Mobile to grow the fastest?

Published 3:44 am Monday, February 11, 2008

By Staff
Out of all the metropolitan areas in America, Mobile County will have the fastest growing economy over the next five years according to Moody's Economy.com.
Crediting ThyssenKrupp's decision to build a $3.7 billion steel plant here, Austal USA's continued growth, and the potential Northrop Grumman/EADS aircraft assembly plant in Mobile, Moody's projected Mobile to have the greatest change in “gross metropolitan product (GMP),” 34 percent between 2007 and 2012.
Mobile was not the only metropolitan area in Alabama to make the list. Huntsville, a military and space research hub, has a projected GMP growth of 15 percent by 2012. The Auburn-Opelika metropolitan area was also named among the fastest growing areas in the country.
This recognition can be added to an impressive list of accomplishments for the state of Alabama and its economy. For two consecutive years, the Alabama Development Office was selected as the winner of the Competitiveness Award by Site Selection magazine. The magazine also ranked Alabama's 2007 business climate as No. 5 in the nation.
Neal Wade and the Alabama Development Office were chosen based on the success of recruiting new investments and jobs to Alabama.
Their efforts, on behalf of Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, certainly paid dividends in 2007. ThyssenKrupp, one of Germany's leading steel producers, announced it will build its $3.7 billion steel manufacturing and processing plant in Alabama. ThyssenKrupp's new steel mill will create at least 2,700 new permanent jobs and the construction of the mill will require the service of over 30,000 workers.
Over $6 billion in industrial projects was announced for Alabama during 2007, a record-setting amount. Obviously, ThyssenKrupp was the largest announcement last year; however, a $350 million Canadian rail car manufacturer and a host of auto suppliers tied to the new $1 billion Kia plant just across the state line in Georgia, added to the record breaking year.
Unfortunately, our national economy is not experiencing the same boom we in Alabama are enjoying. In response to the national economic downturn, and after considerable procedural maneuvering, the Senate passed an economic stimulus package late last week. Adding senior citizens, disabled veterans and the widows of those veterans to the House-passed bill, the amended bill was sent back to the House where it passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 380-34.
The $168 billion package will now be sent to the president for his signature. As I mentioned here last month, the IRS will begin processing the checks in mid-March, and they should be sent out in mid-May.
The details of the plan include:
Workers who earned at least $3,000 in qualifying income during 2007, but paid little or no income tax, would qualify for checks of $300 for individuals or $600 for couples. Those workers who earned enough to pay federal income taxes would receive checks of up to $600 for individuals, $1,200 for couples. Payments would phase out beginning with individuals earning more than $75,000 and couples with more than $150,000. A children's bonus is also included. Anyone qualifying for a check would receive an additional $300 for each dependent child under age 17.