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:


U.S. Steel to make $277.5 million capital investment into Jefferson County area facilities

on March 17, 2015 

A Jefferson County Commission committee today approved tax abatements on $277.5 million in capital investments on two U.S. Steel projects that have the potential to save hundreds of jobs, county officials said.


The first project would allow U.S. Steel Corp. to invest $230 million in an electric arc furnace technology for an existing steel mill just outside of Fairfield.


Electric arc furnaces are being used instead of the antiquated blast furnaces.

The tax abatement would be $775,000 annually in state and county property taxes over 10 years, according to county data.


The second project, by U.S. Steel's Oilwell Services, would create a coupling manufacturing facility for tubular products in Fairfield with a capital investment of $47.5 million.









Alabama sees slight year-over-year increase in construction employment
Bryan Davis Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
Mar 17, 2015

Alabama's construction employment was nearly unchanged from December 2014, but the state added over 1,000 jobs from January 2014 to January 2015.


According to new data from the Associated General Contractors of America, Alabama's employment tally in the construction industry jumped 1.6 percent year-over-year, an increase of 1,300 jobs.


"Most of the country experienced a welcome rebound in construction employment last year," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Yet it is unclear how public sector demand and new regulatory requirements will overshadow relatively robust private-sector demand."




Governor's Trade Excellence Awards honors export success

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Governor Robert Bentley today honored eight homegrown companies with Trade Excellence Awards for their accomplishments in exporting Alabama-made products and services to customers around the globe, reflecting a key priority of his administration's economic growth strategy.


The companies receiving the award at a ceremony this morning in the Old House Chamber at the state Capitol demonstrate capabilities in a wide range of activities. One enterprise develops software that controls factories, while another has created technologies that turn waste into energy. The group includes a maker of railway maintenance and a manufacturer of street sweeping machines. One is a coal producer that competes with global energy giants.


The companies are helping to fuel a surge in Alabama exports. Last year, overseas shipments of Alabama-made goods topped $19.5 billion, just short of an annual record. Since 2009, Alabama exports have risen 57 percent. Over the past decade, the gain is 115 percent.



Truck drivers, nurses among most sought after employees
By Hunter Robinson
Mar 17, 2015 
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -The Alabama Department of Labor released a report on Tuesday stating that truck drivers and registered nurses continue to be the most sought after employees. 

The report uses data collected and analyzed by the Alabama Department of Labor's Labor Market Information Division.


The data shows that the most online wanted ads were for truck drivers, registered nurses and retail supervisors, with more than 5,700 ads placed for those occupations in January. 







Putting their money where their mouth is

by Connie Baggett, Gulf Coast Reporters' League 

March 18, 2015 


The mayor of this city in South Alabama's Covington County thinks he knows what it takes to get companies in the lucrative aerospace field to take notice.


"You have to be willing to spend money, significant money, on facilities," says Mayor Earl Johnson, who notes that attracting aerospace companies is a highly competitive endeavor.

"Spec buildings have to be more than just a pole barn. The Department of Defense has complex specifications for contractors, and we were willing to invest along with Opp and Covington County to basically put our money where our mouth is. It's one thing to say you want jobs. It's another to make a significant investment to make that happen."

Apparently, the approach works.






 Second Ready to Work class offered in county

 March 18, 2015 


In a continued effort to provide a work-ready community, the Randolph County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) and Southern Union State Community College (SUSCC) will offer a second Ready to Work class in the county next month.


The six-week course begins April 6 and meets Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the office adjacent to the Randolph County Economic Development Office at 1218 US Highway 431, Roanoke. Orientation for the class will be Thursday, March 26 at 8:30 a.m. at RCEDA.


Ready to Work is a state-certified career skills training program designed to help participants prepare for success on the job. The program provides individuals with the education and job skills necessary for employment in today's workplace. The Ready to Work curriculum covers topics in communication skills, computer skills, problem solving, workplace behavior, manufacturing and job acquisition.



[Randolph News Leader]





 Huntsville earns Wall Street's highest praise for 7th straight year

on March 17, 2015

Wall Street continues to give Huntsville a glowing credit rating.


The city announced Tuesday that Moody's Investors Service has assigned Huntsville its best-possible Aaa rating for the seventh consecutive year.


The rating comes on the eve of a planned $90 million city bond issue to pay for new roads and other capital needs, including major upgrades to Brahan Spring Park Natatorium and Benton T. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex.







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