Transportation, Wood Products Manufacturing Lead Job Gains

  • August 25th, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama economists anticipate a slight increase in job growth in Alabama through the end of the year.

CBER analysts expect the state to close with a .5 percent increase in new jobs from 2016 to 2017.

According to the latest economic outlook from the Center for Business and Economic Research in The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, the state should create between 25,000 and 30,000 new jobs this year, a gain of around 1.5 percent that compares to 1 percent in 2016.

The state’s main economic drivers for the second half of 2017 are transportation equipment and wood products-related manufacturing, said Ahmad Ijaz, director of CBER.

Other major drivers will be finance and insurance, professional, scientific and technical services, administrative support and waste management, healthcare and social assistance, and accommodation and food services. Ijaz said those industries typically lead the state, but it can vary by quarter and year.

The forecast for Alabama’s real gross domestic product – GDP, or the real value of total goods and services produced in the state – stayed unchanged at about 1.9 percent in 2017, above the 1.3 percent rate of growth seen in 2016.

Ijaz said the United States GDP is expected to grow by 2.8 percent for the second half of 2017, compared to 1.9 percent in the first half. Overall growth rate is expected to average 2.1 percent for the year as a whole.

While Alabama’s economic growth is lower than the national projections, Ijaz said its rate is similar to states with similar populations. States like Texas and California account for a significant percentage of national growth, which can sometimes skew national figures.

Additionally, Alabama is still feeling the transition in its manufacturing profile and a lag in population growth.

“We were, at one time, very heavy into non-durable goods manufacturing, which were labor intensive with lower wages,” Ijaz said. “Now, we’re more into durable goods, and I think it’ll take some time before we see the same kind of income growth as the rest of the country.”

CBER’s economic forecasts appear in its publication, Alabama Business, a quarterly report of Alabama’s economy and near-term economic outlook. The publication has been consistently produced and distributed to business leaders across the state since 1930 and is available to the public online.

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