Charting Huntsville’s Growth
May 7, 2018
By Ken Smith
Research and Information Services Director
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
The Huntsville Metro Area remains one of the fastest growing metros in the South with a population growth that is outpacing both the U.S. and state of Alabama. Since 2000, the Huntsville Metro has grown at a rate just under 2% a year, which equates to approximately 6,500 new residents each year. Huntsville’s 32% population growth during this time is 3½ times the state growth rate and is twice the rate for the nation as a whole. In total, the Huntsville Metro has accounted for 26% of the state’s total population growth, adding over 111,000 people since 2000.
Huntsville’s job growth also continues to be impressive. With the recent announcement of the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A. to be located in Huntsville, our community’s successes continue to strengthen an already flourishing economy. Recent efforts to recruit advanced manufacturing jobs to the region have helped to diversify the existing aerospace, defense and technology sectors already present in the community. Mazda-Toyota’s plans to create 4,000 new jobs with an investment of $1.6 billion represents the largest industrial announcement ever in the City of Huntsville and adds to recent announcements from Polaris, GE and Aerojet Rocketdyne to help diversify the industrial base of the local economy. Over the past five years, more than 15,000 new jobs and nearly $3.4 billion of new investment have been announced for the Huntsville community, helping the metro lead the state in job creation and employment.
Since 2000, total employment in the metro has grown by 25%, averaging approximately 1.5% per year. This growth rate is twice the rate of the U.S. as a whole and far outpaces the state of Alabama. Of the 68,400 total workers added to the state economy since 2000, 46,500 of those were added in the Huntsville metro area representing 68% of Alabama’s total employment growth. These numbers do not include the impact from recent announcements such as Mazda-Toyota or the anticipated supplier support which will impact the economy for many years to come. Continued efforts to strengthen the community’s existing aerospace & defense sectors include an emphasis on maintaining support for Redstone Arsenal and exploring emerging markets in commercial space and new transformational technologies.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Initiatives magazine, a publication of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.