Earlier this week, a story on AL.com checked on the job growth trends in each of Alabama's 11 metros. Among the top fastest-growing metros was Florence-Muscle Shoals, home to roughly 3 percent of all of Alabama's jobs. For some AL.com readers, this was surprising.
"Totally don't understand growth in Florence area," said reader AlaJack via comment. "What in the world is there which created jobs?"
So which employers in Florence are expanding? Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests the job gains are coming from manufacturers, which are expanding across the state. And reporting from economic development leaders on the ground in the Shoals back up the data.
Manufacturing employment in the Florence area is nearly 30 percent larger than it was in early 2010, when such jobs reached a low point following the recession. Three years later, Florence-Muscle Shoals has added 2,000 manufacturing jobs, bringing total employment in the industry from 7,000 to 9,000.
But the industry-wide numbers don't answer the specific question of growing employers. So who is hiring? Fortunately, Forrest Wright -- president of the Shoals Economic Development Authority -- can handle that one.