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Fort Payne makes huge business expansions in the city this year

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. - The City of Fort Payne experienced more than 32 million dollars worth of expansions and new industries in 2016 and even some new jobs.

"We haven't had that many more new jobs from these new companies right now. They are small companies but about 124 new jobs this year," says Jimmy Durham of the Dekalb County Economic Development Authority.

With the new year approaching, Fort Payne wants to bring in something different. They've already started the process of recruiting those new businesses.

"Well one of the things that we wanted to do was diversify and not be so totally dependent on one type of occupation or manufacturing. So we are going out and recruiting automotive, plastic operations, metal fabrication companies," says Durham.

Not only does this expansion affect the economy, but it also helps with retaining residents in Fort Payne.

"We hate for people that want to stay here to have to leave and go get other jobs, so that's why we are trying to open up new jobs."

These added industries and jobs have also brought the unemployment rate down to 6% in the city.  The EDA also works with the Dekalb County school system and Northeast Alabama College to provide the programs to help students transition into these jobs.