ECONOMY OF ALABAMA

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ECONOMY OF ALABAMA
According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2006 total gross state product was $160 billion, or $29,697 per capita for a ranking of 44th among states. Alabama's GDP increased 3.1% from 2005, placing Alabama number 23 in terms of state level GDP growth. The single largest increase came in the area of durable goods manufacturing. In 1999, per capita income for the state was $18,189.

Alabama's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State", Alabama ranks between eight and ten in national cotton production, according to various reports, with Texas, Georgia and Mississippi comprising the top three.

Alabama's industrial outputs include iron and steel products (including cast-iron and steel pipe); paper, lumber, and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic products; cars and trucks; and apparel. Also, Alabama produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the Huntsville area, which is home of the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Army Aviation and Missile Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

Alabama is also home to the largest industrial growth corridor in the nation, including the surrounding states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia. Most of this growth is due to Alabama's rapidly expanding automotive manufacturing industry. In Alabama alone since 1993, it has generated more than 67,800 new jobs. Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation in automobile output.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio-technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 20,000. Health care services provider HealthSouth is also headquartered in the city.

Birmingham is also a leading banking center, serving as home Regions Financial Corporation. Birmingham-based Compass Banchshares was acquired by Madrid-based BBVA in September 2007; the headquarters of the new BBVA Compass Bank remains in Birmingham. SouthTrust, another large bank headquartered in Birmingham, was acquired by Wachovia in 2004. The city still has major operations as one of the regional headquarters of Wachovia. In November 2006, Regions Financial merged with AmSouth Bancorporation, which was also headquartered in Birmingham. They formed the 8th Largest U. S. Bank (by total assets). Nearly a dozen smaller banks are also headquartered in the Magic City, such as Superior Bank and New South Federal Savings Bank.

Telecommunications provider AT&T, formerly BellSouth, has a major presence with several large offices in the metropolitan area. Major insurance providers: Protective Life, Infinity Property & Casualty and ProAssurance among others, are headquartered in Birmingham and employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham. The city is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies, including BE&K and B. L. Harbert International which routinely are included in the Engineering News-Record lists of top design and international construction firms.

Huntsville is regarded for its high-technology driven economy and is known as the "Rocket City" due to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Redstone Arsenal. Huntsville's main economic influence is derived from aerospace and military technology. Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park (CRP), The University of Alabama in Huntsville and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center comprise the main hubs for the area's technology-driven economy. CRP is the second largest research park in the United States and the fourth largest in the world, and is over 38 years old. Huntsville is also home for commercial technology companies such as the network access company ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph and design and manufacturer of IT infrastructure Avocent. Telecommunications provider Deltacom, Inc. and copper tube manufacturer and distributor Wolverine Tube are also based in Huntsville. Cinram manufactures and distributes 20th Century Fox DVDs and Blu-ray Discs out of their Huntsville plant. Sanmina-SCI also has a large presence in the area. Forty-two Fortune 500 companies have operations in Huntsville. In 2005, Forbes Magazine named the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area as 6th best place in the nation for doing business, and number one in terms of the number of engineers per total employment.

The city of Mobile, Alabama's only saltwater port, is a busy seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile is the 10th largest by tonnage in the United States. In May 2007, a site north of Mobile was selected by German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp for a $3.7 billion steel production plant, with the promise of 2,700 permanent jobs