Business & Industry
Located in the heart of one of the largest urban regions in the South, Birmingham boasts a strong and stable economy that is excellent for business. Healthcare, banking, insurance, distribution, retail, construction, engineering and a variety of service industries make up Birmingham’s business community.
Once known as the South’s largest manufacturing and steel producing center, much of business in Birmingham is now centered in healthcare. Among Birmingham’s top 25 largest employers, six are in the healthcare sector, including HealthSouth Corporation, the nation’s largest provider of outpatient surgery, diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation services, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, renowned across the globe for its prestigious hospital and medical school.
With three of the nation’s top 50 banks headquartered in the city, Birmingham is the Southeast’s second largest banking center. Birmingham’s largest banks (Regions Financial, AmSouth and Compass) have branches across the South from Texas to South Florida to the Carolina coast and points between. All three are on the fast track for continued growth and expansion and are key components of Birmingham’s stable economy. Birmingham’s financial sector continues to strengthen due to acquisition of regional banks and consolidation of operations from other cities into Birmingham. Birmingham-Hoover is also home to several major insurance companies, including Torchmark Corporation and Protective Life Corporation.
With its excellent transportation network, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area is the center of the nation’s fastest growing automotive manufacturing region, which includes Mercedes Benz U.S. International (35 miles west of downtown Birmingham), Honda manufacturing of Alabama (40 miles east of downtown Birmingham) and Hyundai Motor manufacturing (85 miles south of downtown Birmingham). The region’s economic base has benefited from its proximity to these major manufacturing facilities with the location of several automotive suppliers. As a result of manufacturing growth in the area, Birmingham-Hoover ranked 15th among Expansion Management magazine’s 2005 list of “America’s 50 Hottest Cities for Manufacturing Expansion and Relocation.”
Birmingham-Hoover is home to more than 400 technology companies and ranks among the top 10 largest Southeastern technology centers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
While much of business in Birmingham is focused on finance and medicine, it is also the Southeast’s largest magazine publishing center and is home to more than 10 national magazines, including Southern Living, Cooking Light, Health, Coastal Living, Southern Accents and Progressive Farmer.
Birmingham ranks as the eighth best place in the nation for entrepreneurs and Alabama stacks up as the 12th best among entrepreneur-friendly states, according to Gold Guide, a comprehensive list of statistics and rankings published by the National Policy Research Council. Birmingham’s solid economic base, skilled workforce and abundance of office complexes and open territory make it ripe for new business. In fact, Alabama is ranked as the third best state for business relocation, according to Plant Sites and Parks, 2004.
Birmingham boasts a highly educated workforce that is rapidly growing. The area ranks among the top 40 out of a total of 318 U.S. metropolitan areas for the in-migration of young, single, college educated professionals, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2003. The hundreds of jobs available to residents, expanding businesses and city service organizations help create a strong and stable business community. As industry, commerce and residential real estate continue to flourish, Birmingham is dedicated to maintaining a high-quality environment for its businesses, ensuring that it maintains the exceptional quality of life that makes it so attractive to residents and businesses alike.