2018 REGIONAL ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
The following indicators look at Birmingham’s status among 14 peer metropolitan statistical areas in key economic indicators, ranked either by percentage change or absolute rank. The status indicates how Birmingham’s current, long-term performance ranking compares to its benchmark ranking. The previous 12-month performance has been provided for the below indicators where available. In 2018, metropolitan Birmingham’s ranking improved in nine of the 13 economic indicators. Two indicators showed a decline, while two remained unchanged. The full indicator set, which includes data on peer city comparisons, can be found on our website under 2019 Regional Economic Growth Report.
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In addition to managing economic development projects throughout the seven-county region, the BBA made 138 company visits in 2018 that represented over 21,000 employees through the Business Retention and Expansion program. Expanding companies within the Birmingham region announced 2,112 new jobs and $264.6 million in new capital investment. This is an increase over 2017, where companies announced 640 new jobs and $96 million in capital investment within the region. A full list of these companies can be found on page 13.
The BBA’s innovation and technology team works closely with local startups to identify resources and potential funding sources. In 2018, BBA helped startups raise more than $12 million in Series A and private seed funding, $20 million in the last three years.
In addition to launching a successful Investors Roundtable Series and Startup Pitch Clinic to help get startups “investor ready,” the BBA supported multiple successful product launches and crowd funding campaigns, built strategic relationships between local companies, UAB and other key partners, recruited biotech startups Incysus' scientific headquarters to Birmingham, developed successful business strategies for more than 30 companies and mentored 35 student entrepreneurs as a key advisors to the UAB Student Accelerator Program.
The BBA works throughout the year to advocate for legislative priorities that put Birmingham in a competitive position. Some Alabama legislative wins for Birmingham in 2018 included BJCC revenue enhancement to build a stadium at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, reauthorization of Alabama Data Processing Center Economic Incentive Enhancement Act (utilized to attract DC BLOX’s $167 million data center), Alabama Jobs Enhancement Act and enhanced transit revenue streams.
Federal legislative wins for Birmingham included reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and Tax Reform for Opportunity Zones.
The BBA was a key partner in the launch of the Building (it) Together Initiative, which included the organization of a regionwide workforce alignment strategy with a goal set of 125,000 credentials by 2025 for the region. In 2019 and beyond, the BBA will co-lead with Central Six AlabamaWorks! the implementation of recommendations from the alignment strategy and create an education asset inventory.
In 2018, the BBA grew its programs to attract and retain talent – OnBoard Birmingham, Magic City Summer Intern Program and Code the Classic – and its efforts to connect companies to talent.
The BBA supported the City of Center Point’s Phase 1 assessment for Alabama Communities of Excellence to help strengthen it for future growth – particularly around Center Point's newest resident, Autocar – as well as supported the nominations of local companies for Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Awards, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Small Business of the Year Awards from the Business Council of Alabama, Alabama Retailer of the Year Awards, Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards, REV Birmingham Big Pitch, Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Awards and Alabama Launchpad.
As facilitator of the Birmingham Industrial Development Board, the BBA shepherded nine projects through the approval for tax abatements, representing $8.1 million in capital investments and 610 jobs.
The BBA continuously promotes Birmingham as a progressive and affordable hub for entrepreneurial activity and a region where technology, biotechnology and life sciences, and advanced manufacturing companies are thriving. In 2018, Birmingham had a record 42 accolades, which include positive features or mentions in national articles or positive rankings among its peer cities.