Adam Bruns, Managing Editor, Site Selection

Phone: 770-325-3491

6625 The Corners Parkway, Suite 200
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 • USA

Press Release

Site Selection Releases FTZ, FDI and Ohio River Corridor Rankings

Atlanta, November 5, 2020: In addition to the annual Business Climate Rankings for U.S. states released earlier this week, Site Selection magazine has published three other exclusive rankings in its November 2020 issue: top U.S. states and metros for foreign direct investment (FDI); top U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone states and zones, as well as top global free zones; and top metro areas along the Ohio River Corridor.

“Our mission since 1954 has been to document where companies choose to operate, and why,” says Adam Bruns, managing editor. “Applying analytics to our proprietary projects database as well as to other meaningful data sets produces results that continue to be meaningful to the location decision-making process of our 45,000 global corporate readers.”

FDI in America

Since the late 1980s, the global corporate facility projects database maintained by Conway Data has tracked project locations and expansions by companies of every stripe in every U.S. state. This fall we analyzed the 1,686 U.S. projects tracked since 2015 that have had at least a share of involvement by a foreign-based firm. The Top 10s below represent the top states and metros based on an index that awards points according to the territories’ ranking by number of projects involving foreign-based corporate end-user investors, total project-related capex and total project-related job creation.

Top FTZs and Global Free Zones

For U.S. FTZs, we took numbers from the 80th Annual Report of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to the U.S. Congress and ran calculations based on a number of Top 25 rankings derived from the zones’ operations data to calculate the index of Top 10 U.S. FTZ States & Territories. Then, using figures representing ranges of merchandise received, exports and jobs at all 257 FTZs across the nation as documented in the 162-page U.S. FTZ report, we devised an indexed ranking representing the Top 20 U.S. FTZs in Combined Economic Impact.

As for non-U.S. free zones, from 2010 to early 2018, corporate facility locations and their capex and job creation figures in such zones were tracked by Investment Consulting Associates, acquired by Site Selection publisher Conway Data. The data had never before been analyzed on a per-capita basis, so the ranking presented here does just that for zones and zone programs with a minimum of 10 projects. Eight of these top 20 are in central and eastern Europe, with four each in Latin America and the Middle East.

Source: 80th Annual Report of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to the Congress of the United States, November 2019

Source: 80th Annual Report of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to the Congress of the United States, November 2019

Ohio River Corridor

When Site Selection indexed corporate facility project data in every county abutting the Ohio River and then evaluated that data on a cumulative and per-capita basis by metro area over an 18-month period extending from 2019 into this past summer, the Louisville region came out on top. Greater Cincinnati was second, followed by Owensboro and Paducah, Kentucky. “In some ways, it is a surprise because of the year we’re in, and the challenges unlike anyone who’s alive has ever seen,” says Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, chief of Louisville Forward, noting the area’s social unrest in addition to pandemic-impacted business operations. “But if you take a step back and analyze it intellectually, you can see we’re doing well because of the ongoing strength of the local economy.”

The November 2020 issue also includes coverage of incentives policy, U.S. Opportunity Zones, data centers, aerospace and defense, global automotive, and a number of U.S. states and regions, as well as the Sarasota County Intelligence Report.

Site Selection magazine (, published by Conway Data Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 48,000 executives of fast-growing firms. The senior publication in the corporate real estate and economic development field, Site Selection and its affiliated e-newsletters are also available at Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Conway since 1954 has been a trusted advisor to corporations, governments and economic development and investment promotion agencies around the world, and in 2017 was named the Top International Company of the Year (Small Business) by the Georgia International Awards. Conway owns and manages Conway EventsConway Custom PublishingConway Advisory; and New York-based Conway PR & Marketing. Conway also manages the Industrial Asset Management Council