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:


Alabama's February Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.8%

MONTGOMERY - Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama's preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is 5.8%, down from January's rate of 6.0%, and well below February 2014's rate of 7.2%.


"Alabama's February unemployment rate is very good news for our state," Governor Bentley said. "This month's drop contributes to the 15 month trend we've seen with no increase in unemployment. Over two million Alabamians are working - the most since 2008. Our economy supported more jobs in February than it has during the same period since 2008. We also experienced a significant increase in construction jobs which bodes well for the state's economic health."


Preliminary data shows that all 67 counties experienced unemployment rate decreases both month over month and year over year.



Airgas to build $64 million plant in Tuscaloosa, hire 28 

By Patrick Rupinski

Business Editor | The Tuscaloosa News
March 26, 2015 

A Pennsylvania-based company that produces gases for industries and medical and research facilities plans to build $64 million plant in Tuscaloosa.


Airgas Merchant Gases LLC announced its plans Thursday at the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority meeting.


The plant will be built on 10-acre site on Holt Road Northeast, across from Nucor Steel-Tuscaloosa. Nucor will be a major customer of the gases - oxygen, argon and nitrogen - that the plant will produce and then transport in liquidized form to customers. Airgas will have a 20-year lease for the acreage from Nucor.





[Tuscaloosa News]


Dorsey expansion announced

Friday, Mar 27,2015

A ceremony at Dorsey Trailer of Elba last Friday morning, March 20, revealed an expansion and creation of additional jobs for the one of the city's oldest industries.


Governor Robert Bentley was scheduled to participate in the announcement, but weather conditions Friday morning prevented him from making the trip to Elba. He sent his regards noting his disappointment at not being able to be on site for the positive economic announcement.

The ceremony opened with an invocation by Rev. Michael Woodham, pastor of First Baptist Church of Elba.


"This is a great day for Alabama, Coffee County, and especially, Elba, Alabama," said Jonathan Tullos, executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation. "We are here to celebrate the growth of Dorsey as it makes plans to expand and create 50 new jobs."




Koch Foods announces it's adding 70 jobs 

Times Staff Writer 
March 24, 2015 

Koch Foods in Gadsden is expanding again. The firm, which in October announced plans to add 80 jobs, will be adding 70 more, the Gadsden City Council announced Tuesday.


The council on Tuesday approved non-education tax abatements for Koch, which will invest $7.5 million in its chicken processing plant in East Gadsden.


According to the resolution approved by the council, the jobs will add $1.89 million to Koch's payroll.




[Gadsden Times]



Economic district expands to entire county

Brent Maze and Clif Knight

Hartselle Enquirer

March 25, 2015


The Morgan County Industrial Park and Economic Development Cooperative District is expanding its reach from the I-65 corridor to the entire county.


Morgan County Economic Development Association president Jeremy Nails said the move was meant to offer more flexibility in attracting new businesses and industry to the county. The focus of the cooperative district was originally formed to focus on the areas located within five miles of I-65.


The district, which formed around 2008, took out a $16 million bond issue to build the Morgan Center Business Park in Hartselle. Nails said $7.9 million of that is still available, and the cooperative district wants to look at other areas of the county.



[Hartselle Enquirer]



Former Madison County Chairman to lead master planning process for Cummings Research Park

on March 26, 2015 

During his 32-year tenure managing county affairs as chairman of the Madison County Commission, Mike Gillespie said he lived by a simple motto, "We work best when we work together."


The retired public servant will soon take that philosophy to Cummings Research Park.

On Thursday afternoon, the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County announced Gillespie will lead the new master planning process for CRP as a contractor.


Wedged between the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Redstone Arsenal and city of Madison, the more than 50-year-old CRP has over 300 companies and 26,000 employees specializing in engineering, technology, research and design. Despite being one of the top economic hubs of north Alabama, CRP has a master plan that has not been updated in more than 30 years.







Brasfield & Gorrie awarded $83 million Huntsville water treatment contract
Bryan Davis Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
March 26, 2015

Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie has been awarded the $83 million contract to build a new greenfield water treatment plant in Huntsville.

Work will begin this month on the facility for Huntsville Utilities, a release by the contractor said.


"As one of the nation's leading contractors in heavy civil construction, we look forward to building this project, which will expand Huntsville Utilities' water supply and relieve pressure from its two existing plants," said Brasfield & Gorrie regional president Brian Barr.




[Birmingham Business Journal]


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