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Alabama receives Gold Shovel Award for economic development efforts


Thursday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that Area Development, a national business publication, has selected Alabama for its Gold Shovel Award, recognizing the state’s economic development success in 2018.

“Companies from all over the world have discovered that Alabama offers the competitive advantages they need to succeed, particularly when it comes to assembling dedicated, high-quality workforces,” said Gov. Ivey. “This Gold Shovel award is a testament to our workers and to the pro-business environment that makes Alabama such an attractive location for investment.”

Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Area Development Magazine has been a leading publication in our industry for over five decades. Alabama being a recipient of a Gold Shovel Award is a testament to teamwork; the public and private sector have collaborated and created an environment conducive for business. An estimated 17,000 new jobs will result from new facilities and the expansion of existing sites within Alabama.”

2018 was a record year for Alabama, with companies announcing new facilities and expansion projects involving $8.7 billion in new capital investment. The projects will create an anticipated 17,026 jobs and inject economic vitality into many Alabama communities.

The state’s 2018 economic development results are outlined in the Alabama Department of Commerce’s “New & Expanding Industry Report,” released earlier this year. The report provides a detailed look at nearly 360 projects recorded in the state during a record-setting year of business recruitment and support.

“The primary goal of Alabama’s economic development team is to help spark the creation of jobs and opportunity throughout the state by strategically focusing on high-impact industries with solid growth prospects,” said Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “Winning the Gold Shovel Award demonstrates that our team is executing on its plan and delivering results that make a difference for the state.”

Dr. Nicole Jones continued, “Our state’s record year signifies that Alabama is indeed open for business. Our future looks bright for the State of Alabama due to our current leadership, quality of life, and a pro-business environment. The positioning of our state for continued growth is in place.”

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Area Development also selected Alabama’s recruitment of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. auto assembly plant, which will create up to 4,000 jobs in Huntsville, as one of its “Deals of the Year.”

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is a joint venture between the two automakers. The global auto manufacturing power houses are investing $1.6 billion in its Alabama auto assembly plant. The facility will produce up to 300,000 vehicles annually and is now under construction.

“But Alabama’s automotive news goes beyond the Mazda/Toyota joint venture. Mercedes-Benz new Bibb County facility is part of its overall Alabama operation, and Hyundai is investing nearly $400 million in an expansion in Montgomery,” the publication noted.

Area Development’s Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize the overall effectiveness of state economic development efforts.

Alabama has won one of the awards each year since 2006, when it first won a Gold Shovel. The state claimed another Gold in 2012 and Silver awards in the other years, including one for 2017.

Since 2012, economic development activity in Alabama has attracted more than $36 billion in investment and more than 120,000 jobs, according to Commerce figures.

Alabama joined Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Mississippi in claiming a Gold Shovel award for 2018.

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

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