Governor Kay Ivey on Friday announced Area Development, an economic development-focused national publication, selected Alabama for its Silver Shovel Award — a top honor recognizing the state’s economic development successes in 2017 — continuing the state’s decade-old winning streak.
In announcing the award, Area Development singled out several large-scale projects, including Mercedes-Benz’s plans to build a Global Logistics Center in Bibb County and Blue Origin’s project to assemble rocket engines at a new facility in Huntsville.
“It was a good year for manufacturing in Silver Shovel recipient Alabama, with major investments in a diverse collection of projects, most of them brand-new. Additional jobs are driving in by way of logistics and distribution,” the publication says.
Area Development’s Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize the overall economic development effectiveness of state economic development efforts. Alabama has won one of the awards each year since 2006, when it won a Gold Shovel. It won another Gold in 2012 and Silver awards in other years, including one for 2016.
“The business world has discovered that Alabama is one of the most attractive locations in the U.S. to make new investments, and this Silver Shovel award confirms that,” Ivey said. “I will continue to work to position Alabama for economic growth that creates jobs and opportunities for our hard-working citizens.”
Area Development noted that Alabama landed a raft of major projects in 2017:
- International Paper is investing $552.7 million at its Selma facility
- Aerojet Rocketdyne is bringing 800 jobs and a new manufacturing facility to Huntsville
- James Hardie Building Products is opening a $220 million production center in Prattville with 205 jobs
- Autocar is investing $120 million in a new heavy truck assembly facility in Jefferson County with more than 700 jobs
“More manufacturing projects reflect growth in the food and poultry, aluminum, paper, and fiber cement industries, and Walmart has promised delivery of 550 distribution jobs” in Mobile County, Area Development writes.
The state’s 2017 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 400 projects recorded in the state during another solid year of business recruitment and support.
“The mission of Alabama’s economic development team is to facilitate the creation of high-caliber jobs in strategic industry sectors that will flourish in the future,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Winning a Silver Shovel Award for the fifth consecutive year is another affirmation that our team is consistently executing our strategy and achieving positive results.”
Since 2012, economic development activity in Alabama has attracted nearly $29 billion in investment and more than 105,000 jobs, according to Commerce figures. Exact totals for 2017 were $4.4 billion in new capital investment and 15,465 anticipated jobs.
Alabama joined Utah and Louisiana in claiming a Silver Shovel award given to states with populations between 3 million and 5 million residents.