making the top 10 in a record-shattering 18 out of 24 State Rankings categories. TX was our top-ranked state in four categories (Best Infrastructure, Exports Leaders, Installed Wind Power Capacity and Wind Power Expansion Leaders) and finished in the top three in 10 categories.

“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again,” Rogers noted. “When it comes to ranking the states for the keys to success in economic development, pick a category and more often than not you’ll find Texas ahead of the pack.”

Standouts among Texas’ recent project successes include Lockheed Martin’s $1.2-billion upgrade of its Fort Worth aircraft assembly facility. The aerospace giant is in the midst of an expansion that will enable it to triple production of F-35 fighter jets by the end of 2017; peak production will add at least 1,000 new jobs to the Fort Worth facility.

Financial services giant Charles Schwab is investing $100 million in a new regional campus in Westlake, TX that will create 1,200 new jobs over the next 10 years, in a facility that will include more than 500,000 square feet of commercial office space.

Samsung continues to expand its world-class semiconductor fabrication complex in Austin.  The South Korea-based tech giant is investing another $1 billion at Samsung Austin Semiconductor (on top of the $16 billion already invested in the Austin complex), an expansion that will address growing demand in the consumer electronics sector for advanced “system on the chip” (SoC) products for mobile devices.

Texas State of the Year
Credit: Digital Vision

Texas has dominated the U.S. leaderboard in state exports for more than a decade. The Lone Star State amassed $251 billion in exports in 2015, well ahead of second-place California’s $165 billion (TX and CA were the only states to exceed $100 billion in exports). Texas also was a prime destination in 2015 for foreign direct investment flowing into the U.S. TX garnered an 11 percent share of the North American FDI influx with $7.5 billion in investments, second only to New York.

Rogers noted that Texas is mounting a spectacular rebound from last winter’s oil price slump with an unprecedented fracking expansion in West Texas that promises to make the U.S. the world’s leading oil exporter in coming years.

Oil industry experts recently confirmed that shale-oil deposits in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico are holding an estimated 75 billion barrels of oil, making the region second only to Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar field as the world’s largest oil reserve. The Wolfcamp Formation in TX alone is holding an estimated 20 billion barrels of shale oil, roughly three times larger than North Dakota’s Bakken field and the largest U.S. “unconventional” crude reserve ever discovered, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Recent fracking operations in West Texas are yielding gushers of light, sweet crude so productive the area is experiencing a boom that promises to eclipse the black gold rush that enriched North Dakota in 2008,” Rogers said.

Texas remains the leader by far among U.S. states in installed wind power capacity with nearly 18,000 megawatts of installed wind energy, almost triple the capacity of second-place Iowa. The Lone Star State has no intention of relinquishing its installed wind power capacity any time soon: TX also led the nation in wind farm expansions in our 2016 rankings, beginning work on more than 5,000 MW of expanded capacity. With a $7-billion investment in its fully operational West Texas wind power transmission grid, TX also has put down a marker that it soon will be a national leader in the percentage of wind power it uses to generate electricity in the state.

“Whether you’re talking about oil and gas pulled out of the ground or renewables, Texas is going to be the energy epicenter of the known universe for decades to come,” Rogers said.

Business Facilities, a national publication that is the leading location source for corporate site selectors and economic development professionals, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with the publication of the upcoming January/February 2017 issue.