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Alabama Gained Manufacturing Jobs For A Fifth Straight Year


Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, June 13th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Alabama gained manufacturing jobs for a fifth straight year, though at a slower rate than reported in previous years, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports Alabama added 1,041 manufacturing jobs from March 2016 to March 2017, a gain of one half of one percent.

This is the fifth straight year of manufacturing job gains for Alabama, reports MNI, with industrial employment increasing by 28% or 7,858 jobs since March of 2012. Gains were strongest between 2012 and 2015, but softened over the past two years. Currently, Alabama is home to 4,698 manufacturers employing 296,348 workers.

Alabama boasts low labor costs, an abundance of capital and incentive packages, and its cost of living is among the lowest in the nation. This has attracted numerous manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, to the state, boosting employment levels for several years now,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, competition from neighboring states is stiff, and finding skilled workers for today’s advanced manufacturing remains a challenge for many businesses.”

MNI reports the rubber/plastics industry led gains over the past year, with jobs in that sector up 7.2% over the past year. Strong gains were also reported in food processing, up 2.2% and in the fabricated metals industry, up 2.9%. Food processing and fabricated metals rank as the state’s second and third largest sectors by industrial jobs, with 33,352 and 26,725 workers, respectively.

Employment was steady in Alabama’s transportation equipment industry, which remains the state’s top sector by number of manufacturing jobs, employing 44,848.

Other industries adding jobs in Alabama include furniture/fixtures, up 5.3%; lumber/wood, up 4.5%; and paper products, up 3.5%.

Several new plant openings were announced over the year, including Custom Synthetic Fibers, which established an 80,000 square-feet polyester fiber operation in Rogersville. Germany-based Broetje Automation broke ground on a new design and assembly plant to support Airbus production in Brookley; auto supplier Grupo Antolin announced it will set up shop in Birmingham; and Polaris started up production at its new off-road vehicles plant in Huntsville.

These gains were offset, however, by losses in the petroleum products sector, which shed 12% of its workforce; textiles/apparel, which declined 5.6%; as well as primary metals, down 2.7%; chemicals, down 1.6%; and electronics, down 1%

Industrial locations announcing closures in Alabama included Grede Casting, which closed its Bessemer plant; Shaw Industries, which shuttered its textiles facility in Valley Head; and Commercial Vehicle Group, which stopped manufacturing operations and laid off workers at its Piedmont vehicle seating site.

Job gains were spread out across most regions of Alabama, reports MNI, and were strongest in the Southeast region, which saw industrial employment climb 1.7% to 56,090 workers. Northwest Alabama’s industrial workforce climbed 1.4% to 46,201 jobs; while jobs in Northeast Alabama inched up by 326 jobs to 151,403. Southwest Alabama was the only region to lose jobs, down 1.6% to 42,654.

City data collected by MNI shows Birmingham remains the state’s top city by industrial employment, with 28,627 jobs, down 1.2% over the past year. Employment in second-ranked Huntsville fell 1% to 24,048 industrial jobs, while employment in third-ranked Montgomery rose 1.2% to 16,247 jobs. Mobile accounts for 15,119 jobs, down 1.8%, while Decatur accounts for 9,754 jobs, up 1%.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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