MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Alabama’s economic development team earned a Silver Shovel Award from Area Development magazine for its strong performance in 2015, keeping alive a winning streak that dates back a decade.
The publication, which targets economic developers and site selection experts, announced the award today, noting that Alabama secured 2015 projects involving $7.1 billion in new capital investment and nearly 20,000 jobs.
“Much of this growth is in key sectors such as technology, aerospace, and automotive,” Area Development noted. “This investment figure is twice the 2014 total and one of the highest annual totals in recent years. Alabama also attracted foreign direct investment approaching $3.5 billion in 2015.”
Area Development’s Gold and Silver Awards are meant to recognize individual states for their overall economic development effectiveness. Alabama has won one of the awards each year since 2006, when it won a Gold Shovel. It won another Gold in 2012, and Silver in 2013 and 2014.
Joining Alabama with a 2015 Silver Shovel among states with populations between 3 and 5 million were Kentucky and Louisiana.
In its report, Area Development singled out 2015 Alabama projects including Google’s $600 million data center in Jackson County, GE Aviation’s $300 million advanced materials factories in Huntsville, and Mercedes-Benz’s $1.3 billion expansion in Tuscaloosa County.
Polaris Industries’ off-road vehicle manufacturing facility in Huntsville, which could eventually have as many as 2,000 jobs, was selected as one of the magazine’s “Automotive Projects of the Year.”
“The Alabama economic development team is committed to bringing high-caliber jobs to the state’s citizens by following a strategy that seeks to maximize growth in target sectors such as automotive, aerospace and bioscience,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“This Silver Shovel Award is a testament to the results being delivered by the state’s hard-working economic development organizations.”
Alabama’s 2015 economic development results are outlined in Commerce’s “New & Expanding Industry Report,” released earlier this year.
“My chief priority continues to be the focus of creating jobs and new opportunities for citizens across the state,” Governor Robert Bentley said when the report was released. “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.”
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.