Alabama claims Gold Shovel Award for economic development efforts

Alabama claims Gold Shovel Award for economic development efforts
Workers and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. officials celebrate the placement of the first steel beam in the Mazda Toyota factory under construction in Huntsville. (contributed)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that Area Development, a national business publication, has selected the state for its Gold Shovel Award, recognizing economic development success in 2018.

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

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.”

“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,” Ivey said. “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.”

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 won a Gold Shovel. The state claimed another Gold in 2012 and Silver awards in the other years, including one for 2017.

Area Development singled out growth in Alabama’s auto industry as a major engine of economic growth.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, a joint venture between the two automakers, is investing $1.6 billion in its Alabama auto assembly plant. The factory, which will produce up to 300,000 vehicles annually, is under construction.

“But Alabama’s automotive news goes beyond the Mazda/Toyota joint venture. Mercedes-Benz’s 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.

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 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 Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Winning the Gold Shovel Award demonstrates that our team is executing on its plan and delivering results that make a difference for the state.”

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.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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