Wednesday, June 22, 2016
It's no secret that Alabama's Birmingham has improved its economy over the last decade or that it is proving its existence as one of the largest economic powerhouses in the southeast. What one might not know is for the last five years, Birmingham has increased new and expanding business announcements and jobs by 30%! From 2001-2010, the average growth for new jobs annually was 1,875; from 2011-2015, the growth rate was expanded to 2,890! The city did not achieve these results easily, however. Subsidizing heavily in technology and entrepreneurship was the key; in fact, the average annual investment amount for the largest city of Alabama is $569 million!
The hungry city is nowhere close to slowing down, though. As it used Blueprint Birmingham from 2011-2015 to reach its current point of success, the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) has drafted another plan to continue striving for ultimate perfection: Blueprint 2020. The optimal goal of Blueprint 2020 is to guide the BBA's work into economic development to increase jobs and capital investment through workforce development and support programs. Overall, the BBA plans to market the region to the world in attempt to compete on a global scale.
As the 11th largest banking center nationwide and 2nd in the South, Birmingham has already put itself on the map serving as a home to Regions Financial Corporation, BBVA Compass and SouthTrust, as well as dozens of other smaller banks. As of 2015, the Financial Activities sector in Birmingham employed nearly 43,000! Since 2011, Birmingham has launched almost 20 new or expanding back-office and data center operations, creating more than 2,700 jobs and $60 million in capital investment!
Still, banking is only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to economic involvement. The city first gained a leading position through the steel industry and continues to harvest through that market, through American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO), McWane, CMC Steel, U.S. Steel, Nucor, and several other large steelmakers! Moreover, those local steel companies have, in recent years, announced approximately $100 million worth of investments in new plants and other expansions.
During the 1970's and 1980's, Birmingham made the crucial decision to invest heavily into bio-technology and medical research at its own University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Needless to say, that was very perceptive because UAB is now the area's largest employer and second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 23,000.
Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies, headquartering several corporations routinely included in the Engineering News-Record lists of top design and international construction firms, including Robins & Morton, BE&K, Brasfield & Gorrie and B.L. Harbert International. Even still, more and more companies are headquartered in the Magic City and continue to prosper even more each year.
Many tributes are awarded to Birmingham every year. Some of which include "one of six cities where millennials can afford to pay rent", "the #1 city for millennial entrepreneurs", "one of the best cities to find a start-up job" and "one of 11 next great destinations in 2016". It's no secret that Birmingham is a diamond in the rough, proving its worth again and again as a land flowing with milk and honey.