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Ivey says nearly 15,500 jobs were generated last year from projects

Gov. Kay Ivey at her first State of the State Address in 2018. (ADAM BRASHER/THE AUBURN PLAINSMAN)

Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Commerce released the 2017 New & Expanding Industry Report.

Ivey said that companies planning new facilities or expanding existing operations in Alabama announced nearly 15,500 new jobs and more than $4.4 billion in capital investment during 2017, according to a comprehensive report detailing economic development activity in the state last year.

“I’m committed to creating high-paying jobs that transform the lives of Alabamians and bring new levels of prosperity to communities across the state,” Governor Ivey said. “For Alabama to continue our recent success of job creation, it’s vitally important that we continue to pursue 21st Century jobs for our people. Momentum is on our side, and I will continue leading the charge in helping every Alabama family achieve their goals.”

Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield said the 2017 results outlined in the report align with the priorities of Accelerate Alabama 2.0, the state’s updated economic development growth plan.

“Our economic development strategy has centered on developing longstanding relationships with high-caliber companies from the U.S. and around the world so that they will put down roots in the state and grow through expansions over many years,” Secretary Canfield said. “Our primary goal is to create top-quality jobs and meaningful opportunities for people all across the state.”

The report shows that key industrial sectors such as automotive and aerospace continue to expand. The important forest product and food production sectors also turned in strong performances in 2017.
Alabama’s economic development efforts resulted in securing 317 projects last year, resulting in 15,465 new and future jobs and $4.41 billion in new capital investment. Those totals were an improvement on 2016’s figures of 14,707 jobs and $4.2 billion in investment.

Jefferson County led all Alabama counties in job growth from 2017 projects, with 2,200 anticipated jobs. Rural Dallas County led in new capital investment in 2017, with $556.2 million.

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Alabama attracted foreign direct investment from 16 different countries, generating 3,391 new and future jobs, as well as more than $1.2 billion in investment. South Korea was the top source for jobs, with 1,216 anticipated positions.

This momentum has carried over into 2018. The Toyota-Mazda auto assembly plant in Limestone County will create 4,000 jobs. The new Kimber firearms factory in Pike County will create 366 jobs .

“We’re going to be energetically pursuing more of these projects because we want to bring more jobs home to Alabama,” Governor Ivey said.

The largest 2017 project, based on jobs created, was Aerojet Rocketdyne’s expansion of it’s rocket engine factory in Huntsville will create 800 jobs.

Other large job-creating projects included: Autocar’s large truck assembly plant in Birmingham-Center Point creating 746 jobs; Walmart which will build an import distribution center in Mobile creating 550 jobs; Mercedes-Benz’s Global Logistics Center in rural Bibb County creating 502 jobs; John Soules Foods plans to expand its production capacity creating 500 jobs in Chambers County.

Ivey is running for Governor in the Republican primary. She faces stiff competition from Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, evangelist Scott Dawson, and state Senator Bill Hightower.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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