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Commerce: Record investments in 2022

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As lawmakers continue to consider expanding economic incentives this year, a report released Thursday shows a record-breaking amount of economic investments were made in Alabama in 2022.

Compiled by the Alabama Department of Commerce, the report found that economic development activity generated $10.1 billion in new capital investment in 2022, beating out the previous annual record of 2018’s $8.7 billion by a significant margin.

More than 13,000 job commitments were created from growth projects announced in 2022, surpassing the previous year’s total of 10,190. Of those job commitments, 2,800 were in the automotive industry, nearly 1,900 in the metals and advanced materials sector, and more than 1,500 in aerospace, aviation and defense.

“Strategic economic development has been a top priority of my administration since I first became governor because I fully understand the impact it can have on our citizens, their families and their communities,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. “This success is blatant evidence that our efforts are producing a brighter future for the great state of Alabama.”

Notable examples of investments last year include Navelis’ $2.5 billion aluminum mill in Bay Minette that will employ 1,000 workers, First Solar’s $1.1 billion factory in Lawrence County that will employ 700 workers and Advance ACT’s announced plans for a remote air traffic control tower center in Selma.

According to the report, Baldwin County saw $2.5 billion worth of investments last year, the highest in the state, followed by Montgomery and Mobile counties at $1.4 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. Montgomery County topped the state in terms of job creation, with 1,491 in new jobs created last year, followed by Mobile, Jefferson and Baldwin counties, at 1,451, 1,259 and 1,170, respectively.

Pointing to a correlation between Alabama’s economic incentives and economic investments, lawmakers have named increasing and expanding those incentives one of their top priorities this year. Lieutenant Gov. Will Ainsworth, who has worked closely with Ivey in developing a new economic incentive plan, told Alabama Daily News Thursday that the state’s economic incentives “must remain competitive” if that success if to continue.

“All evidence shows Alabama’s economic development incentives are working; for more than 20 years, Alabama has led the Southeast in economic development, job creation, and industrial recruitment,” Ainsworth told ADN.

“Our incentives must remain competitive in order for that success to continue. The incentives package before the Legislature builds on our already proven programs, increases transparency, and places a renewed emphasis on small businesses.”

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said that while the findings of the study were impressive, he anticipated the record-setting economic growth seen last year was only the beginning of a multi-year period of economic investments in the state.

“These results mean Alabama’s economic development team is making a real difference in shaping a more prosperous future for the hard-working citizens of our state,” Canfield said in a statement. “And, while we’re proud of setting records, we’re just going to keep on working to deliver a better tomorrow for Alabama.”

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