By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Last Thursday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced that Toyota Motor Manufacturing was expanding their Alabama engine production facility in Huntsville. On Friday, Gov. Bentley announced that April unemployment had dropped to 7.2%….down from 7.4% in March.
Gov. Bentley said, “Alabama hasn’t seen an unemployment rate this low since the start of the recession. I think we are getting to a point where we are seeing many areas of the economy improving. For example, the automotive base in Alabama is increasingly strong. Just yesterday, we announced Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama will be expanding its production facility in Huntsville. We have also seen many other exciting developments across the state that are leading to new jobs for Alabamians. We will continue our job creation efforts with the goal that anyone who wants a job is able to find one.”
On Toyota Gov. Bentley said, “Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has been a dedicated corporate citizen in Alabama for more than ten years, and today’s announcement is an exciting new chapter for this company and this community. Toyota’s success in Alabama is a testament to the hard-working men and women of the production and leadership teams who have dedicated themselves to producing quality products. This expansion is also a testament to the business climate we’ve worked hard to create in Alabama – a climate in which companies are encouraged to expand, innovate, and create new jobs. We thank Toyota for the company’s continued confidence in Alabama and Huntsville, and we look forward to a continued long-term relationship.”
Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said, “The Gulf Coast and other areas of our state are gearing up for what looks to be a record year for tourism, and that’s adding jobs. Also, our automotive manufacturing and auto supplier industries are nearing full employment, which is contributing significantly to our decline in unemployment.”
The new assembly line will let Toyota built an additional 216,000 V-6 engines giving the Huntsville factory total engine production of more than 700,000 per year. The expansion means 125 new jobs in the Huntsville area raising the total at the plant to 1150. The number of Alabama workers employed in the Motor Vehicles Parts Manufacturing industry has increased by 13.1% since last year, while the number of employees in the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing industry has increased by 3.96% in the same time period. Recent announcements at Toyota, Hyundai, and Navistar is likely to increase those numbers substantially in coming months.
Alabama gained approximately 8,500 jobs in April. Gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality industry, and the professional and business services industry, in addition to the trade, transportation, and utilities industries. This is the lowest the unemployment rate has been in the state since the Bush Administration in November 2008.
Despite the progress, April’s unemployment rate represents 154,307 actual unemployed persons. That is down from 203,520 a year ago.
To read Gov. Bentley press release in its entirety: