MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey announced Thursday that economic development activity across Alabama surged during 2021, with a new report showing that projects launched during the year will inject $7.7 billion in capital investment and nearly 10,200 jobs into the state’s strengthening economy.
The project activity is outlined in the 2021 New & Expanding Industry Report, a comprehensive analysis of the state’s economic development performance published each year by the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Commerce said the $7.74 billion in new capital investment stemming from project announcements last year represents the second highest annual total in state history, trailing only the $8.7 billion registered in 2018. The investment figure for 2020 was $4.8 billion.
“Last year, the Alabama economic development team engaged with companies from around the world to lay the groundwork for significant growth in key strategic industrial sectors,” said Governor Ivey. “These projects are already creating good-paying jobs, providing an economic spark for families and communities across Alabama.”
The report, released today by commerce, shows that robust project activity took place in major economic sectors during 2021, triggering broad job gains totaling 10,190 new positions. Job creation in key industries includes:
- Distribution/logistics: 2,384 jobs
- Automotive: 1,426 jobs
- Metals: 1,100 jobs
- Information technology: 1,011 jobs
- Agriculture/Food products: 919 jobs
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the state’s economic development team successfully completed 247 projects across a diverse lineup of industries last year.
“I believe 2021 stands out as a pivotal year for Alabama’s strategic economic development efforts because we delivered high-impact projects that will create meaningful job opportunities and prepare a path for long-term economic growth,” said Secretary Canfield. “Looking ahead, a strong project pipeline makes me confident that our team can build on this momentum throughout 2022 and beyond.”
Notable successes during 2021 include the recruitment of Landing, a technology-focused company creating a model for flexible apartment living, which relocated its headquarters from San Francisco to Birmingham, where it is creating over 800 jobs.
Another is J.M. Smucker Co.’s decision to invest $1.1 billion to open a new manufacturing/distribution hub in McCalla, which will generate 750 direct jobs in Jefferson County.
Other high-performing companies, including Facebook, Amazon and FedEx, also announced Alabama projects in 2021.
Meanwhile, activity in rural Alabama was strong during 2021, with projects involving almost $1.7 billion in new capital investment and 1,638 jobs landing in designated “targeted” counties, which have fewer than 50,000 residents.
Over the past two years, Alabama’s rural counties have attracted $2.3 billion in new investment and over 3,600 jobs, according to commerce data.
During 2021, Franklin, Chambers and Clay counties all recorded projects that will create over 170 jobs, ranking them at the top of the state’s rural counties.
At the same time, Alabama remained a magnet for foreign direct investment in 2021, with 44 FDI projects valued at $1.1 billion and is projected to create over 1,700 jobs, according to commerce’s report.
South Korea was Alabama’s leading foreign investor, with companies announcing projects involving $325.5 million in new investment and 865 jobs last year. Lee County was a prime beneficiary, with five Korean companies launching expansion projects valued at $216 million that will create 370 jobs.
Jefferson County was the leader for job creation last year, with 2,303 anticipated jobs stemming from new projects. Other leaders were Limestone, Montgomery, Lee and Madison counties.
Madison County was No. 1 for new investment, with announcements totaling $2.4 billion, according to the report. Rounding out the Top 5 counties for new investment were Jefferson, Coosa, Lee and Clarke.
The 2021 New & Expanding Industry Report is available here.
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