Finally, Alabama ranks #1 for something other than football

Hyundai employees build engines on the engine line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery. [Photo Credit: contributed/Alabama Newscenter]

The Yellowhammer State has been selected as the nation’s top state for manufacturing in a new ranking.

Global Trade, a publication focusing on international business, put Alabama in the top spot of a combination of factors — “like an existing industrial base, the availability of talent, investment incentives, and favorable tax and regulatory environments.”

In addition, the publication credited the AdvantageSites program for the state’s success in the manufacturing industry. This program pre-certifies sites for development and is known for rapid permitting, which is coordinated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to accelerate projects.

“Alabama has a strong heritage in manufacturing, which remains a key pillar in the state’s growing economy,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “Alabama workers have shown the world that they have the expertise to manufacture high-quality products that set industry standards, and this ranking is more confirmation of that fact.”

“Alabama is open for business! We should all be proud of the strong workforce development initiatives that continue to help our state succeed,” Alabama 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby posted on Facebook after hearing the news.

Open for business

There are more than 270, 000 manufacturing workers in Alabama, representing over 13 percent of the state’s workforce. That’s the fifth highest concentration among the states, according to data from the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Alabama’s manufacturing workers bring energy and passion to their jobs, and they’re always willing to learn new skills that will enhance productivity,” added Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “These qualities set them apart from their counterparts in other states and allow them to manufacture a sweeping variety of top-flight products that are in demand all over the world.”

Global Trade’s selection of Alabama as the top manufacturing state comes one month after Business Facilities, a publication focused on economic development, named Alabama the No. 1 state in a business-climate ranking.

“The state has seen a continued influx of manufacturing investment — much of it from the international auto industry — and it’s not hard to understand why,” Global Trade writes.

A 2017 Gallup poll found that Alabama has the highest percentage of highly involved and enthusiastic workers among U.S. states.

These rankings come at a time when Alabama is moving to streamline and improve its overall workforce development program, with many of these functions centralized in the Alabama Department of Commerce. New initiatives include AlabamaWorks and Apprenticeship Alabama.