The major industries of Alabama include auto manufacturing, aerospace and defense, life sciences, steel and chemical manufacturing, forestry, food processing and tire manufacturing. Alabama’s expanding automotive manufacturing industry has powered much of the state’s economic growth this century. Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota manufacturing plants produced more than 700,000 cars and light trucks in 2010.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Teledyne Brown are among 280 aerospace and defense-related companies in Alabama. An Airbus A320 family aircraft assembly plant in Mobile is expected to produce up to 50 aircraft per year by 2017. Redstone Arsenal, a U.S. Army post in Huntsville, is a major employer.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a global leader in healthcare and medical research. Steel producers Outokumpu, Nucor, SSAB, ThyssenKrupp and U.S. Steel employ over 10,000 people in Alabama facilities. Alabama’s chemical manufacturing industry is a large exporter and employer with more than 9,000 residents working for approximately 200 chemical companies as of 2014. With 850 forestry related companies statewide, forestry is a leading manufacturing sector directly employing 70,000. Alabama forests are equal to the size of several New England states combined. Catfish and broiler production are star players in the state’s food processing industry. Three major tire-manufacturing plants employ 3,500 Alabama residents as of 2014.