Someone quipped in my presence recently, “I don’t know, ‘2022’ sounds a lot like ‘2020, too.’” Perhaps we’re all a little trepidatious heading into the new year, having survived 2020 and having made it through 2021 and its sort-of return to normalcy, shifting mask mandates, leisure-suit era inflation and shortage of truck drivers. There might even have been a shortage of gasoline in spots if there weren’t so many electric vehicles (EVs) running around.
Which brings me to a theme you’ll find running through this issue: The automotive industry has rounded the bend from “transitioning” to EV production to full-on “we only do EV production” in the case of such companies as Tesla, of course, but lots of others. North Carolina and Georgia landed their biggest capital investment projects to date in recent weeks, with Toyota North America’s $1.29 billion EV battery plant in Greensboro and Rivian’s $5 billion EV truck plant east of Atlanta, respectively, both of which are explored in this issue.
This is hardly the first issue in which we’ve covered such projects. You’ll find such content throughout the 2021 issues. Look for much more in the year ahead as locations in the U.S. and globally compete to attract those companies seeking to supply occupiers of the “mobility” space, which as you know is much more than electric cars and delivery vans. Imagine the bell bottom crowd in their long gas lines in decades past envisioning a world like the one we’re now stepping into. We’re excited to be delivering location insights and corporate perspectives on why and where this massive market will be investing in the year ahead.
One change we expect to see in the year ahead is illustrated in our annual State of the States report and its economic indicators and legislative updates for the 50 states. State GDP trend lines in the recent past largely fell off a cliff, thanks to pandemic-related economic disruptions. Look for those trend lines to rise again when we next publish this report a year from now, thanks to businesses recovering in 2021 and many states citing record capital investment numbers and new jobs in recent months.
This report, the cover story in this issue, should be particularly relevant right now. As the national economy today reminds us of a bizarre but widely reported rabbit incident 42 years ago, states to this day remain laboratories of economic growth and prosperity. Pick the state — or location worldwide — where the formula works. Happy New Year!
Till next time,
Mark Arend, Editor in Chief