By Senator Slade Blackwell, Guest Opinion
The Alabama Department of Labor’s recent job report showed an increase in our state’s employment rates. Trussville was recently recognized as one of Alabama’s most liveable areas, and its economy and job market reflect that.
In terms of iron and steel production, Alabama was once a thriving region compared to our foreign competitors, and a large portion of the Trussville workforce includes those in the manufacturing industry. Chances are, if you purchase one of the many fire extinguishers on the market, it was manufactured in your own backyard. Right here in Trussville, Amerex Corporation has established itself as a leading force in the fire protection industry and continues to build success.
Unfortunately, the manufacturing sector has recently reached a standstill. Plants across the country are being forced to cut back as a result of energy productivity decline, and our own Trussville workers are finding themselves out of work and left with little options.
When such a large industry like manufacturing is at risk, so is any chance of strong job growth. Since 2001, 98,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost as a result to overseas outsourcing. While some stats show that Alabama is on the uphill climb in terms of recovering from the recession, the state will still need to see an additional 41,300 manufacturing jobs to reach a full recession recovery.
Next week, the elected leaders representing hardworking Trussville residents will join others in Montgomery for the first legislative session of the new year. In preparation for this session, I invite Alabama lawmakers to join me in keeping our constituents’ best interests in mind. Revitalizing our manufacturing industry must be a top priority if we want to create jobs and develop our workforce. Anticipating the legislative session, I am eager to partner with like-minded leaders to develop tangible strategies that improve the state of Alabama’s economy and support a strong, vibrant workforce.