Every major metropolitan area has to have some top industries that drive the overall economy of the area. These are sectors where people are nearly guaranteed always to be spending money, and that provide essential services to the population.
Birmingham’s population of more than 200,000 reside in the city for good reasons.
There are certain elements of Birmingham’s economy that have become so resilient that they have withstood the tests of time. They have survived economic changes and emergencies and one-off events so well that Birmingham today is known as a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.
If you’ve been lucky enough to scoop up one of the hot Birmingham homes for sale lately, you’ll probably know what we’re talking about, especially if you work in one of the top industries in Birmingham.
Let’s explain what we mean when we talk about the strength of the Birmingham economy.
Its Ability to Change
Birmingham, Alabama, is a city that was once an absolute powerhouse of iron and steel production in the United States.
This rise began after the Civil War and continued at full strength into the mid-twentieth century. In the 1920s, for instance, Birmingham was producing a fourth of the foundry iron used in the United States.
In the later twentieth century, however, like many other industrial cities, things began to slow down, at least on the iron side of things. More government regulations and cheaper foreign iron cut into the city’s production. Steel remained, though, and the city is still known for that industry.
However, despite the decline of Birmingham’s iron sector, the city remains strong. It has proven able to pivot from one era to another, an ability that has helped the region.
Birmingham of Today
These days, Birmingham is known for its healthcare, education, telecommunications, and financial industries. The city has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic tolerably well, managing to keep its unemployment rate at around two and a half percent, much lower than the national average.
Take the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It employs more than 23,000 people, with many of these in the school’s hospital. That’s just an example of how Birmingham’s wider economy is structured, with fewer residents dependent upon low-wage, low-skill jobs such as food service.
As a result, Birmingham’s job market can be said to be focused more on quality positions that employ people gainfully in roles that make a difference for Alabama citizens.
You’ll still find the occasional outliers, though, as you will anywhere else. Birmingham has sectors of its economy dedicated to tourism and restaurants and newer industries such as digital media.
But it’s a city that’s going strong after a long history doing something else.
If you are moving to Birmingham or live in the area, and you’re looking for a way into the job market, this is a good place to be, depending on your particular industry. Give it a try for yourself.