From Together, We Are Building a Bigger, Better Texas

‘Together, We Are Building a Bigger, Better Texas’

How a state that frequently finishes first keeps its competitive edge.

Cover Story
Texas captured its 12th straight Governor’s Cup win from Site Selection magazine this year. Here, Governor Greg Abbott celebrates the national first-place ranking with communities, companies and legislators from around Texas.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Waco Bridge
Waco Bridge
Photo by Pierce Ingram/Courtesy of Travel Texas

ver wonder what keeps Texas growing and humming as the eighth-largest economy in the world?

Is it the fact that Texas annually leads the nation in job creation, corporate facility projects, new energy investments, and workforce growth?

Is it the fact that Texas leads the nation by having 55 Fortune 500 headquarters, more than 90 Fortune 1000 headquarters, more than 1,740 foreign-owned companies, and some 3.2 million small businesses?

Is it the fact that Site Selection magazine in November 2023 named Texas the winner of the publication’s annual Top Business Climate Ranking?

Or is it something else? Is it the call to the wide-open spaces and the Western lifestyle of the great outdoors? Is it that innate yearning to be free? Is it that famous Texas swagger?

The root cause of Texas’ unwavering growth may be debated, but one thing that is not up for debate at all is the fact that Texas will never make any apologies for finishing first.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said as much when he announced that the Lone Star State had once again led the nation in annual job growth. From his office at the State Capitol in Austin, Abbott noted that, from December 2022 to December 2023, Texas added 326,700 nonfarm jobs to payrolls statewide, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“Texas offers innovative entrepreneurs and job creators the freedom to succeed and hardworking Texans the tools to prosper.” — Texas Governor Greg Abbott

“It is no surprise that Texas begins the new year as the nation’s leader in job creation, again adding more jobs over the last 12 months than any other state,” the governor said. “Texas offers innovative entrepreneurs and job creators the freedom to succeed and hardworking Texans the tools to prosper. But we cannot be complacent. To continue to lead the nation — and the world — we must safeguard the promise of Texas. That is why we continue to invest more in our schools, our skilled workforce, and our already robust infrastructure to further expand economic opportunity for all Texans. I look forward to working with our state’s business leaders and unrivaled workforce in the years ahead as we continue to build a bigger, better Texas for generations to come.”

The news came even as Texas celebrated other milestone achievements. Other BLS data released in January showed that Texas had reached new highs for total jobs, the number of Texans working, and the size of the Texas labor force.

Governor Abbott has long contended that his state’s workforce is the biggest reason why the Lone Star State annually claims the grand prize of economic development: the Site Selection Governor’s Cup award for registering the most corporate facility investment projects in the nation. On March 1, Texas won this prestigious honor for a record 12th year in a row from Site Selection, the Atlanta-based business publication that has been tracking all corporate real estate activity nationwide for the past four decades.

Austin-TX-MuralThe “Austintatious” mural was created by Kerry Awn, Tommy B. and Rick Turner in 1974.
Photo by Chris Zebo/Courtesy of Travel Texas

Upon learning of the honor, Abbott told Site Selection Editor Emeritus Mark Arend that he credited the hardworking people of Texas for producing this achievement. “Thanks to the unmatched productivity of our young, skilled, diverse and growing workforce, Texas is the eighth-largest economy in the world,” he said. “We have also experienced faster economic growth than the nation for six quarters in a row. Today, we lead the nation in exports and high-tech exports. And here in the state where the microchip was first born, the future of America’s semiconductor industry is already building for tomorrow as Texas ranks as the top state for semiconductor manufacturing and exports.”

The Proof is in the Rankings: 

  • Chief Executive magazine said that Texas was the Best State for Business in 2022.
  • Lendio said Texas was the Best State to Start a Business in 2023.
  • Both Site Selection and Business Facilities said Texas had the Best State Business Climate in 2023.
  • Texas has ranked as the No. 1 exporting state for a record 22 years in a row.

Abbott went on to list the reasons for this record of sustained success: “When choosing where to relocate or expand their businesses, more innovative industry leaders find themselves at home in Texas,” he told Site Selection. “They recognize the competitive business advantages found only in Texas. Industry-leading CEOs cite our pro-growth economic policies — with no corporate income tax and no personal income tax — along with our strong and growing workforce, easy access to global markets, robust infrastructure, and business-friendly regulations.”

Abbott also mentioned something that you don’t often hear other governors discuss: You don’t have to be a big business to leave your mark in Texas. “Texas offers room for businesses of all sizes to grow and their employees to succeed, to afford a home, and to enjoy a high quality of life in communities across our great state,” he said.

In other words, you don’t have to invest a billion dollars, or even $10 million, to make a difference in Texas. While there are plenty of examples of multi-billion-dollar investments shaping the future of Texas — from Cheniere Energy’s LNG plants on the Gulf Coast to Samsung’s chip plants in Austin and Taylor — there are also plenty of examples of smaller firms creating meaningful jobs and making impactful investments on a smaller scale.


Small But Mighty Firms Pack Punch

Case in point is The Amherst Group, LLC, a vertically integrated real estate investment, development, and operating platform, which announced the grand opening of its first StudioBuilt™ manufacturing facility in Cuero, Texas. The grand opening took place April 5 and featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony, factory tour and celebratory lunch.

Amherst plans to invest over $12 million in the Cuero factory, which will enable it to produce more than 600 new housing units per year. As part of its commitment to solving this nation’s housing supply crisis, Amherst will place hundreds of units produced at this factory in cities across Texas and neighboring states annually.

Amherst has around 1,500 employees and currently serves 92,000 residents across the U.S. Today, the company manages 44,000-plus homes across 32 markets in 19 states. 

A combination of state and local incentives is frequently the deal closer in Texas.

“In Texas, economic development is a team sport,” Governor Abbott told Mark Arend back in March. “It takes the work of many economic development organizations — both at the state and local level — working together to ensure Texas continues to lead the nation in relocation and expansion projects. Together, we are building a bigger, better Texas.” 

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


Texas is drawing companies from across the U.S. with its famously pro-business climate, robust infrastructure and world-class workforce.

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