HOUSTON – While other cities are struggling to create growth, Houston is maintaining its reputation as a bustling area with boundless economic growth possibilities according to Site Selection magazine. The 2011 “Top Metro” rankings have been released and the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land area tops the list as the No. 1 metro area in the nation for corporate location and expansion activity. This is a key factor for job growth and retention in Houston.

This is the second time in three years the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) takes the number one spot. The Houston region logged in 195 new and expanded facilities to garner the honor.

The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro followed at number two with 167 projects and Pittsburgh with 141 projects rounded out the top three in major metros.

“Site Selection’s award adds to the long and growing list of distinctions the Houston area is earning for our business recruitment, business retention, job creation and economic growth efforts,” said Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “We will continue to show that the Houston region is the most attractive place to locate or expand your business in the United States.”

The announcement was made by Site Selection in its annual “Governor’s Cup” issue.

“The Greater Houston area’s commanding performance in our Top Metros facilities race is proof positive that the economic development infrastructure here is delivering the location solutions most in demand by corporate real estate investors,” says Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. “Executives we spoke to about their Houston area sites listed the strong business climate, helpful state and local agencies, logistics assets and availability of skilled workers as their primary decision drivers. My colleagues at Site Selection and I congratulate Mayor Parker, Jeff Moseley and his team and all who worked to make Greater Houston the right location for so many companies.”

Site Selection is the most recent in a series of awards and recognitions lauding the region including: “Top U.S. Manufacturing City” – Manufacturers’ News, Inc; “Fastest Growing Wages in U.S.” – Business Insiders ; “Best Performing Cities Among Top 10 Largest U.S. MSAs” – Milken Institute; “Most Affordable City to Do Business Worldwide” – Pricewaterhouse Coopers; and 2011 Fast City of the Year – Fast Company.
Neutex Advanced Energy Group was one of the featured facilities that helped the Houston region become the No. 1 metro in the country. The company, which manufactures energy efficient LED lighting fixtures, bulbs and applications, recently moved its manufacturing operations to Houston from China.
“When it became clear that we needed to transfer the majority of our manufacturing from China back home the United States, we became very serious about moving our manufacturing business and its jobs to Houston,” said Neutex President & CEO John Higgins. “We were serious about moving our business back to Houston, because Houston is serious about business.”

According to numbers recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Houston region still leads the nation in job growth. Houston has regained almost all or 99.8 percent – of the jobs lost during the recent national and global recession. Houston is the largest major metro to have accomplished such a feat. The region is expected to gain almost 85,000 jobs this year.

In addition to the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land metro, Texas earned the second spot in state rankings for corporate project attraction. These designations from Site Selection magazine are based upon the tally of corporate facility projects, both green field and expansions, during 2011.Site Selection’s New Plant database does not track retail and government projects, schools or hospitals. New facilities and expansions included in the analyses must meet at least three criteria:involve a capital investment of at least $1 million; create at least 50 new jobs; or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area.

Site Selection Governor’s Cup award, which the 59-year-old Atlanta-based magazine has awarded annually since 1978, goes to the state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities. Site Selection’s yearly analyses are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” The magazine’s circulation base consists of 44,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions, most at the CEO/President/COO level.

View the top metro article at www.siteselection.com. For more information on the Houston region or to become a member of the Greater Houston Partnership, visit www.houston.org.

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The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of Houston’s business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. It represents 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. Opportunity Houston is an aggressive five-year marketing and lead generation program that will help grow jobs, increase capital investment and expand foreign trade for the region by the end of 2015. Visit the Greater Houston Partnership on the World Wide Web at houston.org.