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Defense industry provides 264K jobs with $50.3B impact on state

A new economic impact study funded by the Alabama Military Stability Commission underscored the role played by the defense industry in the state’s overall economy.

The study’s findings showed the defense industry provides a staggering 264,780 jobs across Alabama. These jobs generated an annual payroll of $19.3 billion.

The total economic impact of military personnel and defense contracts across Alabama amounts to $50.3 billion, according to the report that was compiled by the University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Business.

“From aerospace development in the Tennessee Valley to shipbuilding in the Gulf Coast and at all points in between, the defense industry is vital to Alabama’s economy and job creation efforts,” said Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, the commission chairman. “The numbers in this report make the irrefutable case that Alabama must preserve and expand the defense infrastructure already located here while also attracting new companies and assets, as well.”

A more detailed look at the report reveals that 96,340 jobs in Alabama are held by active duty military personnel and 168,439 are filled by Department of Defense contractors.

When divided into regions with heavy military influence, the defense-related jobs are divided as follows:

  • Redstone Arsenal Region — 143,156 jobs ($13.2 billion payroll)
  • Fort Rucker Region — 28,865 jobs ($2.7 billion payroll)
  • Maxwell/Gunter Region — 26,706 jobs ($1.9 billion payroll)
  • Coastal Region — 21,331 jobs ($1.02 billion payroll)
  • Anniston Region — 13,102 jobs ($1 billion payroll)
  • Birmingham Region — 2,583 jobs ($146 million payroll)
  • Dallas County Region — 559 jobs ($15 million payroll)
  • Marion County Region — 22 jobs ($1 million)

The Alabama Military Stability Commission was created through state statute in 2011 and is comprised of elected officials, cabinet members, and regional appointees from areas of Alabama with a heavy defense concentration.

The panel is tasked with recommending and implementing the steps necessary to protect and promote, the federal military presence across the state.

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 for coverage of the 2023 legislative session. 

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