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The economic development activities of rural counties in Alabama increased in the first half of 2021, building on the growth projects launched in these areas last year, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The preliminary results of the Alabama Department of Commerce year-to-date indicate that projects located in 40 "target" counties in Alabama will generate at least $850 million in new capital investment in these areas. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, this number has exceeded the total for 2020.
The projects announced in 2021 will also bring nearly 1,000 new jobs to these rural counties with a population of less than 50,000.
Coupled with the employment opportunities created in 2020, the total number of new jobs in rural communities in Alabama will increase to nearly 3,000, and approximately $1.5 billion will be invested during this period.
"The rural areas of Alabama are already home to many world-renowned companies, ready for business growth and economic development," said Governor Keiwi.
"I am firmly committed to helping rural communities in the state realize their growth potential, and our team will continue to build on this progress."
Governor Ivey spoke with economic developers across the state at the Rural Economic Development Summit hosted by the Ministry of Commerce today, encouraging them to continue to take advantage of the momentum generated in recent months.
Major economic development projects announced in 2021 include:
These and other projects are strengthening the growth brought about by the economic development activities that rural communities started last year.
An analysis by the Alabama Department of Commerce showed that economic development projects in rural counties in the state in 2020 generated nearly $615 million in new capital investment and employment commitments in more than 1,900 industries.
The Department of Commerce’s 2020 Rural Economic Development Report delves into 48 new facilities and expansion projects launched in the “target” counties last year, named so because they are eligible for enhanced incentives under the Alabama Employment Act measure.
The report shows that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, project activity in rural Alabama remains high.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, the 1,940 new and future jobs generated by rural community projects in 2020 exceeded 1,842 in 2019 and 1,128 in 2018.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said: "Although economic development in rural areas usually brings a series of special challenges, high-impact projects in these communities may be a game changer."
"We have positioned rural Alabama as a priority for this type of project and the work that follows," he added.
The rural areas of Alabama have long been a favorite destination for auto suppliers, and this trend continues to develop. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, the new automotive supply chain project will bring more than $150 million in capital investment and more than 300 jobs to communities such as Selma, Alexandria, and Greenville.
But growth is not limited to the state's expanding auto industry. Projects located in Alabama's "target" counties in 2020 include:
Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce, said: "We are working hard to showcase the many advantages that rural Alabama communities provide to companies looking for active labor and locations where they can succeed."
"Without the support of Governor Ivey, our legislature, and Secretary Canfield, we cannot do what we do. They understand the importance of each county in the state and lead us to assist these counties in achieving what we are here today See the results," Tucker added.
To accelerate this momentum, the Department of Commerce launched a digital marketing campaign earlier this year that included a website to highlight the commercial advantages of rural communities in Alabama.
The "RurAL" campaign aims to add a new dimension to Commerce's long-running "Made in Alabama" brand.
"Our rural activities are designed to help corporate decision makers and location consultants around the world understand and unlock the growth potential of rural communities in Alabama," Secretary Canfield said.
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