Tuscaloosa is a city in the west central part of the U.S. state of Alabama and the seat of Tuscaloosa County, the second-largest county in terms of area in the state of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 93,215 in 2009. A former capital of Alabama, Tuscaloosa is named after the Choctaw chieftain Tuskaloosa who battled and was defeated by Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila.
Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for West Alabama. Tuscaloosa is also the home of the University of Alabama. While the city attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County, the university remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city.
Tuscaloosa is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Greene, and Hale counties. The estimated population of the metro area in 2009 is 210,839.
In addition to the city of Tuscaloosa being named one of the "50 Best Places to Launch a Small Business" by Fortune Small Business, it was also named one of the nation’s "100 Best Communities for Young People" by America’s Promise Alliance.
The Birmingham area is taking another hit at the International Paper Mill as almost 700 employees will be laid off by mid-February. The decline in demand for uncoated paper products has made the company decide to close the mill, thus saving the company $125 million. On top of that, BBVA Compass is cutting an additional 400 to 600 jobs in its banking and real estate loan divisions starting in February. Meanwhile Sertec, an automotive manufacturing group is creating 400 jobs at Birmingham plants in the next four years. That announcement is in addition to the 200 new employees that the group has brought to the area in the past year.