Economy

Investment in Alabama Doubled in 2015, Report Finds

A report out today from state officials shows Alabama attracted more than $7 billion in investments and added nearly 20,000 new jobs last year.

Raising Poultry Increasingly a “Raw Deal” for Alabama Farmers

Poultry production has risen in the past several decades. It's now a more than $45 billion industry in the U.S. Alabama is located in the heart of what’s considered the agricultural “chicken belt” of America. In 2013, Alabama farms produced roughly 1 billion chickens. While that may make it sound like the state's poultry farming economy is healthy, farmers tell a different story. Every one of Alabama’s chickens is produced by contract famers, and some of these farmers tell the weekly newspaper WELD that they’re getting a raw deal.

Hospitals see Changes in Alabama’s Certificate of Need Process

If you don't work in the healthcare industry, you might not be familiar with Alabama's Certificate of Need process. It's bureaucratic, often with mounds of paperwork and legal fees, but it determines what healthcare facilities get built in the state. And in some cases, which ones are blocked. We hear about the process and some changes in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Alabama Women Paid Significantly Less than Men

A new study finds that women in Alabama are paid significantly less than men.

AG Strange: New EPA Rule Would Hurt Alabama’s Racing Economy

Alabama is joining eight other states petitioning the federal government to drop a proposal banning the modification of street vehicles into off-road race cars. Attorney General Luther Strange announced he is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a proposed change to the Clean Air Act. The new rule would forbid the modification of […]

What the Bentley Scandal Means for Economic Development

The scandal surrounding Governor Robert Bentley’s alleged affair with a former top advisor has grabbed attention from CNN to the New York Times to the Washington Post. With that national media attention, some Bentley opponents in the legislature have suggested his troubles have hurt the state’s economic development efforts. We explore that in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Outlook on Alabama’s Economy Splits from National Picture

The U.S economy has been growing for almost seven years and analysts are debating when it will inevitably return to recession. One report from the bank BBVA Compass says it probably won't happen in 2016, but its prediction about Alabama's economy is less upbeat. We explain in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Fiber Internet Coming to Birmingham

For many workplaces having a fast Internet connection is critical. That’s why a recent announcement that fiber Internet would be coming to the Birmingham area has economic development leaders excited. We talk about it in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Birmingham Rolls Out its Land Bank

The abundance of dilapidated and abandoned properties around Birmingham is something city leaders have struggled to deal with. A new tool to attack the problem is getting off the ground. It’s called a land bank. We talk about it in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

UAB Minimum Wage Increase Goes Into Effect This Weekend

Alabama’s largest employer is increasing its minimum wage to $11 an hour, officials say. The decision was made before a contentious minimum wage fight between city and state lawmakers.

Community Banks Increase Lending to Small Business

We sort of know the broad outlines of starting a business. You have an idea, find an investor or lender for funding, then go at it. Around Birmingham community banks are increasingly getting in on that small business lending action. That's where we start the conversation in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

UAB — Going More Dense and Vertical

UAB has been jokingly referred to as the university that ate Birmingham because of the steady growth its campus has seen through the decades. It’s an anchor of the region’s economy and a new master plan outlines where university leaders want to take Birmingham’s largest employer. We talk about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace. Birmingham Business Journal editor Ty West also discusses plans for development around Birmingham's CrossPlex and why lower oil prices are bad news for banks.

Analysis Shows Great Voting Divide in Jefferson County, A Win for Ben Carson

Less than half of Jefferson County's 411,838 registered voters went to the polls on Tuesday. A total of 82,928 voted in the Democratic Primary and 93,985 voted in the Republican Primary.

Metro Birmingham’s Growth Hotspots

The Birmingham metro area has seen steady, albeit modest population growth since the great recession. However, that growth though isn’t even with some communities seeing growth rates far higher. We talk about this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Shelby County Residents to Vote on Sunday Alcohol Sales

During Tuesday’s primaries residents of Shelby County will vote on whether to allow alcohol to be sold on Sundays.

Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South: Student Incentives in Alabama

Given thousands of related job openings but only hundreds of computer science college graduates, Alabama is trying to ramp up its computer science education. That includes a new policy allowing those classes to count toward core math graduation requirements. WBHM's Dan Carsen concludes the Southern Education Desk series "Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South" with a visit to a Birmingham-area class that's leading the way.

First U.S. Factory OK’d For Cuba Aims To Plow A Path Into 21st Century

Two businessmen — one of whom was born in Cuba — have been granted permission to build the first U.S. factory on the island nation since 1960. They plan to produce small tractors for Cuban farmers.

Birmingham City Council Strikes Back Over Minimum Wage Bill

The Birmingham City Council is once again trying move up the effective date of its minimum wage increase. This is in response to the fast tracked steps the State Legislature is taking to block this action. The council could vote to move up the effective date from March 1 to Wednesday, February 24. Republican Representative […]

Business Community Watching Bills in the Alabama Legislature

With the Alabama legislative session in full swing, the business community has a number of bills they’re watching closely. These bills could have a significant effect on companies around Birmingham. We highlight a few of them in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Infamous West End Property Set for Demolition

A blighted property in West End that city officials say has been a scar on that area for too long is being demolished. Birmingham city leaders announced today that demolition of Larkway Gardens begins tomorrow morning, Wednesday, February 17, at 9 a.m. following asbestos removal. In an interview with WBHM last year, Councilwoman Sheila Tyson […]

Why this Coal Industry Downturn may be Different

Alabama’s coal industry has faced its ups and downs through the decades. It’s clearly down now. Walter Energy, for instance, is embroiled in bankruptcy. While the industry has bounced back before, this time might be different. That’s where we start this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Alabama in Need of Road Repairs to Spur Economic Development

A report out this week from a Washington think tank outlines the top transportation maintenance projects it says are needed to improve economic growth in Alabama.

Blueprint Birmingham and Beyond

More than five years after the Birmingham Business Alliance launched Blueprint Birmingham, the BBA is working towards a new strategic plan, called Blueprint 20/20. For more on this and other stories, WBHM's Rachel Osier Lindley spoke to Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper WELD. Patterson joins WBHM most Thursdays during All Things Considered.

The Low Price and High Cost of Heroin

Heroin overdose deaths are on the rise nationally. In Jefferson County, deaths increased by more than 140 percent in 2014. The numbers were shocking: Heroin caused or contributed to 144 deaths in 2014. Area law enforcement responded by increasing efforts to get traffickers and drugs off the streets, especially in Birmingham.

Alabama’s Aging Infrastructure

Many economic development groups in Alabama consider infrastructure such as roads, bridges and railways essential for spurring growth and jobs. But when it comes to assessments of the state’s infrastructure, Alabama scores poorly. That’s where we start the conversation in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Losing History in One of Birmingham’s Oldest Neighborhoods

Birmingham city leaders are stepping up efforts to deal with dilapidated  or abandoned properties. In communities overshadowed by blight, preservation is rarely an option, since resources are devoted to cleaning up and demolishing hazardous properties. In these neighborhoods, residents want to document the past before it’s destroyed. A Crumbling History Andre Brown drives a blue […]

A College Football Edition of Magic City Marketplace

University of Alabama fans are pulling for a win in tonight’s national college football championship game in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Auburn University finished its season much closer to home in the Birmingham Bowl last month. This year’s bowl game drew almost 60,000 to Legion Field. That’s something city leaders cheered, but they also put a lot of money into the game. We talk about that this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

What’s Next For “It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham” Trademark Debate?

The future of "It's Nice to Have You in Birmingham" is still up in the air. Last year, local design studio Yellowhammer Creative filed a trademark application for the phrase. They've used it on murals and t-shirts, and argue it's become synonymous with their brand. But three parties are petitioning Yellowhammer's application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Concerned Workers Face Dwindling Industry And Layoffs With A Steely Resolve

Laid off steelworker Siegfried Powell hefts cardboard boxes from a food pantry set up by his local United Steelworkers Union in Birmingham, Ala. “Come on, sweetheart. Grab you a bag of potatoes,” Powell says as he takes a load of groceries to the car for a family trying to stretch unemployment benefits. About 1,100 people […]

What to Watch for in 2016 Birmingham Business

With 2015 in the books, a new year lies ahead with hopes and possibilities. To kick off another year of Magic City Marketplace, Birmingham Business Journal editor Cindy Fisher Crawford explains what to watch for in 2016 as it relates to Alabama’s business community.

What Will 2017 Bring for Birmingham’s Economy?

We talk about what is expected in the Birmingham area economy in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Uber Up and Running in Birmingham

Ride hailing services are set to begin operating in Birmingham this afternoon. Uber has confirmed that users should be able to hail rides from their smartphones beginning at 4 p.m. Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft let people use smartphone apps to book and pay for rides.