Alabama claims Gold Shovel Award for 2020 economic development

Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Area Development, a prominent national business publication, has selected Alabama for its Gold Shovel Award, recognizing the state’s economic development success in the manufacturing sector during a challenging 2020.

The honor follows a year of strong results for Alabama, with companies announcing new facilities and expansion projects involving nearly $5 billion in new capital investment despite uncertain global business conditions.

The projects, many in key strategic industry clusters, will create almost 10,000 jobs across the state and inject economic vitality into many communities recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This Gold Shovel award is a testament to Alabama’s skillful workforce and to the pro-business environment that makes out state such an attractive location for investment,” Governor Ivey said. “High-performing companies from all over the world have discovered that they can find all the competitive advantages they need to succeed with their growth projects right here in Sweet Home Alabama.”

Area Development singled out several 2020 economic development projects in its decision to award a Gold Shovel-Manufacturing to Alabama, including:

  • Steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal announced a $775 million project to add an electric arc furnace facility at the mill it operates with Nippon Steel in Calvert, near Mobile. The AM/NS Calvert project will create 200 jobs and expand production at the site.
  • Mazda Toyota Manufacturing revealed plans for an additional $830 million investment at its assembly plant in Huntsville that will begin production later this year. Total investment at the plant now tops $2.3 billion, and it will employ up to 4,000 workers.
  • Cullman-based HomTex, a maker of household linens, shifted gears during the pandemic to launch a project that will create 300 jobs in Selma, where it will manufacture 3-ply and N-95 face masks.

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize the overall effectiveness of economic development efforts in states across the nation.

Alabama has been a frequent winner since the magazine launched the awards in 2006, when it won a Gold Shovel. The state also claimed a Gold Shovel Award in 2013 and in 2019.

The state’s 2020 economic development results are outlined in the Alabama Department of Commerce’s comprehensive “New & Expanding Industry Report,” released earlier this year. The report provides a detailed look at 220 projects recorded in the state during a record-setting year of business recruitment and support.

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“The chief goal of Alabama’s economic development team is to help spark the creation of jobs and opportunity throughout the state by strategically focusing on industries with solid long-term growth prospects,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Winning another Gold Shovel Award demonstrates that our team is executing on this plan and delivering results that make a difference for the state and its hard-working citizens.”

This is the second Golden Shovel Award that Alabama has won during Governor Ivey’s tenure and the third since Secretary Canfield took the helm at Commerce.

Alabama joined Michigan and Indiana in receiving a Gold Shovel-Manufacturing Award from Area Development. Other states winning a Gold Shovel Award were Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Utah and Kansas.

Alabama’s ability to overcome the complex economic development challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic also recently earned the state a Top 10 ranking in “Site Selection” magazine’s annual Governor’s Cups analysis.




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