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Study: Alabama pension fund generates 5,800 jobs

MONTGOMERY — A study of state government’s pension fund says its investments in Alabama companies helped provide more than 5,800 jobs and $245 million in payroll in the state in 2007.

The study of the Retirement Systems of Alabama was done by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama.

The study said the 5,836 people employed by Alabama companies where the Retirement Systems made investments had an average payroll of $42,046. That was more than 14 percent above the state average of $36,751 in 2007.

RSA’s investments included the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, managed by Sunbelt Golf Corp.; hotels operated by PCH Hotels and Resorts; and newspapers and TV stations operated by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. and Raycom Media.

Its investments in Alabama also included: Alabama River Group Inc., Bell Microproducts, Daniel Corp., GKN Aerospace Services Alabama, Magic Media, National Alabama Corp./National Steel Car, Navistar Diesel of Alabama and Navistar Big Bore Diesels, Signal International and Wise Metals.

David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, said the numbers were higher than he anticipated.

“When you are trying to make one deal after another, you don’t take time to add up the numbers,” he said.

The study noted that Alabama’s tourism industry has grown significantly since the Retirement Systems invested in golf and convention hotels. Contributing to that growth is the Retirement Systems’ investments in the media companies that operate throughout much of the country. In return for those investments, the pension fund gets $56 million annually in free TV, newspaper and billboard advertising, which it uses to promote Alabama tourism, the study said.