Birmingham, Alabamaâ€™s economy certainly hasnâ€™t been immune to the hardships faced in other parts of the country. But the good news is that business leaders are becoming more and more optimistic as figures emerge that depict a much more viable region.
Some of the reasons for their enthusiasm include:
- A falling unemployment rate. It has fallen from a 26-year high of 11 percent in January to 9 percent in July, according to The Birmingham News.
- According to Manpower Inc., hiring prospects are the fifth best among the nationâ€™s big cities. â€śThe staffing firm said 18 percent of metro area employers it questioned plan to hire workers between October and December, up from just 9 percent that intended to do so in the fourth quarter last year.â€ť
- A study from the University of Alabamaâ€™s Center for Business and Economic Research has shown that area business executives feel â€śslightly optimisticâ€ť about the Alabama economy and their firmsâ€™ prospects.
Franz Lohrke, chairman of the entrepreneurship department at Samford University’s Brock School of Business, said small business will play a key role in the growth of the area.
“We have frequently heard that small businesses help drive these recoveries, but so far, they have provided little spark to the economy,” Lohrke told The Birmingham News. “The most recent (September) National Federation of Independent Business survey showed that only 1 percent of business owners planned to add jobs before year’s end and owners see a weak economy for the near future.”