An Athens company was one of dozens that directly benefited from the state’s forestry industry in 2016, officials announced recently. Triad Packaging Co. announced it would hire seven employees as part of a $1.456 million expansion of its Durham Drive manufacturing plant. The company, which employs about 57 people, manufactures corrugated containers from raw wood products.
Alabama’s forestry industry accounted for 50 projects in 2016 with $1.197 billion in new capital investments and 1,005 direct jobs created, according to the “2016 New & Expanding Industry Report” released by Gov. Kay Ivey and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.
Those figures represent 28.5 percent of total capital investments in Alabama for the year and 6.8 percent of total jobs created, the report said. “The investments made by these companies mean jobs for the citizens of our state, and I’m committed to creating an environment where opportunity flourishes across Alabama,” Ivey said.
When separated from the other industries, forestry invested $3.3 billion in the last five years in Alabama, creating some 5,700 new jobs, according to the Alabama Forestry Association. There are 670 forest products manufacturing operations in the state and at least one in each of Alabama’s 67 counties.
Combined, forestry activity contributes $23 billion annually to Alabama’s economy, accounting for 20 percent of total manufacturing jobs (both direct and indirect) and 7 percent of the Alabama workforce, according to the AFA. Ken Muehlenfeld, director of the Forest Products Development Center at AIDT — the state’s workforce development and training agency — said these numbers put forestry back among the leaders in capital investment and job creation by industries in Alabama.