By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday Governor Robert Bentley issued a written statement announcing that new and expanding industry announcement totals rose to the highest capital investment levels in the past four years.
Governor Bentley said. “Alabama’s economic development programs are working hand-in-hand with local development partners to create new jobs and new opportunities for people in this state.”
The Alabama Department of Commerce (formerly called the Alabama Development Office), announced that during 2011, the number of new jobs increased by 9.3% and capital investment by 87.7% compared to 2010.
In 2011 new and expanding industries announced they were hiring 17,248 people and investing $4,083,056,603 in the state. In 2010, companies announced 15,779 new hires and investments of $2,175,179,750. 70 new companies announced that they were planning to locate in Alabama, creating 4,879 new jobs investing capital of $1,555,869,746. 313 companies already located in Alabama announced expansion plans creating 12,369 new jobs, and $2,527,186,857 in new capital investment in 2011.
“These new figures confirm Alabama is headed in the right direction as we continue to recover from the economic downturn,” Governor Bentley said. “At the same time, we must work hard to continue the momentum. Economic development is extremely competitive, and we are making every effort to keep Alabama at the top of the list for companies seeking to locate or expand here. That’s why passage of the Alabama Job Creation and Retention Act of 2012 is so essential to economic development in the long term. We must make sure we have the tools we need to continue to secure new investment and high-quality jobs for our communities.”
Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said, “The cooperative relationships we have established and continue to establish on a daily basis are the impetus for this growth. We not only want our companies to locate here, we want them to grow, and we stand ready to help them make this happen.”
The largest economic development projects announced were: Navistar International Corporation, which announced 1,800 jobs and $87 million in capital investment to build heavy duty trucks in Colbert County; Mercedes Benz U.S. International Inc., with a 1,000-employee expansion and a capital investment of more than $289 million for vehicle production in Tuscaloosa County; and Carpenter Technology Corporation, which announced 203 jobs and $500 million in capital investment for a stainless steel manufacturing plant in Limestone County.
The top ranking county in 2011 rated by capital investment was Limestone, with investments of $539,200,000. They were followed by Morgan County with $415,901,000; Mobile County with $345,310,000; Tallapoosa County with new capital investment of $333,594,012; Tuscaloosa County with $324,050,000; Talladega County with $301,640,000; Montgomery County with $237,778,803; Winston County with $200,000,000; Jefferson County $193,307,687; and Cullman County with $159,457,619.
Colbert County had the most new jobs with 2,172 announced jobs. There were followed by Colbert County with 2,172 jobs; Madison with 1,956; Tuscaloosa with 1,457; Jefferson with 749; Mobile with 747; Cullman with 743; Montgomery with 697; Limestone with 655; Lee with 533; and Pike with 530.
Governor Robert Bentley was elected in 2010 promising that as Governor he would focus on creating new jobs and improving Alabama’s employment situation.