Decatur is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies. They were attracted by the large amount of barge traffic on the Tennessee River. The city is sometimes called "Home of Meow Mix" due to the manufacturer purchasing a large facility in Decatur. The Huntsville-Decatur area is known for having a large number of engineers. Approximately 16% of the residents have a bachelor's degree and 7% have a graduate degree. In addition, in early 2009 the average salary in Decatur was $30,000. In 2008 the cost of living index was 80.7. The average in the nation is 100.
The major industries in Decatur are manufacturing, cargo transit, hi-tech, education, health and social services and retail. About 30% of the jobs in Decatur are in management, professional and related occupations. Some of the other common occupations are sales positions, office jobs, production, transportation, material moving jobs, scientific and technical services, educational services and food services. Tourism has a notable influence on employment due to the popular festivals in the area such as the Alabama Jubilee, the Spirit of America Festival, Riverfest and the Racking Horse World Celebration.
The United Launch Alliance combined Boeing and Lockheed-Martin's rocket manufacturing contracts in a central location in Decatur. Currently all satellite launching rockets used by the United States Government are constructed in the city which brought a large number of jobs to Decatur. In addition, in 2008 a large development was announced for inside the city limits which will add numerous jobs in the areas of retail, medical, office workers and jobs related to entertainment venues.
Some major employers and companies of note in the Decatur area:
- General Dynamics
- L-3 Communications
- General Electric
- United Launch Alliance
- Bunge International
- Decatur City Schools
- Meow Mix
- Tennessee Valley Authority
- MPW Industrial Services
- City of Decatur
- Mutual Savings Life Insurance Company
- National Healthcare of Decatur
- Goss Electric
Two major business organizations associated with Decatur:
The Decatur Daily offers current information on business activities in Decatur.