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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 EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Honda's Alabama output dips slightly this year as plant takes on new luxury model
Q&A: Leslie Sanders: New Chamber chair puts attention on MTEC
McCain: Employment numbers are encouraging
Meeting of Mobile County mayors aims to foster partnerships and discuss common issues


 Honda's Alabama output dips slightly this year as plant takes on new luxury model

on December 23, 2013 

LINCOLN, Alabama -- Workers at Honda's Talladega County auto assembly plant produced an estimated 333,531 vehicles this year, a slight decline from the record output achieved in 2012.


Still, the 2013 output is the second-highest annual production mark for the plant, which turned out 336,766 vehicles last year. Officials attributed the slip to the ramp up associated with the addition of the Acura MDX SUV to the assembly lines earlier this year.

The MDX is the first vehicle for Honda's luxury brand produced in Alabama.


Honda's $2 billion state operation also produces Odyssey minivans, Pilot SUVs, Ridgeline pickups and the V-6 engines that power all four models.









Q&A: Leslie Sanders: New Chamber chair puts attention on MTEC
By Brad Harper
Dec. 22, 2013 

Birmingham native Leslie Sanders wasn't sure she wanted to come to Montgomery after she graduated college. But she decided to give it a year.


Decades later, her family is part of the community, and she's the new chairwoman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors.


What won her over?


"It was the people," Sanders said. "It's a great feeling when you go to the grocery store and you know the clerk. They say, 'Hey, Leslie, we know you always buy this and it's out, but we'll get it back in.' It's like 'Cheers.'

"But it's not so small that everybody in Montgomery would know everyone. It's grown and there are opportunities. It's a big little town."



[Montgomery Advertiser]




 McCain: Employment numbers are encouraging

Times Staff Writer 
December 21, 2013 

The annual unemployment rate in Etowah County has been declining since 2009 and that trend will continue for 2013, according to Mike McCain, executive director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority.


According to Alabama Department of Labor statistics, Etowah County's unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in November was the lowest since June 2008 and means the yearly average, now at 6.6 percent, likely will be below 7 percent for the year, McCain said.


McCain said he looks at yearly unemployment rate averages for trends about the economy. The county's average unemployment rate for the year peaked at 10.2 percent in 2009, at the height of the recession. It fell to 9.3 percent in 2010, 8.7 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent in 2012



[Gadsden Times]


Meeting of Mobile County mayors aims to foster partnerships and discuss common issues

on December 20, 2013 

MOBILE, Alabama - Seven Mobile County mayors met in Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson's 10th floor Government Plaza office Friday morning in an effort to discuss issues in their cities and develop relationships on how to progress as a region.


The private meeting was called by Stimpson and represented the first time some of the mayors had a chance to meet together.


The hour-long session allowed the elected officials to talk about issues facing their communities, get an update on the $600 million Airbus manufacturing plant project, and to learn more about the Coastal Alabama Partnership and how it plans to foster regional partnerships between Mobile and Baldwin counties.


"The major thing we talked about was the need to cooperate, communicate and to work together and to partner and to collaborate," Saraland Mayor Howard Rubenstein said.


Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam said he felt the undertone of the conversation was about jobs.





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Val Walton
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