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Thursday, March 03, 2005

LANSING, Mich., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced today that Michigan was second in the nation for new corporate facilities and expansions in 2004, and remains the national leader after eight years of tracking by Site Selection magazine. The publication verified 653 such projects for Michigan in 2004, just shy of Texas' 668 projects.

Between 1997 and 2004, Michigan welcomed a total of 10,882 major new developments and is the only state in the nation to top the 10,000-project mark since Site Selection began gathering the data. Over the eight-year period Michigan has gained nearly twice as many new facilities and expansions as Texas and nearly 3,000 more than second-place California.

"This is a remarkable showing for Michigan that speaks directly to the effectiveness of our strategy for attracting new business and new jobs to the state," Granholm said. "Although it is great to be recognized as a national leader, what's truly important is that these expansions result in thousands of jobs for Michigan workers."

Granholm noted that a number of factors contribute to Michigan's consistently strong showing in the Site Selection rankings. "Michigan is blessed with a top-notch workforce, a competitive business climate and, with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, one of the nation's top economic development organizations."

In addition to the impressive state ranking, Michigan distinguished itself in two other areas. The Detroit metro area was named the second-best metro area in the nation, up from last year's third place finish. Site Selection named Traverse City the second-best small town in the nation for business growth -- the third year in a row that it has held the number one or number two ranking.

The results of Site Selection's 2004 Governor's Cup competition will be featured in the March issue of the magazine and online at http://www.siteselection.com .

"Michigan's strong finish in the Governor's Cup contest shows that corporate site seekers remain keenly interested in Michigan as a location for expanding their operations," said Site Selection Editor Mark Arend.

To qualify for the Governor's Cup competition, projects must have at least $1 million in new investment or reinvestment, 20,000 or more square feet of new construction or create 50 or more new jobs. Retail and residential construction projects do not qualify. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation tracks project information and submits it to Site Selection magazine every year.

"The great news is that we are in a solid position with strong forward momentum," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway, noting that the MEDC recorded 205 projects more for 2004 than the previous year -- a 45 percent increase. "Governor Granholm's newest initiatives to grow businesses and create jobs in targeted, high-tech sectors have the potential to cement our economic development leadership for years to come."

In her 2005 State-of-the-State address, Granholm proposed initiatives that include a $2 billion bond proposal that would provide $200 million annually for research and commercialization in such high-tech, high-growth industries as life sciences, advanced automotive manufacturing, materials and alternative energy, and homeland security/defense. The proposal would result in approximately 72,000 new Michigan jobs, according to a U.S. Dept. of Commerce factor that relates job creation to R&D spending.

"This is an important ranking for Michigan, placing us squarely in the global spotlight as a prime destination for companies seeking locations for new or expanded operations," MEDC Executive Committee Chair Matt Cullen said.

Site Selection magazine provides expansion planning information to 45,000 executives of fast-growing firms in 117 countries.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on MEDC initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at http://www.michigan.org .

     New Expansion Projects*
             1997-2004

     Michigan         10,882
     California        7,938
     Ohio              7,306
     New York          6,749
     Texas             5,660

     New Expansion Projects*
              2004

     Texas               668
     Michigan            653
     Ohio                620
     New York            517
     Illinois            356

    *as verified by Site Selection magazine

     STATE         2004     RANK     2003     RANK     CHANGE
     TEXAS          668       1       489       3       36.6%
     MICHIGAN       653       2       448       5       45.7%
     OHIO           620       3       587       1        5.6%
     NEW YORK       517       4       552       2       -6.3%
     ILLINOIS       356       5       451       4      -21.1%

SOURCE Michigan Economic Development Corporation

CONTACT: Michael Shore of MEDC, +1-517-335-4590

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