Alabama has gained some lofty national rankings on the economic front that are an indicator of perhaps more good things to come.

The latest news on Alabama’s economic engine come from Business Facilities magazine, which specializes in industrial site selections and corporate decision making on expansions.

For 15 years, Business Facilities has ranked key economic factors among states, which this year placed Alabama as the third best business climate in the nation; fifth in economic growth potential; second in workforce training; sixth in auto manufacturing strength; and fifth as top manufacturing state (percentage of workforce involved).

Those are impressive rankings and reflect several years of economic growth coupled with declining unemployment.

Alabama continues to see new and expanding industrial projects, from suppliers and manufacturers growing, to the announced Mazda/Toyota plant in the Huntsville area.

One of the chief factors has been the workforce training programs, such as those provided by Wallace State Community College. The state’s leaders have done a good job of bringing together partnerships through economic development specialists and the education sector to ensure industrial investors have a workforce prepared or trainable to handle the evolving technology in manufacturing.

Much of the growth has been tied to a booming auto industry in Alabama, while Huntsville continues to expand its research and technology sectors.

The challenges ahead for Alabama will be to bring areas of the state that are lagging into the modern economy. Broadband expansion throughout rural areas will do a lot to improve the potential of those areas.

The news of Alabama’s rise on the national economic front is welcome and well deserved. We encourage state and local leaders to continue to expand partnerships that ensure Alabamians have the best opportunities available in the economy.

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