Manufacturing contributes more to personal income and more to the gross state product than any other economic sector in Alabama. In terms of the value added by manufacture, the leading industry in the state in 1996 was the manufacture of paper and associated products, with the leading employers in the sector being paper and pulp mills, producers of sanitary paper products, and firms making corrugated boxes. Other leading industries were chemical manufacturers, including those making chemicals for agriculture and other industries, organic fibers, and paints; primary metal manufacturers, including iron foundries, blast furnaces, and steel mills; firms making aluminum sheets and plates, and copper rolling mills; and textile mills, making woven cloths and yarns. Industries also employing a large number of Alabama residents are meatpackers; manufacturers of men’s and boys’ apparel; makers of vehicle tires; producers of motor vehicle parts; and lumber mills.
The Birmingham area accounts for a significant portion of the manufacturing income and employment in Alabama. The production of iron and steel and the fabrication of cast-iron pipe and of metal valves and fittings are the area’s leading industries. Beginning in the late 1970s, the area’s iron and steel industry, buffeted by national economic recessions and foreign competition, suffered a tremendous decline. Many steel mills were closed permanently, and thousands of workers lost their jobs. However, some of the decline in the iron and steel industry was offset by growth in the fabricated metals industry.
Huntsville has been the center for many developments in U.S. missile manufacturing. The United States Army’s Redstone Arsenal and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center are in the Huntsville area.
Reduced government spending on aerospace activities in the 1970s led the city to seek economic diversity. By the early 1990s, Huntsville had attracted almost 100 new manufacturing firms, many of them engaged in high-technology areas such as computer electronics. Mobile is an important center for the manufacture of paper products and chemicals. Its chemical industry produces fertilizer, paint, and varnish. Ship repair is also significant in the Mobile area. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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