News / ,

Economic development magazine taps Alabama for its Silver Shovel Award

National business publication Area Development has selected Alabama for its Silver Shovel Award in recognition of major economic development project wins during 2023.

“Being awarded the Silver Shovel Award is a strong testament to Alabama’s pro-business environment and to the capabilities of our workers, who can rise to meet any challenge,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “This honor is another reminder that our strategies to spark economic growth and create good jobs are paying off for Alabamians.”

Area Development magazine’s Shovel Awards recognize state economic development efforts that drive significant job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements and sound strategies that attract new employers and investments in new and expanded facilities.

The awards are presented annually to states that have achieved noteworthy success in terms of job creation and economic impact.

Based on the number of high value-added jobs per capita, the amount of investment, the number of new facilities, and the industry diversity of the submitted projects, Alabama qualified for a Silver Shovel award in the category of states with populations between 5 million and 8 million.

rural development Alabama
Area Development magazine selected Alabama for its Silver Shovel Award, based on economic development results in 2023.

Tennessee and Indiana also collected Silver Shovels in this category.

Area Development singled out several individual projects that landed in Alabama last year, led by German high-end appliance maker Miele’s decision to locate its first U.S. plant in Opelika. It was selected as one of the magazine’s “Projects of the Year.”

“The state lists a wide range of impressive projects, including an investment at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing to retool for the next generation of the Santa Fe as well as a big investment at Nemak, a maker of auto components,” the publication noted. “Nucor is building a state-of-the-art transmission tower production plant in Decatur, next to the company’s sheet steel mill, and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. picked Gadsden for a highly automated facility to make non-radiological modules for its microreactors.”

It also cited cable maker Southwire’s expansion in Florence and significant projects in building products, aerospace, medical devices, forestry, solar power and distribution.

The honor follows another winning year for Alabama’s economic development team, with companies announcing growth projects involving $6.4 billion in capital investment last year. These projects will generate nearly 9,000 direct jobs across the state.

A total of $1.7 billion in new investment, along with 1,700 jobs, went to the state’s rural counties last year.

A comprehensive look at the state’s economic development results for last year can be found in the Alabama Department of Commerce’s “2023 New & Expanding Industry Announcements Report,” released this spring.

Since 2017, when Governor Ivey took office, economic development activity in Alabama has attracted $49 billion in new investment through projects creating 87,000 jobs, according to Commerce figures.

“At its core, economic development is about creating job opportunities for citizens and injecting vitality into communities so they can prosper over the long term,” said Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“That’s why we do the job — and why we’ll keep doing it.”


Area Development has regularly honored Alabama with Shovel Awards. It received Gold Shovel Awards in 2006, 2013, 2019 and 2021, and Silver Shovel Awards for 2007–2012, 2014–2018, and 2022.

Last September, Area Development reported that Alabama ranked No. 6 in its annual “Best States for Doing Business” survey, continuing a sustained run for the state in that list’s Top 10.

In individual categories, Area Development ranked Alabama No. 1 for favorable regulatory environment, No. 2 for overall cost of doing business, No. 5 for workforce training programs and No. 7 for business incentive programs.

Alabama also received Top 10 rankings for site-readiness programs, available real estate, cooperative state government, speed of permitting, a competitive labor market and energy costs.



Latest Enterprise News

economic development Alabama


Communities across Alabama will soon have an opportunity to apply for state grants that could help them develop industrial sites capable of competing for high-impact economic development projects — and the jobs that come with them.