Alabama Receives Silver Shovel Award for Economic Development Achievements

Alabama Receives Silver Shovel Award for Economic Development Achievements

[] BUSINESS  – Area Development, a prominent national business publication, has honored Alabama with its Silver Shovel Award in recognition of significant economic development projects throughout 2023.

“This accolade is a clear indication of Alabama’s conducive business environment and the remarkable capabilities of our workforce,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “It reinforces that our strategies for fostering economic growth and job creation are benefiting the people of Alabama.”

The Shovel Awards by Area Development celebrate state-level economic development efforts that drive substantial job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure enhancements, and strategic initiatives that attract new businesses and investments.

These awards, presented annually, highlight states that demonstrate exceptional success in job creation and economic impact.

Alabama earned the Silver Shovel award in the category for states with populations between 5 million and 8 million, based on metrics including high-value job creation per capita, investment amounts, new facility counts, and industry diversity of projects. Tennessee and Indiana also received Silver Shovels in this category.

Area Development highlighted several key projects in Alabama from last year, notably German high-end appliance maker Miele’s decision to establish its first U.S. plant in Opelika, named one of the magazine’s “Projects of the Year.”

“The state showcases an array of impressive initiatives, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing’s investment to retool for the next generation of the Santa Fe, and significant investments by auto component maker Nemak,” the publication stated. “Nucor is constructing a cutting-edge transmission tower production plant in Decatur, adjacent to its sheet steel mill, and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. has chosen Gadsden for a highly automated facility to produce non-radiological modules for its microreactors.”

Additional notable projects included Southwire’s expansion in Florence and significant developments in the building products, aerospace, medical devices, forestry, solar power, and distribution sectors.

This recognition follows a successful year for Alabama’s economic development team, with companies announcing growth projects totaling $6.4 billion in capital investment in 2023. These projects are expected to create nearly 9,000 direct jobs across the state.

Rural counties in Alabama benefited from $1.7 billion in new investments, leading to 1,700 jobs last year.

The Alabama Department of Commerce’s “2023 New & Expanding Industry Announcements Report,” released this spring, provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s economic development outcomes for the year.

Since Governor Ivey took office in 2017, Alabama has attracted $49 billion in new investments through projects creating 87,000 jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.

“At its core, economic development is about creating job opportunities for citizens and revitalizing communities for long-term prosperity,” said Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “That’s our mission, and we will continue to pursue it vigorously.”

                                 Historical Success

Alabama has consistently been recognized by Area Development with Shovel Awards, earning Gold Shovel Awards in 2006, 2013, 2019, and 2021, and Silver Shovel Awards from 2007 to 2012, 2014 to 2018, and 2022.

In September, Area Development ranked Alabama No. 6 in its annual “Best States for Doing Business” survey, maintaining a position in the Top 10. The state also ranked No. 1 for favorable regulatory environment, No. 2 for overall cost of doing business, No. 5 for workforce training programs, and No. 7 for business incentive programs.

Alabama received additional Top 10 rankings for site-readiness programs, available real estate, cooperative state government, speed of permitting, competitive labor market, and energy costs.