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Alabama earns Area Development’s Golden Shovel Award

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Governor Robert Bentley announced Wednesday that job creation success during the past year has earned Alabama the nation’s top Gold Shovel Award from Area Development magazine. Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Kansas were named the winners of the magazine’s 2013 Gold Shovel Awards, presented annually to states that have achieved significant success in job creation and economic impact.

“It is rewarding that our work to make Alabama the best place to do business is being recognized by Area Development,” Governor Bentley said. “My top priority is job creation. This award shows Accelerate Alabama, our state’s strategic economic development plan, is working.  Accelerate Alabama is in its first year of implementation and is producing industry-leading results and creating job opportunities for Alabamians.”

Area Development magazine’s Annual Shovel Awards recognize state economic development agencies that drive significant job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, processes and promotions that attract new employers as well as investments in expanded facilities.

“We are proud to be one of only four states awarded Area Development magazine’s Gold Shovel Award for our economic development success in 2012,” Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “With the execution of Accelerate Alabama and the continued leadership of Governor Bentley, we are confident Alabama will continue to provide a business climate and the resources necessary for business and industry to flourish in our state.”

Alabama received Area Development’s Gold Shovel Award in 2006 and Silver Shovel Awards in 2007 through 2012.

“Planes, ships, and automobiles. They are the economic movers most responsible for earning Alabama a Gold Shovel,” Area Development said about this year’s award, referring to Airbus’ decision to build passenger jets in the state, shipbuilder Austal’s rapid expansion in Mobile, and the growth of the state’s auto industry.

Previously, Governor Bentley said 2012 was a strong year for Alabama in economic development. Companies establishing new operations in Alabama or expanding facilities already in the state announced capital investments exceeding $5.4 billion in 2012, resulting in nearly 21,000 new jobs, Bentley said.

One of Alabama’s biggest triumphs of 2012 was the recruitment of Airbus, which announced plans to build a $600 million final assembly line at Mobile Brookley Aeroplex where it will produce the A320 family of passenger jets. The project will create 1,000 full-time jobs.

View a list of Alabama’s top economic development projects for 2012.

Each of the 50 states was invited by Area Development to submit information about its top-10 job creation and investment projects. Only those projects that began to materialize in 2012 were considered. The Shovel Awards are given to the states with the highest weighted scores based on number of high-valued added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities, and industry diversity.

“The states receiving 2013 Shovel Awards deserve special recognition for their efforts to attract new businesses and to help their existing corporate citizens to expand their businesses,” said Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development. “They have managed to thrive and emerge from the recession as economic leaders.”

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