Editorial

Alabama's economy continues to steamroll into historically one of its most prolific periods.

Unemployment is down across the state, including Cullman County with a sparking rate if 2.5 percent. More people are working than ever before.

And the massive Mazda-Toyota project is just now under construction with the promise of 4,000 employees ahead.

All of this is great news for Alabamians and local economies.

But there is a problem beginning to cast a shadow over the shine of the burgeoning economy.

Alabama's population is nearly stagnant, despite the influx of new industries and businesses and the continuing news of expansions. For companies enjoying the growth opportunities in the state, this is beginning to become a challenge.

Mazda-Toyota's demand for workers will undoubtedly draw from surrounding counties to fill this huge need. The wages planned for employees at the production plant will be much higher than those paid by many other companies in the region.

Concerns are growing in Cullman County, which has enjoyed numerous expansions by industries that have thrived here. Filling positions locally can be a struggle at times, but the locally based companies are doing their part to offer incentives to keep a strong pool of workers.

The local economic team has done an outstanding job of bringing jobs to Cullman County and working closely with industries to assist with expansions. Alabama's state economic team has also practiced aggressive, creative measures. Everyone who has worked to bring the state's economy forward deserves a lot of credit.

Moving forward, a plan is needed that will create incentives for more workers and their families to move to Alabama. The demand for trainable, skilled employees will likely remain for a long time.

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