CEO Guide to Site Selection



CEO Rank on Best & Worst States for Business


In 2020, Kentucky announced 223 new location and expansion projects that will create more than 8,000 new jobs and inject more than $2.28 billion into thecommonwealth. That growth continued throughout 2021 as the state continues to build on its strengths. While agriculture remains a top sector, the logistics andmanufacturing industries are also growing. Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation announced the biggest economic deal in the state’s history in September 2021, with electric battery plants in Hardin County that will create more than 5,000 jobs.

“We thank Ford Motor and SK Innovation for their investment in Team Kentucky. This is the single largest investment in the history of our state, and this project solidifies our leadership role in the future of the automotive manufacturing industry. It will transform our economy, creating a better Kentucky with more opportunities for our families for generations. Our economy is on fire—and now, it’s electric. Never again will we be thought of as a flyover state. Our time is now. Our future is now.”
Andy Beshear


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top corporate income tax

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on the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index ranking


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of students graduated high school in 2019

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of adults age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher


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increase between 2010 and 2020


Kentucky Business Investment Program: Offers income tax credits and wage assessments to eligible companies that locate or expand operations in the state.

SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program: Matches, on a competitive basis, up to $150,000 for Phase 1 and up to $500,000 for Phase 2 federal SBIR and STTR awards.

Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative (KSBCI): Offers credit enhancement programs to help lenders finance credit-worthy small businesses that would typicallyfall just outside of normal lending guidelines.

Bluegrass State Skills Corporation Skills Training Investment Credit: Offers grants and tax credits to businesses that sponsors skills-training programs for theiremployees.


Cabinet for Economic Development

Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce

Commerce Lexington

Greater Louisville Inc.

Louisville Forward

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED


The Bluegrass State Skills Corp. (BSSC), a group attached to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, helps private-sector businesses establish industry-specific trainingprograms. The program received more than $6.1 million in funds in 2021 to train 18,000 workers at 111 facilities.


  • Firestone Industrial Products announced in May 2021 a $50 million expansion and 250 new jobs in Williamsburg.
  • Marzetti announced in May 2021 a $133 million expansion and 220 new jobs in Horse Cave.
  • Fidelity Investments announced in July 2021 it will create more than 600 new jobs in Covington.
  • Manufacturer Chapin International announced in Au- gust 2021 an expansion in Rockcastle County that will create more than 200 new jobs.
  • Harbor Steel & Supply Corp announced in September 2021, it will construct a second facility in Bowling Green.
  • Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation announced in September 2021 the largest economic development project in the state’s history. Two electric battery plants worth$5.8 billion will create more than 5,000 jobs.
  • QSR Automations opened a new global headquarters and tech campus in Frankfort in October 2021.


One Fortune 500 company headquartered in state:

  • Humana (Fortune 500 headquarters)

Other large companies include:

  • Yum! Brands
  • Amazon
  • Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings
  • Global Win
  • Wickliffe
  • Topgolf
  • Faneuil
  • CCBCC Operations
  • General Motors

No 17: Kentucky

No. 17


Taxation and Regulations
Workforce Quality
Living Environment

Based on CEO Survey by

Key Metrics
Taxation and Regulations

  • State Corporate Income Tax Rate: 6%
  • Highest Personal Income Tax Rate: 6%

Workforce Quality

  • % with High School diploma or more: 81.3
  • % with Bachelor’s degree or more: 19.7
  • % with Advanced degree or more: 7.9
  • Patents per 100K: 12.42
  • % of Employed Represented by Unions: 10.1

Quality of Life

  • Hopsitals per 10K: 0.247
  • Elementary/Secondary Schools per 1000 people: 0.345
  • Violent Crimes per 100K: 256.44
Key Companies
  • Humana
  • YUM! Brands
  • Ashland
Other Highlights
  • Kentucky rose to #17 from #23 in 2009 and 2010
  • Kentucky ranks 28th in state debt per capita with $3107

Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education