Alabama attracted more than $7 billion in capital investment in 2015, along with nearly 20,000 new and future jobs, as the state’s economic development team secured high-caliber projects in key growth sectors such as technology, aerospace and automotive.
- Companies planning new facilities or expanding their operations in Alabama announced capital investment topping $7.1 billion in 2015, a figure that’s twice the 2014 total and the highest tally in recent years.
- A total of 19,262 new and future jobs in Alabama were announced last year, an increase from 18,157 jobs in 2014 projects. Limestone was the No. 1 county for new and announced jobs, with most of its total of 2,618 stemming from Polaris’ $140 million manufacturing facility.
- Alabama attracted foreign direct investment approaching $3.5 billion in 2015, with companies from 18 countries represented. Germany was the top source of FDI, with more than $1.6 billion, and the top source of new jobs, with 951.
- Tuscaloosa County was No. 1 for new capital investment in 2015, with projects valued at more than $1.5 billion. Much of that is tied to a large-scale expansion planned for the Mercedes plant and the next-generation sport utilities the automaker will build there.
“My chief priority continues to revolve around creating jobs and new opportunities for citizens across the state,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “This new report shows once again that Alabama is well positioned to achieve those goals because of a skilled workforce, proven job-training programs, and a business climate that promotes growth.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the 2015 economic development report reflects several significant trends taking place in the state’s economy.
A major development is accelerating expansion in Alabama’s aerospace sector linked to the production start-up at Airbus’ new Mobile manufacturing facility, and continued robust growth in the automotive industry.
In addition, Secretary Canfield said, Alabama is attracting a rising number of projects that are creating brainpower jobs in fields such as engineering and research and development. The Mercedes expansion, for expansion, involves the creation of new engineering jobs.
Plus, there are more robust opportunities for Alabama in high-tech following Google’s decision to build a $600 million data center in Jackson County and Equifax’s move to open a Global IT Talent Center at Auburn University.
“Alabama’s economic development team is coming off a landmark year and will continue to pursue the kind of projects that can have a profound impact on the future of our state,” Secretary Canfield said. “We are working hard to create an environment that sets the stage for growth in targeted economic sectors and the creation of high-paying jobs across Alabama.”
The 2015 results build on Alabama’s solid economic development track record in recent years. Since 2011, when Governor Bentley took office, Alabama has recorded $24.4 billion in new capital investment tied to projects, with announced jobs surpassing 92,000.
BREAKING DOWN RESULTS
The 2015 New & Expanding Industry Report shows that 74 companies announced plans to open a new Alabama facility last year, combining for $2.1 billion in investment and 8,023 new and future jobs. The report counts 384 expansions, totaling $5 billion in investment and 11,239 jobs.
Behind Tuscaloosa, the top counties for project-related capital investment in 2015 were:
- Jefferson ($900 million)
- Jackson ($686 million)
- Mobile ($505 million)
- Limestone ($471 million)
Trailing Limestone, the top counties for new and future jobs tied to 2015 projects were:
- Jefferson (2,464)
- Montgomery (1,268)
- Madison (1,226)
- Tuscaloosa (1,032)
The report was compiled by the Alabama Department of Commerce. Today’s press conference was held at the AIDT training center on the Mercedes campus, where the state’s primary job-training agency has helped the automaker build a full-time workforce that now numbers around 3,500.
Alabama’s economic development successes during 2015 have already drawn attention.
Business Facilities, a magazine focusing on economic development, selected Alabama as its “State of the Year” for 2015, while Trade & Industry Development, a similar publication, picked three Alabama projects for investment impact awards.