Alabama is one of the few states where manufacturing is still king, due mostly to the ever-growing presence of the automotive industry.
Headlight Data recently reported its county-by-county rankings for manufacturing job growth, and many Alabama counties found their way into the upper echelon of the 2,746 counties ranked on net change from 2013 to 2014.
Morgan County led all Alabama counties – ranking 51st overall for job growth in the manufacturing sector by adding 758 jobs from 2013 to 2014.
Tuscaloosa County – home to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International's production facility – ranked 69th overall with a 5.3 percent growth in manufacturing jobs from 2013 to 2014. This equals to 665 jobs added over the year.
Jefferson County saw a 1.7 percent growth in the manufacturing sector, which helped the county rank 160th overall for positive growth.
However, last year leading up to 2015 has been a difficult stretch for manufacturing jobs in Jefferson County, with Walter Energy declaring bankruptcy and U.S. Steel Corp. threatening to lay off nearly all of its workforce in Fairfield.
Other counties have grown as automotive suppliers flock to Alabama, such as Talladega County, which is home to Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. The county ranked 137th overall for growth, getting a 4.8 percent bump over 2013 to 2014.
Honda in April unveiled its $71.4 million engine assembly line that will employ more than 250 people in two shifts. This comes as the company's presence in Alabama continues to grow along with other automotive suppliers.
Just last week, German-based manufacturer Schmidt Maschinenbau GmBH announced it had chosen Auburn as the site for its first U.S. manufacturing facility. The project will be a $17 million investment and employ around 50.
Montgomery County – home to the state capitol and Hyundai's first U.S. production facility – ranked in the top half of county's by manufacturing job growth, ranking 442th after receiving a 1.2 percent boost from 2013 to 2014. Montgomery is also rumored to be in consideration for a second Hyundai manufacturing facility as demand grows for crossover SUVs.
Madison County, which features a burgeoning tech industry and many aerospace manufacturing jobs, saw a decrease in overall employment from 2013 to 2014, falling 0.5 percent to be ranked 2,495th. While the county saw a decrease, places like Huntsville in Madison County helps the county maintain one of the highest numbers of manufacturing jobs in the state.
Mobile County came in close to the top for U.S. counties, ranking 264th nationally with adding 271 manufacturing jobs (1.5 percent growth) over the course of 2013 to 2014.
Birmingham Business Journal - by: Ryan Phillips
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