Site selection professionals surveyed by national publication Area Development once again ranked Alabama in the top five states for doing business, citing its strong labor climate and workforce development programs.
Alabama ranked No. 5 in Area Development’s 2015 “Top States For Doing Business” analysis, appearing this week online. It’s the sixth consecutive year that Alabama has placed in the overall top 5 in the publication’s rankings.
“The fact that Alabama is consistently getting high marks from site selection consultants indicates that the state is viewed as a prime location for expansion opportunities,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “The results reflect the strength of Alabama’s skilled workforce and our training programs, as well as a favorable business environment that companies from around the world are seeking.”
For its rankings, Area Development asked site selection consultants to provide their top picks for 21 factors comprising three overall categories: business environment, labor climate and infrastructure.
“Site consultants often have the best view of a state’s performance — especially when compared to other states,” Area Development writes. “They work on a variety of projects in multiple industries, interact with economic development offices, and conduct their own research. They get the hard-to-find details that are needed to select the best site for their client’s requirements.”
The Area Development site consultants rank Alabama highly in key workforce-related measurements.
The state ranked No. 1 for competitive labor costs, while its workforce development programs – chiefly, AIDT, the centerpiece of the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Workforce Development Division – ranked No. 4. Overall, Alabama’s labor climate ranked No. 5 among the states.
AIDT has provided training for more than 600,000 Alabamians and operates a number of specialized training centers around the state. It has worked with more than 3,300 companies, including manufacturers with a global focus.
“Last year in Alabama, AIDT — the state’s long-standing workforce development agency — opened the $7 million Alabama Aviation Center at Mobile Aeroplex to help Airbus assemble the workforce for the aerospace company’s newest aircraft assembly facility,” Area Development writes. “AIDT also recently opened a regional training center in Montgomery focusing on manufacturing and IT jobs.”
In addition, Alabama earned these rankings from the publication:
- 2 for cooperative state government
- 2 for favorable regulatory environment
- 3 for speed of permitting
The Area Development annual “Top States For Doing Business” ranked Alabama No. 4 in 2014 and 2013. Georgia topped the rankings this year.
Earlier this year, Area Development awarded Alabama a Silver Shovel award from accomplishments in economic development in 2014. Efforts by Alabama’s economic development team produced more than 18,100 new and future jobs and $3.4 billion in investment last year, according to a report from the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Business Facilities, another economic development publication, this year gave Alabama high marks for its workforce development programs and its “automotive manufacturing strength,” based on the state’s rapidly expanding auto industry.