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Report: Companies invested $1.8 billion in rural communities in 2022

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Companies made $1.8 billion in investments in rural counties in 2022 and created 1,900 jobs, according to a new report from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

The report was shared by Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, who said in a statement that the investments demonstrated the Commerce Department’s “rock-solid commitment to sparking economic growth in the state’s rural communities.”

“We’re confident that the momentum we’ve achieved will continue to reap benefits for Alabama’s rural areas throughout 2023 and beyond,” Canfield said. “The state’s rural communities are ripe for growth, and we will continue to work to ensure they are able to compete for – and win – high-impact growth projects that make a real difference.”

Unlike the economic impact report released by the Commerce Department back in March that documented all economic investments across the state, this latest report documents economic investments in Alabama’s rural counties, which are defined as having 50,000 or less residents.

Alabama has had incentives tax credits for companies who invest in rural counties since 1987.

According to the report, Lawrence County saw the bulk of rural county investments in 2022, totaling $1.15 billion and the creation of 717 jobs. Of the $1.15 billion investment, approximately $1.1 billion’s worth was from Arizona-based First Solar Inc., which is set to open a new manufacturing facility in the county in 2025.

Another large investment in rural counties was made by Pennsylvania-based Ecore International, which produces flooring products, to the tune of $25.5 million for a new manufacturing facility in Dale County.

“Right now, there are several high-impact growth projects under way across rural Alabama, bringing in significant new investment and triggering the creation of thousands of jobs, while also providing a healthy dose of economic vitality that will be felt for years in communities,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a statement.

In terms of foreign investment, South Korea made the largest investments in 2022 in rural communities, totaling $171.1 million and creating 226 jobs, mostly related to motor vehicle metal stamping facilities that act as a subsidiary of Hyundai Motors.

Since 2020, investments in rural Alabama communities have totaled $4 billion and created 5,500 anticipated jobs.

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