Alabama earns No. 3 spot in magazine’s new business climate rankings

Alabama earns No. 3 spot in magazine’s new business climate rankings
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joins Hyundai officials and community leaders for the grand opening of the automaker's $388 million engine facility in Montgomery. (Governor's Office)

Business Facilities, a national publication that focuses on economic development, ranked Alabama’s business climate among the top states in a new analysis that evaluated a range of key economic categories.

Alabama earned the No. 3 spot in the magazine’s flagship business climate ranking, while also earning high marks for workforce training, manufacturing employment and the strength of its auto manufacturing industry.

In addition, Alabama ranked No. 5 among the states in Business Facilities’ ranking of economic growth potential.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield greets Gov. Kay Ivey at the 2019 Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards ceremony in Montgomery. (Sydney A. Foster/Governor’s Office)

“High-performing companies from around the globe are finding that Alabama can provide a welcoming business environment, a motivated workforce and a support system that yields many advantages,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“These rankings reflect the hard work that has gone into positioning Alabama for sustainable economic growth.”

Business Facilities said Tennessee earned top place in its business climate rankings, a spot occupied by Alabama last year. Other states in the top five of the new rankings are Virginia, Texas and Utah.

The magazine noted that all five states are perennial contenders for its “State of the Year” Award, a title Alabama claimed in 2015.

Business Facilities published its 15th Annual Ranking Report online. Alabama’s other rankings are:

  • No. 2 among Workforce Training Leaders.
  • No 5 among Top Manufacturing States (based on workforce concentration).
  • No. 6 for Automotive Manufacturing Strength.
  • No. 4 for Foreign Trade Zone export activity.

Business Facilities also singled out Alabama cities in its report.

The Birmingham metro area ranked No. 3 for economic growth potential among mid-size U.S. cities, while Huntsville was No. 2 and Auburn-Opelika was No. 5 for growth potential among small cities. Huntsville ranked No. 3 among STEM jobs leaders, reflecting the high-tech makeup of the city’s workforce.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA’s $1.6 billion auto assembly plant is rising on a 2,500-acre site in Huntsville. (Mazda Toyota)

Record year

Alabama’s economic development team is coming off a record year, with companies announcing new facilities and expansion projects involving $8.7 billion in new capital investment in 2018.

The projects will create an anticipated 17,026 jobs across the state and inject economic vitality into many communities, according to an analysis prepared by the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Those results have yielded other honors for Alabama’s business recruitment team.

In June, Area Development magazine selected Alabama for its Gold Shovel Award for economic development success in 2018. Alabama was one of just six states to claim the award.

Alabama’s recruitment of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA’s $1.6 billion auto assembly plant, which will create up to 4,000 jobs in Huntsville, won “Deal of the Year” honors from both Area Development and Business Facilities.

Construction on the facility is under way, with a production launch scheduled for 2021.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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