Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development. If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an
Alabama added more than 20,000 jobs over the past year
Alabama's economy is on a hot streak, as the state added 20,100 jobs over the last year.
Even so, the state's unemployment rate was up slightly in March, rising to 3.8 percent from its historic low of 3.7 in February. A year ago, the rate was 5 percent.
Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said the biggest job gains over the past year came in the leisure and hospitality sector, with more than 4,400 jobs, the professional and business services sector, with more than 3,400, and the education and health services sector, up 3,400.
Autocar opens $120 million heavy-duty truck factory in Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Indiana-based
today marked the official opening of a $120 million heavy-duty work truck assembly plant in Birmingham that adds a new dimension to Alabama's growing vehicle manufacturing industry.
Governor Kay Ivey joined top Autocar executives and local leaders at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at the company's operation, located in a 1 million-square-foot industrial complex off the Pinson Valley Parkway.
The facility will employ 746 people at full production and today stands at more than one third that number. When
Autocar announced the factory in September 2017
, the company said the average annual base compensation for its workforce would be more than $58,000.
Coca-Cola United makes executive changes
Coca-Cola Bottling Company United has announced two executive changes.
Hafiz Chandiwala has been named executive vice president and chief administrative officer. He will continue to serve as chief financial officer.
Gianetta Jones has been promoted to vice president of human resources and has been elected an officer of the company. She will be responsible for all human resources activities, including employment, benefits, leadership development and training, and payroll.
Regions Bank wins Gallup Great Workplace Award
For the fourth year in a row, Regions Bank has received the 2018 Gallup Great Workplace Award, the organization's highest honor for engaged workplaces.
Gallup clients participating in the Gallup survey process and meeting certain criteria are eligible to apply. Regions had to demonstrate how engagement positively influences associate performance. At the same time, the company had to show how employees respond to strategy, leadership, accountability and communication, among other factors.
A panel of workplace consultants and experts evaluated the applicants to select the winners.
Alabama's First Class Pre-K Named Nation's Highest Quality Program for 12th Year in a Row
Governor Kay Ivey is applauding the announcement that for the 12th year in a row, Alabama's First Class Pre-K program is being hailed as one of the nation's highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten programs for four-year-olds.
This report released today by the National Institute for Early Education Research in its 2017 State of Preschool Yearbook. Released every year since 2003, NIEER's State of Preschool Yearbook is the only national report on state-funded pre-k programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications and other policies related to quality.
In this year's edition, Alabama is one of only three states to meet all 10 of the new NIEER quality standards benchmarks used to determine program quality. Alabama also increased enrollment in First Class Pre-K by more than 2,700 children in 2016-2017, with help from a federal Preschool Development Grant.
Survey: Optimism abounds as Alabama business owners project hiring, wage increases
By Kelli M. Dugan
April 18, 2018
A tight labor market and mounting economic enthusiasm among business owners could equal more jobs and higher wages for Alabama workers in the next six months.
The findings in
PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
's Spring 2018 Economic Outlook survey for Alabama suggest small business owners across Alabama are increasingly optimistic about near-term labor and wage trends despite questions regarding tariffs and tax reform.
The bi-annual survey by the Pittsburgh-based company examines hiring, pricing, sales and other economic trends for the state's small and mid-size business owners.
FOLSOM, HARRIS, CAMP AND NEUNZIG TO DESCRIBE HOW MERCEDES CAME TO ALABAMA
The Mercedes-Benz Club of America is having its national convention in Alabama in May. The theme of StarFest 2018 is "Celebrating 25 years with Mercedes-Benz in Alabama."
People often wonder how Mercedes-Benz came to Alabama and led the creation of the massive auto industry which now exists here. In 1993, Alabama made no automobiles. In 2017, Alabama made more than one million automobiles.
Four of the people who played a key role in Mercedes-Benz coming to Alabama were former Governor, Jim Folsom; former Alabama Power Company President, Elmer Harris; former Alabama Development Office Director, Billy Joe Camp; and Heinz Neunzig, former Export Director for
the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen.
For the opening night reception, a panel of these distinguished gentlemen has been assembled to describe the amazing events of twenty-five years ago. Never before have these four people assembled together to tell this story.
The event's historic significance has prompted the Mercedes-Benz Club of America to allow a limited number of non-members to attend. The event is Thursday, 17 May 2018, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. The reception will include Museum admission and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Admission is $60 per person. To allow adequate time for space and food preparation, you must register by 7 May. To register,
Information about the entire convention schedule is available here