The Richness of: Alabama
The state of Alabama has certainly come a long way since its heyday as one of the world’s cotton capitals. Sure, that deep rich red soil still provides a robust agriculture sector, but all-in-all the state’s economy has diversified to fit — and fill — the needs of the 21st century. Indeed, Alabama has shown remarkable growth in the areas of management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, technology, aerospace and mineral extraction, as well as in education, retail and healthcare, especially in the ambulatory field. In fact, USA Today reports that after real estate, ambulatory health care services provides the state’s largest single sector total economic output. The industry, which includes primary care physicians, dentists and other outpatient medical services, generated $8.3 billion in Alabama in 2016. That’s nearly 5% of the state’s total GDP.
Alabama’s Economic Diversity
Of course a diversified economy benefits all sectors, and, as Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield told Made in Alabama, “There are dynamic developments taking shape that will elevate Alabama’s growth potential and create exciting opportunities for citizens throughout the state.” Secretary Canfield cited milestones such as Lockheed Martin making Northeast Alabama its flagship location for futuristic hypersonics technologies and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing’s new $1.6 billion Huntsville facility, as well as large scale expansion efforts from GE Aviation, Boeing and Airbus. But don’t think for a second the state’s cotton-growing regions are being forgotten — or neglected. And Secretary Canfield cited the recently passed rurally-concentrated “Alabama Incentives Modernization Act” as proof.
With all that growth and promise taking place in Alabama it stands to reason that Big Win would be receiving more and more requests for companies and their executives to relocate to the state. It also gave us a good reason to look into just what’s making the state such an attractive prospect. So without further ado, here’s Big Win’s take on the great state of Alabama.
Sperling’s Best Places sees the economy of Alabama’s largest city growing at about 30% over the next decade, which is right on par with the country as a whole. Unlike the rest of the country though, Birmingham’s growth will largely be attributable to healthcare. Healthcare is the city’s largest industry. Among the public juggernauts are UAB Health System, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and Birmingham VA Medical Center, which employ well over 20,000 combined. That vast success has also led to vast expansion, including $57 million for Princeton Baptist Medical Center and a whopping $400 million for Children’s of Alabama’s new Southside campus.
New Tech Down South
Beyond healthcare, Birmingham’s economy is doing remarkably well in new technology, especially life sciences research. The UAB Medical Center and the affiliated Southern Research Institute lead the field, and Made in Alabama reports the UAB is developing technologies in every medical therapeutic area. The Foundation, which markets and licenses UAB patents and supports the development of local life sciences startups using UAB-licensed technologies, receives significant support from the Birmingham Business Alliance, whose Blueprint Birmingham is dedicated to supporting research, development and technology transfer throughout the region. Among the local biomedical firms prospering from their Birmingham alliance are Agenta Biotechnologies, BioDtech, DiscoveryBioMed, Vista Engineering and Soluble Therapeutics.
Big In Birmingham
Banking is also big in Birmingham, with Metro Birmingham boasting six banks with at least 5% market share, compared for instance to three in Atlanta and Memphis, and Charlotte’s two. And Maynard Cooper & Gale’s Jenny McCain insists the city will remain a competitive market. “Unlike Charlotte,” she said, “Birmingham has a more diverse banking market with no one bank with over 50 percent of the deposit share. For that reason, banks may see this market as more attractive for expansion than some of the other Southeastern cities.” She also cites evidence of entry from startup banks like CommerceOne, as well as the city’s luring of Alabama banks like Robertson Banking Co. and First U.S. Bank.
As befitting the only place in the world where all the ingredients for making iron are present, American Cast Iron Pipe continues to play an important role in the city’s economy. It’s joined by the likes of Books-a-Million (the nation’s second largest bookstore chain), Encompass Health (the nation’s largest rehabilitative services company), and Vulcan Materials Company (the country’s largest aggregates producer).
So where are all the executives and other Birmingham city leaders living? Well, if Big Win’s recent request report is any indication (and it undoubtedly is), Shelby County seems to be the preferred place. It’s not just our clients who are giving Shelby County such a high rating though. Housing and real estate sites such as Home Snacks continue to rank the Birmingham bedroom communities number one, for both its quality of life and its convenience.
Historic and charming Montevallo seems to lead the county for most prestigious real estate, though Hoover, Chelsea and Calera all boast exquisite mid seven figure homes of their own. And while the area feature an abundance of historic mansions, nearly 70% of its luxury housing stock has been built since 2000, so there’s no shortage of modernity, whichever town you choose.
If you’re looking to relocate to Greater Birmingham or any of Alabama’s other increasingly bustling cities, Big Win would be honored to make the move for you. We provide top-to-bottom, executive-level moving services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including packing, shipping and storage.
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