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“Alabama has challenges, but we also do really well,� he said. Alabama has made incredible progress from being about 45 percent of the U.S. per capita income in 1929 to 83 percent in 2012. “This tells the story of how well we’ve done over time,� Addy said. “I think this deserves applause for ourselves and our state.� The state’s economy (gross domestic product) is projected to grow 2.4 percent this year and an even stronger 3.1 percent in 2015 after increasing 1.9 percent increase in 2013 and just 1.3 percent in 2012. The range of the 2014 forecast is from a low of 2.0 percent to a high of 3.2 percent and the range for 2015 is a low of 2.5 percent to a high of 4.0 percent. Total tax revenue forecasts show steady 4.0-plus percent increases for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, reaching $11 billion in 2017. Sales tax revenues are projected to grow 1.8 percent this year; 2.0 percent in 2015; 2.5 percent in 2016; and 2.2 percent in 2017. The bulk of the projected increases in tax revenue is coming from individuals with 5.0-plus percent increases through 2017, including a high of 5.9 percent in 2016.

Employment is projected to increase a modest 1.3 percent this year, but that means 24,300 jobs. The majority of those jobs will be in services with other strong sectors including transportation equipment manufacturers. That 1.3 percent growth in employment is a full 1 percent more than 2013 (0.3 percent) and tops the 0.7 percent growth in 2012. The employment forecast has a range of 0.5 percent to 1.8 percent. Montgomery topped the state’s three other metro areas for job growth from October 2012 to October 2013. That increase was 1,600 jobs (1.0 percent), but Mobile gained only 600 jobs during that time span (0.3 percent) while Birmingham-Hoover lost 2,600 jobs (-0.5 percent) and Huntsville lost 2,500 jobs (-1.2 percent). Nearly all of Montgomery’s job gains were in service-providing industries of retail trade; professional and business services; education and health; and leisure and hospitality. Montgomery is ranked second to Huntsville ($71,500) in median family income at $61,500 and much more than the state ($53,600). Birmingham is third among the state’s metros at $57,100 and Mobile is fourth with a median family income of $52,400.

While the state’s General Fund is projected for increases of 1.0 percent to 1.3 percent this year, the Education Trust Fund is forecast to grow a range of 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent, including 3.7 percent for 2014. Manufacturing is driving the Center for Business and Economic Research’s forecasts and that sector’s GDP is expected to grow 4.6 percent this year, which includes a 13 percent increase in motor vehicle and parts production. An expected 6.6 percent increase in U.S. automotive sales this year bodes well for Alabama with its Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes Benz manufacturing plants as well as a Toyota engine plant. The state enjoyed an all-time vehicle production record of 915,000-plus last year. The state’s aerospace industry is another key catalyst for economic growth, Addy said. Exports for aircraft, spacecraft and parts has surged from less than $200 million in 1996 to nearly $680 million in 2012. “One of our hottest growing areas for exports is aerospace,� Addy said. Those figures are expected to increase considering the following:

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2014

Profile for Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

Montgomery Business Journal – March 2014  

Montgomery Business Journal – March 2014