Economy

A Good Economic Year for Birmingham but with a Caveat

The end of the school year is coming quickly and those final report cards will be here soon. Birmingham received an economic report card of sorts last week from the Birmingham Business Alliance. It’s where we start this week’s Magic City Marketplace. Birmingham Business Journal editor Cindy Fisher Crawford tells WBHM’s Andrew Yeager about the report from the BBA. It shows the metro area’s economy did better in 2014 than the year before.

Small Alabama Banks Move to Birmingham

Birmingham has seen some big names in banking from Wells Fargo to PNC to come into the city in the last decade. But it’s also attracting small banks from around Alabama who hope to gain a foothold in the city. We hear about that, changes to Medicare and a bike sharing program comes to Birmingham in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Golf Courses Struggle to Stay Above Par

Drive by a country club now that the weather is warmer and you’ll likely see people taking in a round of golf. However the number of people who choose to do that has been steadily dropping over the last 10 to 15 years. That’s forced a couple of Birmingham country clubs to close and the others to look to a new strategy. We hear about it in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Potential Changes to State Incentives

When it comes to attracting new or expanding businesses to Alabama, incentives are a tool state leaders say can make the difference. However, Alabama has been falling behind its southern neighbors when it comes to incentives. A bill in the legislature would make changes to that and we talk more from Birmingham Business Journal editor Cindy Fisher Crawford in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Urban Food Project Brings Fresh Produce To Corner Stores

For some who live in Birmingham, it is easy to get healthy food, especially if you have a car and can drive to a large grocery store. But if you are one of the 88,000 people living in one of Birmingham’s food deserts, getting quality food can be a real challenge. A local revitalization organization, REV Birmingham, is working to change that through an initiative called the Urban Food Project.

Women, Manufacturing and Job Opportunities in Alabama.

Picture a factory worker and you might imagine a gruff man, covered in dirt working the line. That's not the reality for manufacturing today, but the industry is male dominated. And with Alabama a manufacturing-heavy state, that affects opportunities for women. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.


A Snapshot of the Convention and Event Businesss

Birmingham did not win the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Nor has it hosted an NCAA basketball tournament game in years. But players in Birmingham's tourism and convention industry are working to keep a steady stream of events through the city. We have a snapshot of that industry in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Magic City Marketplace: A Long Time Coming

Much has been written about the investment and nightlife along Second Avenue North in Birmingham as a sign of the city center's rising fortune. But the area's comeback isn't just a post-recession story. And it's one economic development leaders hope isn't done. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Magic City Marketplace: Hospitals Set to Merge

Hospitals around Birmingham are preparing for a major shift in the healthcare marketplace -- the proposed merger of Baptist Health System and Brookwood Medical Center. That deal could close as soon as next month and would combine two big players in Birmingham healthcare. Thats where we start in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Magic City Marketplace: Birmingham Job Market

Birmingham's unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the recession and about 5,000 jobs were added last year. That's good news. But the shiny headlines are tempered by the fact that Birmingham job growth is slower than other southeastern cities. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

“Sam” To Bring Produce To Food Deserts

The economic development group REV Birmingham has turned a federal grant into a refrigerated truck meant to bring fresh produce to Birmingham's food deserts. The truck's name is Sam. WBHM's Joseph Thornton has the story.

Magic City Marketplace: Gay Marriage and the Workplace

It's now been one week since same-sex couples could get marriage licenses in Alabama. Most counties are now following a federal judges' ruling overturning the state's ban on gay marriage and the decision could also affect employers. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Nick Patterson: Poverty Still A Problem In Booming Downtown Birmingham

Birmingham is in the midst of a revival, with increased economic and real estate development. But in a city where about thirty percent of the population lives in poverty -- that's nearly twice the national average -- the staff of the Birmingham weekly newspaper WELD say the shine of the city's revitalization can distract from some of its biggest problems. Since May, they've been exploring poverty in Birmingham. Nick Patterson, editor of WELD, joins Rachel Osier Lindley to talk about the city's poverty problem.

Magic City Marketplace: Free College Tuition

President Obama cast a spotlight on community colleges when he announced a plan last month to offer free at such institutions. It's a plan that could have significant effect on Alabama as the state tries to make its 2-year college system a bigger educational and economic player. We talk about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Magic City Marketplace: The Future of the Historic Tax Credit

Some of downtown Birmingham's redevelopment projects have been helped along by Alabama's historic tax credit. But that credit is capped and will sunset next year. So developers and political leaders are debating what to do with this popular incentive. We hear more from Cindy Fisher Crawford in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Developers Receive Approval For New Downtown Publix Designs, Permits

The Birmingham Design Review Board on Wednesday approved developers design plans and permits for a Publix grocery store downtown at 3rd Avenue South and 20th Street. The 35,000 square foot grocery and pharmacy will anchor a $20 million dollar development that will include three apartment buildings, retail stores, restaurants, and office space.

Interview: Alabama’s Growing Trade Relationship With China

The Chinese ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, is visiting Birmingham this week as part of the Birmingham International Center’s 2015 spotlight on China. The Birmingham International Center highlights a different country each year. The goal this year is to improve ties between Alabama and China. Senior executives, business leaders, government officials and community […]

Auburn University’s Rural Studio Brings 20K Houses To Hale County

For some residents of Alabama’' Black Belt, good housing can be hard to come by. In Hale County, 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line -- meaning an individual lives on less than $11,670 a year. A group from Auburn University wants to help by designing an efficient and inexpensive house that anyone could afford. For WBHM, Ashley Cleek visited Newbern, Alabama to check out the homes.

Cindy Fisher Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

UAB President Ray Watts has lost no confidence votes by two student governing bodies and the Faculty Senate this month, but he says he won't resign. It doesn't look like the Alabama System Board of Trustees will force him to either. Those votes were sparked by his announcement last month he's ending UAB's football, bowling and rifle programs. With such ill feelings about his handling of that decision, it does raise the question of how effective he'll be in that position now. We talk about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Fisher Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Monday is the college football national championship game and for the first time in five years, it won't feature a team from Alabama. Despite missing that top spot this season, college football continues to be a winner for the state economically. We explain in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Fisher Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

From more downtown development to modest employment gains, Birmingham's economy finished 2014 ahead of where it started the year. With 2015 now underway we look at what's to come for the area in the year's first Magic City Marketplace. Birmingham Business Journal editor Cindy Fisher Crawford tells WBHM's Andrew Yeager about a couple of key people worth watching -- Birmingham Mayor William Bell and UAB President Ray Watts.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Birmingham is finally seeing a post-recession rebound in construction with cranes dotting the city center and apartments and medical facilities going up elsewhere. But there's a problem looming for construction firms -- labor shortages. We talk about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

UAB's graduation exercises this weekend were mostly free from protests over the school's decision to end its football program, although UAB President Ray Watts did not speak or shake graduates' hands. Much anger has been aimed at him for the decision, but there's still plenty of debate about the underlying issue -- money. We hear about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

As students and alumni mourn the loss of UAB's football program, some in the business community are concerned what the move may mean for Birmingham's downtown revitalization. Discussions have reemerged in recent months about a multi-purpose facility or dome. But now such a facility won't include UAB football. We talk more about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

The Business Impact of Ending UAB Football

While many UAB students, staff and alumni are upset over the decision to end the university's football program, the team's influence isn't confined to campus. The football program has an economic impact. We explore that with Birmingham Business Journal managing editor Ty West.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Birmingham leaders are hoping to continue the momentum after a couple of pharmaceutical firms announced new operations in the area. Oxford Pharmaceuticals will build a new plant expected to employ 200 people. Another drug company called Evonik plans to expand creating 45 jobs. Birmingham Business Journal Editor Cindy Crawford talks about what that means in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

With Trinity Medical Center planning to relocate from Birmingham's east side to along U.S. 280, that'll put a major hospital in an area that already sees significant traffic congestion. But state transportation officials say they're preparing for the influx of cars that will come with the new facility. We talk about those plans in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Hospitals are designed to heal and care for the sick, but ultimately healthcare is a business. Providing services to wealthier patients helps the bottom line. There's quite a bit of jockeying on this among Birmingham hospitals. We hear about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Developers have been pouring into the area around Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham in recent years. The park and the opening of Regions Field jumpstarted the neighborhood known as Parkside. But as property values have risen, so too have property tax bills. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Now that Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon will resign at the end of the year, that leaves a key position in the community to be filled. It's not just teachers, parents, and students who are concerned. The business community will be watching this hire too. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Two of Birmingham's largest hospitals are without permanent leadership at the moment following the resignation of St. Vincent's Health System' CEO last week. St. Vincent's joins Brookwood Medical Center which is also looking for a new leader. We hear more in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

Much has been written about the challenges women face making it to top positions in business. But a new report from the Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham highlights the issues faced by women much further down on the economic ladder. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace.