Investment in Lee County highlighted in state’s annual new & expanding industry report

The capital investment in the new Miele manufacturing plant in Opelika helped Lee County top the state’s investment list. (Miele)

$600 million—that’s how much capital investment was poured into Lee County this past year, pushing it to the top of the state’s list of counties with new and expanding industry announcements last year.

The Alabama Department of Commerce released its annual report Tuesday morning and despite the overall investment numbers for total funds and jobs going down from 2022, the state still had plenty to celebrate. Here’s a closer look at the statewide numbers:

  • $6.4 billion of capital investment
  • 8,095 new jobs
  • $1.7 billion investment for rural counties
  • $1.3 billion investment into the automobile industry

“We continue to make significant progress in our mission to create solid career opportunities for Alabama citizens and to inject economic vitality into cities and communities across the state. I am proud of the fact that since I have been governor, we have seen $49 billion invested in Alabama, which has created some 87,000 new jobs. However, we are not taking a victory lap — we are focused on the future and making Alabama the top choice for growing companies.”

~ Alabama Governor Kay Ivey
Gov Kay Ivey
(Governor Kay Ivey / Governor’s Office – Hal Yeager)

Lee County leading the way

The numbers are not surprising for the area after the investment made by German company Miele. The maker of high-end appliances has found its first U.S. home in Opelika, investing nearly $400 million and expecting to create 837 jobs. Production is supposed to begin by the end of the year.

But Lee County has much more than that one investment going on. Here are some of the other announcements that helped them top the list.

Coca Cola In Auburn
Coca-Cola broke ground on a new facility in Auburn. (Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.)

All in all, the state report listed 12 project announcements in 2023 totaling $688,587,008 in capital investments with approximately 1,251 new jobs created. Those numbers led all other counties but there were several others who had big announcements in 2023:

  • Montgomery ($628 million)
  • Walker ($525 million)
  • Cullman ($488 million)
  • Clarke ($432 million)
  • Calhoun ($379 million)

Auto industry in Alabama continues to grow

The state saw investments made across several different industries including metal, forestry, agriculture and aviation but once again leading the way was the automotive industry. The report said there were 45 automotive projects announced across the state with a total of $1.39 billion invested.

Most of that money went into expansion rather than new projects. At the top of that list was Hyundai’s $290 million investment into expanding its manufacturing plant in Montgomery.

Hyundai announced an investment to expand its manufacturing in Montgomery. (Office of the Governor / Hal Yeager)

Focus on rural Alabama

“I’m confident that we’re helping build a more dynamic economy that spreads opportunity far and wide across the state. While we still have a lot of work to do, we have the tools needed for the job, and we’re fully committed to creating 21st Century jobs across Alabama.”

~ Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce

Ivey says rural Alabama continues to act as a magnet for growing businesses, as the state’s “targeted” counties attracted $1.7 billion along with more than 1,700 job commitments.

Some of the top projects include:

  • $411 million to expand Origis solar energy plant in Clarke County
  • $159 million to expand Georgia Pacific Paperboard Mills
  • $151 million at new Russell County Solar
Tmmal Solar Array Hero Image 1 1
A solar project at Toyota’s North Alabama Engine Plant is one of the new million-dollar-plus building permits issued in the state. (PR Newswire)

You can see the state’s full 2023 New & Expanding Industry Announcements Report here.

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Caleb Turrentine
Caleb Turrentine
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