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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2010

Ohio wins national prize fourth year in row


For the fourth consecutive year, Ohio has won a coveted national prize for having the most economic development projects.

Gov. Ted Strickland accepted the prize from Site Selection Magazine, an industry publication that tracks corporate real estate and economic development projects.

The magazine said Ohio had 381 qualifying development projects in 2009, edging out Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Ohio won in 2008 with 503 projects.

"During these times of challenge, we have tried to determine priorities and focus on the factors that are essential to future growth and development," Governor Strickland said in a prepared statement.

The ranking was released two days before Ohio was to release its January unemployment rate. The jobless rate has been in double digits for nine months. The latest rate available is December's, when it was 10.9 percent, with nearly 641,000 unemployed.

For a project to be counted by Site Selection, it must involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 50 jobs, or add at least 20,000 square feet of floor area.

The magazine also tracks the economic development of large and small metropolitan areas nationally under the same criteria. In Ohio, Dayton, Cincinnati, Wooster, Ashtabula, and Findlay made the magazine's top 10 list for communities of their respective sizes, Monroe made the list for Michigan.

The Toledo area did not place on the list.

According to the magazine's rankings, the Great Lakes region - Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota - had the most projects during 2009 with 1,172. The next most active region was the south Atlantic, nine states from Delaware south along the coast to Florida, with 748. Mark Arend, Site Selection Magazine's editor in chief, said the rankings were "not a measure of a state's economic health or a ranking of jobs created" but of projects announced of at least a certain size that fit particular criteria.

- Larry P. Vellequette

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