Pearl River Foods adding 450 workers in Carthage has contributed to Mississippi, along with five other states, receiving a coveted 2019 Gold Shovel Award given for large jobs creation and investment projects in diverse industries.

Amazon was one of the biggest job creator contributors, with headquarter announcements that affected multiple states, including the one it will open in Marshall County Mississippi bringing over 850 jobs.



While e-commerce was creating thousands of jobs across the nation last year, high-profile, diverse projects in the manufacturing, information technology, financial services, energy, and other sectors were also making news, according to Area Development, a prestigious corporate site selection and facility planning company based in New York.

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities.

Information was gathered from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2018. Factors considered on a weighted scale included the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, and the diversity of industry represented. After assessing that information across all states, six states achieved the highest weighted overall scores and were awarded Area Development’s Gold Shovels in five population categories: 12+ million, 8+ to 12 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Those states included: Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Arizona, Alabama and Mississippi.

Runners-up in each of these population categories were awarded Silver Shovels.

States who received a Silver Shovel Award included Florida, New York, Tennessee, Utah, and others.

But Amazon wasn’t the only reason Mississippi made the list.

“Mississippi also displayed its diversity in manufacturing and related sectors. Two big projects involve poultry processing: Pearl River Foods is adding 450 workers in Carthage, and Peco Foods will hire 300 at a facility where frozen chicken products will be handled. Two announcements were in the automotive sector, including a $170 million retooling at the Toyota assembly plant in Blue Springs (correction, the article said Jackson), where an additional 400 workers will be needed to roll more next-generation Corollas off the line.
In 2018, Mississippi received a Silver Shovel award, but the year prior won a Golden Shovel.

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities.

The group asked for information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2018. Based on a combination of weighted factors — including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, and the diversity of industry represented — six states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s Gold Shovels in five population categories: 12+ million, 8+ to 12 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners-up in each of these population categories were awarded Silver Shovels

Sarah Ulmer is a reporter with the conservative political blog Y’all Politics.