Site Selection’s annual Prosperity Cup ranking for 2019 was recently released, and Alabama is quickly moving up the list. The state jumped up nine spots from last year landing in the top 10. Why such a big leap? The ranking gauges the success of the business recruitment and retention efforts of state-level economic development offices, which have enjoyed a renewed spirit of state competitiveness nationwide.

Competitive Edge
Since the Amazon HQ2 contest, most state-level development executives have a better sense of state competitiveness in the context of economic development. Being competitive is an important success factor in economic development, especially in the areas of workforce development, infrastructure, education and business investment. Alabama continues to make strides in these areas, which is detailed in the state’s recently released 2018 New and Expanding Industry Report, compiled by the Alabama Department of Commerce. According to the report, Alabama set a new record with $8.7 billion in investment and 17,000 new jobs.

From attracting foreign direct investments with companies like Mazda to announcing new tech-focused projects with Amazon, Facebook and Shipt, Alabama is competing on a global level while offering some of the nation’s lowest business costs. It’s this growth along with booming automotive, aerospace and forestry industries that continue to propel the state in rankings like the Prosperity Cup.

“The high level of economic development activity in 2018 sets the stage for sustained growth and expanded opportunity across Alabama,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“This success solidifies my belief that we are building a more dynamic economy in Alabama and creating a pathway to greater prosperity for its citizens.”

Prosperity Points
The Prosperity Cup ranking is based on an index of the following ten factors:

  1. Total new and expanded facilities in 2018
  2. Total new and expanded facilities in 2018 per 1 million population
  3. Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities in 2018
  4. Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities per 1 million population in 2018
  5. Total new jobs created in 2018
  6. Total new jobs created in 2018 per 1 million population
  7. Rank in the corporate real estate executive portion of the 2018 Site Selection Business Climate Ranking
  8. State tax climate as ranked by the Tax Foundation
  9. Performance in the Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Index
  10. Number of National Career Readiness Certificates per 1,000 residents aged 18-64, according to ACT – Workforce Development Division, administrator of the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative

These criteria determine the final score for each state and their respective competitive ranking. Alabama currently stands at number nine on the list.