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There are over 60 Japanese companies in Alabama. Two months ago I had the opportunity to travel there to recruit more jobs and strengthen relationships with Japan’s biotech industry.

During the trip, I sat on the bus next to the CEO of Otsuka, the parent company of Pharmavite in Lee County. I told him about UAB and Southern Research Institute, and the work they do in the fields of bio-tech research. As a result next week, Otsuka will be meeting with those institutions to explore ways they can work together in the research and development of new products.

Companies, like Otsuka, have quickly recognized, as others have, that we have a positive business climate and that our job training program is second to none.

But without doubt our greatest asset for any industry is our workforce, the men and women of this state who get up every day and go to work, to produce, build and develop a product, a good or a service that is Made in Alabama.

I have seen for myself the pride, skill and dedication of the men and women who work in Alabama’s industries as I’ve traveled across this state on our Road to Economic Recovery Tours.

In Fayette, I saw workers weld together dump truck beds.

In Clarke County I watched as skilled craftsmen carved out church pews, and I saw workers in Franklin County assemble motorhomes known the world over.

And at Hyundai, they now work around the clock to meet the world’s growing appetite for Alabama-made cars. Montgomery workers broke the facility’s monthly production record three times last year.

Watching these men and women work on the assembly line, I have never been more convinced the best workforce in the country is right here in Alabama.

And nothing is more important to me than making sure there are well-paying jobs for our people.

Alabama has seen remarkable job growth since I took office in 2011. Between January 2011 and last November, Alabama saw an increase of 59,400 jobs.(asterisk) That is in addition to those 40-thousand new future jobs we’ve created.

Companies have invested over $5-billion dollars in our state.

And unemployment in Alabama has dropped to a five year low, and now stands at 6.2 percent, the lowest rate in the deep south(asterisk)

Alabama once again ranks among the top five states for doing business - for the fourth year in a row.(asterisk)

But we mustn’t stop here. We have to keep working to make sure we are doing all we can to not only help people find jobs, but also help businesses continue to create those jobs, especially the nearly 400-thousand small businesses in the state.

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