IBM report ranks Alabama No. 1 for jobs from 2018 foreign investment

IBM report ranks Alabama No. 1 for jobs from 2018 foreign investment
Gov. Kay Ivey joins Hyundai officials and community leaders for the grand opening of the automaker's $388 million engine facility in Montgomery in May. (contributed)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced that a highly respected survey of international corporate investment decisions from experts at IBM Services names Alabama as the top U.S. state for job creation from foreign investment in 2018.

Alabama also scored high rankings in other metrics related to foreign investment in the 2019 Global Location Trends report prepared by IBM-Plant Location International, which provides site selection services to corporate clients and advises economic development organizations.

“Foreign investment has been an important driver of job creation in Alabama for many years, and it continues to generate significant new opportunities for communities and working families around the state,” Ivey said.

“Our economic development team has worked tirelessly to strategically position Alabama for investment from around the world, and this ranking validates the team’s diligence.”

Key findings in this year’s installment of the closely monitored report are:

  • Alabama is the No. 1 state in the U.S. based on new job creation from foreign investments announced during 2018.
  • Alabama is also No. 1 for foreign investment job creation per million inhabitants in 2018.
  • Alabama ranks No. 7 among the states for job creation from foreign and domestic (state-to-state) investment together.
  • Alabama is No. 2 for job creation per million inhabitants from foreign and domestic investment combined.

The 2019 Global Location Trends report will be officially released later this month. Officials at IBM-PLI’s Center of Excellence in Brussels, Belgium, notified the Alabama Department of Commerce of the upcoming report’s findings days ago.

A drone captures the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. factory under construction in August. (Mazda Toyota)

Investment flows

Alabama is coming off a record year for foreign investment, totaling $4.2 billion in 2018, the highest annual tally ever. According to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce, companies from 16 countries launched Alabama projects with more than 7,500 new jobs last year.

The momentum has continued into 2019.This week, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama announced plans to invest an additional $292 million in new machinery and equipment to facilitate the production of redesigned Hyundai Elantra and Santa Fe vehicles and a new, more fuel-efficient Theta engine at its plant in Montgomery.

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce said Hyundai’s new investment in Alabama totals $680 million over the past two years, strengthening the company’s presence in the Capital City and demonstrating its confidence in the area’s ability to support a growing workforce.

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said foreign investment typically represents 30% to 50% of the total new capital investment from economic development projects in Alabama each year.

“Foreign investment continues to invigorate Alabama’s economy and spark dynamic growth across many industry sectors, from automotive to aerospace and chemicals to forest products,” Canfield said.

“It’s a priority for us as a state to continue to build on relationships we have formed with international companies and to make sure we are at the top of their list for new investment and job creation.”

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

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