Business Facilities magazine has named Alabama as its “State of the Year” for 2015. This is the first time that Alabama has claimed the site selection publication’s highest award.
The magazine looked at the top five economic development projects in terms of job creation and capital investment between Oct. 1, 2014 and Nov. 1, 2015, while also considering other factors.
Alabama topped the charts this year, thanks to their high-profile recruitment of projects such as Google’s $600 million data center in Jackson County and the $127 million Polaris ATV factory that is set to create as many as 2,000 jobs in Huntsville.
In addition to Polaris and Google, other Alabama projects highlighted by Business Facilities included:
– Mercedes’ plans to invest $1.3 billion to expand its Tuscaloosa County assembly plant and prepare it for the production of next-generation SUVs. The project will add 300 jobs, many of them highly paid engineering positions;
– Auto supplier Kamtek’s $530 million project to expand its Birmingham facility and add a new aluminum casting line, creating 350 jobs; and
– Yorozu’s plans to open a plant in Jasper, AL to produce auto suspension parts, generating 300 new jobs.
The top five Alabama economic development projects in 2015 accounted for a combined total of $2.7 billion in capital investments.
Business Facilities also highlighted Alabama’s strong record of attracting FDI from companies such as Airbus, and the state’s growing export activity, which has seen overseas shipments of Alabama-made goods more than double in the past decade.
Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers said in the magazine’s announcement (http://bit.ly/1kve56o) that “With Mercedes-Benz and Airbus anchoring top-tier positions in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, an expanding high-tech hub and forward-thinking leadership in 21st-century workforce training, Alabama has put together a winning combination that’s tough to beat.”
Governor Robert Bentley said in a release that the Business Facilities honor caps a strong year for Alabama’s economic development efforts. “Our chief focus remains on creating jobs and new opportunities for residents across the state. I believe we are well-positioned to do that thanks to the state’s skilled workforce, great job-training programs, and a business environment that promotes growth,” added Gov. Bentley.
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, noted that the new “Made in Alabama” incentives platform and a streamlined approach to workforce development, now centered in Commerce, will enhance the state’s competitiveness in 2016 and beyond.
Alabama’s designation as the Business Facilities “State of the Year” will now be featured in a cover story in the magazine’s January/February issue.