Economic Boom In Lee County

Lee County Enjoys Good Economic Times Despite National Recession
Lee County Enjoys Good Economic Times Despite National Recession

OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - It may not be a Chamber of Commerce kind of weather but it sure is a chamber kind of economy.

"I think we realized we've been blessed," said Wendi Routhier, President of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce.

Lee County's population is around 125,000. It's home to more than 2,500 new jobs in the last 5 years, home to one of the lowest jobless rates in the state at just 4.5%. The entire state is 5.6%.

"We have recession proof industries such as Auburn University and East Alabama Medical Center. Both of us.. Opelika and Auburn.. have diversified our industry which now includes automotive suppliers," said Al Cook of the Opelika Economic Development Board.

It hasn't always been a smooth ride for Lee County and for much of east Alabama.

"We've taken our hits a few years ago when the textile mills closed," said Routhier.

But for today at least times are good. Here's another indicator things just might get even better. Chamber officials say the developer who is building 'Celebrate Alabama' is still plunging ahead. This is a 1 Billion dollar project, a massive shopping district with a touch of entertainment, no sign the builder is pulling out.

"It's not just so much that we're doing everything right. We're just in a good location between Montgomery and Atlanta along with the interstate," said Routhier.

And no evidence the local economy is slowing down anytime soon.

Lee County has the 8th lowest jobless rate. Montgomery County comes in at 28th and Shelby County leads the state at 3.6%.