May 2017

Industrial robot purchases in the U.S. will rise by 300 percent in nine years

The number of robots used in the manufacturing process will jump by nearly 300 percent in less than a decade according to ABI Research. In 2016, 40 percent more robots were sold last year compared to 2013 says the Robotic Industries Association. And, according to the National Economic Research Bureau, for every new industrial robot sold and installed into the workforce, six jobs on average were eliminated. Last year, the U.S. automotive industry accounted for 70 percent of all robots sold in North America. According to Forrester Research's Future of Jobs report released in April, automation and robotics will displace 24.7 million jobs by 2027. At the same time, however, the new technology will create 15 million jobs, leading to a net loss of almost 10 million jobs. 

 

More manufacturing jobs reshored in 2016 than offshored

According to the Reshoring Initiative, for the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs reshored to the U.S. than offshored in calendar year 2016. Last year, 77,000 manufacturing jobs (tying the 2014 record) reshored and 50,000 offshored, giving the U.S. a net gain of 27,000 jobs. On average from 2000 to 2006, about 220,000 jobs offshored each year. That has now dropped to about 50,000 and that total continues to drop. According to the Initiative, the South remains the top region for reshoring and foreign direct investment with the Midwest coming in second. Since 2010, more than 338,000 manufacturing jobs have reshored back to the U.S. 

 

German bank claims the U.S. is already at full employment

In April, Germany-based Commerzbank published an economic briefing that indicated the U.S., at 4.5 percent unemployment, is at full employment. Over the last two years, the U.S. saw just 70,000 persons per month on average enter the workforce when for decades that figure was more like 200,000 per month. Therefore, the reserve of idle workers, according to the bank, is shrinking by more than 100,000 per month. Even by using the U6 unemployment rate of 8.9 percent (the underemployed) there are only one million people available for full-time jobs. If the U.S. averages just 100,000 jobs per month this year (less than half of the 211,000 jobs created in April) the labor reserve will be gone in less than a year, "creating upside risks to wage and CPI  inflation" according to Commerzbank's briefing. Late last year, the San Francisco Fed said that the U.S. economy only needs to add about 75,000 jobs per month and possibly as few as 50,000 going into this year to keep the economy stabilized. 

 

The mass exodus of the upper, middle and lower middle classes from California and New York

Thousands of companies have left California since the end of the recession and they continue to do so, most of them to Texas. One reason why could be the cost of housing in California. What was the primary reason Toyota has moved its North American headquarters from Southern California to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro? It was based on home prices for the company's 5,000 headquarter employees. Median home prices are about half in North Texas compared to Southern California. According to CoreLogic, for every home buyer coming to California, there are three Californians selling their homes and moving out-of-state. New York City is in the same boat as much of California. More people are leaving the New York region than any other metro area of the country. More than one million people moved out of the New York CSA to other parts of the country -- primarily the South -- since 2010. At 4.4 percent, New York City has the highest negative net migration rate among the nation's large MSAs. 

 

Volvo moving equipment into South Carolina plant

Sweden-based, China-owned Volvo's Berkeley County plant is gearing up to make the S60 sedan in the Palmetto State. The $500 million, 2.3 million-square-foot facility is ahead of schedule, meaning mass hiring for the facility will come sometime in the fall. Volvo will begin testing its machinery at the plant in August and the first vehicle will make a test run through the body shop, paint shop and final assembly lines by the end of this year. The company expects to hire 2,000 workers for its first phase. Volvo sold 82,724 in the U.S. last year, its best year since 2007. 

 

Sixteen years later, Dallas-Fort Worth lands a Boeing headquarters

One of the highest profile relocations ever occurred in 2001 when Boeing picked Chicago for its new headquarters. The aerospace giant chose Chicago over Denver and Dallas. Apparently Dallas didn't win the project because the wife of then-CEO Phil Condit didn't like downtown Dallas at the time, as it wasn't as diverse and active as Chicago's. Some in Dallas believe the snub helped revitalize downtown Dallas as well as other cities in the metropolitan area. Today, there isn't a hotter mega-market in the country than Dallas-Fort Worth. Maybe that's why in the spring quarter, Boeing decided to locate the headquarters of its new Global Services business unit at the Legacy West development in Plano. Initially, there are only about 50 jobs expected to be created at the new headquarters operation. 

 

Textiles making comeback in the South

In the 1960s and '70s, just about every town in the South had at least a small textile operation. Yet, from 1994 to 2005, the U.S. lost nearly one million apparel and textile jobs, most of which were offshored to India and China. Of course, the reshoring phenomenon is helping textiles get back on their feet, particularly in the South. Rising production costs in China and a more competitive U.S. are driving reshoring. In the last two years, almost $4 billion in new and expanded textile operations have been announced, almost all of which are in North Carolina and South Carolina, historically the largest textile cluster in the region. Currently, over 230,000 people work in textiles in the U.S. and the nation is ranked third worldwide in textile exports, behind China and India. 

 

Volkswagen to build a small SUV in Chattanooga

In May, the first SUV made at Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant rolled off the line. Called the Atlas, the mid-sized SUV is a seven-seat model. VW announced in April that it will now add a smaller five-seat SUV at the plant. No date for production has been set. VW also assembles the Passat sedan at the plant. 

 

Toyota's big Kentucky expansion will be felt in adjoining states

Toyota's April announcement of a massive retooling of its largest assembly plant in Georgetown, Ky., will most certainly positively transform the Kentucky economy. The $1.3 billion expansion will also affect states around the Commonwealth, particularly suppliers in Tennessee, which sits between Toyota plants in Kentucky and Mississippi. The expansion is one of the largest in dollar amounts by any automaker in the Southern Auto Corridor. The Kentucky plant will be refitted to handle the Toyota New Global Architecture. That plan means assembly lines can be quickly shifted to produce stronger selling models. Toyota employs nearly 10,000 employees in Kentucky and over 8,000 at its Georgetown assembly plant. 

 

Look for more foreign-owned mega-petrochemical plants in Louisiana and Texas

Wanhau Chemical, a Chinese-owned company, announced in April a $1.1 billion petrochemical plant to be built in Louisiana. It is one of many foreign-owned petrochemical plants that are currently being built in Texas and Louisiana. The key to these foreign-owned plants is the proliferation of natural gas in the U.S. No place in the world has as much natural gas as the U.S. While the U.S. is building an impressive number of huge LNG export plants, it looks as if it makes more financial sense for these foreign-owned plants to use the natural gas here to make their products and ship them to China or elsewhere than to import natural gas from the U.S. 

 

Louisiana has largest trade surplus with China

While in 2016, the U.S. had a $347 billion trade deficit with China, Louisiana banked on exports of agriculture goods and oil and gas to achieve a trade surplus of $7 billion with the second largest economy in the world. That figure is the largest surplus with China of all U.S. states. Eight states had trade surpluses with China last year, including Alabama, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia. 

 

Cheniere exports 100th LNG cargo

There are several multi-billion LNG export facilities being built in Louisiana and Texas, but only one large scale facility is operational and that is Cheniere Energy's terminal in Cameron Parish, La. In the spring quarter, the company exported its 100th cargo of liquefied natural gas. Most of the product is headed to Europe and Asia. Two years ago, the U.S. had no capabilities to export the LNG. Soon, it will be the largest LNG export nation in the world.  

 

U.S. sets record in emission reduction

Last year was the second consecutive year of carbon emissions from electric power plants dropping by 5 percent, a new record. It's the first time in more than 40 years that emissions have fallen so far over two years. Overall, carbon emissions from energy use fell 1.7 percent last year, following 10 years of a shrinking carbon footprint in the U.S. Several things are supporting the lower emissions, including Americans using more renewable energy each year and power plants using less coal and more natural gas. 

 

Texas is second to New York in commercial real estate spending in 2016

In 2016, commercial property construction values topped $18.5 billion in Texas. That total, according to NAIOP, was second in the U.S. last year to New York State's $24.8 billion. California was third with $14.3 billion in commercial development. 

 

Arkansas' unemployment rate down to 3.6 percent, lowest in the South

The unemployment rate in Arkansas got down to 3.6 percent in April, a historic low. In Northwest Arkansas, it's even lower at 3.4 percent. With about 3 million residents, the state is the second smallest in the South. Yet, statewide, 57,000 jobs have been created in Arkansas in the past two years. 

 

Stephen Moret's plans for leading economic development in Virginia

In January, Stephen Moret, the former Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, became the new director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). Moret now has been on the job long enough to visit many parts of the state and form recommendations for the transformation of VEDP. Moret plans to: 

* Develop a target industry strategy and action plan for the state. 

* Launch a targeted retention and expansion program. 

* Launch and fund a "world-class, turnkey, customized workforce recruitment and training program modeled after programs in Louisiana and Georgia." 

* Create a comprehensive strategy to assist growth in rural Virginia. 

* Launch and fund a marketing and lead generation program. 

 

According to this report, these are the top U.S. cities for minority entrepreneurs

ExpertMarket.com recently released its "Best Cities for Minority Entrepreneurs" and several Southern markets made the ranking's top 10. Houston was No. 1, followed by Miami (2); Atlanta (3); Dallas (7); Austin (8) and Orlando came in at No. 9. Riverside, Calif., Baltimore, San Jose and New York also made the list. 

 

Boston Consulting Group: $1 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure could create 3 million jobs

The Trump administration wants Congress to approve a $1 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure. According to The Boston Consulting Group, if planners prioritize projects based on job creation potential -- like airports and seaports -- 3 million or more jobs could be created over the next five years. The report did not cite where those 3 million people would come from in a time of full employment. 

 

The cities in every Southern state with the highest job growth

AL: Alabaster 4.6%

AR: Bentonville 7.3%

FL: Parkland 7.6%

GA: Woodstock 10.4%

KY: Independence 7.7%

LA: Lake Charles 6.4%

MS: Olive Branch 2.9%

MO: Wentzville 3.4%

NC: Concord 5.5%

OK: Stillwater 0.5%

SC: Mount Pleasant 6.7%

TN: Mount Juliet 9.6%

TX: Leander 11.1%

VA: Leesburg 4.4%

WV: Huntington 0.8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. January 2016-January 2017

 

Next top tech towns in the South 

Sky high real estate prices are forcing companies and tech workers out of Silicon Valley and into other U.S. cities with mature tech clusters. According to Realtor.com, here are the next big tech hubs in the South that remain affordable: Austin; Atlanta; Raleigh-Durham and Richmond, Va. 

 

Chinese FDI in the U.S. continues strong run

Chinese investment in the U.S. continues to mostly be mergers and acquisitions, but there is a growing list of greenfield projects. Chinese FDI is not slowing down in 2017 as some experts have predicted it would. In 2016, the Chinese invested $46 billion in the U.S., making it one of the largest countries of foreign direct investment in the U.S. The $46 billion blew past the previous record of $15 billion from the Chinese in 2015, according to the Rhodium Group. Among the largest acquisitions last year were HNA Group buying networking and software distributor Ingram Micro for $6 billion and Chinese appliance maker Haier Electronics' purchase of General Electric's appliance unit for $5.4 billion. According to Rhodium, there were 40 Chinese deals valued at $9.3 billion in the first quarter of this year. Nine of those projects were located in the South. 

 

Renewable energy job creation vs. fossil fuel job creation? It isn't even close. 

The recent Department of Energy's U.S. Energy and Employment report showed that employers in renewable energy are hiring people 12 times faster than any other sector of the economy. Renewable energy employment has grown by 20 percent annually since 2011, while fossil fuel jobs have dropped by 4.25 percent annually since 2012. The same report showed that solar employment in the U.S. today more than doubles that of coal. In all, 748,300 people are currently employed in renewable and low emission power generation while 1,073,800 people are employed in fossil fuel power generation. The Natural Resources Defense Council expects new wind and solar projects in 2017 to create 220,000 jobs.  

 

Finally, Gulf states receive money from BP's Deepwater Horizon settlement

April was the first month that Gulf states in the South received money from BP's Deepwater Horizon settlement. In total, Gulf states will receive about $16 billion in funds that can be used for coastal restoration. The majority of the money will be sent to states on an annual basis over the next 15 years. The restoration is the largest ever undertaken by the U.S. 

 

Mississippi's unemployment rate falls to lowest level ever

Mississippi's jobless rate fell to 5 percent in March, tying the lowest rate since the current unemployment survey began in 1976. Mississippi saw its unemployment rate fall to 5 percent for six months in 1999 and three months in 2000. 

 

It costs less to operate your business in the South

According to a report published in the spring quarter by Chicago-based Anderson Economic Group, eight of the 15-lowest business tax burdens are states in the South. Oklahoma had the lowest tax burden for businesses and North Carolina had the third-lowest. Making the top 15 in lowest business costs in the South were Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama. 

 

Atlanta's airport first worldwide to break 100 million passenger mark

In 2016, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport served 104 million passengers, the first airport to break the 100 million mark. It was the 19th straight year Atlanta was the world's busiest airport. 

 

Aerospace park proposed at Tri-Cities (Tenn.) Regional Airport

The Tennessee general assembly passed an amendment to the state regional airport authority that will enable the Tri-Cities Regional Airport to develop 160 acres into an aerospace industrial park. The park will enable users to take advantage of the airport facilities, workforce development programs at Northeast State Community College and other workforce development assets. Leaders in Northeast Tennessee will target MROs and aerospace manufacturers. 

 

Boeing's largest S.C.-built Dreamliner flies for the first time

In the spring quarter, the first 787-10, the largest of Boeing's Dreamliner family, took its first test flight from the company's facilities in North Charleston, S.C. The 787-10 is built exclusively at Boeing's South Carolina aerospace campus. 

 

New Orleans top city for technology jobs

New Orleans is No. 1 in the U.S. in the growth of technology jobs according to a report by SmartAsset.com. According to the site, tech jobs in New Orleans have grown by more than 35 percent since 2012. 

 

Aluminum company to hire 550 in heart of Appalachia

A metals company will build a $1.3 billion facility near the border of Kentucky and West Virginia, pledging to hire 550 employees earning average salaries of $70,000 in an area devastated by the loss of coal and manufacturing jobs. Braidy Industries says the 2.5 million-square-foot facility in Greenup County, Ky., will produce aluminum for the automotive and aerospace industries, two of Kentucky’s largest manufacturing sectors. The company expects 1,000 workers will be needed to build the plant next year, with construction to be completed in 2020.

 

Tech firm to create HQ in Louisville

Interapt, a tech development startup, will build a $3.7 million home base and add 250 jobs in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood. The company plans to renovate a 22,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehousing facility near downtown. Interapt develops mobile, web and high-tech wearable applications that business clients use to improve communications. 

 

ServiceMaster to open HQ in Memphis

ServiceMaster recently announced that it will move its global headquarters to downtown Memphis and occupy Peabody Place, repurposing the former downtown mall into Class A and LEED-certified office space, and bringing approximately 1,200 people to the renovated building by the end of 2017.

 

Fortune 1000 relocating HQ in Tennessee

Mueller Industries, currently headquartered in Memphis, is planning to move its 120-person headquarters to an office building still under construction 30 miles away in Collierville. The company produces piping, industrial metals and climate control products.

 

Cargill, Calysta break ground on Memphis’ Presidents Island facility

NouriTech, a joint venture between Cargill and Calysta, broke ground on its new 37-acre Presidents Island gas fermentation facility, which will be the world’s largest upon completion. The $660 million animal food ingredient plant will create up to 160 jobs. At the facility, NouriTech will produce FeedKind, a sustainable source of protein to be used for fish, livestock and pets. 

 

Louisiana Cat expanding Port of Iberia facility

Louisiana Machinery Company will expand its New Iberia operations and add 60 jobs over the next five years. The company, known as Louisiana Cat, rebuilds and services engines and related equipment for marine, oil and gas, industrial and utility companies at the Port of Iberia. 

 

Lake Foods to invest $8 million, create 130 jobs in Georgia

Hartwell, Ga.-based Lake Foods is doubling its workforce in Hart County. The food processor will create 130 new full-time jobs and invest $8 million to expand its 62,000-square-foot facility there.

 

Airplane manufacturer creating 100 new jobs in Georgia

Thrush Aircraft will add 100 new jobs to its headquarters in Albany, Ga., thanks to worldwide growth in the agriculture equipment industry, along with the addition of two new products — the reproduction of a 700-gallon agricultural plane known as the Thrush 710, and a newly developed patrol model designed for military purposes.

 

Manufacturing company brings 30 new jobs to Richmond

Karn Custom Woodwork, an architectural millwork manufacturing and installation company, will invest $2.55 million to expand its headquarters and manufacturing operation in Richmond, which will create 30 new jobs.

 

KAAP to expand in Bowling Green, create 129 jobs

Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (KAAP) will expand for a seventh time in Bowling Green, investing more than $51 million and creating 129 full-time jobs. KAAP will add more than 108,000 square feet to accommodate new production lines and equipment.

 

Hanesbrands shifts workforce for online sales

The consumer-driven shift toward online and digital sales has led Hanesbrands to adjust its Winston-Salem headquarters workforce to reflect evolving employment needs. The company will eliminate 60 jobs, while adding 70 jobs to support operations that are growing, including online and digital units.

 

Tyson plans wage, training increases

Arkansas meat giant Tyson Foods plans to introduce “significantly” higher wages at select U.S. plants as it seeks to improve employee retention in a tight labor market. The company will also hire more than two dozen additional trainers for its poultry plants.

 

Trio of Tennessee auto suppliers announce expansions

A trio of automotive suppliers in Smyrna, Tenn., will add 520 jobs in expansion plans totaling $142.4 million. Federal-Mogul will add 285 jobs, Topre America plans for 145 new jobs and Steel Technologies for 90. All three companies will receive tax incentives.

 

JSI Store Fixtures to create 97 jobs in Greenville County, S.C.

JSI Store Fixtures will add just under 100 new jobs as part of its Greenville County expansion. The Maine-based manufacturing company that produces displays for the supermarket industry is expected to invest $2.1 million and add 97 jobs.

 

Missouri tech company to add 100 new jobs

Onshore Outsourcing, an IT company headquartered in northern Missouri’s Macon County, will add about 100 new jobs in the next 18 months. Onshore’s mission reads, in part, “Our passion is providing Americans and veterans in rural communities stable and rewarding IT careers.”

 

For-profit prison to build facility in Conroe, Texas

Florida-based GEO Group, a multibillion-dollar, for-profit prison company, is planning to build an immigrant detention center north of Houston. GEO Group won a contract with ICE to build the 1,000-bed, $110 million facility in Conroe.

 

Prisonville in Southern Texas could be back in business

Officials in Willacy County, Texas, are counting on the immigration crackdown to revive what was its biggest employer, a prison that was closed after a 2015 riot, putting 400 employees out of work. The county recently deeded the facility back to the company that used to operate it, which agreed to assume $69 million in outstanding debt. Now residents and officials, many with relatives on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, wait for a flood of detainees to fill the jail’s beds—and hope to find work guarding them. 

 

2nd Life Inc. to invest $1 million to expand in Richmond

2nd Life Inc., a consumer electronics wholesaler serving Virginia and the surrounding region, will invest $975,000 to expand its operation and create 66 new jobs over the next two years.

 

New call center in Mobile, Ala., to hire 500

Results, a Ft. Lauderdale-based company, is opening a 10,000-square-foot call center in Mobile. They plan to hire over 500 local employees.

 

Caristrap locating HQ in Greenville County, S.C.

Caristrap International, a manufacturer of industrial strapping systems, is locating its new corporate headquarters in Greenville County. The project is expected to bring $5.5 million of capital investment and create 100 new jobs.

 

Holiday Retirement moves HQ to Florida

One of the nation’s largest independent living providers is moving its corporate headquarters from Lake Oswego, Ore., to Winter Park, Fla., this summer, eliminating or relocating approximately 200 jobs in the process. The company also plans to start hiring in the Orlando/Winter Park area “very soon.”

 

Selma Precision Technologies to revamp shuttered Alabama plant

Less than a year after Selma’s Sona Precision Forge plant closed, a new owner will restart the assembly line. Selma Precision Technologies, the first American plant for the Indian manufacturer Warm Group, plans to immediately reopen the plant with 38 workers. Vinay Upadhyay, a director for Selma Precision Technologies, said the Warm Group was initially interested in buying bankrupt Sona’s equipment at auction and shipping it back to India. Instead, it bought the property.

 

North Carolina solar company seeks veterans for Virginia expansion

North Carolina-based Strata Solar is striving to fill 125 of its 400 job openings with military veterans. One year after the first group of veterans completed the Department of Energy’s Solar Ready Vets program, Strata Solar sees Virginia – with a high population of retired veterans and several major military installations – as a strong environment for recruitment. While Strata is the latest developer to enter the Virginia market, its hiring goal will likely move it to the top of solar companies with full-time employees there.

 

LuLaRoe distribution center coming to Richland County, S.C.

California-based clothing line LuLaRoe, founded in 2013 and currently sold in 80,000 retail locations, is opening a distribution center in the former Bose plant in Blythewood. The new facility is expected to bring nearly $35 million in investment and create as many as 1,000 jobs. 

 

Frozen food expansion to bring jobs to Joplin, Mo.

DEF, a subsidiary of Ajinomoto Windsor, will pay for a $39 million expansion at Joplin’s Crossroads Industrial Park. It’s the largest building permit filed in the City of Joplin since construction of the high school. The plant will start with 150 to 200 jobs, but is expected to grow to 400 employees in five years.

 

U.S. Steel restarts Lone Star Mill; 200 workers recalled

Encouraged by an improvement in the oil industry and national economy, U.S. Steel announced it is restarting the No. 2 Welded Pipe Mill that it idled a year ago at the Lone Star Tubular Operations in Texas. “We expect production to resume in May, and we anticipate recalling 200 employees,” said Meghan Cox, a spokeswoman at corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh.

 

Alabama company launches unique app, hiring 100 this summer

Appleton, a downtown Huntsville business, is looking to hire 100 people this summer through RoleCall, an on-demand staffing app that connects residents with local jobs in the hospitality and healthcare industries on their own schedule.

 

B&D Plastics expands Mississippi manufacturing center

One of the largest fabricators and manufacturers of dual-laminate equipment in the United States, B&D Plastics is expanding on the Gulf Coast, in Gautier, Miss. The expansion represents a $750,000 corporate investment and creates 35 jobs.

 

Hilton to hire 20K more veterans by 2020

Worldwide hotel chain Hilton announced plans to hire 20,000 additional U.S. military veterans and their family members within the next four years. The plan is part of Operation: Opportunity, which also provides employment and training assistance to veterans’ relatives, dependents and caregivers. Hilton said it surpassed its original goal of hiring 10,000 vets two years ahead of schedule.

 

Senior living center to create 120 jobs in Missouri

Allegro Senior Living has acquired a development site in Parkland, Mo., for $6 million where it plans to have 120 to 130 employees in a new senior living center. Allegro plans to break ground on the 175-unit, 186,000-square-foot facility this fall.

 

Manufacturer expands to North Carolina with $13 million investment

Weitron, a packager and distributor of refrigerant gases, has selected Martin County for a new production facility in Everetts, N.C. The $13 million investment will create 31 jobs. The company is expanding to meet growing demand for new refrigerant formulas with less environmental impact.

 

Urban Mining coming to San Marcos with 100 jobs

Austin-based Urban Mining Company plans to relocate its headquarters and open a $25 million, 100,000-square-foot facility in San Marcos, Texas that promises 100 advanced manufacturing and technology jobs. The company recycles and manufactures rare earth magnets.

 

Spotsy approves $1 million in tax incentives for manufacturer

Virginia’s Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved more than $1 million in tax incentives for idX Corp., a manufacturer that is relocating its Columbia, Md., operations into a long-vacant General Motors plant in Spotsylvania. Missouri-based idX expects to have 150 employees within three years. IdX produces décor, fixtures, graphics and millwork for retailers.

 

Kimberly-Clark invests in its Alabama mill

Kimberly-Clark Corporation has approved an investment of $75 million for construction of a new combined heat-power plant at its tissue mill in Mobile, Ala. The plant, to be constructed over a two-year period, should improve energy efficiency and costs, as well as boost its overall competitiveness within Kimberly-Clark.

 

Centene breaks ground on $770 million expansion in Clayton, Mo.

Centene officials recently broke ground on the company’s $770 million campus expansion project in Clayton. The project will include office towers, parking garages, residential units, a hotel and civic auditorium for the healthcare enterprise that serves as an intermediary for both government-sponsored and privately-insured healthcare programs.

 

Exxon, SABIC choose Texas for $10 billion petrochem project

ExxonMobil Chemical Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (known as SABIC) announced April 19 they have selected a site in San Patricio County, Texas for a multibillion-dollar petrochemical project. Natural gas from the Eagle Ford Shale was key in landing the $10 billion plastics plant that will be built just north of Corpus Christi, where it is expected to be a game changer for the South Texas economy. The plant, which will make ethylene and other chemicals for polyester, anti-freeze, plastic bottles and food packaging products, will hire 600 permanent employees, in addition to creating 11,000 construction jobs.

 

Hulu bringing HQ and 500 new jobs to San Antonio

Online streaming giant Hulu is working on plans for a new customer-support HQ in San Antonio. Upon opening, the new headquarters will bring more than 300 jobs to San Antonio in 2017, with more than 500 total jobs projected in 2018. Hulu currently has 150 customer-service reps who work remotely, and the majority of those roles will move to the new Texas location.

 

Novant Health’s $49 million expansion brings 100 new jobs to Piedmont Triad Medical Center

Novant Health is adding about 100 new jobs at its medical center in Clemmons, N.C., as it expects to complete construction on the facility this summer. The Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center, where the positions will be located, has recently undergone a $49 million expansion. 

 

Disney’s Avatar expansion to create 3,000 new jobs

The World of Avatar is the largest expansion in Animal Kingdom’s history, and the opening of Pandora will hire 1,500 new cast members, 700 operational and 800 construction roles. “Walt Disney World has 73,000 cast members today, serves as the largest single employer in the United States,” said Senior Vice President of Walt Disney World Parks Jim MacPhee. “All of those cast members live, work, and play here in Central Florida. And so this ability to add incrementally to that is just another boost to the entire economic engine of the Central Florida community.”

 

NCGS plans new HQ in Charleston, S.C.

NCGS Inc., which specializes in conducting clinical trials for the pharmaceutical industry, is expanding its operations in Charleston. The company is constructing a new corporate headquarters, which will bring $10 million of new capital investment and create 80 new jobs.

 

Provision Healthcare developing $100 million cancer center In New Orleans

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Provision Healthcare and its partners will invest $100 million to build a 30,000-square-foot Louisiana Proton Therapy Center in the New Orleans biomedical corridor. The project will create 60 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000.

 

Southeastern Metal expands in North Carolina

Southeastern Metal expects to spend $5.1 million to add 42,000 square feet to its metal-stamping plant in north Charlotte. Seventy jobs will be created in the project.

 

Auto parts supplier creating 100 jobs with major expansion in Alabama

Auto parts supplier Hanwha Advanced Materials America is investing once again in its Opelika, Ala., plant. The Seoul, South Korea-based manufacturer plans to invest nearly $20 million into its factory with 100 new jobs being generated over three years. The parts supplier will employ more than 400 people when the dust settles, with its total investment in the Opelika plant rising to nearly $80 million. It began making parts there in 2005.

 

Kellex Seating expands in North Carolina

Kellex Seating, a manufacturer of upholstered furniture, will invest $3 million in its plant, creating 32 jobs and retaining 166 – all thanks to a $400,000 grant from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority.

 

Kentucky health facility buying $2.2 million property

Kentucky Blood Center will renovate about 9,500 square feet of undeveloped space in a strip mall and add a new blood donation center, which will be staffed by 20 to 25 employees.

 

Walgreens adding 140 jobs at Muscle Shoals call center

Walgreen’s will add up to 140 new employees at a call center in North Alabama, boosting its presence at the Southgate Mall to 640 employees.

 

Florida train to create hundreds of new jobs

Brightline is planning to hire 200 people as it launches high speed rail service in Florida. Dave Howard, CEO of Brightline, said the 200 positions will be for a variety of roles through the company’s operations and stations in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

 

Solar company to hire 200 in Jasper County, S.C.

Dominion, an energy company headquartered in Virginia, recently announced plans to construct, own and operate 81 megawatts of solar generating capacity in Jasper County, S.C. Two projects — a 71.4-megawatt facility that would be South Carolina’s largest and a 10-megawatt array — are expected to enter service in 2017.

 

Buncombe Commissioners okay incentives for 551 Black Mountain jobs

Buncombe County Commissioners (N.C.) voted to authorize incentives to Avadim Technologies, a life-sciences company that promises to bring 551 new jobs and invest $25.4 million in the area. Avadim Technologies now employees 56 people full-time. The company is planning to move to Black Mountain to create a 100,000 square-foot plant.

 

Construction begins on $113 million pharma campus in Carrollton, Texas

Construction on a $113 million, 40-acre campus for AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group has begun in Carrollton, which will make enough room for a division of Pennsylvania-based AmerisourceBergen Corp. to add more than 1,000 employees, with plans to employ upwards of 3,000 employees in the next decade.

 

Brake plant to add 160 jobs in $40 million North Carolina expansion

Continental North America will spend $40 million to expand its Morganton automobile brake plant, adding 160 jobs in the process. The added capacity will allow the company to make its new MK C1 braking system. 

 

Passport Health moving HQ to West Louisville

Passport Health Plan will invest millions to move its headquarters to a vacant West Louisville site. The nonprofit, which administers Medicaid benefits for Kentuckians, bought the property, and hopes to turn the 20-acre site into a state-of-the-art health and wellness campus housing 500-plus employees.

 

New data center bringing 40 jobs to Wise County, Va.

A new state-of-the-art data center is expected to bring 40 jobs to Wise County. DP Facilities South will invest $65 million to construct a Tier III top-level-security data center there.

 

Volvo to export cars from South Carolina to China

Volvo, the Sweden-based, Chinese-owned carmaker, is planning to export cars to China from an American plant. The factory being built in Berkeley County, S.C. will employ 4,000 workers and produce a small sedan that will be sold in Europe and China beginning in 2018. Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars, said producing cars in the U.S. for export, particularly to China, offers a powerful rebuttal to accusations that China is taking U.S. jobs.

 

Quiet Logistics opens fulfillment center in Hazelwood, Mo.

Quiet Logistics recently opened its Fulfillment Center of the Future, located just outside St. Louis in Hazelwood. The innovative center, built on the company’s proprietary Fulfillment Management System, is strategically located to enable two- and three-day shipping to e-commerce customers across the United States. At capacity, it will employ 250 full-time employees working alongside a state-of-the-art Locus Robotics autonomous picking solution.

 

Robotics company to expand North Carolina plant, adding 275 jobs

A company that makes robotics parts is expanding its operation in North Carolina, adding 275 jobs over the next four years. ATI Industrial Automation plans to spend $6 million to expand its factory and headquarters in Apex.

 

New Process Steel expands in Columbus, Miss.

Metals solutions company, New Process Steel, is upgrading its operations in Columbus. The company plans to invest $7.5 million and create 50 jobs by the end of 2018 in Lowndes County. The expansion will need $750,000 in Development Infrastructure Program grants from the Mississippi Development Authority for road improvements, and up to $1 million in a state loan to pay for a rail spur from the railway near the Steel Dynamics, Inc. campus.

 

Regions to build $23 million operations facility in Hattiesburg

Regions Financial Corp. is investing $23 million into its Mississippi operations with a new facility in Hattiesburg. The Birmingham-headquartered bank currently employs 320 people in the Hattiesburg area, but it plans to add about 90 employees to support operations. The new facility will primarily house workers from Regions Mortgage.

 

Dollar Tree plans 1.2 million-square-foot distribution hub in Missouri

Dollar Tree will invest approximately $110 million to build a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution facility in Warrensburg, Mo. The company plans to create 375 new jobs, as it expects 150-200 inbound/outbound trucks per day as the facility supports the Midwestern U.S. retail store network.

 

Chinese companies announce mega chemical projects in Louisiana

A pair of Chinese companies recently announced two separate chemical plant projects slated for Louisiana that will be worth billions. The first announcement came from Wanhua Chemical Group, one of the world’s largest producers of methylene biphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). After years of negotiations with Louisiana Economic Development (LED), the company landed a $4.3 million infrastructure grant to build a $1.12 billion chemical plant. The company has yet to pinpoint an exact location for the complex. LED said that the project could produce as many as 170 direct and 945 indirect jobs. Yuhuang Chemical Inc. also announced last week that it could end up spending billions more than projected to complete its current methanol project in St. James.

 

Smart grid firm moving HQ from Silicon Valley to Cary, N.C.

A smart grid software, communications and cleantech company plans to move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Cary, bringing 130 jobs to the Triangle. Trilliant Networks will invest $1.8 million to expand its current offices in Cary to accommodate the corporate operations, and officials said the average salary of the new jobs will be $105,000.

 

Chinese company to invest $5 million in pet treat plant in Danville, Ark.

China-based Pet Won Pet Products will invest $5 million to develop pet treats at a new 28,887-square-foot facility, located 99 miles northwest of Little Rock, in Danville, Ark. The company will create 70 new jobs at the plant.

 

Grupo Phoenix creating 145 jobs in Virginia with third expansion

Grupo Phoenix, a manufacturer of rigid packaging containers for the food and beverage industry, will invest $48.7 million and create 145 jobs as it expands its subsidiary manufacturing operation, Phoenix Packaging Operations, in Pulaski County. This project represents the company’s third expansion, bringing its investment in the operation to $106.2 million and a total of 585 new jobs.

 

Toyota announces major Mississippi investments

Toyota Motor Corp. is making a major financial investment in its Blue Springs, Miss., manufacturing facility with the announcement of a $10 million visitor and interactive training center as well as $350,000 in donations for education and literacy. Officials announced the investments at the recently celebrated 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the $1 billion plant in Union County.

 

Toyota to spend $1.3 billion on Kentucky factory

Toyota will spend more than $1 billion to overhaul its largest production plant in the world. The $1.33 billion investment in the auto giant’s Kentucky factory, which employs 8,200 people, will help the plant make Camrys more efficiently and will speed up production timelines.

 

Balta consolidating in Floyd County, Ga.

A Belgium-based floor covering company has revealed plans for a 300,000-square-foot distribution facility in Floyd County, Ga. The $10 million investment will bring 75 jobs to the former Florida Tile property in Rome, Ga. 

 

Lotte Chemical USA moving to Louisiana

Lotte Chemical USA has decided to establish its headquarters in Lake Charles, where the corporate office will join the company’s $1.1 billion monoethylene glycol plant under construction. Together, the plant and corporate headquarters will create 130 new direct jobs, over 1,200 permanent new indirect jobs, and more than 3,000 construction jobs. In addition to Lotte Chemical’s MEG plant, the company is investing in a $1.9 billion joint venture with Westlake Chemical to build an ethane cracker complex, also under construction on the 250-acre site that will be home to the MEG plant and future headquarters.

 

Ryan-AL reshoring to Lenoir, N.C.

Ryan-AL Inc., a specialty manufacturer of fiberglass doors, will invest $1.7 million to relocate manufacturing from China to Lenoir. The company plans to create 53 jobs in Caldwell County.

 

German company locates in Spartanburg

Global freight forwarder Senator International, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, plans to invest nearly $7.4 million to establish a new facility in Spartanburg County and create 100 jobs.

 

Old Lynchburg power plant back in business

Several new jobs are coming to a power plant that has been dormant for five years in Lynchburg, Va. Appalachian Power transferred the Reusens hydroelectric plant, which closed in 2011, to Eagle Creek. Officials with Eagle Creek say several new jobs will be created as the plant is returned to operational status. 

 

Comcast creates 600 jobs in Broward County, Fla.

The Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant announced 600 new jobs for its base in Miramar. The new jobs are part of 5,500 being added across the country to improve customer service.

 

Four hundred new jobs from MedXM expansion in Oklahoma

Mobile Medical Examination, which provides in-home health risk assessments, will be expanding into Oklahoma City to house additional support for MedXM outreach initiatives.

 

Boat company adding 370 jobs in South Carolina

Summerville-based Scout Boats plans to invest nearly $11 million as it expands its Dorchester County operations, creating 370 jobs. The boat manufacturer, which also expanded in 2014, plans to build a facility in Summerville that will be large enough to house the company’s new 53-foot yacht model.

 

Liberty Mutual hires 1,150 workers, looking for thousands more

By the end of the year, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance plans to open the doors of its $325 million, 1.1 million-square-foot regional hub in Plano’s Legacy West. The insurance company already hired 1,150 employees and is looking to hire a few thousand more. In all, Liberty Mutual’s regional hub could house 5,000 workers. 

 

Defense contractor to add 800 jobs in Huntsville

Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to expand its presence in Huntsville. . .a move expected to create up to 800 jobs. 

 

Foam products manufacturer to expand again in North Carolina

Plastic foam manufacturer Palziv is adding 40 jobs to its existing operation in Louisburg. The Israeli-based company plans to invest nearly $5.2 million in Franklin County.

 

Handgun maker SCCY bringing 350 jobs, $22.5 million to Blount County, Tenn.

Florida handgun manufacturer, SCCY (pronounced “sky”) Industries, will bring 350 jobs to Blount County with an initial $22.5 million investment, constructing a 150,000-square-foot campus to house corporate, research and development and manufacturing facilities.

 

Schneider Electric expands South Carolina, operations

Schneider Electric, a specialist in energy management and automation, is expanding its manufacturing center in Seneca, S.C., creating 56 new jobs. The company’s Oconee County plant makes products used in applications ranging from technology for production lines and oil rigs to equipment in wastewater treatment plants.

 

Total Quality Logistics opens hub in New Orleans

Total Quality Logistics will open its newest 8,125-square-foot facility in New Orleans. The third-party freight brokerage firm will create 97 new jobs at the facility over the next 10 years.

 

Biewer Lumber opens $85 million sawmill in Newton, Miss.

Biewer Lumber has opened its $85 million state-of-the-art sawmill, 64 miles east of Jackson, Miss. The Newton facility, which is officially known as Biewer Sawmill-Newton, expands the company’s mill production into the South. 

 

Boeing chooses Texas as HQ for Global Services unit

The Boeing Co. has chosen Plano, Texas to locate the world headquarters for its new Global Services business unit, integrating the services capabilities of the defense, space and commercial airplanes sectors into a single, customer-focused business. The company expects to be up and running at the site in July.

 

Georgia’s Roper plant to hire 100

The Roper appliance plant in Lafayette, Ga., is recruiting 100 new workers to replace existing employees expected to retire or quit this year.

 

Star Snacks announces $18 million facility in Georgia

New Jersey-based Star Snacks will construct a 200,000-square-foot facility to source, roast and distribute peanuts grown in southwest Georgia. The facility in Macon-Bibb County, Ga., is expected to create more than 115 jobs.

 

Walmart investing $135 million in Alabama import facility

Retail giant Walmart will invest at least $135 million to open a 2.5 million-square-foot import distribution facility in Mobile County, Ala. The facility will create 550 jobs and provide a major boost to the Port of Mobile. It will service about 800 Walmart stores with products primarily shipped through the Alabama port’s container terminal.

 

Aurora Organic Dairy plans facility in Columbia, Mo.

Aurora Organic Dairy, a leading producer and processor of store-brand organic milk and butter for U.S. retailers, plans to construct a new $100 million dairy processing facility in Columbia. The project is expected to initially create more than 90 jobs, and up to 150 total new jobs over the next five years.

 

Paducah automotive supplier plans 50-job expansion 

UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries plans to expand its presence in Paducah, Ky., with a $3.3 million investment expected to bring an additional 50 jobs. The project will include machining centers, robotics and additional fabrication equipment. 

 

PhishLabs new HQ in Charleston County, S.C.

PhishLabs, a provider of cybersecurity services, is expanding its existing operations in Charleston County. The company expects to create 45 new jobs.

 

American Metals Group bringing 80 jobs to Childersburg, Ala.

American Metals Group is starting up in Childersburg with a $5.3 million investment, and looking to bring about 80 jobs. The company manufactures cold drawn steel bars for the automotive, construction and energy industries.

 

Company to create 133 new jobs in Asheboro, N.C.

MAS Holdings, a global apparel technology and manufacturing company, will locate its first U.S. manufacturing and development center in Randolph County, creating 133 new jobs. The company plans to invest nearly $20 million.

 

Wabco opens $20 million Lowcountry expansion

A Brussels-based automotive supplier is growing its existing Lowcountry footprint. Wabco recently celebrated the opening of its $20 million manufacturing facility in North Charleston, which will supply parts to major truck, bus and trailer manufacturers. The 55 new hires bring the facility’s total to 230 employees. 

 

Canner expands in Bishopville, S.C.

South Atlantic Canners, a cooperative that includes several Coca-Cola bottlers, is expanding its operations with a $13 million investment in Lee County.

 

300 tech jobs announced in Tennessee

SAIC, the McLean, Va.-based company Science Applications International Corp., is adding 300 tech jobs in Cookeville, Tenn.

 

SpaceX announces hundreds of open positions

Elon Musk’s space travel company is hiring nearly 500 new employees across a variety of departments and locations. The boost is thanks, at least in part, to the successful launch of a reusable Falcon 9 rocket.

 

UPS unveils Saturday delivery and 6,000 new jobs

Atlanta-based UPS will deliver packages on Saturdays. The expanded drop-off schedule means UPS will compete with FedEx and the United States Postal Service. Both of those companies already deliver packages to people’s homes on the weekend. The change is “one of the largest in the company’s 109-year-history,” according to a UPS statement.

 

Spanish stone company moving HQ to Florida

Cosentino, a Spanish company that manufactures and distributes stone building materials, will relocate its Americas headquarters from Sugar Land, Texas to Coral Gables, Fla., creating 85 new jobs in Miami-Dade County. 

 

Honda to expand Alabama plant

Honda once again plans to expand its Alabama factory to take advantage of car buyers’ demand for larger vehicles. The Japanese automaker will invest $85 million to expand its Lincoln, Ala., plant by next year. The report also indicated that the Talladega County Commission approved tax incentives for the project last week. Honda invested more than $750 million in the plant since 2011, including a $71.4 million engine assembly facility that opened in 2015. 

 

Candy maker expanding in Erlanger, Ky.

Perfetti van Melle USA, which produces Airheads, Mentos and other popular candy brands, will expand its manufacturing plant near Erlanger with an $11 million investment, bringing 70 new full-time jobs. 

 

Kentucky auto supplier spends $20 million

Combined with its operations in Bullitt and Nelson counties, a supplier for the automotive industry will spend almost $50 million and hire 35 to expand its current facilities in Shepherdsville. Tower Automotive Operations USA received preliminary approval for tax incentives through the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

 

Nursing facility in Kissimmee, Fla., breaks ground

The new Adventist Care Center’s $20 million nursing facility in Kissimmee will create 150 new jobs once it opens in April 2018. 

 

Mars Chocolate expands in the U.S.

Mars Chocolate North America announced a $70 million reinvestment in its U.S. supply chain, expanding manufacturing and production centers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Washington State, South Dakota, Maryland and Illinois. This latest investment will add approximately 250 new jobs to sites across the country, ensuring that more than 95 percent of Mars’ chocolate products for the U.S. are made here.

 

Amazon to create 1,000 jobs in Frederick County, Va.

Amazon will establish an e-commerce warehouse and distribution operation in Frederick County. The company plans to construct a new, 1 million-square-foot facility in the White Hall Commerce Center. 

 

Plant bringing 250 jobs to Morristown, Tenn.

A Wisconsin maker of coffee filters and wet wipes will open a factory in Morristown, Tenn., about 40 miles northeast of Knoxville, bringing 250 new jobs. Rockline Industries will form a new subsidiary to make wet wipes in a 435,000-square-foot facility.

 

Continental Motors Group plans new campus at Mobile Aeroplex

Continental Motors Group, a global maker of piston aircraft engines owned by China-based AVIC International Holding Corp., plans to build a 225,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, manufacturing facility and headquarters at the Mobile Aeroplex in Alabama. The facility will be outfitted with $40 million in new equipment.

 

 

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