Florence-Muscle Shoals MA
Total Civilian Labor Force (March 2021): 64,715
Unemployment Rate (March 2021): 3.1%
Population (January 2020): 148,779


Florence-Muscle Shoals MSA 148,779
Lauderdale County 93,368
Colbert County 55,411
Tuscumbia 8,578
Florence 40,059
Muscle Shoals 13,506
Sheffield 9,107
Rogersville 1,240


SEDA Labor Shed Map


Labor Force

Shoals Labor Shed

The Shoals Labor Shed primarily consists of Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, and Limestone counties in Alabama; Tishomingo County in Mississippi; and Lawrence and Wayne counties in Tennessee.

8 County Labor Force (March 2021): 172,244
8 County Population (January 2020): 395,602

(Source: Alabama Department of Industrial Relations; Tennessee Department of Labor; Mississippi Department of Employment Security; U.S. Census Bureau; retreived from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, May, 2021)

45-mile Labor Shed (December 2018): 284,919

Population (January 2017): 623,800 (Source: Jobs EQ)


Shoals Area Economic Adjustment Strategy

The Shoals Economic Development Authority recently conducted a third-party extensive labor force analysis and overall assessment of The Shoals. The findings indicate many positive trends when compared to other benchmark geographies of similar size. Some of the higher ratings include:

Download: Shoals Area Economic Adjustment Strategy

  • Positive Trends
  • Availability of post-secondary vocational training
  • Availability of on-the-job assistance
  • Cost of labor
  • Costs of living index
  • Centrally located for major regional market
  • Level of cultural activity
  • Availability of recreational opportunities

Hidden Potential Labor Supply

When the components of the Shoals labor supply pool are combined, the total Hidden Potential Labor Supply can be seen. In the Shoals Area, employers have a potential labor pool of over 45,451 workers, many with past work experience and training that can be beneficial to employers in key industry groups.

(Source: Younger Associates Labor Supply Survey, 2015)

Employment Status Shoals Area
Not employed, but interested in working 15,571
Underemployed 19,819
Seeking full-time employment 8,055
Recent post-secondary graduates 1,906
Total potential hidden labor supply 45,451

Industry Earnings

A comparison of The Shoals’ average industry earnings to national averages offers insights into the areas of unique expertise and/or cost-saving opportunities. Industrial average earnings in The Shoals are below the national same-industry average in all major sectors.

Illustrated below is a sampling of average wages for several major industry sectors in The Shoals area labor market as compared to the national average.

Description2007 Jobs2015 Jobs2025 Jobs2015-2025 Change2015-2025 % Change2014 Avg. Hourly Earnings2014 National Avg. Hourly Earnings% Wage Difference2015-2025 Nation % Change
Aluminum Production and Processing 20,923 19,742 21,503 1,761 9% $17.82 $20.84 -16.95% 9%
Architectural & Structural Metals Manufacturing 22,625 21,249 23,229 1,980 7% $18.15 $22.71 -18.86% 10%
Building Equipment Contractors 20,004 18,159 19,446 1,287 7% $18.15 $22.71 -25.12% 11%
Business Support Services 19,717 18,058 19,625 1,577 9% $17.56 $23.75 -35.25% 10%
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 11,364 10,365 11,357 992 10% $23.14 $31.78 -37.34% 12%
Electrical Equipment 18,108 17,206 18,959 1,753 10% $19.14 $24.30 -26.96% 10%
Top Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, etc. 20,260 19,268 21,216 1,948 10% $18.12 $21.41 -18.16% 10%
Motor Vehicle Part Mfg. 19,605 18,513 20,271 1,758 9% $16.41 $21.98 -19.39% 9%
Other Chemical Product and Preparation Mfg. 21,850 20,293 22,002 1,709 8% $18.03 $21.77 -20.74% 9%
Other Transportation Equipment Mfg. 19,865 18,741 20,557 1,836 10% $19.11 $24.14 -26.32% 10%
Plastics Products Mfg. Top Occupations 21,691 20,311 22,045 1,734 9% $17.84 $20.82 -16.70% 9%
Railroad Rolling Stock Mfg. Top Occupations 19,262 18,368 20,296 1,928 10% $19.05 $22.88 -20.10% 10%


The Shoals is committed to preparing students for STEM careers by creating a science and technology education pipeline from K-12 schools through the area higher education institutions. These programs prepare the young people of the Shoals for current and future careers in science and technology. There are two institutions of higher education located within The Shoals and two additional institutions of higher education located within close proximity to The Shoals.

The University of North Alabama (UNA) was founded in 1830 as the first public institution of higher education in the State of Alabama. UNA offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in 140 major and minor areas and plays an important role in the life of the region. In the Spring of 2017, there were approximately 6,872 students enrolled.

  • University of North Alabama
  • Four-year university founded in 1830
  • Enrollment for Spring of 2017 - 6,872
  • Undergraduate and graduate degrees in 140 major and minor areas
  • Dual Degree Engineering Program offers students the opportunity to earn two bachelor degrees in 5 years

Northwest-Shoals Community College (NWSCC) is an accredited two- year institution that offers technical/occupational programs on a full- and part-time basis. In the Spring of 2017 there were approximately 3,263 students enrolled.

  • Northwest-Shoals Community College
  • Accredited two-year institution
  • Enrollment for Spring of 2017 - 3,263
  • Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit Program for Mathematics, Science, and Industrial Systems Technology
  • Ready to Work program, National Career Readiness from ACT WorkKeys

There are four city school systems and two county school systems located in The Shoals. These schools take pride in preparing students for life after high school with excellent vocational and career tech training, dual enrollment and curriculum designed for post secondary education. The total number of K-12 students for all school systems in 2016 was approximately 22,500.

These educational institutions all have a long history of supporting local industry. For example, in 2015 Northwest Shoals Community College started a plastics injection molding training program in response to the addition of auto suppliers TASUS and CBC INGS America to The Shoals.

Athens State University is a four-year university offering a wide variety of college majors, minors, and certificate programs to prepare individuals for the challenges of the workplace. In the Fall 2016, there were 3,065 students enrolled at Athens State University.

  • Athens State University
  • Four-year university founded in 1822
  • Enrollment for Fall of 2016 - 3,065
  • Undergraduate and graduate degrees in 90 major and minor areas
  • Bachelors and masters level coursework in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Calhoun Community College is the largest of the two-year institutions in the Alabama Community College System. Calhoun offers 49 associate degree options and 52 career/certificate programs including Aerospace Technology, Robotics and Mechatronics, Design Drafting Technology, Pre-Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Machine Tool Technology, Process Technology and Welding, along with many workforce development training programs. In the Fall 2016, there were 9,900 students enrolled at Calhoun Community College.

The Robotics Training Park (RTP) is a collaboration between the state of Alabama, Alabama Community College System, AIDT, and robotics industry leaders across the nation. The RTP consists of three individual training facilities, each targeted to a specific industry need.

  • The Robotics Maintenance Training Center
  • The Advanced Research and Development Center
  • The Integration, Entrepreneurial, and Paint Dispense Training Center and Mobile Robotic Training Lab


  • Calhoun Community College and Robotics Technology Park (RTP)
  • Largest accredited two-year institution in Alabama
  • Enrollment for Fall of 2016 - 9,900
  • Associate Degrees in Aerospace Technology, Robotics and Mechatronics, Pre-Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Machine Tool Technology, Process Technology and Welding
  • The RTP provides a training to develop a highly skilled and educated workforce for automation and robotics
  • Ready to Work program, National Career Readiness from ACT WorkKeys