By Sarrah Peters
On Wednesday, September 4, Honda Manufacturing held a luncheon at The Venue in Gadsden to celebrate its economic impact in Alabama and its five supporting counties in the region, including Etowah County.
According to an economic impact study conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama for the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Honda and its suppliers contributed more than 12 billion dollars to the state’s economy in 2018.
Honda’s economic impact represents 5.4 percent of Alabama’s gross domestic product. The study accounts for over $3.45 billion dollars spent in non-payroll expenditures in the state. The company’s total payroll is over $590 million dollars, an average of over $79,000 per employee, which is 75 percent more than the average earnings for an Alabama worker. The company also paid over $200 million dollars in local and state taxes.
“This study demonstrates the magnitude of Honda’s Alabama operation and how important it is to the state’s economy,” said EDPA Executive Vice President Steve Sewell. “At the same time, it underscores the fact that Alabama has provided the skilled workforce and positive business climate that a world-class company like Honda needs to be successful in a highly competitive global business.”
During the luncheon, Sewell said that five counties of Etowah, Jefferson, St. Clair, Talladega and Calhoun worked together to support Honda with 87 percent of its workforce, as well as many of its needed resources.
“This has been a success story and it is one that came about because of collaboration,” said Sewell.
The luncheon in Etowah County celebrated the local economic impact Honda has had. Nearly 1,800 jobs have been generated for Etowah County. Honda generated over $105 million dollars in local earnings and about $2 million dollars in local taxes.
During the event, local associate Jan Rowe addressed the attendees. Rowe was one of the first 17 associates hired by Honda and is now the department manager of strategic planning.
Rowe is involved with the local Industrial Development Authority, the local Chamber of Commerce and a member of Meadowbrook Church. Rowe focused her speech on the people that make Honda successful.
“There is no doubt that the statistics that Steve shared are significant,” said Rowe. “But behind these statistics are the people. We at Honda believe that our associates are our most important asset. And these associates come from Rainbow City, Glencoe, Southside, Gadsden and all over Etowah County to help build these great products to do their best for our customers.
“But when they finish their jobs at Honda they return home. They raise their families in Etowah County. They send their kids to the schools here in Etowah County and they spend their resources at retailers, grocery stores and gas stations across the county. I believe that Etowah County has greatly benefitted from having Honda as a partner.”
Rowe also praised Gadsden State’s many programs that prepare the local workforce for jobs at Honda.
Many Honda officials expressed gratitude towards Etowah County for the support the county offers to the company.
“Our achievements have been made possible through the commitment and dedication of our associates to build only the best for our Honda customers,” said Honda Manufacturing of Alabama Senior Vice President Mike Oatridge. “We are grateful for the support that Honda has experienced with our communities, our local and state leaders and our supplier partners. We are pleased that the success of our operations has had such a positive impact to the people and to the economy of the state of Alabama.”
During the event Honda shared that the company recently completed its the completion of the five millionth vehicle and engine. Another celebrated success was the inclusion of all four Honda vehicles made in Alabama, which includes the Honda Odyssey, the Honda Passport, the Honda Pilot and the Honda Ridgeline, in a recent cars.com top 10 most American-made vehicles study.
“These are cars and trucks made in the United States that have the most domestic content,” said Sewell. “No other auto maker had a presence in that study the way Honda did. We not only have a great global company here, we have the company at the top among of all auto makers in producing the most American-made vehicle.”