Editor’s Note: This is an opinion column.
By Paul DeMarco
As we close out 2022, Alabama is another year away from the initial days of the pandemic that has caused much suffering for so many.
Yet, state residents continue to deal with economic woes created largely by wayward policies from Washington DC that have affected the pocketbooks and wallets of most everyone.
Alabama has also seen the same spike in violent crime as the rest of the Nation, and this past year was one of the worst in state history. The city of Birmingham alone is close to breaking an all-time high for homicides that dates back 90 years.
But with a new year ahead, there is hope that our state will see better days.
There are signs of financial good news for the state in the next year that will carry over from 2022. This past year the state was recognized for its workforce development, landing top manufacturing facilities and being ranked as a top state to conduct business. Alabama has continued to attract new manufacturing plants, and existing ones are expanding. There are more recruiting projects on the table that will bring good-paying jobs and contribute overall to the state economy.
The state maintained low unemployment rates throughout the year, and there is no reason to believe that will not continue in 2023. This past fall, Alabama businesses employed more workers than at any time in state history. A further positive sign is that wages and salaries continued to rise at record amounts.
One of the reasons for the strong business climate is the investment in infrastructure. The Port of Mobile was the busiest in history for state’s front door to shipping with record growth. In addition, with millions of dollars of construction to expand port’s facilities, you can expect even more products moving through the Alabama Port Authority Terminals in the coming months.
And in North Alabama, this is the year the state has been waiting for with the hope of an official announcement that the United States Space Command will relocate to Huntsville. A final decision is pending and should come early in 2023. The move from Colorado to Alabama would be another major addition to the strong military installations in our state.
Finally, tourists continue to make Alabama a destination at record numbers, and state agriculture products continue to be the backbone of the state economy.
It has been a long three years, but Alabama and its residents see signs of better days ahead.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter at @Paul_DeMarco.