October 2017

Manufacturing is critical to rural areas of the South

In 2015, manufacturing represented a 14 percent share of private nonfarm rural jobs and a 21 percent share of rural earnings, according to a report by the USDA that came out in the summer titled “Rural Manufacturing at a Glance.” According to the report, urban areas saw 7 percent of total employment and 11 percent of earnings come from the manufacturing sector in 2015. 

 

Chinese aerospace manufacturer investing in Alabama

Continental Motors Group, a subsdiary of Beijing-based AVIC International Holding Corp., will invest in a new plant and headquarters at the Mobile Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala. The site is where Airbus fully assembles the A320 jetliner series. The company will make aviation piston engines and parts in a new 250,000-square-foot facility. The deal is expected to create 450 jobs. 

 

Amazon asks for bids for new $5 billion second headquarters

Seattle-based Amazon wants a second headquarters and the company has put it up for bid. CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release that he expects the $5 billion project to "be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters," where more than 40,000 people work. Some of the criteria to be chosen, according to Amazon, are communities of at least 1 million in population, an international airport and a "stable and business-friendly environment." 

 

The Best Cities in the South for Amazon's HQ2

SB&D has come up with its five best cities for Amazon's second headquarters:

Atlanta - Atlanta has the world's largest international airport, and several Fortune 100 companies are headquartered there. More than 5.7 million people live in the Atlanta metro and nearly 100,000 moved there last year. 

Dallas-Fort Worth - Now home to Toyota's new North American headquarters, along with many others including ExxonMobil and American Airlines, there is plenty of land and labor in the Dallas-Fort worth mega-region. Dallas-Fort Worth welcomed more than 140,000 new residents last year. 

Austin - Austin is a tech mecca with a vibrant labor base, and Amazon might want to take a look a the area, including the Hutto-Taylor megasite as well as San Marcos. About 58,000 people moved to Austin last year. 

Northern Virginia - Northern Virginia has a large young population and birth rates there are some of the highest in the South. You can go anywhere in the world from the Dulles International Airport. 

Northern Kentucky - Probably a reach, but Amazon is building its largest world air freight hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Aiport. The $1.5 billion, 2,700-job hub will be home to Prime Air. 

 

Kamtek opens expanded Birmingham plant

Kamtek, a division of Magna, opened the $60 million, 150,000-square-foot expansion of its automotive parts facility in Birmingham, Ala., in the summer quarter. The project will add 100 workers to the plant, which currently houses 850. The company makes aluminum castings for vehicles made by Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan. 

 

SAF-Holland expands in Arkansas

SAF-Holland, a maker of trailer suspension and axle systems, is investing $4 million to expand its Dumas, Ark., facilities. The company will add 65 new positions. 

 

BMW celebrates 4 millionth vehicle made in South Carolina

In the summer quarter, BMW celebrated the 4 millionth vehicle made at its plant in Greer, S.C. The plant began making vehicles at the plant in 1994. 

 

Brazilian manufacturer to open first U.S. facility in rural Virginia

Koinonia, a manufacturer of foam and tape solutions for the automotive, marine and heavy equipment industries, is investing almost $5 million in a new plant in Pulaski County, Va. The plant will house 40 workers. 

 

Texas port ready to be deepened

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Port Corpus Christi agreed to terms to deepen the port's ship channel in the summer quarter. The $326 million project will deepen the ship channel from 45 feet deep and 400 feet wide to 54 feet deep and 520 feet wide. 

 

PowerSchool to create jobs in Roanoke

PowerSchool, a leader in education technology platforms for K-12, is investing $1.8 million to expand its presence in Roanoke, Va. The project will add 96 jobs. 

 

Big manufacturing capture for Tulsa

Wisconsin-based Greenheck Group, a manufacturer of commercial ventilation systems, broke ground on a new facility in Tulsa during the summer quarter. The company plans to hire about 75 employees when the facility is completed in summer 2018, and up to 900 over the next 10 years. 

 

Company opens second Kentucky plant

WPT Corp., a manufacturer of nonwovens used in hygiene and filtration products, is opening its second plant in Ohio County, Ky. The $6 million investment will create 40 jobs. 

 

Chinese textile factory will consume almost all of cotton grown in Arkansas

Shandong Ruyi will build a $410 million textile factory in Forrest City, Ark. The project will create 800 jobs. The facility will process 200,000 tons of Arkansas cotton annually, which is about what is grown in the state now. 

 

Vehicle glass manufacturer expands in Virginia

Oran Safety Glass, a maker of specialty glass used in the manufacture of buses, military vehicles and trains, is expanding its Greensville, Va., operation. The $4.4 million project will create 55 jobs and retain 75. 

 

German auto supplier launching new operations in South Carolina

Isringhausen, a seating systems manufacturer, is launching new operations in Charleston County in Ladson, S.C. The company, which has 50 plants in 20 countries, will make seats and assemblies for the Mercedez-Benz Vans Sprinter model. 

 

Baxter completes Alabama plant expansion

Medical device company Baxter completed the $270 million expansion of its dialyzers plant in Opelika, Ala. The expansion more than doubled the size of the facility to roughly 400,000 square feet. The deal will create 180 new jobs. 

 

Insurer to create 1,000 new jobs in downtown Kansas City

Spring Venture Group, a Medicare supplemental insurance firm, will move into a largely vacant building in downtown Kansas City, Mo., to accommodate growth. The company expects to create nearly 1,000 jobs in the move. 

 

Aerospace manufacturer expands in St. Louis

St. Peters-based Seyer Industries, a maker of assemblies for the aerospace industry, is expanding its facilities in St. Louis. The company will invest $25 million and add 125 jobs. 

 

Film manufacturer to invest $85 million in South Carolina

Charter NEX Films, a specialty film manufacturer, will locate a new plant in Blythewood, S.C. The company will build a new 140,000-square-foot facility that will house 110 workers. 

 

West Virginia lands new chemical plant

U.S. Methanol broke ground on a new methanol plant in Kanawha County, W.Va., in the summer quarter. The plant will generate 50 new jobs. 

 

Manufacturer adding jobs in Arkansas

As a result of a partnership with Arkansas-based Walmart, Nice-Pak, a wet wipe manufacturer, will add 30 jobs at its plant in Jonesboro, Ark. The deal is part of Walmart's initiative to purchase at least $250 billion in additional products supporting American jobs. 

 

Now we know what Apple does in Austin

For years, Apple kept what its 6,000 employees in Austin do under wraps. In the summer quarter, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the company's Austin facilities and said more employees will be hired in Austin. Cook revealed that about 50 percent of the Austin staff works in customer support and online sales. He also explained that about 15 percent are in engineering and another 15 percent in operations. 

 

Media firm to open office in downtown Richmond

Thomson Reuters, an international information and media firm, will open a new 10,000-square-foot office in downtown Richmond. The New York City-based company will create 60 new jobs. 

 

Another megasite planned for the American South

The South is certainly not in short supply of large industrial sites of 1,000 acres or more. Add another one to the mix, this one in Chesterfield County, Va. Right before the recession a master-planned community in Chesterfield that would have contained 2,449 single-family homes, 1,331 condos, 908 apartments and 470,000 square feet of commercial space was announced. Called Branner Station, the plan was nixed by the Great Recession. Now Chesterfield wants to develop the wooded property as a 1,700-acre megasite for a large user such an an automotive or aerospace plant. The site is near Interstate 95 and the Port of Richmond. 

 

Auto supplier expanding in West Georgia

Hyundai Dymos is adding 150 jobs to its workforce of 350 in West Point, Ga., near the Kia assembly plant. The $9.5 million expansion will add car seat capacity. The company makes seats for both the Kia plant and Hyundai's plant in nearby Montgomery, Ala. 

 

Smokeless tobacco plant expands in Kentucky

Swedish Match, a smokeless tobacco manufacturer, is investing $40.9 million in its facility in Owensboro, Ky. The deal will create jobs for 36. 

 

Austin, Nashville lead in job generation since recession

In the summer, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released private sector job data for more than 300 metropolitan areas. During the last decade, Austin led all markets in private sector job gains with an increase of 38 percent. Nashville placed second with job gains of 25 percent. 

 

Munitions manufacturer to locate plant in Arkansas

American Marksman, a maker and distributor of ammunition, is locating a new advanced manufacturing facility in Searcy, Ark. The production facility will house 100 workers. 

 

Distribution center going up near Savannah

Home furnishings manufacturer Safavieh announced it will invest $60 million to build a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center in Chatham County, Ga. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Almost 4,000 employees to relocate to Northern Virginia

The General Services Administration has agreed to consolidate part of the Department of Homeland Security into a new headquarters in Prince George County, Va. Over 3,700 workers will make the move to Virginia. 

 

Has Alabama's ROI in the automotive sector paid off? 

By Michael Randle

In September 1993, the state of Alabama was highly criticized for the $253 million incentive package it gave Mercedes-Benz to locate its first plant in the U.S. in Tuscaloosa County. Alabama offered a package that was double that of what South Carolina had given to locate BMW just a year earlier. 

Then in 1999, Honda announced it, too, would build a plant in Alabama. . .this one in East Alabama. That initial package totaled $158 million. In 2002, Hyundai followed Honda with its own plant announcement in Montgomery. Alabama’s initial package to Hyundai was $234 million. 

Counting second and third incentive packages for expansions, the total Alabama has given out in site prep, training, tax breaks and other incentives is less than $1 billion for the three automakers. 

So, to more easily understand the return on investment, let’s eliminate anything Alabama could have received from the three automakers, including the attraction of more than 250 suppliers to the state, tax generation, multipliers, spin-off jobs and anything else that’s difficult to calculate. Let’s just add up the payroll of the three automakers just at their facilities since they began operating. Why payroll? It’s something everyone understands because most of us are on a payroll. 

SB&D’s estimated payroll since Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai have been operating their plants in Alabama is right at $12 billion. That’s a 12-fold ROI and that just counts payroll at the three assembly plants. What’s more, those plants will be operating 50 years from today.

 

Bus manufacturer expands Alabama plant

Canada-based New Flyer, North America's largest transit bus manufacturer, is expanding its plant in Anniston, Ala. The company is investing $25 million and adding 40 new jobs. 

 

Aluminum manufacturer investing $110 million in Tennessee

Sweden-based Granges, a manufacturer of aluminum products, is investing $110 million in its plant in Huntingdon, Tenn. to expand capacity from 160 to 200 metric kilotons per year. The company makes light gauge foil and automotive heat exchanger products. The deal will create 100 new jobs. 

 

Walmart to build new HQ in Arkansas

Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., is a collection of more than 20 buildings built in the 1970s that are spread out across several different communities in Northwest Arkansas. In September, the nation's largest employer of 1.5 million employees announced it will build a new headquarters campus in Bentonville on a 350-acre site. The new headquarters will house up to 17,000 employees and will be built over the next five years. 

 

Georgia-Pacific to build plant in Alabama

Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific announced in the summer it will construct a $100 million lumber production facility in Talladega, Ala. The $100 million, 300,000-square-foot plant will house 100 full-time employees. 

 

Japanese auto parts supplier to build new plant in Tennessee

Miyake Forging announced in the summer it will build a 45,000-square-foot facility in Hawkins County, Tenn. The bearings manufacturer will invest $13.7 million in the plant that will house 60 workers. 

 

Alabama lands truck manufacturer

Autocar, a manufacturer of a wide variety of trucks, announced in the summer plans to build a $120 million facility near Birmingham, Ala. The plant will assemble heavy-duty, cab-over-engine trucks. The deal will create 746 jobs.  

 

Manufacturer to create more than 200 jobs in Georgia
Meggitt Polymers & Composites, a manufacturer of environmental components, is expanding its facilities in Rockmart, Ga. The company, which employs more than 1,000, will invest $30 million and add 211 jobs. 

 

Rescare selects Louisville for new HQ

ResCare (the nation’s largest provider of both health and human services) and its 340-employee local workforce will move into a new headquarters building in Louisville, Ky., its home city.

 

Racing  and auto parts manufacturer adding ops in Franklin, Ky.

Holley Performance Products, a top name in automotive racing and performance parts manufacturing, will establish a $9.15 million facility in Franklin, creating 30 full-time jobs.

 

Hino Motors Manufacturing expands in West Virginia 

Japan-based truck maker Hino Motors Manufacturing will invest $100 million to relocate its assembly plant from Williamstown to Mineral Wells, W.Va. The company plans to purchase the former Cold Water Creek distribution center and convert it into a 1-million-square-foot truck assembly plant in Mineral Wells, close to its current plant.  The new plant will also house cab assembly, an operation currently conducted in Japan. The company’s president, Takashi Ono, said the move was necessary for growth and the addition of 250 employees.

 

Window manufacturer to expand Arkansas facility, add 123 jobs

Morfe Manufacturing Company is expanding its facility in Mountain Pine, Ark. The company will invest approximately $3.8 million to revitalize an old Weyerhaeuser property there and create 123 new jobs.

 

U.S. Silica Holdings builds frack sand plant near Lamesa, Texas

U.S. Silica Holdings, a producer of commercial silica used in the oil-and-gas industry and a wide range of applications, plans to build a second, $150 million state-of-the-art frack sand mine and plant in West Texas’ Permian Basin, about 60 miles north of Midland.

 

Keg 1 plans distribution hub in Temple, Texas

Alcohol distributor KEG 1 O’Neal will soon begin a $10 million project to expand its distribution center on 23 acres in Temple, Texas. The expansion will include construction of a new office and distribution warehouse and is expected to create 50 additional jobs for a total of 110 employees.

 

Nestlé Purina to create 240 jobs in Hart County, Ga.

Nestlé Purina PetCare will create as many as 240 new jobs and invest $320 million in a manufacturing facility and distribution center in Hartwell — the company’s first new U.S. factory in 20 years.

 

Infosys to create 2,000 jobs in North Carolina

Tech firm Infosys is creating jobs, including software developers, analysts and digital architects, at a new hub in Raleigh’s Brier Creek. Five-hundred people will initially be recruited, and will move into offices now under construction.

 

Cleco expansion will include 150 new jobs in Louisiana

A planned expansion by utility company Cleco will create nearly 150 jobs in the Alexandria-Pineville area.

 

Billion-dollar expansion for Mercedes-Benz in Alabama

Mercedes is spending $1 billion to make electric SUVs at its Tuscaloosa plant, as well as building a 1 million-square-foot battery plant, a logistics center and after-sales North American hub. Thanks to an earlier investment of $1.3 billion announced in 2015, the Tuscaloosa plant is currently being expanded to prepare for the production of the next-generation SUV including plug-in hybrid models. The expansion will create more than 600 jobs.

 

Toyota investing $374 million at five U.S. plants

Toyota Motor Corp announced a $374 million investment at five U.S. plants to support production of its first American-made hybrid powertrain. The upgrades at Toyota’s factories in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia are part of a previously announced $10 billion in U.S. spending by the Japanese automaker.

 

Northwest Arkansas plant expansion to create 1,500 jobs

Simmons Prepared Foods announced it will build a new chicken facility in Benton County. The company plans to invest $300 million in the facility, which is expected to create 1,500 new jobs, bringing total employment at the operation to over 2,300 people by 2022.

 

Sabert Corporation bringing manufacturing jobs to Texas

Sabert Corporation will be celebrating 35 years in business next year with the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Greenville, Texas.  Approximately 125 new hires will support Sabert’s first North American facility to offer 100 percent compostable food packaging.

 

New plant in Greenville, Texas to create over 800 jobs

Family-owned Brakebush Brothers will build a new 315,000-square-foot chicken processing plant in Greenville, Texas. The new facility will be the second Texas location for Brakebush Brothers.

 

Auto supplier JTEKT opens new plant in Tennessee

JTEKT recently held a grand opening for its new plant in Vonore, Tenn. The plant means 100 new hires for the Japan-based manufacturer of driveline and steering components.

 

Volvo will boost U.S. investment to $1.1 billion

Even before the first vehicle rolls off the line at Volvo Cars’ new factory in South Carolina, the Swedish automaker has nearly doubled its investment to $1 billion and promised to build a second vehicle — the next-Generation XC90 — at the site. Volvo says it will spend an additional $520 million and add nearly 2,000 more jobs, bringing total employment to nearly 4,000, to its plant under construction in Berkeley County, 30 miles northwest of the port in Charleston.

 

Gulfport, Miss., bets on Octopus’s Garden to boost economy

Gulfport is hoping that alligators, river otters, dolphins and stingrays hold the key to revitalizing the economy of the second-largest city in the state. The city, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is selling $35 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance a public improvement project — the Mississippi Aquarium. The “state of the art” aquarium, set to open in 2019 with a $93 million budget, will join casinos and new restaurants in downtown Gulfport.

 

International Paper to secure future of Alabama mill

A major investment by International Paper is securing hundreds of jobs in Dallas County, Ala. The company is pumping $300 million into the Riverdale Mill to expand its industrial packaging operation and produce whitetop linerboard and containerboard. The massive facility outside of Selma is the county’s largest employer with more than 750 workers.

 

Ravenswood, W.Va., company to add 30 jobs

Niche Polymer will be adding 30 jobs and expanding operations in Ravenswood, W.Va., where it is headquartered. The company is a custom compounder and toll processor for engineering resins.

 

Thirty-one new jobs in Charlottesville, Va.

Astraea, a startup company that develops cutting-edge technology to gather satellite data, will invest $1 million to expand in Charlottesville.

 

South Carolina ports anticipate record growth, upgrades at Greer facility

The South Carolina Ports Authority will invest $5.3 million to upgrade the 50-acre inland port in Greer, part of $263 million in upgrades to ports statewide.

 

Kamstrup locates North American HQ in Roswell, Ga.

Danish manufacturer Kamstrup will create 52 jobs in the company’s new North American headquarters in Fulton County. Headquartered in Denmark, Kamstrup manufacturers high-tech water, heat and electricity meters.

 

Computer services company moves jobs to Gwinnett County, Ga.

CGS, a computer-services company with an office in Atlanta, is moving that office and its 350 jobs, to Peachtree Corners. The move will allow the company to expand to as many as 1,200 employees. The global provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, CGS (Computer Generated Solutions) outgrew its Atlanta offices, where it has been for more than 10 years.

 

Sir Richard Branson holds court at groundbreaking in Nashville

Billionaire Richard Branson was on Music Row recently for the groundbreaking ceremony of his $110 million Virgin Hotel. Branson said his airline, Virgin Atlantic, would also be interested in adding a flight from Nashville to London to compete with a recently announced flight from British Airways. 

 

OneTrust creating 500 jobs in Atlanta

As part of a $5 million expansion, OneTrust will double its office footprint in Midtown. The company, which has developed technology that helps businesses protect personal data of employees and customers, will create 500 jobs in Fulton County.

 

Bank of the Ozarks plans HQ in Little Rock, Ark. 

Bank of the Ozarks plans to build a new 247,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building in Little Rock. Approximately 500 employees are expected to move into the building when construction is completed in late 2019, with capacity to accommodate 800 to 900 employees.

 

NN Inc. moves global headquarters to Charlotte, N.C.

A Johnson City, Tenn., manufacturer will relocate its global headquarters to Charlotte. The $10 million project will also result in the relocation of 200 employees to manufacture industrial parts.

 

RealPure Bottling Company expands Mississippi plant

RealPure Bottling Company, formerly Shooting Star Beverages, is expanding in Magee, Miss. The project is a $19.75 million corporate investment and creates at least 45 additional jobs.

 

Duke Energy makes $30 million investment in battery storage 

Duke Energy is investing $30 million into the two biggest battery storage projects in North Carolina — a first for the regulated arm of the Charlotte-based utility.

“We feel the technology has improved, the price has come down, and we think there are some niche applications where battery use makes sense for the regulated utility,” said Duke spokesperson Randy Wheeless.

 

Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel opens new facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

A family-owned German manufacturer is beginning operations at its facility in Bowling Green. Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel expects to employ about 110 people at its plant, which broke ground in 2015. The company creates thin pieces of steel for a variety of industries. 

 

Brown-Forman’s investment in Louisville a double-edged sword

Last year, Brown-Forman introduced “Cooper’s Craft” Bourbon to honor the men and women who make whiskey barrels at its cooperage on the south side of Louisville. Brown-Forman has announced plans to invest $45 million over the next two years to upgrade the cooperage with new equipment for making whiskey barrels, but 70 of the company’s hourly workers will lose their jobs once the project is completed in 2019.

 

Nokian Tires breaks ground on $360 million facility in Tennessee

Nokian Tires recently broke ground on its $360 million manufacturing facility in Dayton, Tenn., Rhea County’s largest foreign direct investment to date.

 

Sitel to hire 1000 in Spartanburg, S.C.

Florida-based Sitel, described as “a leading global customer experience management provider,” announced it will hire over 1,000 associates over the next eight months due to an increase in clients in health care and financial services.

 

Three Savannah-area logistics firms to expand

The Savannah Economic Development Authority recently announced that three companies — ONL-RBW Logistics, Distribution Services International and ICON Health & Fitness — will expand their local footprints, bringing another 90 jobs and $42 million in investment to Pooler, Ga. 

 

Big Four accounting firm will add 150 jobs in Orlando

Ernst & Young says its planning a significant expansion in Orlando, and a move into the city’s tallest building, the SunTrust Center.

 

Charles Schwab to house 2,600 employees in Westlake, Texas

Financial giant Charles Schwab & Co. says its new campus now under construction north of Fort Worth could house up to 2,600 employees, more than double the number it previously projected. The $100 million complex, which is scheduled to open in 2019, will become a major employment hub for the company and can accommodate up to 5,000.

 

“Project Dancing Bear” picks North Carolina for expansion

Previously known by the code name “Project Dancing Bear,” a wood products firm has tapped North Carolina over South Carolina for a new 46-job facility. Marshville, N.C.-based Edwards Wood Products will be investing $30 million to open a sawmill in Scotland County, recently identified as having the highest unemployment rate out of all 100 counties for July. The company also plans for a second phase that will include an additional $20 million investment.

 

Accenture bringing 800 new jobs to Atlanta

Professional services giant Accenture will double its office footprint in Midtown and add 800 tech jobs by the end of 2020. The Fortune 500 company, which employs about 2,800 across several offices in metro Atlanta, its Southeast headquarters, provides management consulting, tech services and outsourcing. 

 

Atlanta-based UPS to hire 95,000 seasonal employees

For the fourth straight year, the Atlanta-based shipping giant said it plans to hire about 95,000 seasonal employees for the holiday season. The company needs 5,700 of those workers in Atlanta and 8,400 across Georgia. 

 

No holiday hiring for Walmart, just longer days for its workers

Walmart plans to meet its need for extra work during the holiday shopping season by giving existing employees more hours, according to a release from the company. Rival retailer Target has already announced plans to bring on 100,000 temporary holiday workers.

 

Toys ‘R’ Us hiring 10,000 for the holidays

Despite filing for bankruptcy protection, Toys ‘R’ Us plans to hire more than 10,000 part-time employees for the upcoming holiday season.

 

Textile manufacturer to grow South Carolina operation

A textile manufacturer in Gaffney is investing $6 million to expand its facility there. Hamrick Mills will use the capital investment to purchase new equipment for both of its plants in Cherokee County.

 

Borgwarner expanding in South Carolina

A manufacturer of automotive powertrains is expanding its facility in the Upstate. BorgWarner is investing $71.9 million and creating more than 160 new jobs at its plant in Oconee County, the third expansion to its Seneca plant since 2013. 

 

BorgWarner investing $20 million, adding 75 jobs in Mississippi

Automotive supplier BorgWarner is investing $20 million and adding about 75 jobs during the next two years at its Water Valley facility. BorgWarner bills itself as a leader in clean technology solutions for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles.

 

Metalsa Structural Products expands in Owensboro, Ky.

Automotive frame manufacturer Metalsa Structural Products will be adding 113 jobs at its Owensboro facility as part of a $36.5 million expansion. Metalsa plans to produce a new line of stamped and welded components.

 

DowDuPont opens massive ethylene and plastics plant in Texas

The newly merged DowDuPont is opening its new ethylene and plastics plants in Freeport, making the nation’s largest chemical giant the first to start up a major ethylene complex along the Texas Gulf Coast.

 

Geico to hire hundreds and build $12 million facility in Florida

Geico, the insurance company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, plans to create 300 to 500 new jobs and invest about $12 million as it expands its operations in Lakeland.

 

Cardinal LG expands Ocala production center

Cardinal LG, the nation’s leading developer in laminated glass, is expanding its operations center in Ocala, Fla. The expansion will result in more than 50 new, high–wage jobs, and a capital investment of $38 million. The state-of-the–art building will be located across the street from the current facility on a proposed 40 acre site. 

 

Port Tampa Bay approves $55 million expansion

Port Tampa Bay is moving forward with a $55 million plan to expand the Big Bend Channel after approving a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The move will make room for larger ships in the channel, which connects to the Tampa Harbor main channel.

 

Flooring distributor bringing 172 jobs, $6.4 million investment to North Carolina

Maryland-based Haines, the largest floor covering distributor in the U.S., plans to open a distribution center in Concord. The new facility will serve as Haines’ Southern hub and will house Haines’ entire portfolio of floor covering, installation and maintenance products.

 

Call center to hire 500 in Shreveport, La.

Representatives from Alorica, a nationwide call center company, will hire about 500 people from the Shreveport-Bossier City area. Those hired will answer phones from their homes.

 

Thrace-Linq expands South Carolina plant

Thrace-LINQ, a global supplier of fabrics for the textile industry and member of the Greece-based Thrace Group, will invest $9 million to expand its operations center in Dorchester County, S.C. The company will be adding a new production line and upgrading existing equipment to produce nonwoven fabrics used in a variety of applications, including geosynthetics, automotive, construction and floor covering.

 

AIV plans expansion in Houston

AIV LP, a Houston-based distributor of valves and actuators for the oil-and-gas, power generation, chemical, petrochemical, refining, pulp-and-paper and water treatment industries, plans to locate a 320,000 square-foot facility in northwest Houston, Texas.

 

Chinese automakers plan U.S. factory

Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motor Co, said that the carmaker intends to set up a manufacturing presence in the US, in cooperation with two other Chinese car producers. “The three Chinese auto companies may test the waters by building a factory together,” Wei was quoted as saying, without naming the two other firms. A Beijing-based media group reports that three other Chinese automakers — Geely, Guangzhou and Chery – have all previously announced plans to enter the U.S. market. Geely and Guanzhou both said they were unaware of the plans, while Chery declined to comment. Wei described the move as “brand-building to sell cars in the US.” It also comes under a Trump administration eager to announce new manufacturing jobs.

 

Ingredion plans to locate 60 jobs in downtown Tulsa

An Illinois-based company announced plans to hire 60 people in Tulsa, Okla., to provide finance services. Ingredion makes ingredients for food, beverage, personal care and pharmaceutical products.

 

Conecuh Ridge Distillery to base operations in Troy, Ala.

The maker of Clyde May’s Alabama-style whiskey plans to consolidate operations in Troy, where the company will build a $13 million artisan distillery, rack houses and a bottling hub, as well as a tasting experience center designed to attract tourists.

 

Boeing’s partnership with DFW aerospace supplier to generate 950 jobs

The Boeing Company selected Triumph Group to be a major supplier for its training jet, bringing hundreds of jobs to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Triumph’s flagship plant is in Red Oak — about 20 miles south of Dallas — and the partnership between the two aerospace companies will generate 950 direct and indirect jobs.

 

Kencoa Aerospace plans expansion at Georgia plant

Kencoa Group, an aerospace holdings company, completed acquisition of Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters, a tier-1 supplier of metal components for the aerospace industry based in Eastman, Ga. The company, which plans a major expansion in the Heart of Georgia Regional Airport Industrial Park in Eastman, will now be known as Kencoa Aerospace.

 

Pratt & Whitney building $31 million facility, plans 500 jobs in Georgia

A major piece of Pratt & Whitney’s expansion project in Columbus is about to ramp up, with the aerospace company starting construction on a 276,301-square-foot facility on the city’s east side. The price tag on the construction of the new facility for the engine overhaul business is $31.3 million.

 

Allstate could hire “well beyond” 2,250 in Charlotte, N.C.

Allstate Insurance Company told North Carolina officials the number of jobs it plans to create in Charlotte could go “well beyond” the 2,250 announced last month as part of an expansion project.

 


September 2017

Dallas Fed President says the U.S. needs more immigrants to achieve stronger growth

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said in August that the U.S. needs and aggressive but responsible approach to immigration in an interview with CNBC. He explained that demographics have our backs against the wall regarding available labor and that situation is one of the reasons the U.S. economy has been growing so slowly. The nation's population grew by less than one percent last year. "One of the big challenges we face in the United States and one of the reasons GDP growth has been so sluggish is our population is aging and our workforce growth has been slowing," Kaplan said. 

 

Houston lost more manufacturing jobs in 2016 than any other U.S. market

Data released in the summer quarter from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Harris County, home of Houston, lost 19,000 manufacturing jobs in 2016, the most of any county in the country. The losses were tied to the oil and gas market, which is linked to metal manufacturing. With 3,600 manufacturing job gains, Jefferson County, Ky., (Louisville) led the nation, followed by Fulton County, Ga., (Atlanta) and Dallas, Texas.

 

Southwest Louisiana: The nation's largest LNG export cluster

It wasn't too long ago that Cheniere Energy built a LNG import facility in Cameron Parish, La., at a cost of billions of dollars. Because of the massive increase in fracking over the past six or seven years, Cheniere reversed course and turned the import facility into the nation's first large-scale LNG export facility. The Houston-based company began exporting well over 100 tanker loads of liquefied natural gas in 2016. The company has already begun profiting from the venture and others have noticed. Eight other companies are in the planning stages of building their own LNG export facilities in and around Lake Charles, La., at a cost of billions each. Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles LNG have received permits and are waiting on buyers before making final investment decisions.

 

Kentucky has become the center of aluminum manufacturing for the automotive industry

In the spring quarter, Braidy Industries announced it will build a $1.3 billion aluminum mill in Greenup County in Eastern Kentucky. The plant will produce aluminum sheet and plate for automotive plants in the South and Midwest. The deal will create 550 jobs. With Ford using more aluminum in its vehicles that are built in Louisville, the plant is needed. Also, Toyota is undergoing a $1.3 billion expansion of its plant in Georgetown, Ky., part of which is to accommodate more aluminum parts in its vehicles assembled there. The move convinced Logan Aluminum, which for decades has made aluminum cans in Logan County, Ky., to invest $248 million in the plant to produce aluminum parts for cars and trucks. 

 

Texas adds more jobs than any other state

From August 1, 2016 to August 1, 2017, Texas added nearly 300,000 jobs. . .more than any other state during that period. The labor department said the largest jump in employment came from leisure and hospitality.  

 

Louisiana claws out of recession

After two long years, it looks as if Louisiana has clawed its way out of the recession it has been in. In the summer, the state reached a three-year low in its unemployment rate and is now creating jobs instead of losing them. However, at 5.5 percent, the rate is still more than a point higher than the national average of 4.3 percent.

 

Engineering firm will add 200 jobs in Palm Beach County, Fla.

Belcan, a global supplier of engineering, technical recruiting and IT services, will expand operations in Palm Beach County. The company plans to create 200 new jobs and invest over $3 million.

 

Denyo Manufacturing plans Kentucky expansion

Denyo Manufacturing Corporation is planning a major expansion to its facilities and operations in Danville, Ky. The company will invest $8.7 million to construct an additional building and purchase new equipment, adding up to 90 new jobs fabricating sheet metal components used in generator and air compressor assembly. 

 

Alabama aerospace company plans major expansion

Huntsville-based Dynetics Inc. has broken ground on a three-building complex to develop and test large rocket components. Dynetics plans to use the three buildings in Decatur, Ala., to build the Space Launch System Universal Stage Adapter and perform structural testing for the Department of Defense, NASA and commercial customers.

 

Robots to make Chinese T-shirts in Arkansas

Chinese company, Tianyuan Garments Co., will soon open a T-shirt factory in Little Rock, Ark. Their workforce will feature 330 robots from Atlanta-based Softwear Automation. The $20-million factory is expected to produce about 23 million shirts a year at a cost of 33 cents each.

 

Franke Foodservice Systems expands in Smyrna, Tenn.

Swiss-based Franke Foodservice Systems will expand its operations in Smyrna. The food service equipment manufacturer will invest $11.6 million and create 67 new jobs in Rutherford County.

 

Mission Solutions Group expands in South Carolina

Mission Solutions Group, a company that provides infrastructure and services to the U.S. government, will locate its corporate headquarters to a facility in North Charleston. The $2.9 million investment will allow the firm to centralize its operations and create 41 new jobs.

 

American Marksman Arkansas expands in Searcy, Ark.

The ammunition maker and recycler is expanding its operations center in Searcy and creating up to 100 new advanced manufacturing jobs.

 

South Carolina automotive plant moving to Mexico

Kongsberg Automotive will close its plant in Easley early next year and eliminate nearly 100 jobs. The plant makes parts for large trucks and buses.

 

Weapons maker moving to Richmond Hill, Ga.

C&H Precision Weapons will move its defense unit from LaBelle, Fla. to Richmond Hill. The company is a veteran-owned small business specializing in custom rifle builds, rifle repair and firearm upgrades. 

 

Medical device company completes $270 million expansion in Opelika, Ala.

A dialyzer manufacturing company has completed a $270 million expansion of its east Alabama facility. Baxter doubled both the physical size of its plant and number of employees to 350, allowing them to increase the production of dialyzers for patients with end-stage renal disease.

 

Exxon’s XTO Energy relocating 1,600 employees to Houston

Even as Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. shut down the country’s second-largest refining complex in Baytown to minimize the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, not everything is coming to a halt. XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, will continue to relocate about 1,600 workers from Irving to Exxon’s 385-acre campus in Houston. About 1,200 employees will make the move by mid-2018, with another 400 employees moving in 2020. 

 

Swedish Match to invest $41 million in Owensboro, Ky.

Swedish Match, a smokeless tobacco products manufacturer, will add to its Owensboro production facility with a $40.9 million investment and 36 new full-time jobs in Daviess County.

 

Duke kills nuclear plant, plans $6 billion in solar and battery

Duke Energy Florida will cease plans to build a nuclear plant in western Florida. Instead, the utility will invest $6 billion in solar panels, grid-tied batteries, grid modernization projects, and electric vehicle charging areas. 

 

Lockheed Martin’s massive hiring spree in Fort Worth

Lockheed Martin Corporation offered letters of intent to 673 people during a major hiring event recently in Fort Worth. The company had aspirations of offering jobs to upwards of 1,000 heading into the event.

 

Southwest Virginia pole factory expands

Hapco Pole Products, based in Abingdon, Va., has announced a $6 million expansion of its current facility that produces light and street direction poles, resulting in the creation of 28 new jobs.

 

Logistics provider to create 170 jobs in Tennessee

NFI will invest approximately $7.2 million to establish a distribution facility in Smyrna, Tenn. The logistics provider plans to create nearly 170 new jobs in Rutherford County.

 

Who’s in the running for Toyota-Mazda plant?

According to the Wall Street Journal, 11 states — Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas — are being considered for a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant planned by Toyota and Mazda.

 

Advocates say 500-600 jobs created in Arkansas cannabis industry

Medical-marijuana industry advocates expect cannabis-related jobs to reach between 500 and 600 in the short term, with 1,500 eventually being employed in the state’s industry. “I see that number growing all the time,” said Storm Nolan, president of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.

 

Digital Realty plans billion-dollar Texas data center

Digital Realty’s multi-phased, billion dollar, data center campus will be located on 47.5 acres in Garland, Texas. The world’s largest colocation and wholesale data center will be developed in three distinct $350-million phases.

 

Cherokee Nation hiring for tribal health center in Oklahoma

“When this new facility is complete, it will be the largest tribal health center in the country,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “This world-class health center will open in 2019 and eventually create more than 800 permanent health care jobs.” For now, the construction project in Tahlequah, Okla., has created a need for hundreds more jobs across a variety of construction trades.

 

Bank adding 200 new jobs in St. Louis, Mo.

U.S. Bank is adding 200 new jobs in the St. Louis area, thanks, in part, to growth in its home mortgage division. To keep up with demand, the bank launched an electronic loan portal over the summer quarter.

 

Home decorating platform Houzz to add 200 more jobs in Nashville

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Houzz is doubling its workforce to more than 400 in Nashville, and has leased another floor at downtown’s UBS Tower. The company will add employees in sales, logistics, account management and customer service, to support shoppers and vendors on the Houzz Marketplace.

 

Freightliner to open $27 million logistics center in North Carolina

Rowan County’s huge Freightliner plant, owned by Portland, Oregon-based Daimler Trucks North America, will get a new $27 million logistics center and add more than a dozen new jobs to the 1,400 employees already working there. The idea is to consolidate existing warehouses and pave the way for adding more robot vehicles to the production line.

 

Toyota Motor North America expands Plano, Texas operations hub

Toyota Motor North America will form a new group focused on new technologies for its Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Called Connected Technologies, the group will employ approximately 100 positions and will include members from Toyota’s existing teams working on connected vehicles, information systems, and research and development.

 

Orangetheory’s new global HQ forms in Boca Raton

Orangetheory Fitness has moved 120 employees into a global headquarters in Boca Raton. The fitness franchise, begun with a single studio in Fort Lauderdale, is among the fastest-growing brands in the country, boasting more than 700 locations.

 

Sykes plans 300 new jobs in Wise, Va.

Sykes Enterprises says it is in the process of adding 285 new jobs by the end of the year. The call center Sykes purchased from Frontier Secure earlier this year will add 175 of the new jobs.

 

Tech firm adding 300 jobs in West Virginia

An Atlanta-based technology sales and marketing firm is opening an office in West Virginia and creating up to 300 new jobs. N3 said in a news release the office will be located at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.

 

TSA will move HQ, 3,000 jobs to Springfield, Va.

The Transportation Security Administration’s new headquarters — a $316 million contract — and thousands of jobs will be coming to Springfield, Va., ending a years-long search for a new home. TSA’s headquarters is currently in Pentagon City. 

 

Sentury to build North American HQ and tire plant in Georgia

Sentury Tire’s Georgia-based North American headquarters and manufacturing plant will sprawl across 1.5 million square feet, according to a filing made with the state. Last September, China-based Sentury Tire confirmed plans for a $530 million investment in LaGrange to make tires for cars and aircraft, including the landing gear tire for the Boeing 737. The first phase will employ 1,000 and include R&D and distribution centers.

 

Parts supplier to establish new operation in South Carolina

Germany-based Frimo Group subsidiary bo parts GmbH, a tier one and tier two supplier to the automotive industry, is establishing a new facility in Greenville County, S.C. The $4.1 million project will create 100 new jobs. 

 

Boeing’s $349 million contract will boost Alabama

A major aerospace company in Alabama will perform design work for the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile. The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing Co. a $349 million contract to design a replacement for the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. 

 

Another brewery expanding in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced recently that Heritage Brewing plans to spend $8.9 million and create 66 new jobs to expand its craft brewery in Manassas. The state is providing a $250,000 grant, which the city of Manassas will match. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide additional support.

 

Battery manufacturer declaring bankruptcy, cutting 290 jobs in North Carolina

Battery manufacturer Alevo USA announced it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and lay off almost 300 people in Concord.

 

In wake of Toyota-Mazda decision, Chatham County, N.C., approves options on megasites

Chatham County has approved five-year option agreements for both the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site and the Moncure Megasite. Both sites are located in Chatham County and both meet the requirements for an automotive assembly facility. 

 

LG Electronics breaks ground on Tennessee plant

South Korea-based LG Electronics broke ground in Clarksville, Tenn., on its 1 million-square-foot appliance plant in the summer quarter. The $250 million project will create 600 jobs and will be operational the first quarter of 2019. 

 

Tech firm to create 800 jobs in Nashville MSA

Amsterdam-based Philips, with primary divisions in electronics, healthcare and lighting, is establishing a new health technology center of expertise in the Nashville area. The deal will create 800 jobs. 

 

British aerospace manufacturer adding jobs in Georgia

Meggitt Polymers & Composites, a maker of engine and aerodynamic seals, flexible fuel tanks and other aircraft engine components, is expanding its plant in Rockmart, Ga. The $30 million project will create 211 jobs. The company currently employs 1,000 people at the Rockmart facility. 

 

Revlon expanding in North Carolina

Cosmetics maker Revlon is investing $16 million in its Granville County plant near Oxford, N.C. The company is increasing production of its Elizabeth Arden line. The deal is expected to add 55 jobs. 

 

HVAC manufacturing adding 700 jobs in South Carolina

Trane, an HVAC manufacturer, is making a $96 million investment in its Richland County, S.C., facilities. The project will create 700 jobs. 

 

Oklahoma's aviation and aerospace sector is massive

Since 1994, the aviation and aerospace industry in Oklahoma has grown by 250 percent and today there are 1,100 companies in the field, according to an Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. The aviation and aerospace industry in Oklahoma generates $43.7 billion annually in economic activity, making the sector the second largest in the state behind oil and gas. 

 

Auto parts supplier expands in Tennessee

U.S. Tsubaki Automotive is investing $35.8 million to expand its facilities in Portland, Tenn. The parts supplier will also add 70 new jobs. 

 

Furniture maker expands in Georgia

The HON Company, a maker of workplace furniture, is investing $14.5 million in its plant in Cedartown, Ga. The company is adding 60 new jobs to the 680 that currently work at the plant. 

 

Organ transplant company adding 300 jobs in Virginia

LifeNet Health, an organ and tissue transplant company, is adding 321 jobs at its Princess Anne biomedical corridor facility in Virginia Beach. The company will invest $12 million in the deal. 

 

Danish manufacturer to locate new facility in rural North Carolina

Fibertex Personal Care, one of the world's largest manufacturers of spunbond/spunmelt nonwovens used to produce diapers and other care products, is investing $114 million in a new plant in Asheboro, N.C. The project will create 145 jobs. 

 

Amazon bringing 600 new jobs to Charlotte region

Amazon has announced another distribution center in the South, this one in Kannapolis, N.C. The $85 million, 1 million-square-foot center will house 600 workers. 

 

Appliance manufacturer adding jobs in Tennessee

GE’s Monogram Refrigeration, a maker of upscale refrigerators and freezers, is adding 210 jobs to its plant in Selmer, Tenn. The company is making a capital investment of $9.3 million. 

 

Charlotte-based company adding jobs in North Carolina

Albemarle Corp., a producer of chemicals such as lithium for batteries, is adding 170 jobs at its plant in Kings Mountain, N.C. It will also add 30 jobs to its headquarters in Charlotte. 

 

Video game designer adding jobs at new HQ in Austin

Certain Affinity, which has worked with some of the biggest video games ever, including Halo, Call of Duty and Left 4 Dead, has plans to launch its own intellectual properties at a new headquarters in Austin, Texas. The company, which employs 125, is expected to hire 180 more by 2020. 

 

Pfizer investing $100 million in North Carolina

Pfizer, a giant pharmaceutical manufacturer, is investing $100 million at its facilities in Sanford, N.C. The company is entering the gene therapy sector and will add 40 jobs. 

 

Canadian company investing $400 million in new Georgia plant

Canada-based Irving Consumer Products will build a new $400 million, 700,000-square-foot bath tissue and paper towel plant in Macon, Ga. The facility will house 200 workers. 

 

Louisiana tops all states in energy consumption

Louisiana is the nation's largest energy consumer, based on population. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that Louisiana used 912 million British Thermal Units of energy per person in 2015 (the latest data available). Total energy consumption includes all energy sources such as coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewable sources. 

 

Textile operation slated for South Carolina

Fiber Industries will open a new textile operation in Darlington County, S.C. The company will invest $30 million in an existing facility and hire 135 in the deal. 

 

Plastics plant closes in rural North Carolina; 215 jobs lost

General Foam Plastics, which makes pools, will close it plant in Tarboro, N.C., in the fall quarter. All 215 employees will lose their jobs. 

 

Durham, N.C., named best place in U.S. for millennials

Growella, a money management website for young adults, named Durham the No. 1 place in the country for millennials to live. Pittsburgh came in second and Nashville, Charlotte, Austin, Greenville, S.C., and Houston all made the top 10. 

 

IT services company to open Alabama center

Provalus, a firm specializing in business technology service and support, announced it will locate a $6.5 million center in Brewton, Ala. The deal will create 300 jobs. 

 

IT firm hiring 400 in Northern Virginia

Mission Services, a provider of information technology services to federal agencies — specifically the Department of Defense — is expanding it footprint in Tysons, Va. The company is adding 400 jobs. 

 

Allstate adding over 2,000 jobs in Charlotte

Allstate announced in the summer quarter it would bring 2,250 jobs over three years to an operations center in Charlotte. The insurance company is spending $22.6 million on the operations center. 

 

Lifetime Products opens plant near Knoxville

Lifetime Products, a maker of kayaks, paddle boards and outdoor play equipment, opened its new plant in Knox County, Tenn., in the summer quarter. The company is investing $115 million and hiring 500. 

 

British online fashion company to hire 1,600 in Georgia

British online fashion giant ASOS will open an East Coast fulfillment center in Union City, Ga. The company will invest $40 million in the project and hire 1,600. 

 

Kayak manufacturer locating plant in South Carolina

Bonafide Kayaks, a manufacturer of fishing kayaks, is launching a new $2 million plant in Greenville, S.C. The project will create 76 jobs. 

 

Auto parts maker to expand in Mississippi

Ohio-based S&A Industries announced it will invest $4 million to expand its plant in New Albany, Miss. The company, which will hire 40, makes noise vibration damping products for automakers. 

 

Union Tank Car adding jobs in Arkansas

Union Tank Car is adding about 100 jobs at its production plant in Texarkana. The Chicago-based company moved into the former General Electric Railcar Repair facility last year. 

 

Manufacturer restarts operations in Oklahoma

TMK IPSCO, which suspended operations in September 2015, has restarted its pipe welding operation at its facility at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. The restart will bring back 168 new jobs. 

 

CSX rail hub will bring 1,500 jobs to North Carolina

An intermodal rail hub that CSX is building in Rocky Mount, N.C., will create 1,500 jobs to the state. Called the Carolina Connector Hub, the facility will open in December 2019. 

 

Japanese manufacturer to establish operations in Georgia

Japanese manufacturer Rinnai, a maker of tankless water heaters, will establish a plant in Griffin, Ga. The $69 million facility will initially house 150 workers. 

 

Online pet product retailer hiring 1,100 in South Florida

Chewy, an online retailer of pet food products, will create a customer service hub in Hollywood, Fla. The development will create 1,100 jobs. 

 

Port of Charleston sets container volume record

Container volumes at the Port of Charleston set record highs for fiscal year 2017, according to the South Carolina State Ports Authority. Volumes are up 10 percent compared to fiscal 2016. The port moved 2.14 million TEUs, or 20-foot containers in fiscal 2017. 

 

Georgia Ports Authority has record year

The Georgia Ports Authority set a new record for cargo in fiscal year 2017. Georgia's ports handled 3.85 million 20-foot containers in fiscal year 2017, an increase of 6.7 percent over the previous year. 

 

Software firm relocates HQ to Midtown Atlanta

Gro Solutions, a banking software firm, is relocating its headquarters from Johns Creek, Ga., to Midtown Atlanta. The move will create 200 jobs. 

 

Creamery expands in rural Tennessee

Bongards Creameries, a maker of cheese, is expanding its plant in Humboldt, Tenn. The $35 million deal will create 100 jobs.  

 

Manufacturer restarts Alabama operations after decade-long hiatus

Wolverine Tube will resume manufacturing at its plant in Morgan County, Ala. The copper tube manufacturer will make aluminum components at the new plant, which will house 250 workers. 

 

Food distributor adding jobs in Virginia

US Foods, one of the nation's largest foodservice distributors, is expanding its center in Prince William County, Va. The deal will create 100 jobs. 

 

United Launch Alliance makes capital investment at North Alabama plant

United Launch Alliance is investing in new technology and infrastructure for the production of the Vulcan thrust assembly. The launch system is the newest for ULA. The company is investing $115 million in its facility in Morgan County, Ala. 

 

Georgia named top aerospace state in new ranking

The 2017 Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Ranking by PwC came out in the summer quarter and Georgia was named by the giant accounting and consulting firm as the No. 1 state. The U.S. was named the No. 1 country in manufacturing attractiveness followed by Switzerland, the U.K. and Australia. Other states making the top 10 in the South were North Carolina (4); Virginia (5); Florida (6) and Texas tied for 8th. Michigan, Arizona, Ohio, Colorado and New York made up the top 10.  

 

Animal feed company invests in Arkansas

Simmons Food, a maker of pet and animal food, is investing $30 million in a new plant in Siloam Springs, Ark. The 72,000-square-foot facility will house 78 workers. 

 

Textile manufacturer to create 1,000 new jobs in Tennessee

Traditional Southern industries such as textiles are making a comeback in the South as some reshore from overseas. One example is Textile Corporation of America. The company is locating its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Pikeville, Tenn. The $27 million project will create 1,000 jobs. 

 

Plastipak investing in Central Louisiana plant

Plastipak Packaging, a maker of plastic containers for the food and beverage industries, is investing $15 million in its plant in Pineville, La. The investment will add seven new production lines and 10 workers to the plant. 

 

Largest U.S. wind farm to be built in Oklahoma

GE Renewable Energy and Invenergy announced in the summer quarter that Oklahoma will soon be home to the nation's largest wind farm. The Wind Catcher project will have a capacity of 2,000-MW, which edges out the current largest U.S. wind farm located in California. That farm, the Alta Wind Energy Center, has a capacity of 1,550-MW. The Wind Catcher will feature 800 wind turbines and is located in Oklahoma's panhandle. 

 

Study shows that South Carolina's manufacturing costs lowest in U.S.

New Jersey-based site selection firm The Boyd Company released a study in the summer that showed that South Carolina ranked the lowest in the cost of operating an advanced manufacturing plant in the U.S. The study measured key cost factors such as real estate, labor, energy and taxes. The study based costs on a hypothetical 225,000-square-foot plant employing 500 workers, and determined that South Carolina was the least expensive place to operate with an annual cost of $30.1 million. New Jersey was the most expensive place to operate the same manufacturing plant at almost $40 million a year. 

 

New port slated for Southwest Louisiana

A massive new port is slated to be built over the next four years on the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Cameron Parish, La. The location is between Lake Charles, La., and the Louisiana-Texas border. Peterson Offshore Group, a Dutch international energy logistics company, signed a letter of intent to lease 1.2 million square feet of space at the new port, called Port Cameron. The company will co-manage the port, which will serve the Gulf of Mexico's energy industry. The port is being built on 500 acres, with 750 acres available for expansion. Eight thousand construction jobs and about 4,000 permanent jobs will be created. 

 

Texas oil industry stabilizes

Oil companies in Texas added about 20,000 jobs from July 2016 to July 2017 as oil prices, as well as the industry itself, have stabilized in the Lone Star State. Today, over 210,000 workers are working in the oil and gas industry in Texas. The number of oil rigs in Texas has more than doubled in the past year, from 206 to 464 in July. 

 

Poultry processor adding jobs in Louisiana

Foster Farms is expanding its poultry plant in Union Parish. The company is investing $30 million to expand its cut-up and deboning operations at the plant. The deal will create 50 jobs and retain over 1,000. 

 

Another megasite in the South tries to land Toyota-Mazda

The Purchase Area Regional Industrial Authority that covers several counties in Western Kentucky is offering up more than 2,000 acres of free land in an effort to land the latest automotive assembly plant site search in the Southern Auto Corridor. The site is in Graves County near Mayfield, Ky. According to sources, about 15 states in the South and the Midwest are competing for the proposed $1.6 billion plant that will build Toyota Corolla models and a Mazda SUV. 

 

Smithfield adding jobs at North Carolina pork plant 

Smithfield Foods announced in the summer it will invest $100 million in its plant in Bladen County, N.C. The Virginia-based company will add 250 jobs at its sausage line there. 

 

Bank adding 200 mortgage jobs in Missouri

U.S. Bank is adding 200 mortgage jobs in St. Louis. The Minneapolis-based bank added 150 jobs in St. Louis last year. 

 

Canada-based company building $105 million greenhouse in Middle Georgia

Pure Flavor plans to built a $105 million greenhouse in Peach County, Ga. The 75-acre greenhouse will grow tomatoes and cucumbers year-round. The facility will also include a distribution center and will house 200 workers. 

 

New York furniture manufacturer to build distribution center near Savannah

Safavieh, a manufacturer of furniture and rugs, will build a $60 million distribution center near Savannah, Ga. The project will create 200 jobs. 

 

USAA plans major expansion in Tampa

USAA is expanding its campus in Tampa, adding a 250,000-square-foot office building in suburban Tampa. The new building will house 1,000 new workers, bringing USAA employment at the site to nearly 4,500. 

 

USAA doubling workforce in Plano, Texas

USAA is expanding its North Texas campus in Plano by adding a 150,000-square-foot building. The company plans to add 850 workers. 

 

Lockheed Martin hiring hundreds in Central Florida

Maryland-based Lockheed Martin is hiring 663 workers in Orlando, Cape Canaveral, Melbourne and Titusville, Fla. The defense giant employs almost 8,000 workers in Central Florida. 

 

Northrop Grumman adding jobs in Central Florida

Virginia-based Northrop Grumman is hiring 102 workers in Melbourne, Fla., for work in cyber security and software development. The work is in support of the E2 aircraft program. That program supports about 800 jobs in Melbourne. 

 

Automakers in Alabama shipped vehicles to 86 countries last year

Alabama's automotive industry is in its 20th year. Last year, Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes-Benz shipped $7.9 billion in Alabama-made vehicles to 86 different countries. The number is a 13 percent increase over 2015 exports. Germany was the top export market for Alabama-made vehicles with more than $2.4 billion, followed by China, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. 

 

ConAgra investing $50 million in Arkansas plant

ConAgra Foods is investing $12.5 million per year for the next four years at its plant in Russellville, Ark. The capital investment will be used to add and improve equipment in order to produce a larger variety of foods at the facility. 

 

Florida-Alabama megasite makes pitch to Toyota-Mazda

In the Florida Panhandle, just South of the Alabama-Florida line and Dothan, Ala., lies the 2,240-acre Florida-Alabama Mega Site. The site is relatively new to the large number of megasites in the South. Alabama and Florida officials have contacted leaders of the Toyota-Mazda joint venture to build electric sedans and SUVs. The site is located 30 miles from Dothan, 49 miles from Panama City, Fla., and 63 miles from Tallahassee. The city of Marianna, Fla., operates a municipal airport 12 miles from the site. 

 

Boat manufacturer expands in South Carolina

Sportsman Boats is adding 75,000 square feet of space at its facility in Dorchester County, S.C. The $3.5 million project will create 100 new jobs. 

 

Aerospace manufacturer expands in Alabama

UTC Aerospace Systems unveiled its new 80,000-square-foot nacelle assembly facility in the summer quarter. The plant, located in Foley, Ala., will house 260 more workers and ultimately up to 1,000.


August 2017

Amazon posts 50,000 job openings in U.S.

Delivering on a pledge made earlier this year, Amazon announced in July that it has created 50,000 job openings for various roles across its fulfillment network in the U.S.

 

Modernizing Medicine announces 800 new jobs in Boca Raton, Fla.

The Boca Raton-based medical records firm Modernizing Medicine, already one of the fastest-growing tech companies in South Florida, announced an expansion in July that will create more than 800 new jobs there. The company, which developed an electronic medical records and data system for specialty physicians, already employs 550 people.

 

Jobs and millions in investment roll in to Monroeville, Ala.

A Canadian packaging company recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art facility in Monroeville. Sterling Packaging is investing $6 million and is expected to create up to 55 new jobs there.

 

New “Delta Region” facility to employ 50 in Pine Bluff, Ark.

A new company is coming to Pine Bluff and creating 50 jobs. Western Foods of Woodland, Calif., will open a gluten-free flour mill in an existing 50,000-square-foot building in the city’s industrial park.

 

Oklahoma will be home to the largest wind farm in the U.S.

GE Renewable Energy and Invenergy just announced that Oklahoma will soon be home to the largest wind farm in the U.S., — the Wind Catcher project. The size edges out the current largest wind farm in the country, California’s Alta Wind Energy Center.

 

Team Technologies invests $6 million in Tennessee expansion

Team Technologies has announced plans for a $6 million expansion of its medical equipment manufacturing plant in Morristown, Tenn. The expansion is expected to create 160 jobs in Hamblen County. Founded in 1988, Team Technologies is a manufacturer of dental, medical, cosmetic and industrial products.

 

Ritrama to spend $15 million more in Spartanburg County expansion

Ritrama, an adhesives manufacturer from Italy, plans to invest an additional $15 million into its Spartanburg County facility expansion, bringing the company’s total investment in South Carolina to $100 million.

 

Tom Benson to build Dixie Beer Brewery in New Orleans

Saints-Pelicans owner Tom Benson is bringing Dixie Beer back to New Orleans with plans to build a local brewery after buying the 110-year-old iconic brand.  Tom and his wife Gayle Benson purchased a majority of Dixie Brewing Co. for an undisclosed price. As part of the agreement, a brewery will be built in Orleans Parish within the next two years.

 

SWEPCO invests billions in Louisiana wind farm

Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) customers could see a drop in their energy bills as soon as 2021, as the power company announced recently that it has invested $3.2 billion in a wind farm project in Oklahoma. SWEPCO will own 70 percent of a $4.5 billion, 2,000-megawatt wind farm under construction in Oklahoma. It said it will send power to the Bossier City-Shreveport area through a 350-mile power line.

 

Texas bank to build $52 million HQ in McKinney; add 400 jobs

Independent Bank Group— a longtime North Texas company — plans to build a new $52 million corporate campus in McKinney, which will accommodate 400 new employees.

 

Dallas cybersecurity center to employ 300

Ernst & Young is investing $10 million to expand its Dallas footprint with a new cybersecurity center that will house 300 employees, with about three-fourths of them new hires.

 

GE could add 225 employees to Fort Worth locomotive facility

In an effort to cut costs amid a sharp downturn in the domestic rail market, Boston-based General Electric plans to end most locomotive manufacturing at a century-old Pennsylvania factory. GE will shift production to a facility in Texas and could recall 225 workers to its Fort Worth facility six months after laying off more than 200.

 

Tyson’s Hillshire to spend $50 million in Kentucky

A $400,000 tax incentive was recently approved to support a renovation project at The Hillshire Brands (a subsidiary of Tyson Foods) facility in Alexandria, Ky., valued at $50 million. The project will initially create 16 jobs and up to 26 jobs in the future.

 

Rinnai Corp. expands Georgia campus

Japan-based Rinnai Corp. (a manufacturer of gas appliances) will triple the size of its North American headquarters in Peachtree City, Ga., with a $15 million expansion.

 

Prysmian Group expands South Carolina complex

Prysmian Group North America, a manufacturer of electrical cables, is expanding in Abbeville County, S.C. The expansion will result in an additional $14 million of capital investment.

 

Davidson County, N.C., lands 770-job deal

One of the biggest economic development projects in Triad history was announced in July with an Austrian furniture and flooring industry supplier committing to a $700 million project in Davidson County. Egger Wood Products will eventually create up to 770 jobs. The first phase of the particle-board plant project is expected to take six years, will include 400 jobs and a $300 million investment.

 

Water bottler to grow Oklahoma City jobs

Niagara Bottling, based in California, will build and operate a $57 million manufacturing plant in OKC expected to add about 45 new jobs during the next five years.

 

Audubon Metals expanding in Henderson County, Ky.

Aluminum producer Audubon Metals will expand its Henderson plant with an $8.3 million investment that will create 39 full-time jobs.

 

Carter Lumber announces new facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

Ohio-based Carter Lumber recently announced the location of its new $10 million Kight Home Center manufacturing facility at the Kentucky Transpark, creating 50 new jobs in South Central Kentucky.

 

New jobs for Arlington County, Va.

A tech company that connects people to private investigators is planning to expand in Virginia. Trustify says it will spend $1 million to expand, creating 184 new jobs. The company was founded in 2015 and says it is the first “technology platform” to pair clients and private investigators around the country.

 

Milestone for East Tennessee community

Twelve years ago Bledsoe County lost its biggest private employer when Dura Automotive shut down its 580-employee plant there. Soon, the shuttered plant will reopen as a textile operation employing nearly twice as many people. Textile Corporation of America will spend $27 million to move its headquarters and manufacturing facility to 1,600-population Pikeville. . .the largest private investment in county history.

 

European auto supplier to open first U.S. facility in Alabama

An automotive company based in Spain is investing $30 million in a new wheel assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County. Truck & Wheel Group’s move will create more than 70 jobs.

 

Bolta opens $49 million Alabama plant

Global auto parts supplier Bolta Group has opened its new $48.7 million production facility at the Tuscaloosa County Airport Industrial Park. The factory will add 350 to its current staff of 200. Bolta manufacturers parts such as nameplates and decorative trims for the automotive industry.

 

Escambia County, Ala., lands 300 tech jobs

The Brewton City Council has finalized a $6.5 million deal with Provalus and its parent company Optomi that will mean about 300 jobs for the area. Optomi, a tech-staffing firm, will begin construction on its flagship U.S. facility once they hire 50 employees. The project will include $1.5 million from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s discretionary fund. “Gov. Ivey made it clear from the start that she was behind new technology coming to Alabama,” Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace said.

 

Williams Sausage breaks ground on new Tennessee facility

The new Williams Sausage Company factory in Union City began construction in July. Once completed, the project will bring more than 200 new jobs to the area.

 

Port Cameron to bring thousands of jobs to Southwest Louisiana

A massive, 500-acre port will be built over the next four years on the Calcasieu Ship Channel, creating close to 4,000 permanent jobs – doubling the employment in Cameron Parish.

 

ExxonMobil to move 1,600 jobs to Houston by 2020

ExxonMobil plans to move 1,600 jobs from its Fort Worth-based XTO Energy to its campus in Springwoods Village over the next three years. About 9,000 people currently work at the North Houston campus. The relocation will allow XTO Energy to work more efficiently with ExxonMobil’s other business lines housed at the campus, according to a company spokesperson.

 

New jobs for Russell County, Va.

JennChem will invest $5 million in a manufacturing operation that promises to create 40 new jobs in Russell County. The company makes chemical roof support and sealing products used in mining and other industries.

 

Ingredion expands in North Charleston

Global ingredients solution company Ingredion is expanding its operations throughout North Charleston bringing five new jobs and $10 million in capital investment to the area. The company’s growth is a result of its exports doubling out of the Port of Charleston. Ingredion turns grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant materials into value-added ingredients and biomaterial solutions for a variety of industries

 

German logistics firm launches in Greer, S.C.

Rudolph Logistics Group is launching a new warehousing operation in Greer, bringing more than $18 million of capital investment to the Upstate and creating at least 150 new jobs. Its customers include Audi, BMW Group, Continental and Mercedes parent group, Daimler.

 

Plano, Texas adds another California HQ

Solid, an amplifier, radio and optical transport solutions company, has moved its headquarters from Northern California to Plano and will double its current headcount of 60 employees.

 

Hunt Industries expanding in Georgia

Hunt Industries, a provider of specialty construction and general contracting services for industrial projects, is expanding in Valdosta with $6.7 million and 49 new jobs.

 

Robins AFB to hire 400

Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Georgia is seeking about 400 new hires in maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aircraft, commodities, avionics, and industrial equipment as well as information technology.

 

DuraFiber closing facilities in North Carolina, cutting 462 jobs

Huntersville, N.C.-based textile manufacturer DuraFiber Technologies is closing its plants in Salisbury and Grover, a move that will result in the loss of over 460 jobs.

In a filing with the N.C. Commerce Department, the manufacturer said it is permanently closing its facilities in Salisbury and Grover as part of the company’s efforts to cut costs in a time when the textile industry faces an increasingly competitive environment.

 

Alabama pharmaceutical plant closing, 875 jobs cut

A generics and specialty branded pharmaceuticals company, Endo International, is planning on shutting down its operations in Huntsville, Ala., over the next year and a half. Approximately 875 positions at Endo may be lost as a result.

 

NXP to invest $22 million in Austin

Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors announced plans to spend $22 million to expand its production capabilities in the Texas capital and Chandler, Ariz. The expansion will allow NXP to produce more secure chips for U.S. government agencies, including those involved in homeland security.

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Pennsylvania-based e-commerce fulfillment company Radial just announced its plan to bring on an additional 3,000 workers in Memphis, Tenn., to handle the holiday shopping hustle. The company will also hire an additional 3,750 workers for its fulfillment centers in Louisville and Shepherdsville, and 4,100 additional workers for its two fulfillment centers in Northern Kentucky

 

BMW facility to draw thousands to College Park, Ga.

BMW plans to open a training center in College Park next to the Georgia International Convention Center, moving the training out of its Southern region headquarters in Sandy Springs. Officials in College Park expect the training center will draw as many as 10,000 BMW workers annually for corporate training. At 53,000 square feet, the new $16.6 million center will be four times as big as the old one. It will mainly be used for interactive training of dealership employees.

 

Trump: Corning considering major investment in the Southeast

At a White House event in July, Trump said Corning is investing $500 million alongside Merck and Pfizer to manufacture a new, more resilient kind of glass for injectable drug vials. The move means nearly 1,000 jobs at facilities in New York and New Jersey, as well as at a yet-to-be-determined site in the Southeast, Trump said. According to Reuters, Trump said the deal could mean $4 billion in investment and about 4,000 new jobs.

 

Lyondellbasell to build $2.4 billion chemical plant in Houston area

LyondellBasell Industries announced in July its final investment decision to build the world’s largest propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol plant in the Houston area. The $2.4 billion project will be the single-largest capital investment in the company’s history. It’s expected to create up to 2,500 jobs at the peak of construction and about 160 permanent jobs once the plant is operational.

 

Medical manufacturer plans 100 new jobs in Tampa

Medical device manufacturer Corin USA will expand its U.S. headquarters in Tampa by adding up to 100 new jobs by 2022 and investing $500,000 in new offices.

 

Gateway Tire to invest $11 million in Alabama

Gateway Tire, a wholesale distributor of brands such as Toyo and Hankook, announced plans  to invest $11 million to open a 200,000-square-foot tire distribution center in Dothan.

 

Inland Seafood to expand in Alabama

A Georgia-based seafood company has plans to invest $4 million to relocate operations and develop new products at its facility in the Birmingham area. Inland Seafood will renovate an existing storage and distribution center and transform it into a state-of-the-art production plant, where it will make its value-added seafood and meat products. The expansion is expected to create at least new 100 jobs over time.

 

Cotton distributor expansion to create 72 jobs in Texas

A Mission, Texas-based logistics group, Ci Logistics, considered to be among the largest distributors of U.S. cotton in Mexico is planning an expansion that may create as many as 72 new jobs in Weslaco, Texas.

 

UPS subsidiary to create 325 jobs in Atlanta

A UPS-subsidiary, Chicago-based Coyote Logistics, will invest $6 million into a new sales and customer service hub in Atlanta. The project will create 325 jobs.

 

U.S. and China sign rice agreement

A historic trade agreement with China will allow exports of milled rice from the United States. “This is a, I don’t want to say a saving grace, but it’s definitely a huge accomplishment for the rice industry as a whole,” said Glenden Marceaux, a rice farmer and president of the Louisiana Independent Rice Producers Association. China consumes the equivalent of the entire U.S. rice crop every 13 days.

 

Gulf Coast park opens in Alabama

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians' Park at OWA amusement park officially opened in July. The park, which first two phases cost $241 million, is located in Foley, Ala., about nine miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The facility is the first major amusement park to open in the Gulf region since Hurricane Katrina swamped the now-abandoned Six Flags New Orleans in 2005.

 

Shapiro Metals opens second Alabama plant

Shapiro Metals recently launched its 11th North American plant with the opening of a new 20,000-square-foot facility in Decatur, Ala. The plant recycles metals from aerospace, trailer manufacturing, automotive and medical device customers.

 

Jasper Products expansion to create 75 jobs

Joplin, Mo., manufacturer Jasper Products has announced a $25 million expansion that will add 75 jobs at its plant. Jasper Products makes and stores various nutritional beverages.

 

Knapp expands North American presence in Georgia

Knapp has purchased a new building adjacent to its current location in Kennesaw, Ga. The planned expansion will more than double the current North American workforce to approximately 300 for the company that designs, manufactures and installs integrated material handling distribution systems.

 

Nomadic Display expands to Fairfax County, Va.

Nomadic Display, a producer of trade show displays, will invest $940,000 to expand its production center and relocate its headquarters to Fairfax County. The company plans to create 30 new jobs.

 

Manufacturer bringing 150 jobs to Bastrop, Texas

Granite & Stone LLC, a fabricator of granite and stone materials, plans to build a $9 million facility that will eventually house 150 new employees.

 

Fertilizer company opening in Alabama

Pursell Agri-Tech is set to open a fertilizer coatings plant which will result in the creation of 22 jobs in Sylacauga, Ala., and a capital investment of $8 million.

 

Georgia’s Premium Peanut to expand with oil facility 

Premium Peanut, a peanut co-operative based in Douglas, Ga., has announced plans to build a state-of-the-art peanut oil facility and significantly expand its current shelling operations. This expansion has been made possible through $90 million in financing arranged by SunTrust Bank. The company will also add 80 employees to its growing roster of nearly 135.

 

Manufacturers adding jobs in Hillsboro, Texas

The Hillsboro community, about 30 miles north of Waco, is enjoying a manufacturing surge, softening the blow of watching the once popular Outlets at Hillsboro lose dozens of stores over the years as shopping trends change. A $100 million IKO Southwest facility for making shingles will create 65 jobs initially, with payroll increasing to more than 100 if work expands to seven days a week, which the company says is likely to happen.

 

Kloeckner Metals expands in Greenville, S.C.

Kloeckner Metals, one of the largest producer/independent distributors of steel and metal products, is expanding its existing Greenville County operations. The company, which is headquartered in Roswell, Ga., is planning to invest $11.3 million and create 19 jobs.

 

Software development company expands HQ in South Florida

Software development startup Zudy has expanded to new headquarters in Miami Beach, and plans to add at least 150 new employees before yearend.

 

Walmart fulfillment center expected to bring 1,000 jobs to Florida’s Bay Area

The world’s largest retailer has opened a new $300 million large-scale e-commerce fulfillment center campus in Davenport , Fla., that is expected to bring over 1,000 new jobs to the Bay Area over the next year. The 50-acre campus in Polk County features two buildings spanning more than 2.2 million square feet. It currently employs more than 550 recently hired associates with plans to hire at least 1,000 more over the next year.

 

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announces new manufacturing jobs

Advanced Digital Cable, a manufacturer of electronic and communication wire and cable, is expected to create 65 jobs and invest $15 million in a Union County facility expansion. The new jobs will include positions in manufacturing and operations.

 

Kaiser Permanente plans $200 million medical hub in Northern Virginia

Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is seeking approval to build a $200 million medical facility in Woodbridge on a 15-acre parcel the company already owns as a “hub” for its ongoing growth in Greater Washington.

 

Hiring in Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville Jaguars held a job fair last month to fill more than 1,000 part-time positions to work at home games and other events. Ikea began recruitment for the 250 positions it will fill by the time its new store opens this fall. Florida Blue announced it would hire 600 temporary contractors in Jacksonville for the health insurance open enrollment period this fall and winter. Cowford Chophouse is holding job fairs to fill 50 positions at the downtown restaurant currently under construction. Goodwill Industries of North Florida is holding a job fair for 30 positions it wants to fill immediately. That’s a total of 3,430 jobs.

 

Merck locates its hub in Austin, Texas

Global biopharmaceutical company Merck will invest more than $20 million to locate its newest IT Hub in Austin. The company plans to create at least 600 jobs there.

 

Calsonic Kansei undertakes major expansion at Mississippi plant

Japan-based automotive supplier Calsonic Kansei will invest $16.33 million to expand its manufacturing plant in Madison, Miss. The company plans to create 98 new jobs, bringing its total employment in the area to about 600. Calsonic Kansei is a supplier to Nissan’s Canton automotive assembly plant.

 

Virginia farmers open new meat manufacturing facility

A new line of meat snacks will be made in a new facility to open in southwest Virginia.

Landcrafted Food, a natural, grass-fed beef company in Grayson County, Va., has completed construction of a $2.1 million meat processing facility that will create 11 new jobs over the next few years.

 

Three-hundred new jobs coming to Williamsburg County, S.C.

At least three new businesses are planning to move into Williamsburg County:

Starcyl Cylinders, which develops pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders and presses, will open a location in Hemingway snd will create 25 new jobs that will include welding, metal working, assembly and fabrication. United Phosphorus Incorporated will be making pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, at its first United States manufacturing operation in Williamsburg County with 100 new hires. Louis Hornick SC, a new textile company, will be creating blinds and curtains for institutional use in Kingstree. Over 100 jobs are expected to be created there.

 

Waitr to bring meals and 150 jobs to Monroe, La.

The restaurant on-demand platform Waitr recently debuted in the city of Monroe. To meet anticipated demand, Waitr expects to hire 150 people in Monroe between now and year’s end.

 

KC manufacturer plans to add 200 jobs

Over $400 million in new contracts have prompted Lake City Army Ammunition Plant to hire about 200 people.

 

Bongards’ Creameries expands Tennessee production center

Bongards’ Creameries will invest $35 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Humboldt, Tenn. The company expects to create approximately 95 jobs to produce a range of cheese products.

 

Wright-Mix Material Solutions to build Kentucky plant

Wright-Mix Material Solutions will invest $8.5 million in a production facility in Greenup County, Ky. The company plans to create 130 full-time jobs to produce a variety of cement-based products.

 

Patheon will expand South Carolina site as part of $45 million global investment

Patheon, a pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company, announced a 15,000-square-foot expansion planned for its Florence location, where it will replace the Roche Carolina operation. The expansion comes as part of a $45 million investment across its global network.

 

A $13.7 million expansion planned in Murray, Ky.

A manufacturing facility in Murray, Ky., is getting a $13.7 million expansion. Vanderbilt Chemicals makes smectite and bentonite clay used in pharmaceutical and agri-science items and other products.

 

Ajinomoto announces $30 million expansion in Triangle

The $30 million expansion of Japanese company Ajinomoto comes 35 years after the food and chemical corporation first put down roots in North Carolina. The average salary for the new jobs will be around $70,000 and company leaders want to hire locally.

 

Lockheed Martin expects to hire 2,000 in Fort Worth

Lockheed Martin says it has 2,000 jobs to fill as it ramps up production of the F-35 fighter jet production at the Fort Worth plant.

 

Ambiopharm expanding in Aiken County, S.C.

AmbioPharm, a peptide and biopharmaceutical manufacturing company, is expanding its existing Aiken County operations. The expansion is projected to bring $18 million of new capital investment and lead to the creation of 100 jobs.

 

Thomas & Betts to create 90 jobs in Memphis move

Thomas & Betts, a designer and manufacturer of connectors and components for electrical and communication markets, will move, but stay in Memphis. The company will invest $20.7 million and create 90 new Shelby County jobs as part of the move.

 

Change of plans for North Carolina’s Alcami

Although Alcami announced in 2015 that it would be locating its global headquarters to Wilmington, N.C., there has been a change in ownership and a change of plans for the pharmaceutical development company. Alcami will retain its offices and 450 employees in Wilmington, but has decided to locate its HQ within the RTP in Durham.

 

Saint Thomas Health plans expansion in Rutherford County, Tenn.

Saint Thomas Health officials have filed two certificates of need with state health officials for projects expected to meet Rutherford County’s growing population. Plans call for additions totaling more than $71 million.

 

Netherlands-based manufacturer bringing 71 jobs to Spartanburg County

Netherlands-based AWL-Techniek, a producer of high-tech welding machines primarily for the automotive market, will invest $2.53 million to establish its first plant in the U.S. The project also means 71 new hires.

 

Formosa expansion underway in Texas

Formosa Plastics Corp. Texas is investing $5 billion into a plant expansion that will extend into Jackson County and provide about 340 jobs. Construction began about two and a half years ago and is scheduled to finish in late 2018.

 

Topgolf Nashville hiring 500

Topgolf Nashville is now accepting applications for 500 new jobs at the location slated to open this fall.

 

Wood products manufacturer creating 145 jobs in South Carolina

Roseburg Forest Products, a wood products manufacturer based in Oregon, announced it will bring a much-needed 145 new jobs and invest $200 million in rural Chester County, S.C. The facility will primarily make wooden structural beams used in residential and commercial construction.

 

Frick’s expanding Missouri meat facility, adding 40 jobs

Sausage maker Frick’s Quality Meats is expanding its manufacturing facility in Washington, Mo., and adding 40 jobs. The company plans to spend $8 million.

 

Auto supplier adding 98 jobs in Tennessee

Automotive supplier Cooper Standard will create approximately 98 new jobs at its facility in Surgoinsville. Alongside the new jobs, the company, which is headquartered in Michigan, is investing $1 million in new plant equipment.

 

Prescient moving HQ from Denver to North Carolina

High-tech construction firm Prescient Company recently announced it will move its corporate headquarters to North Carolina after calling the Denver area home for the past five years. The news came at the July 12th grand opening of its new Mebane (N.C.) manufacturing facility. Within the next year, Prescient expects to add 25 to 35 new employees to the Durham space, which has capacity for 65.

 

Noranda Bauxite & Alumina investing $35 million in Louisiana

Noranda Bauxite & Alumina will invest $35 million to expand and upgrade its alumina refinery in St. James Parish. The company also plans to establish its headquarters at the Gramercy complex. The project will create 65 new jobs.

 

Electro-Spec launching new operations in Lexington County, S.C.

Electro-Spec, a specialty plating manufacturer for the aerospace and auto industries among others, is locating new production operations in Lexington County. The development is projected to bring $3.1 million of capital investment and create 53 new jobs.

 

Honeywell to add 30 jobs at South Carolina location

Honeywell plans to add about 30 jobs to its aerospace facility in Greer, S.C.  The company will spend more than $10 million on its airfoil machining and special processes operation in Greer.

 

Steel galvanizing plant coming to South Carolina

A company that coats steel to prevent corrosion plans to open a plant in Blacksburg, S.C., that will create 72 jobs. Steel Creek Galvanizing Co. will invest $14 million.

 

MicroHealth to create 65 jobs in Fairfax County, Va.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that MicroHealth, a provider of health information technology, will invest $395,000 to expand its operation in Fairfax County, creating 65 new jobs.

 

Honda supplier expanding and hiring in Alabama

A Canada-based automotive metal-forming company is planning another facility for its plant in Sylacauga, Ala. Fleetwood Metal Industries is building a 60,000-square-foot facility close to its current plant in Sylacauga’s industrial district, and plans to hire 70 more employees by year’s end.

 

Boeing ramping up in Alabama

Aerospace manufacturer Boeing, which already has about 2,700 Alabama employees, expects to add 400 more by 2020, along with an additional capital investment of $70 million.

 

Ikea begins hiring 250 jobs in Jax

The furnishings company said 250 positions are available at its new facility in Jacksonville, Fla., in sales and warehouse.

 

Halliburton hiring 100 per month to meet Texas fracking demand

The Houston oil field service company has hired about 100 new workers each month this year to keep up with surging demand for fracturing in West Texas, a sharp turnaround after the job-killing oil bust. Its workforce in the region has grown by more than a third to 2,700 employees.

 

Tech services firm moving HQ to Charlotte, N.C.

Sitehands, which provides IT field services to large companies, will take 13,524 square feet in the recently-delivered office building along the booming Stonewall corridor. They also plan to add at least 200 new jobs.

 

Pharma company has prescription for growth in South Carolina

Neither hurricanes nor floods have thrown off major expansion work ongoing at the pharmaceutical operation purchased in 2012 by an Australian company. A Mayne Pharma production facility north of Greenville is scheduled for completion in December. The project represents an $80 million investment and an addition of more than 100 science and technology jobs to its base of 350 workers.

 

Flexport to locate $100 million Southeast hub in Atlanta

San Francisco-based logistics technology provider Flexport will receive $100,000 in economic incentives from Atlanta to locate a Southeast sales and operations hub in Midtown — a $100 million expansion project that will create 250 jobs.

 

Boston Whaler to expand Florida Headquarters

Boston Whaler has just confirmed a major land acquisition, resulting in the expansion of its Edgewater, Fla., headquarters by approximately 60 acres on the facility’s northern border.

 

Georgia program launches $150-hour jobs

Students at Putnam County High School can become commercially licensed drone pilots through a new career pathway there. The drone, or unmanned aircraft, industry is expected to have an economic impact of about $82 billion across the United States by 2025, according to a report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts that the number of commercially licensed drone pilots will increase from 20,000 in 2016 to as many 400,000 by 2021.

 

Toyota opens the doors of its billion-dollar campus

About 2,000 team members are arriving at Toyota North America’s new 100-acre, 2.1 million-square-foot campus it expects to operate for the next 60 years.

 

Starbucks to expand Georgia coffee plant, create 100 jobs

Starbucks will expand its coffee roasting facility in Augusta, Ga., creating 100 new jobs and investing $120 million. The new operation is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

 

Giti Tire building $560 million campus

Singapore-based Giti Tire, the 10th largest tire company in the world, is on track to open its first North American manufacturing and distribution facility on a 1,100-acre site, 170 miles northeast of Charleston, in Richburg, S.C. The company expects to invest $560 million and create 1,700 new jobs over the next decade in Chester County.

 

North Alabama aviation firm upgrading Austrian helicopters

Huntsville-based Ace Aeronautics, which does business as Global Aviation Solutions, has about 50 employees and plans to add 25 to 50 positions at its Alabama location over the next two years. Most of the jobs will be at a hangar the company is building at the airport in Guntersville, Ala., to upgrade Black Hawk helicopters.

 

Infosys plans 2,000 new tech jobs in North Carolina

India-based information technology outsourcing company Infosys plans to hire 2,000 workers within four years in Wake County, N.C., — the second of four planned expansion sites in the U.S. intended to create 10,000 jobs. President Trump has blasted an American visa program that tech companies have heavily relied upon to temporarily bring in workers from other countries at lower wages. Infosys emphasized that the jobs created as part of its U.S. expansion would go to American workers.

 

Furniture maker adding jobs in North Carolina

Sutter Street Manufacturing, a Williams-Sonoma operation, plans to create 72 new jobs with an expansion in Catawba County. The upholstered furniture manufacturing company plans to invest $1.9 million over three years to upgrade its facilities in Claremont.

 

British medical device maker plans HQ expansion, 100 new jobs in Tampa

Corin, a manufacturer of orthopedic devices, will invest $500,000 to expand and relocate its U.S. headquarters to a new complex in Tampa, Fla. The expansion will create 100 high-wage jobs by 2022.

 

Insulation company to build $150 million plant in Ranson, W.Va.

Roxul, which makes stone wool insulation, has announced plans to build a $150 million plant in Ranson, creating 150 new jobs there.

 

Spectrum opens Texas call center, 600 jobs expected

Charter’s Spectrum showed off its new, modern call center in McAllen recently, where the telecommunications company has already hired 250 of the 600 positions it will fill by the beginning of 2018. The 95,000-square-foot center is the location of a former Kmart. Representatives at the center are bilingual, servicing calls in Spanish, which has previously been outsourced to call centers outside the United States.

 

Automotive supplier to build in Charleston County, S.C.

Knapheide Manufacturing Co. announced recently it is opening a new manufacturing facility in Charleston County, expected to bring an investment of $1.3 million and create 63 jobs. The new plant will install van interiors and bodies for Mercedes-Benz

 

New cash crop for Lake City, S.C.?

An industrial hemp extraction plant is coming to Lake City in Florence County. Twenty-five new jobs will be created once the renovated facility is open, with the possibility of more hires after the plant is in operation. State agricultural officials will offer 20 permits to farmers across the state, allowing them to grow hemp, which can be used to treat seizures and other medical conditions. Hopes are high that hemp plants will be just as profitable as tobacco once was in the Pee Dee region.

 

Arms manufacturer to locate plant in Tennessee

Campbell Arms Manufacturing will invest $1.1 million to establish a facility west of Nashville in McKenzie, Tenn. The company, which plans to hire 50, will upgrade an existing 20,000-square-foot facility to manufacture firearm components predominantly for military agencies and police departments.

 

International Beams plans $20 million manufacturing center in Dothan, Ala.

International Beams, a producer of engineered wood products, will invest nearly $20 million to open a manufacturing facility near Dothan. The facility will create 60 full-time jobs to produce timber panels and beams using Southern Pine lumber.

 

BMW commits to new jobs in U.S.

BMW AG is the latest auto maker to commit to new jobs at a U.S. factory following criticism from President Donald Trump, saying it will create 1,000 American jobs through 2021 as it works to boost its production of sport-utility vehicles in South Carolina. The jobs are part of a $600 million investment planned for the German auto maker’s Spartanburg factory.


July 2017

FDI drives the South's economy

A report by Reuters in the summer quarter showed that out of 656,000 new manufacturing jobs created between 2010 and 2014 in the United States, two-thirds were created by foreign-owned companies. Using federal jobs data and estimates from SB&D, the South captured roughly half of those manufacturing jobs created from 2010 to 2014 and nearly 63 percent of the jobs created by foreign-owned firms. In calendar years 2015 and 2016, over $700 billion in foreign capital was invested in the U.S., with an estimated $360 billion spent in the 15-state Southern region. Of that $360 billion, nearly $30 billion was spent on acquisitions and greenfield deals by the Chinese.  

 

Louisville ranked No. 1 by Forbes in manufacturing resurgence

In the summer quarter, Forbes ranked Louisville the No. 1 city in the nation where manufacturing is thriving. Much of Louisville's manufacturing base is in the automotive sector with two Ford plants in the city and a Toyota plant nearby. The Louisville region's manufacturing jobs have increased by 30 percent since 2011. 

 

Nashville named top U.S. city for high-wage job growth

In the summer quarter, Forbes ranked Nashville as the top city in the nation for high-wage job growth since 2011. Since 2011, Nashville has created 160,300 high-wage jobs, according to Forbes, or a growth rate of 42.6 percent. Second place Kansas City saw a 28.4 percent increase in high-wage growth in fields such as research and development, law, accounting, architecture, engineering and computer system design. 

 

One Gulf Coast port is responsible for 30 percent of the nation's oil exports, and it's not Houston

Shipping oil overseas is a relatively new thing in the U.S. From the 1970s to December of 2015, it wasn't allowed. But with the U.S. pumping more oil than domestic refiners can handle, Congress lifted the oil export ban and one Gulf Coast port has a jump on the competition. The Port of Corpus Christi was the No. 1 port for U.S. crude exports last year, besting the congested Port of Houston. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, ships carrying 22 million barrels of oil left Corpus Christi docks bound for foreign countries, a total that was 30 percent of the country's total exports. 

 

Blue Origin to build rocket engine plant in Huntsville, Ala. 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin will build its next-generation BE-4 rocket engines at a new, 400,000-square-foot facility in Huntsville, Ala. The $200 million capital investment will create 340 manufacturing jobs in Huntsville, dubbed the "Rocket City." 

 

BMW will expand its South Carolina plant once again

BMW announced another expansion of its massive manufacturing plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. The company already employs about 9,000 workers at the plant. This latest expansion calls for a $600 million investment and 1,000 more jobs. 

 

"Project Jerky" is a South African food processor

Stormberg Foods, a maker of meat protein snacks, is investing $2.5 million in its first U.S. plant in Goldsboro, N.C. The project will create 60 jobs. 

 

Grocer to establish regional HQ, distribution center in Georgia

German grocer Lidl announced in the spring it will place a $100 million regional headquarters and distribution center in Cartersville, Ga. The deal will create 250 jobs. 

 

Supplier of housewares investing in Sumter, S.C.

Sumter East Home, a supplier of housewares and other retail items, is investing $37 million to move into an existing facility in Sumter, S.C. The manufacturing facility will house 88 workers. 

 

Georgia-Pacific investing $400 million in Florida mill

Georgia-Pacific is investing $400 million in its tissue and towel mill in Palatka, Fla. A new paper machine will be installed and 80 jobs will be created.  

 

Brazilian company to launch $675 million project in Texas

Brazil-based Braskem will move forward on a $675 million petrochemical plant in La Porte, Texas. The factory will be built next to the company's existing facilities and will be the largest polypropylene line in the Americas. 

 

Samsung investing $300 million in South Carolina

Korean electronics giant Samsung has agreed with South Carolina officials to invest $300 million in the former Caterpillar plant in Newberry, S.C. The project, which will produce appliances, is expected to create about 1,000 jobs. 

 

The largest private employer in China wants to plant flag in U.S.

Foxconn, the largest private employer in China and the main source of iPhone assembly worldwide, is intent on building a footprint here in the U.S. Reports state that Terry Gou, the founder of Taiwan-based Foxconn, has set aside $10 billion or more to invest in a plant that could house as many as 50,000 workers. The company's largest plant in China employs nearly 400,000 workers in Zhengzhou, where most iPhones are made. 

 

Charles Schwab soon to break ground on 5,000-employee campus

Financial services giant Charles Schwab & Co. will get started on its new Dallas-Fort Worth regional campus this summer. The four-building, 555,000-square-foot facility is being built in Westlake, Texas. The campus will be able to house up to 5,000 employees. 

 

Mobile software firm to add 200 jobs in metro Atlanta

Mobile software firm Movius Interactive raised $15 million in the spring quarter that will enable it to add 200 workers in Johns Creek, Ga. The company designs software that allows users to switch between work and private communications on their smartphones. 

 

Mohawk to add second Middle Tennessee plant

Mohawk Industries is adding a second ceramic tile plant near its first newly-built facility in Dickson, Tenn. The deal will create 200 more jobs. 

 

Mohawk adding 150 jobs in Northeast Alabama

Georgia-based Mohawk Industries is making upgrades and adding jobs at its plant in Bridgeport, Ala. The company will add 150 jobs at its nylon fiber plant there. 

 

Auto supplier adding jobs in Cullman, Ala. 

Topre America, a manufacturer of metal components for automakers, is investing $36 million in its plant in Cullman, Ala. The project will create 65 jobs. 

 

Digital firm hiring 200 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Genpact, a company that delivers digital transformations to clients, has signed a lease for 37,000 square feet of space in Jacksonville. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Huntsville named fastest growing tech city

According to ZipRecruiter and Payscale, Huntsville, Ala., ranks at the top nationally for year-over-year job growth in the technology industry. The two companies looked at over 8 million active tech jobs in the U.S. to come up with the ranking. Huntsville had a growth rate of 309 percent. Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Phoenix ranked second and third. Orlando, Nashville and Jacksonville, Fla., also ranked high in the study. 

 

Boston Consulting Group picks Atlanta for center

The Boston Consulting Group announced in the spring it will locate a new regional support center in Atlanta. The $9.2 million project will create 200 jobs in creative services, finance, legal and information technology. 

 

Centene division relocates HQ to Rocky Mount Mills

Envolve Vision, the vision benefits unit of Centene Corp., will relocate its headquarters from North Carolina’s Rocky Mount business park to Rocky Mount Mills, a mixed-use project on the Tar River. The deal will bring 120 employees to the former mill. 

 

Ford investing $900 million in Kentucky Truck Plant

In 2015, Ford Motor invested $1.3 billion and added 2,000 jobs at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville to build the Ford Super Duty truck. Now the company is investing another $900 million in the same plant to increase capacity in assembling Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, many of which will be exported. The project will retain 1,000 hourly jobs. Ford operates another assembly plant in Louisville that builds small SUVs, mainly the Ford Escape. 

 

Continental to expand Seguin, Texas plant

Automotive tech supplier Continental AG is investing $113 million in its Seguin, Texas plant, which produces engine control units, sensors and blind spot detection safety systems. The expansion will create 100 new jobs. 

 

Tyson spending millions to expand Georgia distribution center

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is investing $59 million in its distribution center in Bibb County, Ga. The company will almost double the size of the facility and add 102 jobs. 

 

Teletech to open call center in Arkansas

Teletech Holdings announced in the spring it will open a new customer service center in Morrilton, Ark. The deal will create 350 new jobs. 

 

Distribution center slated for North Mississippi

Cosmetics chain Sephora America will open a distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss. The 720,000-square-foot center will house 400 workers. 

 

PathGroup to expand Nashville area operations center

PathGroup, a pathology and lab test provider, is expanding its center in Davidson County, Tenn. The company, which will invest $18 million and add 200 jobs, operates three labs in the Nashville area. 

 

Louisiana stops jobs decline

In May, Louisiana reversed a long-standing job decline as a result of the downturn in the oil and gas industry. Louisiana added 6,300 jobs over a 12-month period that saw big gains in the construction sector. The state's unemployment rate dipped to 5.5 percent. 

 

Italian manufacturer to build West Virginia plant

TeMa North America plans to build a manufacturing plant in Kearneysville, W.Va. The new 42,000-square-foot facility will produce insulation and drainage systems for the residential, industrial and commercial real estate sectors. The new facility will house 30 workers. 

 

Ohio manufacturer sets up shop in Tennessee

Ohio-based Pennant Moldings, a manufacturer serving the automotive and appliance industries, will invest $8.6 million to build a facility in Lebanon, Tenn. The project will create 60 jobs. 

 

GM unveils new North Texas supplier park

General Motors will establish a new parts supplier park and create 850 jobs -- 600 that will be reshored from Mexico -- to support its full SUV assembly plant in Arlington, Texas. The park will feature 1.2 million square feet of space. The automaker has almost completed a $1.3 billion expansion of its assembly plant in North Texas that houses about 5,000 workers. The plant is the exclusive producer of the Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade GM models. 

 

Florida job generation surging

In May, the state of Florida created nearly 30,000 jobs, outpacing every other U.S. state. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, the lowest mark since August 2007. 

 

Exxon Mobil relocating entire U.S. shale unit from Fort Worth to Houston

XTO Energy, the U.S. shale drilling unit of Exxon Mobil, announced in June it will relocate 1,600 workers to the Houston area from its Fort Worth headquarters. The company is relocating to Exxon Mobil's 385-acre campus near The Woodlands, Texas, and north of Houston. XTO will keep 350 people at its Fort Worth facility that will run the company's Barnett Shale operations. 

 

German company to build plant in Auburn, Ala. 

Winkelmann Group, a German company that manufactures metal parts for the aerospace, automotive and defense industries, will invest $12 million in a new plant in Auburn. The project will create 50 new jobs. 

 

Mattress manufacturer to bring tech jobs to New Orleans area

Select Comfort, makers of the Sleep Number mattress, will open a technical support center in Jefferson Parish, La. The new project will create 225 jobs.  

 

Five Southern markets make "Best Cities for College Grads" list

SmartAsset.com came out with its best cities for recent college graduates in the spring, and a pair of Ohio towns were ranked first and second. Following Cincinnati and Columbus in the South were Nashville; San Antonio; Lexington, Ky.; Austin and St. Louis. 

 

Ports in the South breaking records in part to expanded Panama Canal

With an expanded Panama Canal, large Asian cargo ships can reach ports in the South much easier and faster, resulting in increased trade in the last year. Ports in Georgia and Virginia each moved the most cargo ever in May, and the port in Charleston, S.C., had its best month ever in overall volume in July. As for ports in North Carolina, they have doubled container service the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year. 

 

Renewable energy passes nuclear power

Renewable energy sources from the combined total of wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal now provide more electricity than nuclear power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In the second quarter of 2017, renewable sources provided 21.6 percent of U.S. net electrical generation, while nuclear provided 20.34 percent. Natural gas continues to lead power generation followed by coal, which is dropping considerably. 

 

Label printer doubles workforce in Collierville, Tenn. 

CCL-Korsini recently completed the expansion of its label printing facility in Collierville, Tenn. The $25 million project will add 150 jobs. 

 

CenturyLink adding jobs in Missouri

Louisiana-based CenturyLink will hire 100 new employees at its Jefferson City, Mo., call center. The company operates call centers in four other Missouri markets. 

 

Manufacturer expands in Monroe, N.C.

American Wick, a maker of drainage systems for buildings and highways, is expanding its facilities in Monroe, N.C. The company is investing $8.7 million to replace and add equipment at its 100,000-square-foot facility. 

 

Dynetics to invest in Alabama aerospace testing center

Huntsville-based Dynetics is moving forward on a $14 million aerospace testing center near Decatur, Ala. The company recently won a $221 million contract to design, manufacture and test the universal state adapter that will couple the Orion space capsule to its upper stage. Dynetics will invest $14.2 million in the project that will create 10 jobs. 

 

James Hardie reopening South Carolina plant

James Hardie Building Products is resuming operations at its idled plant in Dorchester County, S.C. The maker of fiber cement building products will invest $15 million in the plant and hire 100 in the deal. 

 

Chinese auto supplier to open Tennessee plant

Minth Group, a Chinese manufacturer of body, trim and decorative parts for the automotive industry, will renovate an existing building in Lewisburg, Tenn., for a new parts plant. The $13 million project will generate 200 jobs. 

 

Auto parts supplier to locate in Georgia

Carcoustics, a German auto parts supplier, will invest $6 million in a new facility in Buford, Ga. The company, which will make solution-oriented acoustic components, will create 200 jobs. 

 

Gap to add 500 jobs near Nashville

Retailer Gap is investing $42 million in its Tennessee distribution center in Sumner County, Tenn. The San Francisco company will hire 500 in the deal. 

 

Food processor adding 700 jobs in South Carolina

"Project Horseshoe" has been revealed. It is a $79 million expansion of the Ruiz Foods facility in Florence County, S.C. The deal will create 700 new jobs. 

 

Amazon Web Services to create 1,500 more jobs in Fairfax County, Va. 

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced in June that Amazon Web Services, an Amazon.com company, will expand its presence in Fairfax County, Va., with a new East Coast corporate campus at One Dulles Tower in the Herndon area of the county. The expansion is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs. Virginia competed against Texas and Washington State for the deal. AWS is one of the world's most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platforms. 

 

Another bourbon distillery expansion in Kentucky

Bourbon's huge comeback over the last six or seven years is continuing in Kentucky unabated. Wilderness Trail Distillery will invest $9.91 million in its facility in Boyle County, Ky. The project will expand production by six, from 6,000 barrels a year to 36,000 barrels. 

 

Japanese auto parts supplier to build new Tennessee plant

Japan-based Miyake Forging will build a new $13.7 million bearings plant in Surgoinsville, Tenn. The plant, in Hawkins County in Northeast Tennessee, will house 60 workers. 

 

Stanley Black & Decker adding jobs in Jackson, Tenn. 

Stanley Black & Decker, a maker of tools and hardware, is relocating and reshoring new lines of production at its facility in Madison County, Tenn. The company will invest $29 million and add 255 jobs. 

 

Turkish textile company investing in Winston-Salem

A Turkish textile company wants to purchase the assets of defunct Microfibres Inc. and start a new company called HPFabrics in Winston-Salem, N.C. The company expects to invest over $1 million and add 260 jobs. 

 

Structures manufacturer adding jobs in North Louisiana

Sabre Industries, a manufacturer of structures for the utilities and telecommunications sector, is expanding its facility in Bossier City, La. The company will invest $1.6 million and add 50 jobs to its current workforce of 167. 

 

Another big Amazon facility in Florida

In the spring quarter, Amazon.com signed a lease for its largest facility in South Florida. The company is leasing an 885,000-square-foot fulfillment center that will cost $92 million. Terms of the lease require that Amazon hire at least 1,000 workers at the facility. 

 

Healthcare giant expanding in Louisiana

Ochsner Health System is investing $100 million in its Baton Rouge facilities. The project will create 450 jobs. 

 

Mercedes-Benz van plant begins hiring process

Mercedes-Benz Vans is completing its plant in North Charleston, S.C., and has begun the hiring process. The company expects to hire 1,000 workers within three years at the plant. 

 

Top states for small business growth; all but one are in the South

According to a study done by payroll provider Paychex, Tennessee is the nation's No. 1 state for small business job growth. Tennessee added 3.7 percent more small business jobs over the past year. The top five consisted of Florida, Georgia, Washington and Virginia. 

 

Williamson County, Tenn. remains the fastest growing job creator in the U.S.

The Nashville MSA county of Williamson is the fastest growing county in job creation in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau released a report in June that showed job growth in Williamson County at 5.1 percent from December 2015 to December 2016. The second largest job growth in the U.S. during that time was York County, S.C., with 4.6 percent growth. 

 

Manufacturer breaks ground in West Virginia

Italy-based Pietro Fiorentini, a manufacturer of pressure regulators and valves for the natural gas industry, broke ground in June on a new plant in Weirton, W.Va. The deal will create 45 jobs. 

 

South Carolina captures another mammoth tire plant 

Chinese tire maker Wanli Tire is planning to invest up to $1 billion in a new plant in Orangeburg, S.C. The state is expected to provide $40 million to assist in developing the site in Orangeburg County. The project is expected to create up to 1,200 jobs. South Carolina produces more tires than any other state in the U.S. and is home to foreign-owned tire makers based in France, Japan, Germany, Singapore, Sweden and China. 

 

Demand for Ford Escape best in history

The automotive industry is preparing for a drop in overall sales this year, but depending on the model, some automakers are still at three shifts, 24/7. Demand for small SUVs like the Ford Escape has never been higher. Ford makes the Escape at is plant in Louisville. Ford will shorten its traditional two-week summer shutdown to one week in order to assemble 8,500 additional Escape models this year. 

 

U.S. doubling oil exports

It wasn't too long ago that the U.S. was barred from exporting oil. Now it has become the world's swing producer. So far in 2017, the U.S. has doubled oil exports to as much as 1 million barrels of oil a day. 

 

Amazon opening sorting center in Mobile, Ala. 

Amazon will invest $30 million in a new 362,000-square-foot sorting center in Mobile. The center is expected to house about 400 part-time workers and depending on the season, employment could rise to 1,000. 

 

German company breaks ground on North Carolina plant

Germany-based Norafin broke ground on its first North American plant in Mills River, N.C. The company makes spun-lace, non-woven materials used in heat and flame resistant barriers such as firefighters' suits. The deal will create up to 100 jobs. 

 

Chinese e-waste recycler hiring 45 at new North Carolina plant

USB Recycling, a recycler of old computers, mobile telephones and televisions, is opening a plant in Anson County, N.C., at a former shirt factory. The company recycles e-waste into usable parts. The deal will create 45 jobs. 

 

Company adding 434 jobs in Newport News, Va. 

Ferguson, a plumbing wholesaler, has announced a major expansion at its Newport News headquarters. The company is investing $82.8 million to add a new campus at City Center at Oyster Point. The project will create 434 jobs. 

 

Wacker expanding in Bradley County, Tenn. 

One year after opening its $2.5 billion polysilicon plant, Wacker is building a $150 million facility adjacent to its plant that will turn a byproduct of polysilicon production into pyrogenic silica. The German company will invest $150 million in the new plant. 

 

Chinese mattress manufacturer opens Tennessee plant

Sinomax, a China-based bedding and foam manufacturer, opened its first facility outside of China in the Nashville metro city of La Vergne in June. The 500,000-square-foot, $28 million facility will house 350 jobs.

 

Montgomery creates more jobs than any county in Alabama

Who won the job creation crown in Alabama in calendar year 2016? It was the capital county of Montgomery. The county created 1,704 jobs in 2016, followed by Madison County with 1,548 jobs. Montgomery's year, which earned it an honorable mention in this issue’s SB&D 100, was highlighted by a German auto parts maker's $37 million new plant. 

 

Canadian auto parts manufacturer setting up shop in rural Tennessee

Canada-based Tennessee Tool and Fixture, a maker of automotive mold and castings, is setting up shop in Manchester, Tenn. The $6.5 million plant will house 60 workers.

 

Mississippi’s jobless rate lowest since 1976

In May, Mississippi’s unemployment rate fell to a record low of 4.9 percent. The rate is the lowest since current unemployment surveys began in 1976. A year ago, Mississippi’s unemployment rate was at 6 percent. 

 

Amazon developing new distribution center northeast of Atlanta

Amazon.com will build a new distribution center in Jackson County, Ga., the company announced in June. The facility will be Amazon's second in Jackson County. The deal will create 1,000 jobs. 

 

Auto supplier opening plant in North Carolina

Borealis Compounds, a maker of plastic materials for use in fenders, dashboards and grills, will open a new plant in Alexander County, N.C. The company, which supplies GM, Ford, BMW, VW, Volvo and other automakers, is investing $15 million and will hire 37 in the deal. 

 

Amazon to employ more at Houston facility

Amazon.com announced in June it will increase the number of jobs it expects to create at its first Houston fulfillment center. The Seattle-based company now plans to hire 2,500 at the facility, up from 1,000. 

 

Swiss aerospace firm opening factory in North Alabama

RUAG Space will open a new Decatur, Ala., factory to support the United Launch Alliance. RUAG makes the enclosures and fairings used to cover satellites that are launched into space. The company will invest $40 million and hire 100. 

 

Northrop Grumman expands unmanned systems plant in Mississippi

Northrop Grumman is expanding production and adding new work to its Unmanned Systems facility in Moss Point, Miss. The expansion will also include sub-assembly work for the F-35 program. The $3.7 million investment will create 60 jobs in Jackson County. 

 

Big data center slated for Georgia

Las Vegas-based Switch, a global technology solutions provider, will invest $2.5 billion in a Switch PRIME data center in Douglas County, Ga. The new Atlanta area center will be the highest rated data center in the Southeast. The project will create 65 jobs. 

 

Technology company adding 415 jobs in Kansas City

DST, a global technology, advisory and operations outsourcing firm, is expanding in Kansas City, Mo. The company is adding 415 new jobs. 

 

Volkswagen adding 200 jobs at Chattanooga plant

VW is adding 200 more workers to the 1,000 who have already been hired since December. The German automaker began assembly of the Atlas SUV earlier this year. VW employs about 3,500 at the plant as of June. 

 

Japan-based Daiken Industries completes $417 million, 4,000-employee campus near Houston

Daikin Industries, one of the largest heating and air conditioning manufacturers in the world, has completed its $417 million campus on 500 acres outside Houston. The campus features a 4.2 million-square-foot building, the largest tilt-wall structure in the world and the second largest manufacturing facility in North America. The complex will serve as the company's design, engineering and assembly plant of systems for residential and commercial use. 

 

Plastipak plans $15 million expansion at Louisiana facility

Plastipak Packaging, which designs, manufactures and distributes rigid plastic packaging, will make a $15 million investment to expand its manufacturing facility in Pineville, La. They also plan to add 10 new jobs.

 

International Beams plans $20 million manufacturing center in Dothan, Ala.

International Beams, a maker of engineered wood products, plans to open a new facility in the Dothan area. The Sarasota, Fla.-based company will invest nearly $20 million in the project that will create 60 full-time jobs. 

 

Shelltech eyes plant in Pulaski County, Ky.

ShellTech LLC, a newly formed subsidiary of Shell Shock Technologies of Westport, Conn., plans to locate an ammunition shell casing factory in Pulaski County, Ky. The company will make a $3.2 million investment and create 50 full-time jobs.

 

Knapheide Truck Equipment plans North Charleston facility

Knapheide Truck Equipment Company Charleston Inc. will invest $1.3 million to open a 75,000-square-foot manufacturing, operations and installation facility in North Charleston, S.C. Designed to upfit the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris vans, the company will be installing van interiors and more. The projected is expected to create 63 new jobs.

 

Auto supplier adding jobs in North Carolina

FCC North Carolina announced plans to create 28 jobs and invest nearly $1 million as part of an expansion in Scotland County. FCC, a division of a Japan-based automotive parts manufacturer, has two plants in Scotland County. One manufactures clutch and transmission parts, the other manufactures friction material. Primary customers include Honda, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

 

Smyrna, Tenn., auto supplier announces $25 million expansion

The North American arm of France-based automotive supplier Valeo announced a $25 million expansion of its Smyrna facility, adding 80 new jobs. Valeo focuses on smart-driving technology and products that help reduce CO2 emissions. 

 

Thermo Fisher to invest $9.5 million; 57 new jobs

A medical device maker based in Massachusetts plans to expand its operations in Virginia and create 57 new jobs. Thermo Fisher Scientific will spend $9.5 million expanding its clinical diagnostic operation in Frederick County.

 

T-Mobile creating 400 new jobs in North Charleston facility

T-Mobile is investing about $17 million in a call center in South Carolina, creating 400 new jobs. T-Mobile plans to move its existing customer center in Charleston to a new and larger facility in North Charleston.

 

One Call Care Management expands Missouri op center

One Call Care Management, a Florida-based provider of worker’s compensation services, will expand its operations in Springfield, Mo. The company expects to create 100 new jobs by the end of the year. They were attracted to Springfield’s central location and established healthcare industry, and made the decision to move after finding a move-in ready facility, as well as the right talent, officials said.

 

KC insurance broker picks new HQ site, plans 1,000 new hires

Spring Venture Group, a distributor of Medicare supplement insurance, will move its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. The company is expected to add 450 jobs during the next three and a half years and 1,000 during the next six years as the baby boom generation moves into its wheelhouse. Capital investment associated with the move is estimated at $8 million to $12 million.

 

Ipsecure to double space at Port San Antonio, hire 50 techies

San Antonio IT firm IPSecure is more than doubling square footage at Port San Antonio and expanding its staff of 120 by up to 50 employees. The defense contractor estimates the expansion will cost around $1.2 million.

 

Enterprise Products Partners expands Orla, Texas natural gas plant

Enterprise Products Partners is expanding with the addition of Orla II, a second processing train at its cryogenic natural gas processing facility under construction near Orla, Reeves County, Texas.

 

Three Notch’d Brewing expanding in Charlottesville, Va.

Charlottesville-based Three Notch’d Brewing is investing $2.9 million to expand its Charlottesville brewery. The project is expected to create eight jobs. The brewery, which opened in 2013, will purchase 69 percent of its agricultural ingredients from Virginia farmers.

 

Adkev to purchase Caterpillar plant, bring 70 jobs to Danville, Ky.

A plastic injection molding company from Indiana plans to invest $15.7 million and create 70 jobs in Danville. Adkev will purchase the Caterpillar plant in the Boyle County Industrial Park by the end of the year, complete a refurbishment and open by mid-2019. The new hires will offset the jobs lost with the closing of the Caterpillar plant.

 

Fitzgerald Collision & Repair’s $9 million expansion to create 220 jobs

An expansion at Fitzgerald Collision & Repair is expected to create 220 new jobs in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. The company will invest $9 million to expand its existing facility in Rickman and establish new operations in Sparta. According to a press release, Fitzgerald Collision & Repair recently announced a new vocational program and partnership with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Livingston, which offers students training in commercial fleet truck maintenance and repair. With the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer all citizens -- both high school graduates and adults -- the chance to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate free of tuition and fees.

 

New drone factory bringing jobs to north Mississippi

Delta Southern UAS, a company that specializes in drone technology, is bringing a factory to Clarksdale, Miss., transforming the old Graber Gas building into a drone factory. Hiring plans include 25 to 50 new jobs.

 

Coca-Cola bottling company to add 100 jobs in Arkansas

A Mississippi-based Coca-Cola bottling company is set to bring 100 additional jobs as part of plans to expand operations to Arkansas. Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works said it would expand its operations subject to the parties reaching definitive agreements.

 

German auto supplier Ifa expanding Charleston ops with $69 million facility

A longtime Charleston area automotive supplier, IFA (a German-based company that produces parts for automakers including BMW and Volvo) is building a $69 million facility in Berkeley County and will add about 120 new jobs to its existing workforce. The company makes driveshafts for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. 

 

Clinton, S.C., chosen for GE test facility 

A new research and development facility for wind energy generation will be located in Clinton. GE Renewable Energy said the $29 million spec facility will test prototype bearings and evaluate next-generation bearing technology.

 

Protomet to invest $30 million in Loudon County, Tenn.

An Oak Ridge, Tenn.-based engineering and manufacturing supplier for the automotive, marine and energy industries will spend nearly $30 million to renovate the former Maremont factory in Loudon County and add 200 jobs over the next five years.

 

Eldor’s 350-job auto parts plant progressing in Botetourt County, Va.

Eldor Corp.’s high-tech automotive parts factory in Botetourt County is on track for test runs in January 2018 and occupancy by late April. About 350 people are slated to be working at the plant within five years, with another 300 to be added after that, marking the largest expansion of new manufacturing jobs in the Roanoke Valley in at least a decade.

 

Czech manufacturer coming to Peachtree City, Ga.

A leading producer of technical compounds and polyester staple fibers based in the Czech Republic will invest $20 million in a new facility in Peachtree City, creating more than 20 jobs. SILON’s polyester fibers and polyolefin compounds are used in the automotive, construction and medical sectors, among others.

 

Bluegrass Supply Chain Services investing $3.35 million in Kentucky, creating 51 jobs

Bluegrass Supply Chain Services, a logistics provider for the automotive and food and beverage industries, will invest more than $3.35 million and create 51 jobs at two locations -- a new operation in Edmonson County and upgrades at its Bullitt County facility. The new jobs will bring its total Kentucky employment to about 590.

 

Data company bringing 6,300 jobs to Plano, Texas

NTT DATA Services is officially moving into its new North American headquarters in Plano. NTT DATA Services is a division of Japan-based NTT DATA Corporation. A Texas Enterprise Fund grant offer of $7,500,000 has been extended to NTT DATA for the creation of 6,377 new jobs and a capital investment of more than $28 million, according to Governor Greg Abbott’s Office.

 

Forty-million-dollar Project Hollywood revealed in Charlotte

Staples, the Massachusetts-based office supplies retailer, has been confirmed as the future tenant of a 600,000-square-foot distribution facility in Charlotte. The estimated $40 million project will be their fourth distribution center in the Charlotte region. 

 

Mobile device company bringing 225 jobs to La Vergne, Tenn.

HYLA Mobile will open a new facility in La Vergne, bringing 225 jobs to Rutherford County. HYLA works with Fortune 100 companies and retailers to collect and refurbish previously owned mobile devices. The company will invest more than $1 million as part of opening the 10,000-square-foot facility.

 

McGregor call center to hire 1,200

A call center in McGregor, Texas will hire about 1,200 customer service agents in the coming months to field inquiries from medical providers. More than 500 people now work at the C3 call center, which is headquartered in Plantation, Fla., and new staffers will join the company over the next four to six months. The McGregor facility was opened in August 2011, and now is one of the largest employers in the area.

 

Unanet to create 60 new jobs in Loudoun County, Va.

Unanet, a provider of cloud and on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, will invest $1.67 million to expand its operation in Loudoun County and create 60 new jobs.

 

Maxim Crane Works growing in Kentucky

Maxim Crane Works, the largest provider of crane rental and lifting services in the U.S., will build a $4.71 million office in Wilder, Ky., creating 100 full-time jobs. Maxim has operated its regional headquarters in Wilder since 1937. It is also where the company bases about 400 cranes for quick deployment to customers across the Eastern U.S.

 

Dominion Energy to invest $1.8 billion in Virginia

Dominion Energy is planning to invest more than a billion dollars in the construction of a pumped hydroelectric storage station (best described as a big battery) for the coalfield region of southwest Virginia. The company is currently looking at a number of sites in the coalfield counties for the project, which would create hundreds of jobs during the multi-year construction phase, and approximately 50 permanent positions. 

 

Northrop Grumman, Craig Technologies to hire 200 in Central Florida 

Global defense firm Northrop Grumman Corp. and Cape Canaveral-based Craig Technologies Inc. have both landed big contracts with work in Florida’s Space Coast. Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop Grumman won two contracts totaling $19 million in June and will be hiring 131 workers in Melbourne, 26 in Orlando, and two in Apopka. Meanwhile, Craig Technologies was named a subcontractor on a project that involves NASA's Space Launch System. They are hiring more than 25.

 

Vacation rental company finds a bigger home in Austin

HomeAway.com Inc., the Austin-based vacation rental company, is adding hundreds of employees in its hometown and plans to move its global headquarters to a 16-story tower in North Austin within the next two years. HomeAway said the new building will have room for more than 2,000 employees. 

 

Aluminum company investing $26 million in Florida

ATIO USA, an aluminum recycling and manufacturing company, will open a new facility in Clewiston, Fla. The project will create 39 new jobs and a $26 million investment. ATIO USA will use scrap and waste aluminum and primary raw material to manufacture an alloy known as Green Billets for the global automobile industry and OEM suppliers.

 

Cardworks Servicing opens hub in Lake Mary, Fla.

CardWorks Servicing, a provider of operational support to credit card issuers and installment lenders, will invest $4.2 million to open an operations hub in Lake Mary near Orlando. The firm, which is headquartered in Woodbury, N.Y., expects to create approximately 240 jobs.

 

Logistyx Technologies chooses Tulsa for global HQ

Logistyx Technologies, a new logistics software company, will establish its global headquarters in Tulsa, Okla. Advanced Distribution Solutions, Agile Network and Pantechnik International merged to create Logistyx Technologies, which plans to bring an additional 30 to 50 high-paying jobs to Tulsa over the next 18 months.

 

Nationstar bringing offshore call center to Longview and Dallas

Nationstar’s move will mean some 500 jobs will be opened, mostly at its new hub in Longview, Texas. A spokesperson also said that some jobs will be created at call centers in Dallas, Lewisville, and Chandler, Ariz.

 

Sixty-one jobs coming to Robeson County, N.C.

Ventura Coach and Absolute Bus will create 61 jobs through an expansion of Ventura’s Lumberton facilities. The manufacturer of commercial buses plans to invest $2 million in the project.

 

Turkish textile company bringing jobs to North Carolina

HPFabrics, based in Istanbul, plans to spend $4 million to reopen an old textile plant in Winston-Salem, creating as many as 260 jobs over three years. 

 

Israeli plastics company opens plant in Gaston County, N.C.

Israeli-based Tosaf Group now has its first U.S. plastics compounds plant in Bessemer City, where employment is expected to grow to 75. 

 

German Logistics company expanding Atlanta HQ, 150 jobs

KNAPP will expand its North American headquarters in Kennesaw, Ga. The Germany-based warehouse logistics and automation company has purchased a new building adjacent to its current location and once renovated, will grow its workforce by 150.

 

Cybersecurity firm to move 500 employees in Texas 

NetScout Systems plans to relocate its regional research and development office and 500 employees from Plano to Allen, Texas. The cybersecurity and business intelligence provider has leased a three-story building  there.


June 2017

Sixteen of the top 20 places to start a business are in the South according to this source

According to a study done by WalletHub.com, Oklahoma City is the No. 1 place to start a business in the U.S. Charlotte ranked third, followed by Tulsa, Durham, St. Louis, Austin and Amarillo. . .all ranked in the top 10. Sixteen of the top 20, and 21 of the top 25 cities ranked were markets in the South. 

 

All of the five fastest growing U.S. cities are in the South

The U.S. Census Bureau put out figures in May that ranked the top five cities during the 12 months leading up to last July 1. Conroe, Texas (a Houston suburb) was the fastest growing city, increasing by 7.8 percent, 11 times higher than the national average. The Dallas suburbs of Frisco and McKinney, which had growth rates of 6.2 percent and 5.9 percent, were second and third. The rest of the top five included Greenville, S.C., at 5.8 percent and Georgetown, Texas (an Austin suburb) with a 5.5 percent population increase. 

 

The South dominates 2017 "Best Cities for Young IT Professionals" ranking

Right Click ranked the top cities for young IT professionals, and the South almost made it a clean sweep in the top 10. San Antonio came in first, followed by Savannah; Winston-Salem; El Paso; Columbus, Ga.; Orlando; Dallas; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Worth and Dayton, Ohio. Just outside the top 10, making up the top 15, were Fayetteville, N.C.; Irving, Texas; Memphis; McAllen, Texas and Houston.  

 

Texas, Florida at the top of Chief Executive magazine's ranking

For the 13th straight year, Texas sat atop Chief Executive's "2017 Best & Worst States for Business." The ranking is based on a poll the publication puts out to CEOs. Florida came in second, followed by North Carolina and South Carolina. Making up the rest of the top 10 were Indiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin. 

 

Tennessee is the first state in the nation to make community college free to all adults

Tennessee lawmakers approved legislation in the spring quarter that will expand the Tennessee Promise education program, launched in 2014, which made community college tuition and fees free for recent high school graduates. Now, adults who do not have a two- or four-year degree can also attend for free beginning in the 2018 fall semester. 

 

Kentucky sets annual investment record in first five months of 2017

Kentucky has set its annual capital investment record in May, thanks to investments by Toyota, Amazon and others earlier in the year. Gov. Matt Bevin announced May 26th that the state has raised $5.8 billion in investment commitments from companies locating or expanding in the Commonwealth. The previous record was $5.1 billion in calendar year 2015.  

 

Mercedes' big Alabama expansion finishing up

Fifteen months after the groundbreaking, the new $1.3 billion, 1.3 million-square-foot Mercedes-Benz body shop at its plant in Vance, Ala., is nearing completion. Most of the construction is finished and it's now time to install state-of-the-art equipment before the shop can be operational sometime next year. When completed, nearly 1,000 robots will help assemble 300,000 vehicles a year. Driverless, auto-guided vehicles will use 36,000 magnets that have been installed in the floor of the body shop to deliver components and the vehicles to each work station. The magnets will replace the traditional conveyor belts that typically move parts and vehicles through the shop. 

 

China automaker Great Wall Motor to build North American plant

In May, the CEO of China's Great Wall Motor Company said that the company is searching for sites in Mexico and the U.S. to build a new assembly plant. Great Wall is China's largest SUV and pickup truck manufacturer. Officials with the company told Reuters that the site choice will depend on trade issues among the U.S., Mexico and China. 

 

Automotive, aerospace industries prompt big deal in Eastern Kentucky

In the spring, startup aluminum manufacturer Braidy Industries announced it will build a 2.5 million-square-foot, fully integrated aluminum rolling mill in Eastern Kentucky that they say will be the "most technically advanced mill in the U.S." The plant will produce about 370,000 tons of aluminum per year. The $1.3 billion project will create 1,000 construction jobs and 500 full-time, high-paying jobs in Greenup County. Growth in the automotive and aerospace industries and their increased use of aluminum as a lighter replacement of steel prompted the building of the new mill. As of May 2017, Eastern Kentucky has lost over 8,000 coal jobs, meaning the mill located near Ashland on the Ohio River should have plenty of labor available in what is an ever-increasing tight labor market in the American South. 

 

Big Louisiana project is now even bigger

The previously announced LNG export facility on the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Cameron Parish, La., was originally an $11 billion project. Now G2, who is building the facility, is adding a petrochemical plant, bringing total investment on the two plants to $23 billion. At buildout, the two projects will create 6,000 construction jobs and 700 permanent positions. 

 

Manufacturer relocating to Texas

Hudson Products, a maker of heat exchangers, is relocating its plant from Tulsa to Rosenberg, Texas. The company will invest $6 million and bring 150 jobs to the Houston area. Hudson considered Monterrey, Mexico before settling on Rosenberg. 

 

Big investment in Virginia bakery

Wholesome Harvest Baking, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo, one of the largest bakery companies in the world, is investing $22 million to upgrade equipment at its operations in Roanoke, Va. 

 

Call center sets up shop on Florida's Space Coast

Medical Data Systems has opened a new call center in Melbourne, Fla. The company tracks down delinquent medical payments. The deal calls for 300 jobs. 

 

Valvoline opens new headquarters in Lexington, Ky. 

In the spring quarter, Valvoline opened its new $35 million, 162,400-square-foot headquarters in Lexington. The premium lubricant manufacturer employs about 1,100 people in Kentucky and 5,500 worldwide. 

 

Hino adds production line in Marion, Ark. 

Hino Motors Manufacturing, a division of Toyota, has started a new production line at its plant in Marion, Ark. The company is now producing rear axles and other components for the Toyota Tacoma. Over the last few years, Hino has invested more than $280 million in the plant that also produces suspension components, stampings and frames for a variety of Toyota models. 

 

China textile company announces big Arkansas deal

Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, a manufacturer of yarn for textiles, announced in the spring it will invest $410 million to repurpose the former Sanyo plant in Forrest City, Ark. It's the first North American plant for Ruyi. The company, which will process more than 200,000 tons of Arkansas-grown cotton, will hire 800 in the deal. 

 

TVA approves $300 million strategic fiber expansion

The Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors approved a $300 million strategic fiber initiative that will expand the company's fiber capacity of its transmission system. The expansion will meet the power company's bandwidth to accommodate new distributed energy resources. TVA's expanded fiber network will also make available added capacity to local communities in rural areas of the South to help attract jobs. 

 

Truck manufacturer to locate in McKinney, Texas

PACCAR, a manufacturer of a variety of trucks, will locate a new facility in McKinney to produce its Dynacraft series. The $20 million plant will house an undetermined number of workers. 

 

Sysco adding jobs at Atlanta facility

Sysco Corp. announced in May it will expand its Atlanta facility. The company is adding 100,000 square feet to the current 562,000-square-foot facility and will add 100 jobs. 

 

Financial services firm hiring 550 in Charlotte

AXA, a financial protection firm, is doubling its workforce to 550 at its location in University City's Innovation Park in Charlotte. The company is investing $18 million in the project. 

 

Waitr adding 100 jobs in Lafayette, La. 

Waitr, an online and mobile software solutions company for the restaurant industry, is adding 100 jobs at its technology center in Lafayette. The company is headquartered in Lake Charles, La. 

 

Equifax bringing 800 jobs to Atlanta

Equifax, an information solutions provider, is adding 800 jobs to its workforce total of 3,000 in Atlanta. The company has moved into new office space in Midtown. 

 

Large solar farm slated for rural Arkansas

Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy is building a 475-acre solar farm near Stuttgart, Ark. Once completed, the facility will be home to more than 350,000 solar panels. NextEra will build, own and operate the solar farm and the energy will serve Entergy Arkansas customers. 

 

Big call center near Waco, Texas calling for 900 jobs

Empereon-Constar, a provider of inbound customer solutions, is locating a new call center in Lacy Lakeview, Texas, near Waco. The $20 million project will create 900 jobs. 

 

Dow expanding world's largest ethylene plant

Dow Chemical is investing another $2 billion in its ethylene cracker plant in Freeport, Texas. It is the world's largest, and the deal will create 500 jobs. 

 

San Antonio lands distribution center, 1,000 jobs

TJX Companies is building a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center in the South Side of San Antonio. The project will create 1,000 jobs. 

 

IT consultant adding jobs in NOVA

Windward Consulting, an information technology consultancy, is expanding its headquarters in Fairfax County, Va. The company is adding 97 employees. 

 

Call center adding 200 jobs in Florida

Alorica, the nation's largest customer service outsourcing company, is adding 200 jobs at its call center in Sarasota, Fla. 

 

Distribution center slated for East Mississippi

Texas-based BWI Companies, a farm and garden retailer, has broken ground on a new distribution in Marion, Miss., near Meridian. The project will create 40 jobs. 

 

Decor distributor expanding in South Carolina

Fort Mill-based home decor distributor Unique Loom, is expanding to Indian Land, S.C. The deal will create 245 jobs. 

 

Electrolux investing in South Carolina plant

Charlotte-based Electrolux is investing $200 million to upgrade its plant in Anderson, S.C. The company will add 800,000 square feet. No additional jobs to the 1,300 already housed at the plant will be created.  

 

Dallas named best city for jobs by Forbes

The Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area was named the best city for jobs for 2017 by Forbes magazine, ousting San Francisco (which placed second) for the first time in years. Nashville place third, followed by Charlotte and Orlando. Other Southern markets making the top 10 were Austin and Raleigh, and in the top 15 were San Antonio, Atlanta and West Palm Beach. 

 

Vinyl manufacturer expands in Tennessee

Homeland Vinyl, a manufacturer of vinyl deck, fencing and railing, is expanding its plant in Hawkins County, Tenn. The company is adding 50 jobs. 

 

Apple investing $200 million in Kentucky plant

Apple is investing $200 million in Corning's Gorilla Glass plant located in Harrodsburg, Ky. The glass is used in iPhones. No jobs were given in the announcement. 

 

Companies in joint venture to create 150 jobs in Joplin, Mo. 

ATC and ABB, which is a multi-national company known for robotics, are teaming up to build a home automation business in Joplin. The work that will be done is everything from programming software to installing the components for home automation. The deal will create 150 jobs. 

 

World's largest auto refrigerant plant opens in Louisiana

Honeywell celebrated the startup of its $300 million Louisiana plant that makes a next-generation auto air conditioning refrigerant. The facility's product will sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

Largest ship ever calls on ports in the South 

The COSCO Development, the largest ship to ever call on a port on the East Coast made a stop at the Port of Virginia, the Port of Savannah and the Port of Charleston for the first time in early May. The ship is 100 feet longer than the U.S. Navy's latest aircraft carrier and can carry over 13,000 20-foot containers. 

 

Jacksonville port lands new Alfa Romeo Giulia

Jaxport, one of the leading vehicle import points on the East Coast, is now the Southeast distribution point for the mid-size Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan. The lineup includes the 280-horsepower Giulia, the Giulia Ti and the 505-horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio. 

 

Telecommunications firm expands in Plano, Texas

New York-based international telecommunications firm Altice USA is expanding its office in Plano. The company, which will hire 400 in the move, provides internet, video and phone services. 

 

Lockheed moving hundreds of jobs from California to Florida's Space Coast

Lockheed Martin officials are following through on plans to relocate 300 jobs within its fleet ballistic missile division to its facilities at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Maryland-based defense giant employs more than 7,000 workers in Central Florida. The move is being done to reduce costs and centralize programs to key locations. 

 

Airbus begins assembly of new model in Mobile, Ala. 

After assembling about 30 A321s over a two-year period ending in May, Airbus has begun assembly of the more basic A320 for the first time at its plant in Mobile. The A320s are fitted with the Current Engine Option (CEO), a less fuel efficient version of the New Engine Option (NEO), which is used on the A321s. Eventually, the Alabama plant will build all members of A320 family; the A319, A320 and the A321. 

 

Credit Suisse expanding by 1,200 jobs at Research Triangle Park

Swiss multinational financial services firm Credit Suisse Group is adding 1,200 jobs at its tech hub at Research Triangle Park, N.C. The company is investing $70.5 million in a new building on its campus. The new jobs are primarily IT and finance and will average nearly $100,000 per year. Credit Suisse moved significant operations to North Carolina in 2004 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The company also cited the Raleigh-Durham area's skilled labor force and lower real estate and operating costs in first moving to RTP. 

 

Plastics manufacturer expands in Oklahoma

McClarin Plastics, a maker of engineered plastics used by the oil and gas industry as well as other industries, has purchased Custom Composites in Oklahoma City. The acquisition will pave the way for more space and 50 new jobs. 

 

Manufacturer to create over 400 jobs in Louisville

LINAK, a manufacturer of linear actuators for hospital beds, office desks and farm equipment, is investing $33 million to double its space in Louisville. The project will create 413 jobs. 

 

HomeServe adding jobs in Chattanooga

HomeServe, a provider of monthly plans to cover major household repairs from plumbing to appliances, is investing $5.5 million at its customer service facility in Chattanooga. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Which states does Apple employ the most people? Three of the top five are in the South

In the spring quarter, Apple released a state-by-state breakdown that showed how many people the company employs in each U.S. state. Of course, with nearly 37,000 employees, California is No. 1. But in Texas, Apple employs nearly 8,500, followed by New York (4,291), Florida (3,868) and Georgia (1,516). 

 

American Airlines begins work on new Fort Worth HQ

American Airlines has begun work on its new 1.8 million-square-foot headquarters campus in Fort Worth. The 300-acre site is where the airline giant housed its original Fort Worth headquarters in 1983, after the airline relocated its operations from New York to North Texas. The new headquarters will have enough space to house up to 11,000 employees. 

 

If you are a Facebook user, your posts are likely to go through Fort Worth, Texas

Phase one of Facebook's largest data center is now operational in Fort Worth. The first of five Fort Worth data centers officially came online in May. The $1 billion project includes 20 data halls on nearly 150 acres. Facebook filed for a $267 million permit in May to begin work on the second phase of the data center. 

 

Ryder adding 200 jobs in Fort Worth

Ryder Integrated Logistics is investing $5.2 million to expand its Fort Worth facilities. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Aluminum manufacturer expanding in Georgia

Douglas, Ga.-based Elixir Extrusions is investing $8 million in its plant in Coffee County, Ga. The company makes custom aluminum extrusions and parts in a 250,000-square-foot facility for a variety of industry sectors. The expansion will add space and 100 jobs at the facility. 

 

Another tire manufacturer captured by Tennessee

Finland-based Nokian Tyres announced in the spring it will build a $360 million tire production plant in Dayton, Tenn. It is the largest foreign direct investment in Rhea County's history. The new 830,000-square-foot plant will house 400 workers. 

 

Kimberly-Clark investing in South Alabama plant

Kimberly-Clark, a paper manufacturing giant, is investing $75 million in its 650-employee plant in Mobile, Ala. The project will reduce the mill's emissions and improve capacity performance. 

 

Manufacturer picks Dyersburg, Tenn., for plant

Frazier Industrial Co. announced in the spring it will build a new manufacturing plant in Dyersburg. The company makes structural storage racking systems. The $17.4 million, 175,000-square-foot deal will create 120 new jobs. 

 

Glass manufacturer in Wichita Falls breaks ground on expansion

Vitro Architectural Glass broke ground this spring on an expansion of its facilities in Wichita Falls, Texas. The company makes glass for commercial facilities. The $55 million project will create 50 jobs. 

 

BAE adding jobs in Aiken County, S.C.

BAE Systems, which integrates electronic and tactical vehicles, and provides IT security services at its facility in Aiken County, S.C., is upgrading its facilities there. The company will invest $8.4 million and add 120 jobs.   

 

One of the largest yarn spinners in the world adding jobs in rural Alabama

Frontier Spinning Mills, the second largest yarn spinner in the Western Hemisphere, is adding new equipment and jobs at its plant in Elmore County, Ala. The company will invest $6 million and add 18 jobs to the 120 that are housed at the plant now. 

 

Toyota moving thousands of employees into new Texas headquarters

They are coming from Kentucky, California and New York to a spanking new headquarters in Plano, Texas. We're talking about Japanese automaker Toyota and the consolidation of its three North American headquarters into one in the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA. About 250 team members moved into the new 100-acre, 2.1 million-square-foot corporate campus in May, and each week since Toyota has moved about that many employees into the new facility. The new headquarters has room for 6,500 employees.  

 

U.S. Rig count reaches 1,000 for the first time in two years

Recovery in the oil patch continues as data from Platts RigData showed in May that the U.S. rig count surpassed the 1,000 mark for the first time since April 10, 2015. In mid-2016, U.S. rig counts fell to 316, the lowest in decades. More than half of the current operating rigs are in Texas, where nearly 10,000 oil and gas jobs were added in the first quarter of this year. 

 

Automotive sales and assembly boom is slowing in the U.S. and the Southern Automotive Corridor

The automotive industry is one of the most important forecasters of any economy. Its expansion from a total of 10.4 million light vehicle retail sales in 2009 to 17.4 million in 2016 has added hundreds of thousands of jobs in the South and three new assembly plants -- Volkswagen (now operating since 2012 in Chattanooga); Mercedes-Benz van plant in North Charleston, S.C.; and Volvo's Berkeley County, S.C., plant. The latter are under construction. But sales are slowing as April saw the fourth straight month of a sales retreat for light vehicles, the longest stretch of declines since 2009. Many experts are saying that auto sales have peaked and are set for the first yearly decline in seven years. 

 

Big deal in Northeast Louisiana

Graphic Packaging and DHL are teaming up to inject millions into facilities in West Monroe and Monroe, La. Graphic Packaging announced it is investing $120 million in its West Monroe mill, and will also pump $70 million into a new 1.27 million-square-foot folding carton plant on the 726-acre Millhaven Road property on Interstate 20 in Monroe. DHL Supply Chain will also invest $84 million in the new facility. 

 

Construction firm locating HQ in Kansas City

Alpha General Contracting, an engineering construction company, is locating its headquarters in Kansas City. The deal will create 50 jobs. 

 

TVA's 49 reservoirs created $12 billion economic impact last year

According to a study from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the total economic effect from recreational and visitor uses of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s 49 reservoirs totaled $11.9 billion in calendar year 2016. TVA is the nation's largest public utility and provides electricity to about 9 million people in seven Southern states. 

 

IT provider adding jobs in Tampa Bay

Vology, an IT service provider, is investing nearly $4 million to expand its Largo, Fla., facilities. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Cybersecurity firm moving main operations to San Antonio

Freedom Security Alliance is moving the core of its operations from San Diego to San Antonio. The company provides cybersecurity analysis for companies and government agencies. The project is expected to create 120 jobs. 

 

Kia rolls out one millionth Sorento model at Georgia plant

In the spring quarter, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia celebrated the assembly of its West Point, Ga., plant's one millionth Sorento model. KMMG launched production of the Sorento in November 2009. The $1.1 billion plant supports more than 15,000 jobs in West Georgia. 

 

Natural food company locating facility in South Carolina

Moore's Food Resources, a manufacturer of natural foods, is opening a $15 million bakery in Piedmont, S.C. The deal will create 180 jobs. 

 

Only four U.S. markets achieve "inclusive growth" according to Brookings

A study published by the Brookings Institution in the spring quarter showed that many U.S. markets have achieved growth and prosperity from 2010 to 2015, but only four achieved broadly inclusive economic growth (i.e., benefits incurred by every section of society). Only four U.S. metros met the thresholds of inclusive growth — Albany, N.Y.; Austin; Charleston, S.C.; and Denver. 

 

Huge data center planned for Allen, Texas

Dallas-based CyrusOne is building one of the largest data centers in Texas. The 1.4 million-square-foot complex will be built on 66 acres in Allen. The center will be larger than Facebook's $1 billion data center under construction in nearby Fort Worth. The Dallas-Fort Worth region has more data centers than anywhere in the U.S., except for Northern Virginia. 

 

Best cities for job seekers? South lands seven out of top 10

According to indeed.com, Miami is the best city in the U.S. for job seekers. The job site's top 10 included Orlando, Raleigh, Austin, Sacramento, San Jose, Jacksonville (Fla.), San Diego, Houston and Memphis. 

 

Toyota's vehicle data science hub doubling headcount in Texas

Toyota Connected, the automaker's data science division located next to the company's new headquarters in Plano, Texas, is doubling its employee headcount to 200. 

 

Food processor adding jobs in Georgia

Lake Foods, a provider of food products to food processing companies, is investing $8 million to expand its plant in Hart County, Ga. The project will create 130 new full-time jobs. 

 

Frozen food plant to be built in Missouri

Ajinomoto Windsor is building a new frozen appetizer plant in Joplin, Mo. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Kraft Heinz opens expanded plant in Missouri

Kraft Heinz has opened its $250 million expanded plant in Kirksville, Mo. In 2016, the company announced it would add seven new Oscar Mayer meat production lines, nearly tripling the size of the plant to over 450,000 square feet. Two hundred jobs were created in the expansion. 

 

Healthcare firm opens new headquarters in rural Mississippi

Avectus Healthcare Solutions has completed the expansion of its headquarters in Corinth, Miss. The company has added 130 jobs. 

 

Canadian-based company locating U.S. HQ in South Carolina

Caristrap International, a manufacturer of industrial strapping systems, is locating its U.S. headquarters in Greenville, S.C. The $5.5 million project will create 100 jobs. 

 

Auto parts supplier expands in Kentucky

Kobe Aluminum is investing $51 million in its plant in Bowling Green, Ky. The parts supplier will increase its headcount from 500 to 629. 

 

Churchill Downs relocating division from California to Louisville

Louisville-based Churchill Downs is relocating its advance deposit wagering service from Mountain View, Calif., to its corporate headquarters in Louisville. The deal will create 100 jobs. 

 

3M adding jobs in Springfield, Mo. 

3M will expand its plant in Springfield. The facility produces industrial adhesives and tapes for the aerospace industry and other sectors. The $40 million project will create 90 new jobs. 

 

Eastman expanding Virginia plant

Eastman Chemical will invest $11.7 million at its plant in Henry County, Va. The company will expand capacity for performance films used in a variety of industries. The deal will create 15 jobs. 

 

Delta Regional Authority to spend $460,000 on new arts initiative

The Delta Regional Authority announced in the spring its new Delta Creative Placemaking Initiative. The plan is to contribute about $460,000 to stimulate economic development through the Delta region's arts and culture sectors. 

 

KPS Global expands in Northeast Tennessee

KPS Global, a walk-in cooler, freezer and environmental chamber manufacturer, is expanding its plant in Sullivan County, Tenn. The company will invest $1.5 million, add space and hire 64 new workers. 

 

Some facts about today's automotive industry

* The average age of vehicles in the U.S. is a record 11.6 years. 

* The average length of ownership is almost seven years.

* The average price of a new vehicle is $34,342. 

* The average price of a compact SUV is $28,395. 

* The average price of a full-size pickup is $45,252. 

* The average price of a full-size SUV is $60,670. 

* Last year, Americans had accumulated just under $1.2 trillion in outstanding auto debt. 

* Baby boomers account for 36 percent of new car purchases. 

* Millennials account for 29 percent of new car purchases. 

* Generation X members account for 25 percent of new car purchases.  

Sources: Kelly Blue Book, IHS, J.D. Power

 

Door manufacturer growing in Tupelo

Renin Corp., a manufacturer of interior barn doors, closet doors and hardware, is expanding its plant in Tupelo, Miss. The company is investing $1 million and adding 50 jobs. 

 

Pet food maker expands in Missouri

Blue Buffalo, a maker of Heartland Pet Food, is expanding its manufacturing campus in Joplin, Mo. The company is adding 112,000 square feet of space to its current 416,000-square-foot facility. Blue Buffalo officials have pledged to create more than 160 full-time jobs. 

 

Big aluminum mill announced in Kentucky

Tri-Arrows Aluminum will build a new cold rolling mill that produces aluminum sheets that are used for beverage cans and automobiles. The $125 million plant will be located next to the Logan Aluminum plant in Logan County, Ky., and will house 60 workers. 

 

Charlotte-based Nucor expanding Kentucky mill

Nucor Steel Gallatin Mill will expand its plant in Ghent, Ky. The plant produces rolled steel sheet used in automotive and agricultural equipment. The $176 million expansion will generate 75 jobs. 

 

Georgia-Pacific upgrades Alabama plant

Georgia-Pacific is investing $50 million to upgrade its paperboard machine at the company's mill in Brewton, Ala. The company recently invested $388 million to make energy improvements to the plant. 

 

Lockheed Martin to hire 500 in Orlando

Lockheed Martin's Missile & Fire Control facility in West Orlando will house and additional 500 workers. The defense firm already has over 4,000 people working at the campus and over 7,000 in Central Florida. The unit focuses on military and support equipment. 

 

HVAC component manufacturer to open new plant in Oklahoma

Ductmate Industries has purchased a 198,000-square-foot building in Wagoner, Okla., to open a HVAC system components plant. The project will create 60 new jobs. 

 

Pharmaceutical facility expands in Northern Virginia

Granules India will invest $35 million into its subsidiary Granules Pharmaceuticals to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Fairfax County, Va. The deal will create 102 jobs. 

 

Glass fiber plant expands in Aiken County, S.C.

AGY Holding has invested in upgrades of equipment at its glass fiber plant in Aiken County, S.C. The project will create 80 jobs. 

 

Walmart adding 2,000 jobs in Central Florida

Walmart will build a new distribution center in Cocoa, Fla., that will house about 450 workers. The retailer just completed its 2.2 million-square-foot warehouse in Davenport, Fla., and that facility will eventually generate 1,550 jobs. 

 

Amazon to bring 4,000 jobs to Jacksonville region

Online retailer Amazon will eventually build four facilities in different parts of Jacksonville that will create 4,000 jobs in Northeast Florida. 

 

Noranda Alumina expanding Port of South Louisiana facility

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Port of South Louisiana officials announced in the spring that Noranda Bauxite and Alumina will invest $35 million to expand and upgrade its alumina refinery at the port. The company will also establish its headquarters in Gramercy, La. The deal will create 65 jobs. 

 

James Hardie investing $220 million in new Alabama plant

Dublin, Ireland-based James Hardie Building Products announced in the spring it will invest up to $220 million to open an advanced fiber-cement building products plant in Prattville, Ala. The project will create 205 jobs. The company makes several types of fiber-cement products under the brands of HardiePlank, HardiePanel, HardieTrim and ColorPlus. 

 

Chinese company locates in Columbia, S.C.

China Hengshi, a manufacturer of fiberglass fabric used in wind turbine blades, space vehicles, aircraft and the construction industry, is locating a new facility in Columbia. The company's plant represents a capital investment of $11.1 million and 48 jobs in Richland County. 

 

Fort Worth captures distribution center

S&S Activewear has signed a lease for 493,000 square feet at the Mercantile Center in Fort Worth. The wholesaler of apparel will hire 300 in the project.  

 

Reshored garbage can factory lands in Jacksonville

Hans-Mill Corp. officially unveiled its 121,000-square-foot stainless steel garbage can factory in Jacksonville, Fla., in the spring quarter. The plant reshored from China to serve the U.S. market. The project will generate 50 new jobs. 

 

Manufacturer expanding in South Carolina

Itron, a company dedicated to the resourceful use of energy and water, is adding a new production line at its plant in Oconee County, S.C. The company is investing $8 million and adding 100 jobs to add a natural-gas-meters manufacturing line. 

 

New plant slated for West Virginia

Canada-based Shaw Almex is moving into an existing facility in Wayne County, W.Va., that will be a center for new product development in material handling and conveying solutions. The project will create 25 employees. 

 

Dollar Tree investing $110 million for Missouri distribution center

Virginia-based Dollar Tree is investing $110 million to build a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution facility in Warrensburg, Mo. The center, that will be served by 200 inbound and outbound trucks a day, will house 375 workers. 


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.

 

 


April 2017

The South leads all U.S. regions in population growth

With a 6.8 percent growth in regional population, the South led all U.S. regions in growth from 2010 to 2016 according to the Census Bureau. The West was close behind at 6.5 percent, followed by the Northeast with 1.6 percent and the Midwest at 1.5 percent. 

 

Houston named fastest growing metro in U.S.

According to a recent Census Bureau report, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area was the fastest growing U.S. metro from April 2010 to July 2016. The Houston region grew from 5.92 million people in 2010 to 6.77 million in 2016. That translates into a net increase of 2,612 people a week. Dallas-Fort Worth was second, averaging the addition of 2,474 persons a week. Rounding out the top five were New York City, Atlanta and Miami-Fort Lauderdale, all with population increases of more than 1,500 people moving in per week. 

 

What happened to the Texas economic miracle? 

For the better part of three decades, the Texas economy was the envy of all states. Led by two of the nation's largest metros (Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth) and one of the most innovative (Austin), the overall Texas economy topped most, if not all, U.S. states in several critical economic measures. But, the Texas economy is slowing. As of March, Texas is ranked 10th in job growth, has the 26th lowest unemployment rate and Governing magazine just ranked Texas 21st in personal income and overall production. And if Congress passes a 20 percent border tax on imports, things could get worse in the state. Imports make up about one dollar in every five dollars in the Texas economy because of its location on the Mexico border. 

 

South places 13 markets on the 20 best performing U.S. metros

Brookings' 2017 Metro Monitor saw 13 Southern markets ranked in the top 20 performing U.S. metros based on gross metropolitan product and job gains. Provo (Utah) ranked No. 1, followed by Austin, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Nashville, Houston, San Jose, Sarasota-Bradenton, San Antonio, Orlando and Denver. Dallas-Fort Worth, Charleston (S.C.), Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Tampa Bay, Raleigh and Atlanta made the top 20. 

 

Pew Research says without immigrants, U.S. workforce would shrink significantly

For decades, economists could rely on about 200,000 people a month joining the workforce in the U.S. The last two years has seen that figure drop to about 70,000. And with Baby Boomers retiring in droves over the next decade, Pew Research says a steady flow of immigrants will be needed to keep the workforce growing. Pew claims that if the current rate of both legal and illegal immigration continues, the number of working-age adults (24 to 64) will rise to 183.2 million in 2035. Without immigrants, the workforce will fall from today's 174 million to 165.6 million in 2035. It should be noted that immigrants currently are responsible for nearly half the population growth of the U.S., and that illegal immigration has dropped significantly in the last five years. 

 

U.S. enters third-longest economic expansion

In March, the U.S. entered the 93rd month of economic expansion, surpassing the 92-month expansion of the 1980s. That makes this 93-month growth in GDP the third-longest economic expansion in U.S. history. Only the expansions from 1991 to 2001 and 1961 to 1969 were longer. 

 

The U.S. economy has reach "Goldilocks" state

John Williams, the head of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, declared in late March to the Forecasters Club, a group of economists in New York, that with a 4.7 percent unemployment rate the nation is "at full employment." He also declared that with inflation "nearing" the Fed's goal of 2 percent, the U.S. has achieved the not-too-hot, not-too-cold "Goldilocks economy." 

 

Arkansas employment falls to 3.7 percent, lowest on record

In February, Arkansas' unemployment rate continued to fall to the lowest on record at 3.7 percent. The rate was 3.8 percent in January 2017 and 4.1 percent in February 2016. 

 

Merck picks Austin for IT hub

Merck & Co., a global pharmaceutical giant, has chosen Austin's Innovation District for a 600-employee information technology hub. Merck is revamping its IT strategy and has placed similar tech centers in New Jersey, the Czech Republic and Singapore.

 

First "smart" steel mill now in production in Arkansas

San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm Noodle.ai has teamed up with Big River Steel to develop the first smart steel mill production facility in Osceola, Ark. Sensors have been positioned throughout the mill, optimizing a variety of functions. The AI enables the mill to react to production challenges automatically as the facility itself learns how to be more accurate and efficient in the same way a driverless car learns with each trip. Much of the steel made at Big River is used in the automotive industry. 

 

Automotive industry in Mississippi keeps growing

Mississippi is home to two OEMs, the Toyota assembly facility in Blue Springs and Nissan's plant in Canton. The two plants support an estimated 31,700 direct and indirect jobs, and an annual payroll of $722 million, not including almost 200 suppliers to the plants. 

 

Honda investing $85 million in Alabama assembly plant

Honda's $2.2 billion, 3.7 million-square-foot assembly plant in Lincoln, Ala., is about to get bigger. The Japanese automaker announced in the spring the first phase of a multi-phase project to improve manufacturing, logistics and prepare for future technologies at the plant. The facility produces the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV, Ridgeline pickup and the Acura MDX SUV. The plant also produces V-6 engines for each of those models. Honda's Alabama assembly plant employs more than 4,500 employees and has drawn about 30 tier one suppliers that employ another 7,600. 

 

Lockheed Martin relocating F-16 assembly to South Carolina

Lockheed Martin is moving its production of the F-16 jet fighter from its facilities in Fort Worth to Greenville, S.C. The relocation will make room for expanded production of the F-35 in Fort Worth and will create about 250 jobs. The U.S. has not purchased the F-16 since 1999, but Lockheed Martin has orders from several other countries for the jet. 

 

New UPS regional hub to house 1,400 workers

Arlington, Texas is apparently the site of a new UPS regional shipping hub that will create at least 1,000 jobs and possibly as many as 1,400. The Atlanta-based company will invest $105 million in the project. 

 

Oil jobs are back; Halliburton adding 2,000 

Houston-based Halliburton reported that it has added 2,000 oilfield jobs in the U.S. in the first quarter. Most of the jobs are in West Texas. 

 

California-based biotech company plans to hire 450 in Tampa

Amgen announced in the spring it will open a capability center in Tampa, creating 450 jobs. The company is investing $25 million in the project. 

 

Auto supplier expands in Tennessee

Toledo Molding & Die is one of the newest manufacturers in Fayetteville, Tenn., but it already is expanding. The company expects to add 250 to 400 jobs within the next year and will double the size of its plant in 2018. 

 

Disposable products manufacturer to set up shop in Morristown, Tenn. 

Wisconsin-based Rockline Industries is investing $40 million in a new plant in Morristown and hiring 250. The company makes everything from coffee filters to wet wipes. 

 

Candy maker expands in Northern Kentucky

Perfetti van Melle, the maker of Airheads, Mentos and other candies, is investing in new equipment and production lines at its plant in Erlanger, Ky. The company is investing $11 million and adding 70 full-time jobs in the deal. 


Lash Group could double current job count in South Carolina

Lash Group, a healthcare firm owned by AmerisourceBergen, is growing again at its campus in Fort Mill, S.C. The company is building a new 173,000-square-foot building next to its current office that houses 1,200 workers. The new facility could increase total jobs at the campus to 2,500. 

 

Ford supplier investing in Kentucky plants

Tower Automotive is investing almost $50 million in two existing facilities in Bardstown and Shepherdsville, Ky. Operations at the two plants include stamping, welded assemblies and frames for a variety of vehicles assembled in Kentucky. The projects will create 60 jobs. 

 

Six-hundred jobs being created in McAllen, Texas

Charter Communications is establishing a bilingual call center in McAllen. The $17 million project calls for 600 new jobs. 

 

New Walmart distribution center set for South Alabama

Walmart is beginning construction on a 2.6 million-square-foot distribution center in Mobile, Ala. The $127 million facility is expected to house more than 500 workers and when fully operational, will draw about 600 truckloads a day from the Port of Mobile. 

 

Monster Moto opens HQ, manufacturing facility in Ruston, La. 

Monster Moto has opened its new headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Ruston. The plant assembles minibikes, go-carts and other vehicles. Combined, the two deals will create 287 jobs. 

 

Houston tops nation in office vacancy rate

With millions of square feet of new office space coming online, Houston's office vacancy is expected to top 21.5 percent later this year. Nationally, the office vacancy rate is 14.3 percent. 

 

Dow Chemical completes $6 billion Texas cracker

Dow Chemical has completed is massive $6 billion ethane cracker plant in Freeport, Texas. The facility will produce 1.5 million metric tons a year of ethylene, the primary stock used for most plastics. 

 

Another LNG export terminal is slated for Louisiana

The natural gas energy revolution continues to draw massive projects to the Gulf Coast. In the spring, Venture Global LNG announced it will invest $8.5 billion to build a natural gas liquefaction plant and LNG export terminal in Plaquemines Parish, La. 

 

Joint venture will build $1.7 billion Gulf Coast petrochemical facility

Paris-based Total SA is joining Canada-based Nova Chemicals and Austria-based Borealis AG in building a $1.7 billion petrochemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas. The joint venture will construct a 1 million ton-per-year ethane steam cracker next to Total's existing refinery in Port Arthur. 

 

Aerospace company expands in Mobile, Ala.

Continental Motors has been in business for 50 years in Mobile, operating out of several facilities. The company will consolidate with a new plant at the Brookley Aeroplex, home of Airbus' assembly line in Mobile. The company is spending $60 million on the project, which will retain 400 employees. 

 

South Carolina port breaks ground on inland port

The South Carolina State Ports Authority broke ground on its second inland port in the spring quarter in Dillon County, S.C. The $40 million Inland Port Dillon facility will be served by CSX, where containers from the Port of Charleston will be loaded onto trains. 

 

$40 million investment in Virginia dairy farm

Shamrock Farms, one of the largest family owned dairies in the U.S., is investing $40 million to expand its operation in Augusta County, Va. The project will double the farm's production capacity and add 70 jobs. 

 

Steel Dynamics opens new $100 million paint shop in Columbus, Miss. 

Gov. Phil Bryant, CEO Mark Millett and local representatives gathered in late March for the grand opening of Steel Dynamics' new $100 million paint facility. The project created 40 new jobs.

 

Another Amazon e-commerce facility in the South

More than 1,000 jobs are coming to Virginia thanks to another Amazon e-commerce warehouse. The company will build a 1-million-square-foot facility in Frederick County, Va. 

 

Amazon announces 10th Texas fulfillment center

Seattle-based Amazon is on a job-generation roll announcing new fulfillment centers seemingly every week. The latest is a 1 million-square-foot center in Katy, Texas, near Houston. The facility will pack and ship large items, such as music equipment and electronics. The center will house 1,000 workers. 

 

Spice manufacturer locating distribution center in North Mississippi

McCormick & Co. is locating a warehouse and distribution operation in Marshall County, Miss. The $6 million investment will generate 48 jobs. 

 

Charlotte manufacturer investing, hiring

Southeastern Metal Products, a sheet metal maker, is investing $5.1 million to expand its plant in Charlotte. Seventy jobs will be created. 

 

Window plant expanding in Macon, Ga. 

YKK, a Japanese-owned manufacturer of vinyl windows, is expanding its plant in Macon, Ga. The $10 million project will create 150 jobs. 

 

Two-hundred engineering jobs up for grabs in Palm Beach

Parametric Solutions, a manufacturer of gas turbines used in jets and for energy generation, is expanding its facilities in Jupiter, Fla. The company is investing $1 million and adding 200 jobs. 

 

Hershey adding jobs in rural Virginia

Hershey Chocolate is expanding its plant in Stuart Draft, Va. The plant is Hershey's second largest U.S. plant with more than 900 employees. This latest expansion will add 69 new jobs. 

 

Healthcare insurer adds jobs in West Georgia

Insurer Anthem is adding 450 employees at its Blue Cross Blue Shield campus in Columbus, Ga. The new workers will be in IT. The company is investing $3 million in the project. 

 

Company relocates HQ from Texas to South Florida

Spain-based Cosentino, a company that manufactures stone building materials, is relocating its Americas headquarters to Coral Gables, Fla. The project will create 85 jobs. 

 

Call center hiring 330 in Myrtle Beach

STARTEK, a national call center firm, is expanding its customer engagement facility in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The deal will create 330 jobs. 

 

Apparel company acquired; 133 jobs to be added in North Carolina

Sri Lanka-based MAS Capital, an apparel and textile manufacturer, has purchased Acme-McCrary's assets in Asheboro, N.C. The new company is investing $20 million in the plant and adding 133 jobs to the existing workforce. 

 

Satellite builder breaks ground on Florida Space Coast plant

OneWeb Satellites broke ground on an $85 million satellite assembly plant in Exploration Park, Fla. The plant will contain a high-volume assembly line to produce orbital satellites, the first such facility in the world. The 100,000-square-foot structure will house 250 workers. 

 

Hyundai marks 5 million Alabama-built engines

In the spring quarter, Korean automaker Hyundai celebrated its 5 millionth Alabama-made engine at its large Montgomery complex. The company made its first Lambda six-cylinder engine in Alabama in May 2005. 

 

Toyota's engine plant in Alabama supports 9,700 jobs

A recent study by the Center for Automotive Research shows that Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., supports an estimated 9,700 jobs in the state. The facility is the only place in the world where Toyota makes V6, V8 and 4-cylinder engines under one roof. 

 

Exide to restart battery plant in Northeast Tennessee 

Exide Technology is restarting battery production at its plant in Bristol, Tenn. The company shut down the plant in July 2013 when its parent company filed for bankruptcy. Forty jobs will be created in the deal. 

 

$100 million solar farm to be built in South Carolina

Dominion announced in the spring it plans to build, own and operate two solar generating facilities in Jasper County, S.C. The $100 million project will be built on 900 acres and will generate 81.4 megawatts of power. 

 

Manufacturer expanding in rural Mississippi

KeyTronicEMS, a contract electronics manufacturer based in Spokane, Wash., is investing $500,000 and adding 75 jobs at its plant in Corinth, Miss. The company current employs 230 at the facility. 

 

Manufacturer relocating to West Virginia

Elgin Industries is moving its plant to Princeton, W.Va., from Virginia. The $1.8 million project will create 79 jobs. 

 

GE Healthcare expanding in Florence, S.C.

GE Healthcare has broken ground on a $40 million expansion of its facilities in Florence, S.C. The company makes components for magnetic resonance imaging devices and other medical imaging systems. The deal will create 100 jobs. 

 

Baxter Healthcare creating 90 jobs in North Carolina

Baxter Healthcare is expanding its IV solution bag manufacturing facility in McDowell County, N.C. The company makes about 1.3 million IV bags a day at its 1.4 million-square-foot plant in North Cave. Baxter is investing $7.4 million and adding 90 jobs. 

 

Goods-producing jobs added most jobs in 17 years

In February, goods-producing industries, which include mining construction and manufacturing, added 95,000 jobs, the most since 2000. In February, employers added an above-forecast 235,000 jobs. 

 

DFW airport rated No. 1

In the spring quarter, the Airports Council International ranked the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport as the "best large airport in North America." The ranking came from passenger surveys conducted by ACI at over 320 airports worldwide. 

 

Canadian pharmaceutical company sets up shop in South Florida

Apotex, the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company, is investing $184 million in a new research, development and manufacturing facility in Broward County, Fla. The project will create 150 jobs. 

 

UCF to break ground on $1 billion downtown Orlando campus

In May, the University of Central Florida will break ground on its $1 billion Creative Village mixed-used development in downtown Orlando. The project will add 7,000 students. 

 

$450 million refinery to rise in West Texas

Austin-based MMEX Resources announced it will build a $450 million refinery in the Permian Basin in the West Texas county of Pecos. When operating, the project will have the capability of processing up to 50,000 barrels of crude oil per day, converting crude into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. 

 

$50 billion worth of petrochemical capacity to come online this year and next

Cheap and plentiful natural gas brought about by the shale gas boom is transforming the Gulf Coast with tens of billions of new petrochemical plants coming online this year and in 2018. The U.S. is expected to see a wave of $50 billion in new plant openings -- mainly ethylene -- in the next two years, followed by another wave of over $75 billion from 2020 to 2023. In total, the plants being built could generate 80,000 direct jobs. Between 2000 and 2010, some petrochemical plants on the Gulf Coast were closing, but shale has allowed the industry to come back like never before. The large ethylene plants are so energy intensive that it is now cheaper to operate them in the U.S. -- specifically the South's Gulf Coast -- than in any other country in the world. One petrochemical plant can consume 75,000 of barrels of oil equivalent a day. 

 

Toyota and its suppliers support nearly 30,000 jobs in Kentucky

Toyota's assembly plant in Georgetown, Ky., is one of the largest in the world. According to a study by the Center for Automotive Research, in 2015, Toyota and its suppliers accounted for $1.8 billion in payroll and supported nearly 30,000 jobs in Kentucky. The study also showed that Toyota's 30-year impact on the Commonwealth's economy stood at $6.6 billion. 

 

French automotive supplier lands in South Carolina

Plastic Omnium is building a new plant in Greer, S.C. The company manufactures large exterior auto body parts and supplies them to Mercedes, BMW and Volvo. In the last three years, Plastic Omnium has invested $300 million in four new U.S. plants. 

 

Financial services firm adding jobs in South Carolina

LPL Financial is adding more than 150 jobs to its Fort Mill workforce. The added workers will bring employment for LPL in Fort Mill, S.C., to 1,650. 

 

MP Husky expanding in Upstate South Carolina

MP Husky, a manufacturer of Cable Tray and Cable Bus systems, is adding a new 150,000-square-foot facility to its operations in Mauldin, S.C. The deal will create 50 jobs. 

 

Big eyewear company adding 1,000 jobs in Georgia

Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley eyewear, is expanding its distribution center in McDonough, Ga. The company is adding frame and lens assembly at the center. The deal will create 1,000 jobs. 

 

Poultry producer hiring 100 in rural Georgia

Aviagen, a broiler breeder, is investing $18 million in a hatching facility in Brooks County, Ga. The project will create 100 jobs. 

 

Call center creating 400 jobs in Missouri

Alorica is expanding its customer service center in St. Joseph, Mo. The deal calls for 400 jobs. 

 

New distillery opens in Kentucky

Bulleit Distilling Co. opened its new distillery in Shelbyville, Ky., in the spring quarter. The $130 million project will create 30 jobs. 

 

Claims manager hiring 500 at new Atlanta-area HQ

Crawford & Company, a claims management provider, has moved its headquarters to Peachtree Corners, Ga. The $15 million headquarters move will create 500 jobs. 

 

Birmingham-based Altec adding 105 Missouri jobs

Altec Industries, a manufacturer of heavy mobile equipment used by utilities and tree-care companies, is expanding its facility in St. Joseph, Mo. The expansion will add 105 jobs. 

 

Another deal for Ashley Furniture

Ashley Furniture has announced another facility. . .this one in Mesquite, Texas. The $65 million distribution and fulfillment center will house 350 workers. 

 

West Virginia call center growing

GC Services is expanding its call center in Huntington. The deal calls for 150 more jobs. 

 

Auto supplier investing $129 million in South Carolina

Madrid, Spain-based Gestamp is investing $129 million in its plant in Union County, S.C. The maker of metal automotive components is also adding 130 jobs. 

 

Cerner says it will create 16,000 jobs in Kansas City in 10 years

Health information technology giant Cerner opened the first phase of its new campus in Kansas City, Mo. The company moved 3,000 workers into that phase in the spring quarter. Eventually, when the 4.3 million-square-foot campus is completed, Cerner officials say it will house 16,000 workers. 

 

Canadian company picks West Virginia for new plant

Bidell Gas Compression will repurpose a 100,000-square-foot building in Weirton, W.Va., to fabricate natural gas compression equipment. The project will create 130 jobs. 

 

Healthcare tech company adding 200 jobs in San Antonio

Healthcare technology company CaptureRx is moving its headquarters to downtown San Antonio and adding 200 jobs. 

 

Firearms manufacturer announces big deal in Missouri

American Outdoor Brands, the parent company of Smith & Wesson, will build a 500,000-square-foot facility on 189 acres near Columbia, Mo. The $55 million project will create 154 jobs. 

 

Microsoft adding jobs in St. Louis

Microsoft will be the anchor tenant for St. Louis' Cortex tech hub. The software giant will add 150 jobs in the move. 

 

Medical device company expanding in South Florida

3D Medical Manufacturing is expanding in Palm Beach County. The manufacturer of implants will invest nearly $12 million and add 178 jobs. 

 

Progress at new Mercedes-Benz van plant in North Charleston, S.C.

In April, all of the new Mercedes-Benz Van plant's buildings in North Charleston were enclosed from weather, a new construction milestone. The $500 million, 1.1 million-square-foot facility that will house 1,300 jobs is expected to be operational by 2019. 

 

Manufacturer expands in Greenville County, S.C.

AVX, a manufacturer of electronic components used in a variety of industry sectors, is investing $35 million in its Greenville County facilities. The deal will create 100 new jobs. 

 

Insurer hiring in Hampton Roads

Optima Health is locating a customer service center inside the former J.C. Penney at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, Va. The project will create 200 jobs. 

 

Kroger building distribution center in Northern Kentucky

Grocery giant Kroger announced in the spring it will locate a $60 million distribution center in Florence, Ky. The 674,000-square-foot facility will house 100 workers. 

 

Tennessee has best small business job growth prospects

A study called the Paychex/IHS Small Business Jobs Index that came out in the spring showed that Tennessee leads the nation in the prospects for small business job growth. 

 

Honda investing $100 million in Georgia transmission plant

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company is investing $100 million at its transmission plant in Tallapoosa, Ga. The investment will enable the plant to produce the world's first 10-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive vehicles. The 10-speed transmission will first be installed in the 2018 Odyssey minivan model that is assembled 58 miles to the west of the Georgia plant at Honda's assembly facility in Lincoln, Ala.

 

Six-hundred new jobs for Fort Myers, Fla.

Gartner, an information technology research firm, is building a new facility in South Fort Myers next to its current offices to house the 600 workers it plans to add. The company is investing $21 million in the project. 

 

Alabama assembles more than 1 million cars a year, but makes many more engines 

In 2016, Alabama-based automakers (Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai) assembled more than 1 million cars, SUVs and minivans for the second consecutive year. Last year, Alabama manufacturers produced 1.75 million engines. Toyota led the pack producing a record high 702,014 engines at its plant in Huntsville. Hyundai produced 682,700 engines for use in vehicles made at the Korean automaker's assembly plant in Montgomery and Kia's plant in West Point, Ga. Honda's factory in Talladega County, Ala., built more than 369,000 engines. 

 

Alevo adding jobs in Charlotte metro

Switzerland-based Alevo Group, an energy storage company, is adding more than 200 jobs to its manufacturing facility in Cabarrus County, N.C. The company is investing a whopping $251 million in the expansion. 

 

Cosmetics manufacturer building new campus near Tulsa

SeneGence International, a cosmetics company, is planning to build a 1.5 million-square-foot campus that will include manufacturing, warehouse space and other facilities. The project will create "hundreds of jobs." 

 

Chinese manufacturer expanding in rural Alabama

GD Copper USA, a subsidiary of China-based Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, is adding 40 jobs at its plant in Wilcox County. The company, which employs about 300, produces about 100 million pounds of copper tubing each year.

 

AT&T reshoring 3,000 jobs, mostly to the South

AT&T and its largest union announced they had struck a four-year contract deal for workers in the company's telephone, cable and Internet business. Part of the deal is a promise by AT&T to hire 3,000 in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas for jobs that had previously been outsourced to overseas locations. 

 

LG Electronics picks Tennessee for $250 million plant

South Korea-based LG Electronics announced in the spring it will build a $250 million plant in Clarksville, Tenn., to assemble washing machines. The company will construct an 829,000-square-foot plant on a 310-acre site that is about 40 miles outside of Nashville. The deal will create 600 jobs. The six-year site search included eight states for study. 

 

Louisville is No. 1 in U.S. for gains in manufacturing jobs

With a manufacturing job growth rate of 27.2 percent between 2011 and 2016, Louisville, Ky., is the nation's No. 1 market in manufacturing job gains. At 27 percent, Nashville came in second and Daytona Beach was third. Also in the top 10 for manufacturing job gains in the South were Cape Coral-Fort Myers; Columbia, S.C.; Lakeland, Fla.; and Sarasota-Bradenton. Los Angeles, Chicago and New York all lost manufacturing jobs. 

 

Energy recovery systems manufacturer adding jobs in rural Virginia

Munters Corp., a manufacturer of energy recovery systems and custom air-handling equipment, is investing $2.5 million to upgrade its plant in Buena Vista, Va. The deal will create 100 jobs. 

 

North Carolina life sciences sector is surging

North Carolina's life science ecosystem continues to grow with employment rising 11 percent since 2010. The overall economic effect on the state has grown by 34 percent since 2010 to $86 billion in 2016 when 31,000 jobs were created. Direct employment by 650 life science companies in the state was at 259,963 at the end of 2016. 

 

Utility-scale solar farm to be built in Aiken County, S.C.

ESA Renewables, an alternative energy provider, is building a new utility-scale solar farm in Aiken County. The company is investing $11 million in the project. 

 

Another auto supplier expansion in Laurens County, S.C.

Fukoku America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fukoku, is investing $13.9 million to grow its operations in Laurens County, S.C. Fukoku is the largest producer of wiper blade rubber in the world. The deal will create 65 jobs. 

 

ServiceMaster adds jobs to IT department

Memphis-based ServiceMaster has returned 120 information technology jobs to its hometown that were outsourced throughout the country. The company's IT department in Memphis is now staffed by 340 workers. 

 

Spain-based auto supplier to open facility in Birmingham, Ala.

Grupo Antolin, a supplier of a wide variety of interior components for automakers, plans to build a $10.4 million plant in Birmingham. The company, which has 28,000 employees worldwide, will hire about 150 workers in the deal. 


March 2017

Southern MSAs dominate fastest-growing manufacturing workforces

Metros in the South made up seven of the top 10 fastest-growing manufacturing workforces according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2011, Louisville led all U.S. metros with 27.2 percent growth in manufacturing jobs. Nashville was second at 27 percent, followed by Daytona Beach, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Columbia, S.C., Lakeland and Sarasota-Bradenton. 

 

Military shipbuilder hiring 3,000 in Virginia

Huntington Ingalls Industries, the nation's largest military shipbuilder, announced in the winter it will add 3,000 jobs at its shipyards in Newport News, Va. The company's shipyards build and overhaul nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines. 

 

Alabama auto production hits 10 million mark

In 2016, Alabama's cumulative auto production surpassed the 10 million mark. The state is home to assembly plants operated by Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai. 

 

LG to build new plant in Tennessee

South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics, announced it will build a new plant in Montgomery County, Tenn., near Clarksville. The $250 million, 829,000-square-foot facility is expected to house 600 workers. Beginning in 2019, LG will manufacture washing machines at the factory.  

 

Alevo Energy adding 200 jobs in Charlotte region

Alevo Energy, which builds parts for its 2-megawatt GridBank battery systems at a plant in Concord, N.C., is investing over $250 in the facility. The project will create 200 jobs. 

 

Auto supplier picks Alabama for new plant

Spain-based Grupo Antolin is investing over $10 million to establish a plant in Jefferson County, Ala., near Birmingham. The parts supplier has 161 production plants worldwide. The new Alabama plant will house 150 workers.

 

DHL expanding Northern Kentucky hub

DHL Express is hiring about 900 people at its air hub at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. The company is investing $108 million in the deal. 

 

Large distribution center set for Louisville

Chicago-based W.W. Grainger, a distributor of industrial supplies, announced that it will build a new $273 million distribution center in Louisville. No word yet on job counts for the project. 

 

Southern states top employee engagement list

A new report by Gallup showed that Alabama is the No. 1 state in the U.S. when it comes to employee engagement, with 37 percent of the state's workers engaged in their jobs. Following Alabama were Kentucky, Delaware and Louisiana. 

 

Toyota sets milestone at Alabama plant

In February, the 5 millionth engine was produced at Toyota Motor Manufacturing's plant in Huntsville. The facility has been open for less than 16 years. The Huntsville factory is the only Toyota engine plant in the world where V6, V8 and 4-cylinder engines are assembled under one roof. 

 

Call center adding jobs in San Antonio

Alliance Data Systems, a financial services company that sells private label credit cards to retailers, is adding 150 jobs at its call center in San Antonio. 

 

Ernst & Young to open Louisville support center

London-based Ernst & Young, one of the largest business services companies in the world, is establishing a support center in Louisville, Ky. The $4.35 million project will create 125 jobs. 

 

Company consolidating HQ, adding jobs in Memphis

Sedgwick Claims Management Services is investing $33 million to consolidate its Memphis headquarters into a single campus. The project will create 130 jobs. 

 

Agricultural startup building $50 million Kentucky greenhouse

AppHarvest announced in the winter quarter it will build a $50 million high-tech greenhouse in Pikeville, Ky. on the site of a former surface coal mine repurposed for industry. The project will create 140 jobs.  

 

Herbalife sets landmark in Winston-Salem hiring

Herbalife, which moved into the former Dell facility in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 2014 to manufacture its nutrition products, reached the 1,000-employee mark in February. The company has invested $130 million in the facility. 

 

Publix opens new Alabama distribution center

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix opened its newest distribution center in McCalla, Ala. in the winter quarter. The 638,000-square-foot center will house 300 workers by year-end. 

 

Alabama auto parts supplier adding 100 jobs

Nemak Alabama, a maker of aluminum engine heads and cylinders, is expanding its plant in Sylacauga, Ala. The company is adding 100 jobs. 

 

Pharmaceutical company hiring 300 in Louisville

Startup PharmaCord, a patient case management and pharmaceutical distribution firm, is establishing its headquarters and pharmacy operations in Louisville, Ky. The $7.3 million deal will create 300 jobs. 

 

N.C. call center grows by 600 more

Alorica will add another 600 jobs at its call center in High Point, N.C. That number is in addition to the 800 jobs the company created last year.  

 

Pharmaceutical warehouse being built in Georgia

AmerisourceBergen, a pharmaceutical wholesaler, announced it will build a 350,000-square-foot distribution center in Buford, Ga. The deal calls for an investment of $40 million. 

 

Altec adding jobs in Missouri

Birmingham-based Altec, a maker of heavy mobile equipment used by utilities and other industries, is adding jobs at its manufacturing facility in St. Joseph, Mo. The company is expanding by 105 jobs. 

 

Alabama exports set record

In 2016, companies in Alabama set a record for exports. State exports rose 6.4 percent to $20.6 billion. The previous record was $19.6 billion in 2012. Alabama exports have almost doubled in the last 10 years. Transportation equipment, including automobiles, auto parts, aircraft and aircraft components led the way in 2016. 

 

Kentucky shatters export record

Kentucky's exports broke a record in 2016 with $29.24 billion in goods and services shipped from the Commonwealth. The total was a 5.8 percent increase from 2015. Aerospace-related products topped all industry sectors in Kentucky's exports for last year. 

 

BB&T breaks ground on S.C. mortgage center

Winston-Salem-based BB&T broke ground on a 140,000-square-foot mortgage servicing center in Mauldin, S.C. in the winter quarter. The deal will create 600 jobs. 

 

Chewy creating 600 jobs in Ocala, Fla.

South Florida-based Chewy, a retailer of pet supplies, is establishing an e-commerce center in Ocala. The $31 million distribution center will house 600 workers. 

 

Formosa Plastics seeking permits for $9.4 billion investments in the South

Taiwan's Formosa Plastics plans to build two petrochemical facilities in St. James Parish, La. and another in an unnamed location in Texas if it can earn permits to do so. The chemical producer will spend a total of $9.4 billion on the two facilities. 

 

Corning to create more than 400 jobs in two N.C. counties

Corning and Corning Optical plan to invest over $175 million on two facilities in Cabarrus and Catawba counties in North Carolina. The projects will create 410 jobs. 

 

Augusta area led Georgia in manufacturing projects last year

Richmond County, where Augusta is located, led the state last year in new and expanding manufacturing projects, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Richmond County captured 11 major manufacturing projects in 2016. 

 

Lowe's setting up customer center in Wilkesboro, N.C.

N.C.-based Lowe's is putting a customer support center in Wilkesboro, N.C. that will house 600 workers. The center will serve customers by phone and online. 

 

U.S. sets oil export record

U.S. shale oil producers exported 7 million barrels during a week in February, an all-time record. The amount of oil exported is about the same OPEC members have cut back on in recent months. 

 

Health care services company hiring 300 in Richmond

Owens & Minor, a health care services company, is investing millions to establish a new Client Engagement Center is downtown Richmond. Richmond competed with about 60 other cities for the project that will create 300 jobs. 

 

GE Aviation invests $4.2 billion in five years

Between 2011 and 2016, GE Aviation invested $4.3 billion to expand its U.S. operations. The investments included new plants in Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina. 

 

Nestle relocating HQ from California to Virginia

Nestle USA is the latest company to relocate its headquarter operations out of California due to high operating costs. The company is moving to Rosslyn, Va. and hiring 700. According to a report by business relocation expert Joseph Vranich, from 2008 to 2015, some 1,687 companies moved their operations out of California. 

 

Glass plant expanding in Wichita Falls

Vitro Architectural Glass is investing $55 million in its commercial glass plant in Wichita Falls, Texas. The project will generate 50 new jobs. 

 

Aerospace manufacturer locating new plant in Bay County, Fla. 

GKN Aerospace is locating a new plant at VentureCrossings Enterprise Center in Bay County, Fla., near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The British company will invest $50 million and will create 170 new jobs. Panama City and Bay County competed globally for the project. 

 

Poultry processor to open Mississippi plant

Pearl River Foods will open a chicken processing plant in Carthage, Miss. The $2 million deal will create 150 jobs. 

 

Technology company relocates HQ from California to Kansas City

AutoAlert, a software company that mines customer data to create sales applications used by automobile dealerships, is relocating its headquarters from Irvine, Calif. to Kansas City, Mo. The project will create 200 jobs. 

 

Manufacturer expanding HQ in rural Kentucky

Whitworth Tool, a manufacturer of components for the tool and die industry, is investing over $3 million in its Hardinsburg, Ky. headquarters. The deal will create 50 jobs. 

 

Pratt & Whitney's big deal in Columbus, Ga. 

Aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is investing $386 million in its facilities in Columbus, Ga. The expansion will double the company's capacity for engines in Columbus. The deal will create 500 jobs. 

 

BMW is No. 1 vehicle exporter in the U.S.

S.C.-based BMW remained the No. 1 automobile exporter in 2016. The German automaker exported 287,700 X SUV models last year valued at $9.53 billion. 

 

Grocery distributor adding jobs in W.Va.

H.T. Hackney, a wholesale grocery distributor, is opening its first warehouse in West Virginia. The company is moving into a 246,000-square-foot building in Milton that will house 70 workers. 

 

FERC: Majority of new generating capacity came from renewables in 2016

For the second consecutive year, the majority of electric generating capacity installed in the U.S. came from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission came out with a report in February that showed that renewables added 16,124 megawatts of power in 2016, or 61.5 percent of the total added, surpassing that of fossil fuels and nuclear power.  

 

Distribution center going up in Georgia

ELK Group, a lighting and decor manufacturer, is setting up a distribution center in Sylvania, Ga. The $2 million project will create 100 jobs. 

 

Tech firm hiring over 500 in Northern Virginia

IOMAXIS, a cloud-based tech firm, is investing nearly $4 million in its operations in Fairfax County, Va. The company, which does work for the Department of Defense, will hire 555 in the expansion. 

 

Orthodontics company creating 440 jobs in Nashville area

SmileDirectClub is investing $4.5 million to expand two facilities in the Nashville region. The project will create 440 jobs. 

 

Sock manufacturer to create over 400 jobs in North Alabama

Renfro Corp. has struck a deal with Walmart to make socks for under the Fruit of the Loom, Russell, Dr. Scholl's and Faded Glory brands. The deal will create 442 jobs at the company's plant in Fort Payne, Ala. 

 

Web design firm adding jobs in Kansas City

Code Koalas, a website design firm, is expanding its operations in Kansas City. The company is hiring 88 employees. 

 

$330 million being invested in North Carolina paper plant

Clearwater Paper, the largest private-brand tissue maker in the U.S., is growing in Shelby, N.C. The company is investing $330 million in the plant and adding 180 jobs. 

 

India-based Volvo supplier setting up shop in Dorchester County, S.C.

Sundaram-Clayton, an India-based maker of aluminum cast products for the automotive industry, is building a new plant near the Volvo facility that is under construction in Berkeley County, S.C. The company will invest $50 million in the plant and hire 130. The facility will be operational when Volvo begins assembly cars in late 2018. 

 

Austin named best city to live

The annual U.S. News and World Report's "Best Places to Live in America" came out in the winter quarter. Austin topped the ranking this year and Washington, D.C., Fayetteville, Ark., and Raleigh-Durham made the top 10. 

 

Midtown Atlanta is one of the South's hottest urban submarkets

Several companies are expanding or moving into Midtown Atlanta to cozy up to Georgia Tech and the overall tech scene that has clustered there. NCR is moving its headquarters to Midtown, adding 3,000 employees. Anthem, Honeywell, Interface, Payscape, Kaiser Permanente and Sage Software are just a few of the many companies adding jobs in Midtown. Currently, about 12,000 new jobs are headed to the Midtown submarket. 

 

Coastal Cloud hiring 30 in Louisville

Coastal Cloud, a Florida-based cloud-based software company that offers services to a number of industries including economic development and real estate, is establishing an office in Louisville, Ky. The Louisville office, which will house 30 workers, will be run by Erik Dunnigan, former Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary. 

 

Jobs coming to Spotsylvania County, Va. 

idX, a fixture manufacturer for retail markets, is relocating its plant from Maryland to Spotsylvania County, Va. The $7.2 million project will create 150 jobs. 

 

Auto supplier expands in Aiken County, S.C.

The Carlstar Group, a manufacturer of specialty wheels and tires, is expanding its facility for more capacity in Aiken County, S.C. The $6.9 million project will create 43 new jobs. 

 

More jobs coming to Aiken County, S.C.

Emerson Electric, a valve components manufacturer, is expanding its operations in Aiken County, S.C. The company is investing $8 million and bringing 86 jobs to Aiken. 

 

Additive manufacturer investing $55 million in Charlotte area

Swiss manufacturer, Oerlikon, is expanding its additive manufacturing sector with a new 3D printing facility in Huntersville, N.C. The new facility will focus on surface solutions and advanced materials. The $55 million project will create 100 jobs. 

 

GM investing $27 million in its Tennessee plant for vehicles headed to Australia

General Motors is investing $27 million so its workers can assemble the Holden Acadia, a right-hand driving SUV that will be exported to Australia. The additional work will retain 215 jobs at the plant. 

 

New solar array set for S.C.

Tradewind Energy announced it is building a new solar production facility in Orangeburg County, S.C. The $85 million array will generate 75-megawatts.


February 2017

January hiring means economy still has room to grow

The Labor Department's total of 227,000 jobs in January, and the fact that the unemployment rate rose from 4.7 percent to 4.8 percent, suggests that there is still room to grow the economy in the face of full employment pressures. Full employment drives up wages and inflation, but wages hardly grew at all in January. According to the Labor Department, about 7.5 million people are officially unemployed, with about 1.9 million of those out of work for longer than six months.

 

Manufacturing grows for fifth consecutive month in January

The Institute for Supply Management's index that counts manufacturing orders rose for the fifth straight month in January. The index rose to 56, the highest number since November 2014 and up from 54.5 in December. A reading above 50 means the manufacturing sector is expanding. Twelve of 18 industries surveyed expanded, with machinery, transportation equipment and electronic products leading the index for the month.

 

Can we even find enough legal workers to build a wall, or any massive infrastructure project?

President Trump's proposed infrastructure stimulus has a problem before it even starts -- labor shortages. The unemployment rate in the construction trades is currently at 4.5 percent, the lowest in a decade. The labor shortage in the construction sector has already delayed announced factories, particularly in Texas and Louisiana in the South. "Contractors in general throughout the country have been saying it's been difficult to get workers," said Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America in a Bloomberg story published in the winter quarter. The fact that in Texas about half of all construction workers are undocumented makes the task of finding labor for large projects, such as the Southern U.S. border wall, even more difficult. In other words, it would be nearly impossible to find enough legal workers to build the wall in Texas.

 

Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam proposes free community college for adults

In his state of the state address in the winter quarter, Gov. Bill Haslam introduced a proposal called the Tennessee Reconnect Act that is designed to offer free community college for adults. The program, if passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, would award adults last-dollar scholarships to attend community college. The initiative will come at no cost to taxpayers. The added tuition and fees will come from the Tennessee Education Lottery.

 

Bell cow of Alabama's automotive industry turns 20

In February 1997, the first M-Class SUV rolled off the assembly line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala. Since that day 20 years ago, Alabama's automotive industry captured two more assembly plants -- Hyundai in Montgomery and Honda in Lincoln, Ala. Also, Toyota built a huge engine plant in Huntsville and hundreds of automotive suppliers now call Alabama home. Mercedes has invested almost $5 billion in its plant in Alabama to date. The three automakers in the state assembled more than 1 million cars, trucks and SUVs in 2016.

 

Hankook Tire to complete Tennessee plant; to hire 1,200

South Korean tire maker Hankook will complete its new factory in Clarksville, Tenn., later this year. The plant will meet growing demand boosted by increased sales of vehicles made by Hyundai in Montgomery, Ala., and Kia in West Point, Ga. Hankook officials said they expect up to 1,200 workers will be housed at the Nashville area plant by the end of the year.

 

Samsung considering Alabama and South Carolina for new appliances plant

Various sources claim that Korean manufacturing giant Samsung Electronics is searching for sites in Alabama and South Carolina to build a new home appliances plant. The move reportedly is being made to remain competitive with other appliance makers in the U.S. if import taxes are levied under the new administration.

 

Harris hiring on Space Coast

Defense giant Harris Corp. is adding 200 workers in Central Florida. The company won a contract with the Air Force to complete a variety of tasks, and all of the work will be done at the company's facilities in Palm Bay, Fla.

 

France-based food manufacturer to place new plant in Banks County, Ga.

Citing its proximity to customers and high-quality local and sustainable foods, France-based Diana Food is investing $50 million in a new plant in Banks County, Ga. The facility, which will house 80 workers, will process meat.

 

St. Louis gains 300 jobs as Nestle leaves California

Nestle USA is moving its headquarters from California to Northern Virginia. In the move, Swiss-based Nestle, the world's largest food company, will also centralize its IT operations in St. Louis. Nestle is familiar with St. Louis as the headquarters for its pets products division is located south of downtown. That operation employs 2,700.

 

More cranes in the air in Nashville than in New York

The hits keep coming in Nashville, particularly from the construction industry where a bevy of major projects are being built in the city. According to a report from Rider Levett Bucknall, a real estate and construction consultant, Nashville has 27 tower cranes operating in the metro area. Most of the projects are high-rise offices, hotels and apartments. At the first of the year, New York had 21 cranes, San Francisco 24, Austin 20, Denver 18 and Boston had 11. Seattle had the most cranes with 62, according to the report, and Chicago had 56. Nashville has the lowest office vacancy of any city in the country at 6.2 percent. In the last quarter of 2016, the vacancy rate in Nashville was 4.6 percent.

 

Missouri becomes last Southern state to pass right-to-work legislation

In the winter quarter, Missouri became the 28th state to bar mandatory union fees and dues from nonmembers. Passing the measure means that now all Southern states are right-to-work.

 

Texas is No. 1 for inbound moves

Texas was named the top state in the U.S. in U-Haul's annual report on inbound moves. Corporate expansions and relocations by Toyota, Apple and Amazon, to name a few, are credited with the state attracting new residents. 

 

Austin No. 1 on U.S. News "Best Places to Live" ranking

According to U.S. News and World Report, the best place to live in the U.S. is Austin, Texas. The Texas capital city ranked No. 2 last year in the annual report. The media property ranks metro areas on a number of factors, including education, migration, cost of living, unemployment, health care and household income.

 

West Virginia's economy turning around

From 2011 to 2015, the state of West Virginia lost jobs, with each year losing more jobs than the previous year. That losing streak ended in 2016, as the state had a net gain of 7,000 new jobs. Last year, the West Virginia Legislature passed pro-business measures including eliminating the business franchise tax and the state lowered the corporate net income tax to 6.5 percent.

 

New, massive, dual-rail North Carolina megasite looks for certification

Called the Moncure Megasite, the dual-rail (CSX and Norfolk Southern) site near the convergence of Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Wake Counties, is located just 25 miles southwest of Raleigh. The site has doubled in size to 2,285 acres, and many consider it the No. 1 site in the South for a large manufacturing operation such as automotive assembly. Officials with the megasite expect state certification later this year.

 

Amazing Amazon

In January, the online retail giant announced plans to create more than 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. by mid-2018. The additional jobs would swell Amazon’s U.S. workforce, which stood at 180,000 last year. The Seattle-based company said that many of the new jobs will be at already-announced warehouses under construction in Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey and elsewhere. Highlights include two fulfillment centers bringing up to 2,700 jobs to Jacksonville, Fla., and 1,000 full-time workers at a 1-million-square-foot fulfillment center to be built in Coppell, Texas. The company also plans to build a $1.5 billion centralized air hub in Kentucky to help meet the demand created from Amazon Prime. When the site opens, the company expects to create more than 2,000 new jobs.

 

Big deal: Amazon to establish $1.49 billion air hub in Northern Kentucky

Amazon has chosen the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for a $1.49 billion, 2,000-employee air cargo hub for its current roster of 40 cargo aircraft. Amazon took a 50-year lease on about 900 acres owned by the international airport in Hebron, Ky. The company will build its air hub on that property. Amazon currently employs about 10,000 people at 11 fulfillment centers in Kentucky.

 

Steel Dynamics investing in mini-mill in Roanoke, Va.

Steel Dynamics, a steel producer and recycling company, is investing $28 million at its mini-mill in Roanoke. The company is purchasing new equipment to increase capacity of its rolling mill operation. The plant houses 300 employees.

 

Software firm adding jobs, relocating HQ to Midtown Atlanta

Midtown Atlanta is a hotbed for tech firms and the area just landed another company. Software firm SalesLoft is moving its headquarters from Buckhead to Midtown, next to Atlanta Tech Village. The deal will create 250 jobs.

 

Company reshoring jobs from China to Missouri

Trans-Lux, a manufacturer of LED and LCD display boards, is moving production of its products from Shenzhen, China to Hazelwood, Mo. The company is investing over $2 million in the Missouri plant that will house 90 workers.

 

Auto parts supplier investing in its Kentucky plant

Windshield manufacturer Pilkington North America is investing $7.5 million in manufacturing and technology upgrades at its plant in Versailles, Ky. 

 

Sawmill opens in Arkansas

Conifex Timber, a Canada-based sawmilling company, has restarted a state-of-the-art former Georgia Pacific sawmill complex in El Dorado, Ark. The company is investing $80 million in the project that will create 120 full-time jobs.

 

Huhoco Group investing in new Georgia plant

Germany-based Huhoco Group is investing $24 million and creating 200 jobs as it builds a new plant in Bartow County, Ga. The company refines metal products for the automotive and construction industry. 

 

Manufacturer expanding in Lincoln County, N.C.

Blum, a manufacturer of cabinet hardware, is expanding to meet growing demand for its products. The company, which has 390 employees, is investing $16 million in the plant and adding 20 workers.

 

$230 million plants breaks ground in Corpus Christi

Chemours, a maker of a new environmentally friendly refrigerant for automobile air conditioners, broke ground in the winter quarter on a $230 million plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.

 

Jackson Healthcare adding 1,400 jobs in Atlanta area

Jackson Healthcare, one of the nation's largest healthcare staffing companies, will expand its headquarters by 306,000 square feet at its current facility in Alpharetta, Ga. The project will create 1,400 new jobs.

 

La-Z-Boy investing in rural Tennessee

Furniture manufacturer La-Z-Boy will expand its plant in Dayton, Tenn. The $26 million project will create 115 jobs.

 

Dallas-Fort Worth second only to NYC in total construction starts

Dallas-Fort Worth construction starts hit a record in 2016, with almost $21 billion in new construction. Last year's building starts were $2 billion more than the peak of the last construction cycle prior to the Great Recession. In 2016, only New York City had more construction starts than Dallas-Fort Worth.

 

Houston's office market has not bottomed out

While Houston's economy may have finally stabilized after nearly three years of an oil and gas industry crater, its office market has not stabilized completely as of yet. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a commercial real estate firm, claims that Houston's office market vacancy rate is at 19.6 percent. But a wave of office construction will come online this year, delivering 2.4 million square feet of new office space. That will add about 1.4 million square feet of vacancy in the Houston market this year, according to the company.

 

Charlotte's office market is in good shape

At the end of 2016, Charlotte's office market had a vacancy rate of 8.5 percent, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report. Nearly 1.7 million square feet of office space was absorbed in the Charlotte metro in 2016.

 

American Express opens $200 million operations center in South Florida

American Express has completed its 400,000-square-foot operations center in Sunrise, Fla. The building will house up to 3,000 workers.

 

Rocket engine maker hiring 100 in Alabama

Aerojet Rocketdyne has started manufacturing the new AR1 rocket engine in Huntsville, Ala. The engine is slated to replace the Russian-made RD-180 engines currently being used by several American space companies. The project will create at least 100 jobs.

 

Facebook's $1 billion data center now operational in Fort Worth

California-based Facebook's latest massive data center is now operating in Fort Worth on 110 acres. The company purchased another 40 acres of land adjacent to the $1 billion center for future expansion.

 

Automotive facility expanding in North Carolina

Keihin Carolina System Technology, a company that assembles and tests electrical components for Honda, is expanding its operations in Edgecombe County, N.C. The plant, which is located in Tarboro, will see an investment of $13 million with the addition of 42 jobs to the 400 currently employed there.

 

Forklift manufacturer signs deal with Volvo, will expand in Summerville, S.C.

Forklift maker Kion North America is investing $5.7 million in its plant in Dorchester County, near Charleston, S.C. The expansion is related to a contract with Volvo, which is building an assembly plant in nearby Berkeley County, S.C. The project will create 50 jobs.

 

Entergy breaks ground on $869 million Louisiana power plant

New Orleans-based Entergy has broken ground on a new $869 million, 1,000-megawatt power plant in St. Charles Parish, La. The project will create 2,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

 

Monsanto breaks ground on $975 million expansion in St. Charles Parish, La.

In the winter quarter, Monsanto broke ground on a $975 million expansion of its massive plant in Luling, La. The project, to be completed in 2019, will enable the company to launch the Roundup brand's Ready Xtend Crop System and produce a new herbicide called Dicamba. The company currently makes the herbicide Roundup to kill weeds. The deal will create 120 jobs. 

 

Mid-scale LNG facility announced for Louisiana

Energy World USA announced in the winter quarter it will build a LNG production and export facility at Port Fourchon, La. The $800 million project will eventually produce up to 2 million tons of LNG per year for export.

 

Solar power employment dominating energy sector

In calendar year 2016, there were about 373,000 people employed by the solar energy industry in the U.S. In the coal, oil and gas sectors, employment in the U.S. had dropped to 187,000 workers by the end of 2016. That figure, in large part, centers on the fact that the coal industry has lost 53 percent of its electricity generation in the last decade, while natural gas generation has increased by 33 percent in the last 10 years and generation from solar has expanded by 5,000 percent. According to a report from the Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the power generation sector's workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined to employ just 22 percent. Solar energy added over 73,000 jobs last year, while the wind sector added almost 25,000 new jobs. In fact, one in every 50 new jobs created in the U.S. last year came from the solar industry according to the Solar Foundation's Solar Job Census 2016.

 

The number of available home lots in Atlanta is off the charts

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Atlanta region has 80,491 vacant developed home lots, by far the largest stock in the country. Atlanta's lot count compares favorably with Chicago, which has 38,000 lots. Houston has 46,000 and Baltimore had the least available vacant home lots of any large U.S. metro area with 5,283.

 

Small business growth? Only in the South in 2016.

The 2016 year-end Paychex/IHS Small Business Jobs Index came out in the winter quarter, and the American South (specifically Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee) is the only region where small business employment grew last year. The Central South, which is made up of the four aforementioned states, saw small business employment grow by 2.62 percent last year. In the Southeast, employment grew by 0.86 percent, but in the Southwest (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas), employment among companies with 50 employees or less declined by 1.81 percent. That gave the South a net gain of 1.67 percent in small business growth. The Northeast saw growth of 0.14 percent, the Midwest declined by 0.24 percent and the West saw a decline of 0.83 percent among its small businesses according to the Index.

 

Largest single job announcement in the South's history is moving along in Kansas City

Cerner Corp. began moving employees into its new Innovations Campus in Kansas City. The Kansas City-based IT company is building a massive $4.5 billion campus that will eventually house 16,000 employees. The first phase has been completed and a total of 3,000 employees are moving in incrementally throughout the winter quarter.

 

Kentucky Bourbon Trail reaches milestone

Tourism in Kentucky bourbon country has been increasing for years. In 2016, a milestone was set. Last year, more than 1 million people visited bourbon distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the smaller Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Kentucky's bourbon industry accounts for $8.5 billion in total economic output and supports about 17,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Total payroll in the sector topped $800 million last year, and more than 2,000 distillery jobs have been added to the Kentucky workforce in the last two years. 

 

Augusta, Ga., becoming cybersecurity mecca

As the Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon prepares to be the headquarters of the $2.1 billion Army Cyber Command, Augusta is quickly becoming the center of influence and the hub of cybersecurity and cyberspace operations for the Army. The activity of cybersecurity in the Augusta region is growing exponentially as the area develops a growing relationship with the National Security Agency. Add $50 million in funding from the state of Georgia for the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center to be located in Augusta, and the East Georgia market is being transformed into a world-class cybersecurity center. 

 

As financial services come back to life, Florida finds legs

No industry was struck down as hard as the financial services industry during the Great Recession. From the mid-1990s through 2004, the sector was a massive job generator in states such as Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Most every Southern state saw the financial services sector create thousands of jobs each year. Beginning in 2005 in Florida, where the first "housing crisis" started, financials began pink-slipping folks in unreal numbers. For example, from 1995 to 2004, financials averaged 47 projects creating at least 200 jobs in the American South. By 2008, that number had dropped to single digits. As late as 2011, only nine financial services projects were announced of 200 jobs or more in the region. In 2015, that number skyrocketed to 69. Many of those projects over the last two years found Florida to their liking. Yes, Wall Street loves Florida. Office rents in places like Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Orlando are about one-fourth the price of rents in New York. Firms such as Raymond James, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman have created thousands of jobs in Florida since 2012 when the industry started to find its footing. Number of financial services announcements of 200 jobs or more in the South 2011-2015: 69 jobs in 2015, 42 in 2014, 31 in 2013, 19 in 2012, and 9 in 2011. Source: SB&D

 

Automotive parts industry has grown substantially since 2012

A new study by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) shows that employment in the auto parts manufacturing sector has grown by 19 percent since 2012. More than 871,000 Americans are employed by parts manufacturers in the U.S. In addition, motor vehicle parts manufacturing contributes $270 billion in employee compensation in the U.S., up 22 percent from 2012.

 

Gov. Nathan Deal names 2017 "Year of Georgia Film"

In fiscal year 2016, Georgia's film industry had a record economic impact of $7 billion, prompting Gov. Nathan Deal to proclaim 2017 as the Year of Georgia Film. In response, the state released a travel guide to help tourists find film locations in Georgia. The state has reported that around 300 film and television productions will take place in Georgia in 2017.

 

Southern state job growth in 2016

Alabama             1.0 percent

Arkansas            0.4 percent

D.C.                    2.3 percent

Florida                3.1 percent

Georgia              2.4 percent

Kentucky             0.6 percent

Louisiana           -0.2 percent

Mississippi           -1.0 percent

Missouri              2.3 percent

North Carolina    2.0 percent

Oklahoma           -0.3 percent

South Carolina    1.7 percent

Tennessee                  1.6 percent

Texas                  1.8 percent

Virginia               1.3 percent

West Virginia      0.3 percent

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

Six of top 10 places to live are in Northern Virginia

In the winter quarter, 24/7 Wall Street named six cities and counties in Northern Virginia in its top 10 best places to live based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, access to restaurants and attractions, educational attainment, and housing affordability. The six are Falls Church (1st), Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Alexandria, and Fairfax. The other four making the top 10 include Marin County, Calif., Howard County, Md., Los Alamos, N.M., and Douglas County, Colo. 

 

Unemployment claims at 43-year low in Virginia

In December, Virginia's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. It's been lower over the years. In the late 1990s, Virginia's unemployment rate barely topped 3 percent. Yet, unemployment claims in 2016 were at their lowest level since 1973. In 2016, there were 178,400 initial claims filed in the Commonwealth.

 

Six oil and gas states were in recession in 2016

S&P Global Ratings says six oil- and gas-producing states in the U.S. were in recession in calendar year 2016. Those states were Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming. Two other oil-producing states evaded recession -- Texas and Montana.

 

Foxconn is considering $7 billion U.S. plant

Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest assembler of iPhones and iPads, is considering building a $7 billion display manufacturing facility in the U.S., according to a story in Reuters. The company is considering a joint venture with Sharp Corp., the Japanese company that Foxconn purchased last year. The plant, if built, could house as many has 30,000 workers. Foxconn employs about 1 million workers in China.

 

Southern cities lead in-migration based on housing

Charleston, S.C., led the nation in a wave of in-migration based on home values, income and education levels, according to Realtor.com. The city's median home prices have risen 77.5 percent since 2000 with median home prices up from $152,000 in 2000 to $270,000 in 2015. Other U.S. cities making Realtor.com's top 10 include Asheville, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; Portland; Denver; Nashville; Sacramento; Jersey City; Long Beach, Calif.; and Austin.

 

South Carolina adds manufacturing jobs for fifth consecutive year

The state of South Carolina added 2,030 manufacturing jobs from September 2015 to September 2016, according to Manufacturers News. Automotive OEM and parts suppliers accounted for 1,454 of those jobs. It was the fifth straight year the Palmetto State added manufacturing jobs. The state is home to 4,629 manufacturers employing over 270,000 workers. Manufacturing jobs in the state have grown by 7.4 percent since September 2011.

 

Labor shortages showing up in Texas

In 2013 and 2014, Texas' job generating machine was in high gear as the state created 361,000 jobs and 297,000 jobs respectively. In 2015, Texas added 175,700 jobs and in 2016, that total slightly improved to 210,200 jobs. The slowing job totals in the South's largest state don't indicate that things are going poorly. It means that the state is running out of labor. Dallas-Fort Worth's unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, Austin's is 3.2 percent and San Antonio's rate is 3.7 percent. The state's unemployment rate is 4.2 percent. Austin's unemployment rate is below full employment and project activity in the state's capital has dropped dramatically in the last 18 months. The cooling off of Austin's economy is probably a good thing, as labor constraints could be eased.

 

GreenTech Auto closes its factory in Mississippi

Electric car startup GreenTech Automotive has shut down its factory in Tunica County, Miss. After starts and stops, the plant opened in the Delta in 2014, first reporting it would make a small two-seat electric car called MyCar. GreenTech later struck a deal with a Chinese automaker to develop an electric car based on an existing gasoline model.

 

Elio Motors announces another production delay

Shreveport, La.-based Elio Motors has delayed initial production of its three-wheel vehicle from late 2017 to 2018. The startup small car company still needs about $300 million to get up and running.

 

South Korean automakers to spend $3.1 billion in the U.S.

Officials with Korean automakers' Hyundai Motor Co. and KIA Motors Corp. said in the winter quarter they will collectively spend $3.1 billion in the U.S. in the next five years. The investment is more than the $2.1 billion the two automakers spent in the U.S. in the last five years. Hyundai operates its only U.S. plant in Montgomery, Ala., and KIA operates its only U.S. plant in West Point, Ga., just 81 miles from the Hyundai plant. The companies are also considering constructing a new assembly facility in the U.S. to build their luxury brands, which are currently being imported from Asia.

 

U.S. jobless claims about as good as they get

In January, U.S. jobless claims dropped to 234,000. The last time initial unemployment filing claims were that low was in the 1970s, more than 40 years ago. But since the current U.S. labor force has gained millions compared the 1970s, that 234,000 figure equates to about half of the low number last seen more than 40 years ago. The reasons for the low jobless claims are two-fold: For one, there are currently very few mass layoffs as the economy continues the second-longest expansion in U.S. history, and the longest stretch of consecutive monthly job growth (77 months) -- a modern day record. There is very little slack in the labor force as the U.S. is nearing or at full employment. Employers know that if they lay off workers, it will be very difficult replacing them with such a tight labor shed.

 

New Orleans tops in population growth

U.S. Census data shows that New Orleans is No. 3 among all major U.S. cities in population growth from 2010 to 2015. As the measurement started five years after Katrina, it indicates that migration to New Orleans is more than a rebound phenomenon. The same Census data also showed that New Orleans is No. 1 in foreign-born population growth from 2010 to 2015. In the South, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Nashville and Washington, D.C., all made the top 10 in foreign-born population growth during the period.  

 

Wind energy sector reaches 100,000-job mark

U.S. wind power now employs over 100,000 workers, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. Wind energy now employs more Americans than natural gas, nuclear, coal and hydroelectric energy sectors. DOE's Wind Vision report revealed that wind energy could create 380,000 jobs by 2030.

 

$800 million LNG plant coming to Port Fourchon, La.

The Greater Lafourche Port Commission and one of the port's tenants, Energy World USA, have announced a proposed development. Energy World USA's proposed plant will eventually produce up to 2 million tons of LNG per year for export.

 

Chemical company announces $13 million investment, 53 jobs in Spartanburg

Michigan-based Pacific Industrial Development Corp., a specialty chemicals manufacturer, is opening a manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County, S.C. The $13 million capital investment will create 53 new jobs.

 

Charter Communications hiring 160 in Morrisville, N.C.

Charter Communications is adding 160 new jobs to its Morrisville call center operation. In total, the cable provider will be hiring for 215 open inbound sales positions there.

 

$47 million Gatlinburg project breaks ground

A hundred people gathered recently as a track hoe turned over symbolic shovelfuls of mud and rock at a 2.1-acre site -- the $47 million Anakeesta project. “We have multiple phases for the mountain project,” said Managing Partner Bob Bentz. It should open in mid-June, followed by the first single-rail “mountain coaster” in the U.S. in July, and about 35 to 45 tree houses and cabins by next summer. Anakeesta is expected to create about 130 jobs.

 

Chemicals manufacturer opening in Spartanburg County, S.C.

PIDC (Pacific Industrial Development Corporation), a specialty chemicals manufacturer, intends to open a manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County. The $13 million development is projected to create 53 new jobs over the next five years. PIDC is a chemical company focused on advanced materials, including specialty alumina materials, rare earth powders, aqueous solutions and a variety of formulated powders.

 

AT&T adding 40 jobs at Alabama call center

AT&T is on a hiring spree at its DirecTV Call Center in Huntsville. The telecommunications provider is adding 40 full-time customer service jobs through the end of March.

 

Health care giant to hire 160 people in Florida

UnitedHealthcare plans to hire at least 160 customer service representatives for its office in Oldsmar.

 

V&F Transformer Corporation expands Tennessee manufacturing facility

V&F Transformer Corporation is investing $1.4 million to expand and upgrade its manufacturing facility in Celina, Tenn., and expects to create approximately 50 new jobs. The company’s focus is manufacturing custom-designed transformers and reactive magnetic components used in natural gas power plants, data processing plants and a variety of other high-tech power related applications.

 

Response Packaging expansion creates 100 new jobs in Greenville County, S.C.

Response Packaging, a returnable packaging manufacturer, is expanding its existing facility. The expansion is projected to bring $5 million of new capital investment, and will accommodate the growth of the automotive industry in the region. The company supplies original equipment manufacturers and provides manufacturing, design and prototype support.

 

Starbucks will hire 10,000 refugees

In response to President Trump's executive order calling for an immigration ban in the U.S., Starbucks announced it will give jobs to 10,000 refugees, according to founder Howard Shultz.

 

Teknor Apex investing $32 million to expand Tennessee facility

Rhode Island-based materials supplier Teknor Apex will spend $32 million to build a 200,000-square-foot distribution facility at its site in Haywood County, Tenn. The water hose manufacturer, already the largest employer in the county with more than 600 employees, will also be adding 50 new jobs.

 

Stark Truss relocating to Franklin, Ky., will create 22 jobs

Stark Truss will invest $1.66 million in relocating its Kentucky operation from Auburn, Ky., to a vacant former Wal-Mart store in nearby Franklin. The move is expected to create 22 full-time jobs, in addition to retaining the current 25 employees that make roof and floor trusses.

 

Manufacturer to invest $13 million, bring 130 new jobs to York County, S.C.

A Charlotte fabric manufacturer plans to move its manufacturing and distribution operation to a new, $13 million facility in Fort Mill, S.C. Oxco Inc., which makes and distributes nonwoven fabrics in a facility in Charlotte, will relocate to York County with 130 jobs at the new plant.

 

Williams Sausage to build second plant in Union City, Tenn.

Williams Sausage Company, a longtime Tennessee food manufacturer, will build a second plant in Obion County. The expansion will create 226 new jobs. Founded in 1958, the family-owned company produces fresh and fully cooked sausage, bacon, sandwiches and other food products.

 

Dulles Glass and Mirror to invest $7.5 million in Prince William County, Va.

Dulles Glass and Mirror, a manufacturer of glass, mirror and shower doors, will invest $7.5 million to consolidate its corporate headquarters, research and development, manufacturing, and warehouse operations in a renovated 84,010-square-foot facility in Prince William County. The company will retain 96 jobs and create 40 new jobs over the next five years.

 

Vorsight to expand its corporate HQ, workforce in Arlington County, Va.

Vorsight, a sales effectiveness firm, will create 112 new jobs and invest more than $105,000 to expand its corporate headquarters in Arlington County.

 

Sonoco creating 595 jobs in Georgia

Sonoco Products Company will create 130 full-time and 465 part-time jobs in a new $20 million packaging center in metro Atlanta. The center will support Duracell’s new battery packaging operation and will be located in the battery maker’s facility in Fairburn, Ga.

 

IBM will build $62 million cloud data center for Army at Alabama base

IBM will build, manage and operate a private cloud data center for the U.S. Army at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal. The deal is worth $62 million to IBM. It is a pilot for the first of four private Army cloud centers that will consolidate hundreds of military data sites around the world.

 

Favor TechConsulting to create 1,200 new jobs

Favor TechConsulting, an IT solutions company to the federal government, plans to invest $1.65 million and hire 1,200 to expand in Virginia as it establishes its headquarters in Fairfax County.

 

Lear Corporation expands manufacturing in South Carolina

Lear Corporation, a supplier of automotive seating, is expanding its existing operations with more than $7.7 million in new capital investment in Spartanburg County. The expansion will launch the automotive seating programs for South Carolina’s Volvo and BMW assembly plants.

 

Kentucky’s Big Ass Solutions receives incentives for expansion

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave final approval to Big Ass Solutions of Lexington for $6.5 million in tax incentives on a $10.7 million expansion of office, storage and warehouse space, and a production line. The expansion is expected to create 562 jobs. Big Ass Solutions manufactures fans, lights and controls for Big Ass Fans, Big Ass Light, and Haiku fan product lines.

 

Asahi plans $40 million expansion in Kentucky, 50 jobs

Asahi Bluegrass Forge Corporation plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Richmond, Ky. Asahi, which specializes in press forging for the automotive industry, producing gears, bearings and joints and transmission parts, would create 50 jobs.

 

Builders FirstSource to open facility in Bowling Green, 79 jobs

Builders FirstSource, a manufacturer of trusses, wall panels, pre-hung doors and other building components, will invest nearly $6.4 million in a new facility in Bowling Green that is expected to create 79 full-time jobs.

 

Credit Bureau Systems to open office in Paducah, 40 jobs

Credit Bureau Systems, a family-owned Kentucky company, will build a $1.67 million office in Paducah adjacent to its current facilities, hire 40 additional full-time employees and relocate 10 from out of state.

 

Proposed call center could create 500 jobs in Williamsburg, Ky.

The Kentucky Development Finance Authority has given preliminary approval to Senture for a proposed $9.9 million investment in a new location in Williamsburg that would create 500 jobs.

 

Louisville, Ky., lands major employer bringing 400 jobs

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Diversified Consultants (also known as DCI Collect), which specializes in debt collection for telecommunications companies, will locate a new operation in Louisville with a $6.65 million investment expected to create 433 jobs.

 

TierPoint investing $20 million in Tennessee data center expansion

One of the nation's largest data center operators plans to invest $20 million in an expansion that would increase capacity of its location in Franklin, Tenn. The St. Louis-based TierPoint is partnering with Compass Data Centers of Dallas in the project, which would more than double the size of the facility.

 

Service company in Anderson, S.C., adding 100 jobs

Cross Country Home Services, a home warranty and service company in Anderson, plans to add 100 new workers.

 

$100 million Alpharetta expansion planned, 1,400 new jobs

Staffing giant Jackson Healthcare is designing a $100 million expansion of its Alpharetta campus, with Italian Renaissance-inspired architecture featuring a replica of the Roman Coliseum.

 

Forrester Research to bring 120 jobs to Nashville

Research and advisory firm Forrester Research will locate its newest office in Davidson County, Tenn. Forrester will invest $2.8 million and create approximately 120 new jobs.

 

$10 million investment in Davidson County, Tenn.

A paint, coatings and specialty chemicals manufacturer, AkzoNobel, is set to invest more than $10 million and hire about 70 people in Davidson County over the next five years.

 

AEP taps San Benito for $10 million office, moving 110 new jobs

AEP Texas (American Electric Power) is returning to San Benito and bringing 110 jobs with it. The power company, which once had a district office in the Texas city, announced that the city of San Benito has been selected for a new $10 million service center for the eastern end of AEP’s Rio Grande Valley District.

 

KPMG announces massive global training center in Lake Nona

KPMG, one of the four largest accounting and professional services firms in the world, is set to officially announce its new $430 million, 55-acre global training and conference center in Lake Nona, Fla.

 

The final act: Ringling Bros. to lay off 462 employees

Feld Entertainment’s 146-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey notified the state that it will lay off 462 employees between March 24 and May 28 -- one of Florida’s biggest layoffs since 2015. “Ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. . .This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” according to CEO Kenneth Feld.

 

Pepsi opens distribution center in south Louisiana, creates 200 jobs

Pepsi Beverages Company officially opened its distribution center in Livingston Parish in January, the only of its kind in south Louisiana. The 140,000-square-foot facility brings more than 200 new jobs to the area.

 

Holt Cat comes to Georgetown, Texas

Holt Cat, a Caterpillar dealer, will invest a minimum of $20 million to build a regional sales hub facility for Caterpillar in Georgetown. The business is expected to create 129 new jobs.

 

Texas Pete moving into renovated HQ in Winston-Salem

TW Garner Food Co. of Winston-Salem, best known as the maker of Texas Pete hot sauce, has moved into new corporate headquarters in the renovated Nash-Bolich building. Originally built by J.A. Bolich Jr., the 14,500-square-foot Renaissance Revival-style, office features exposed brick and original hardwood floors from its days as a secretarial college. About 26 employees, including the company’s fourth-generation family management team, will work in the building. Garner also produces salsa and tortilla strips under the Green Mountain Gringo brand.

 

Landmark deal for J.C. Penney’s Texas HQ

J.C. Penney Co.’s decision to sell its Plano, Texas headquarters attracted interest from investors from all over the world, but Dallas investor Sam Ware and a group of Texas billionaires won the contest with a bid valued at $453 million.

 

Movement Mortgage expands South Carolina HQ

Movement Mortgage is expanding its existing corporate headquarters in the Indian Land unincorporated area of north Lancaster County, S.C. The company expects to invest $18 million to construct an additional 91,000-square-foot building that will accommodate more than 700 new employees.

 

Mountaire Farms to locate feed mill in Scotland County, N.C.

Mountaire Farms will launch a feed mill operation that will bring 65 jobs to Scotland County. The integrated poultry processing company plans to invest nearly $44 million at a site near Laurinburg.

 

Texas company stakes out land to build new LNG export facility

The Woodlands-based NextDecade LLC has signed lease agreements for nearly 1,000 acres in Texas City, where it plans to build a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas export facility. It would be the first such LNG facility in the area, according to NextDecade.

 

Northrop Grumman’s $8 million contract means 200 new jobs in Florida

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s location in Melbourne, Fla., has landed an $8 million defense contract, and the firm is on a hiring spree for Central Florida workers. The Falls Church, Va.-based company will work with the U.S. Navy to support the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft — a radar and communication airborne system.

 

AT&T unveils $100 million redevelopment plans for its Dallas campus

Telecom giant AT&T plans to begin construction "fairly quickly" on the $100 million redevelopment of its downtown Dallas campus. The completion of the upgraded campus, named AT&T Discovery District, is slated for late 2019, and will mean additional hires.

 

Call 2 Answer plans contact center in Maury County, Tenn.

Call 2 Answer will invest $800,000 for a new medical and urgent call center that will create 250 jobs in Maury County. Call 2 Answer provides service primarily for physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare entities.

 

Ascend Performance Materials expanding operations in Greenwood County, S.C.

Ascend Performance Materials, a global provider of high-quality fibers, chemicals and plastics, is expanding its Greenwood County operations. The company plans to invest $3.8 million and create 20 new jobs. Ascend manufactures a variety of compounds, including fibers and resins, for a wide range of industries and applications.

 

Myrtle Beach call center seeking 200 employees

StarTek is seeking to hire 200 full-time and temporary employees at its call center in the Carolina Forest area of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

 

Montgomery call center bowling for dollars

“We are currently a 330-person call center, and we're going to be expanding to over 600 people,” said Rick Burley, owner of the call center ASK. “We're taking a dead, old bones of a building and turning it into a super useful building again.” ASK has started a $2 million renovation of an old bowling alley in Montgomery, Ala., which includes a new parking lot, new roof and a total overhaul of where the bowling alley fixtures used to be.

 

Daisy, Gamo Outdoor USA to combine, expand Arkansas plant

Two makers of airguns are planning to expand the Daisy plant in northwest Arkansas. Keith Higginbotham, president of Rogers-based Daisy and Gamo Outdoor USA, joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson to announce the expansion of the plant in Rogers, Ark. The plant will be the U.S. headquarters for Daisy and Gamo, which was formerly based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The expansion will create about 25 new jobs during the next two years. Management at Gamo's former offices will relocate to Rogers, as will several warehouse and customer service managers from the company's distribution facility in Missouri.

 

IT company to relocate, build new headquarters in Frisco, Texas

Frisco-based IT service provider Skinny IT plans to build a new North Texas headquarters in its home city, which will include office and warehouse space. Skinny IT should then expand by more than 700 percent and increase its in-house workforce by 150 new employees.

 

New Apple investment could bring total in North Carolina to $4 billion

Apple wants to spend another $1 billion on its complex of buildings in Maiden that houses servers for the iCloud. That would bring the Cupertino, California’s company’s total investment in Catawba County close to $4 billion. Apple has about 400 employees associated with the site in Catawba County.

 

St. Jude, ALSAC plan Memphis expansion and 1,800 new jobs

ALSAC (the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital) and St. Jude are expanding with an investment of at least $1 billion dollars. The project is expected to bring 1,800 new jobs to Memphis and the Mid-South.

 

GM to spend an additional $1 billion on U.S. plants

General Motors has announced it will spend an additional $1 billion on U.S. manufacturing plants. . .a move the automaker estimated would add or retain 1,500 jobs. The company will also move 450 jobs from GM supplier plants in Mexico back to the U.S. In addition, GM is adding 5,000 jobs to its finance and technology operations. Factories to be affected will be announced throughout the year.

 

One hundred jobs coming to Monroeville, Ala., with MillenniumBlock

Gov. Robert Bentley announced a $300,000 grant that officials say will be used to create 100 new jobs in the Monroeville area. The money will pay for site and drainage improvements for MillenniumBlok International, Inc., a Colorado-based producer of composite insulated concrete.

 

Heckler & Koch announces expansion in Columbus, Ga.

Heckler & Koch, a manufacturer of firearms and accessories, will invest $28.5 million to expand its existing operations in Columbus. The decision is expected to create 84 new jobs. HK will also consolidate its New Hampshire operations into Columbus.

 

Jones Plastic expanding in Tennessee, adding 52 jobs

Custom injection molder Jones Plastic & Engineering Co. plans to expand its Camden, Tenn., production plant with a $4.5 million investment expected to create 52 new jobs. Founded in 1961, the business began molding caps for whiskey bottles, but has evolved into a major supplier in the appliance and automotive sectors with 2,400 employees worldwide.

 

Auto manufacturer adding 100 jobs in western Kentucky

Kayser Automotive Systems is expanding into a facility next door to its current plant in Fulton, Ky. The company will add 100 jobs as part of a $26 million investment to make mechanical and passenger-cabin automotive parts.

 

Kinedyne expands Alabama facility, creates 100 jobs

Kinedyne, a manufacturer of cargo control products for the transportation industry, is close to completing a major relocation, consolidation and expansion effort in Prattville, Ala. The expanded 200,000-square-foot facility will house employees specializing in engineering, manufacturing, quality control, supply chain management, customer service and government contracts.

 

LKQ Corporation plans major expansion in Nashville

LKQ Corporation, a distributor of specialty parts to repair and accessorize autos and other vehicles, will expand its regional headquarters in Davidson County, Tenn., and expects to create 150 jobs.

 

Connexions Loyalty opens in Tulsa

Connexions Loyalty, a provider of consumer loyalty programs, has opened its newest customer service center in Tulsa, Okla. The company purchased an existing travel service center, retaining the jobs of more than 50 travel consultants, and hopes to add 200 additional new jobs.

 

New plant will bring 35 jobs to Cook County, Ga.

The Linde Group, a Munich-based manufacturer of industrial gases, will invest $40 million for a new plant in Adel, hiring 35 jobs there.

 

Health services company brings 500 new jobs to Jacksonville, Fla.

Formativ Health will be bringing 500 new jobs to Jacksonville within the next 18 months. The physician management company, founded in January by healthcare provider Northwell Health, will lease and build out 65,000 square feet of office space for a new patient access services center.

 

Walmart to spend $6.8 billion, create 10,000 jobs in 2017

Walmart plans to create 10,000 new jobs and open 59 new stores in the coming year, officials announced in January. The nation's largest private employer is planning $6.8 billion in capital investments in 2017, including construction of new and remodeled stores and expansion of its Online Grocery Pickup service. The new jobs will be store personnel and staffing for e-commerce services.

 

Lockheed Martin to cut F-35 cost and create 1,800 new jobs in Texas

Following a meeting with Donald Trump, Lockheed chief executive Marillyn Hewson announced that the aerospace giant is close to a contract to lower the cost of the F-35 fighter jet and create 1,800 jobs at the company’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

BlueLine Associates relocating to Tampa

BlueLine Associates will create 150 new jobs in Tampa and invest $2 million as it relocates its headquarters from Cary, N.C. BlueLine, a professional services firm that provides consulting, staffing and other services, is in line for $900,000 in incentives under Florida’s Qualified Target Industry program.

 

Navy Federal expansion to create 1,400 new jobs

Vienna, Virginia-based Navy Federal Credit Union, already the largest credit union in the world, will get much bigger with a $100 million expansion of its operations center in Winchester, Va. As part of the expansion, it will create 1,400 new jobs, nearly doubling its workforce in Frederick County, Va.

 

Cybersecurity company to open in Brookhaven, Ga., create 500 jobs

Ireland-based Sysnet Global Solutions will invest $2 million in a contact center for its cybersecurity services to the payment industry in Brookhaven. The 24-hour, multilingual call center will create 500 jobs.

 

TopGolf coming to Huntsville, Ala.

High-tech driving range and entertainment center TopGolf plans to open a $20 million facility in Huntsville. The entertainment venue will be replacing the Madison Square Mall, once a top shopping destination in north Alabama, which will be demolished over the next few weeks.

 

Cott Corporation expands Tampa HQ

Beverage producer and distributor Cott Corporation will be expanding its headquarters in Hillsborough County, Fla. The expansion will create 60 new jobs and $800,000 in investment.

 

German logistics company to hire 200 in Houston

Germany-based Talke Group is bringing 200 jobs to the Houston area in connection with a 10-year contract it won from Exxon Mobil. Talke will handle logistics around packing and exporting the 1.3 million tons of additional capacity coming online in 2017 with the start of two polyethylene production lines at Exxon Mobil's Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant near Houston.

 

Virgin Mobile to hire 100 for KC HQ

Virgin Mobile plans to open its permanent U.S. headquarters in downtown Kansas City and hire up to 100 people.

 

Taco Bell on track to create 100,000 jobs by 2022

Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol says the company is on track to add 100,000 new jobs in the U.S. over the next five years. Back in November, the company said it hoped to grow to 8,000 locations nationally by 2022 (and 9,000 globally).

 

Z Gallerie to create 115 jobs in Douglas County, Ga.

Los Angeles-based home fashion company Z Gallerie will build an East Coast distribution and customer service center in Douglas County. The center represents a $3.7 million investment and is expected to create 115 new jobs.

 

Kaiser Permanente call center means 800 jobs for Gwinnett County, Ga.

Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest integrated healthcare system, recently celebrated the grand opening of its Duluth contact center, where nearly 300 employees have already been hired. By 2020, the Gwinnett County center will employ 800 people.

 

Big deal near Nashville

A subsidiary of Mohawk Industries, which is headquartered in Calhoun, Ga., is pursuing a $140 million investment near Nashville that would create almost 250 jobs. The carpet, flooring and tile maker is looking to move into a plant that shut down almost two years ago 40 miles west of Nashville.

 

TCube Solutions expanding operations in Richland County, S.C.

TCube Solutions, a software provider and innovation firm, is expanding its existing operations in Richland County. The company is investing $1.7 million to move into a new facility and create 100 jobs.

 

Chemical plant making $50 million investment in Georgia

A Milledgeville specialty chemicals manufacturer is making a $50 million investment and plans to create 75 highly skilled jobs in Middle Georgia. Zschimmer & Schwarz, a Germany-based chemical company that opened its Milledgeville plant in 2000, has acquired the Lexolube division of Pennsylvania-based Inolex Chemical Co., and plans to build a new facility in Gordon.

 

All Traffic Solutions locates HQ in Fairfax County, Va.

All Traffic Solutions, provider of cloud-based traffic management solutions for law enforcement, transportation and smart cities, invested more than $100,000 to establish its corporate headquarters operation in Fairfax County. The company plans to add 25 employees in 2017 and create up to 86 new jobs total over the next three years.

 

Tire company makes hub expansion in Grand Prairie, Texas

Continental Tires has decided to expand its North Texas distribution hub in Grand Prairie, bringing the total footprint of the building to more than 1 million square feet of industrial space.

 

Chris-Craft seeks to expand Florida plant

Chris-Craft is seeking approval from Manatee County for a 48,000-square-foot addition to its manufacturing facility. The $10 million expansion will mean the creation of 55 new jobs during a five-year period.

 

Bridgestone makes additional $180 million investment in Wilson, N.C.

A year after Tennessee-based Bridgestone America Tire Operations announced a five-year, $164 million investment in its Wilson facility, the company announced that it would be making an additional investment of $180 million over the next 10 years at the site. The expansion will include 16 new jobs as production gets underway in fall of 2018.

 

Proterra to triple production in Greenville, S.C.

Electric bus maker Proterra plans to triple production at its Greenville facility in 2017, thanks to a $140 million infusion of cash. The new investment should boost Proterra’s 165-employee workforce in Greenville by 25 jobs.

 

Toyota plans to invest $10 billion in U.S. over five years

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to invest $10 billion in the U.S. over the next five years -- the same as in the previous five years -- to meet demand and upgrade plants to build more fuel-efficient models according to North America CEO Jim Lentz.

 

Silicon Valley company hiring 250 in Nashville

An online platform for home design and remodeling headquartered in Silicon Valley, Houzz Inc., has signed a decade-long lease in downtown Nashville's second-biggest office skyscraper, where at least 250 people will work.

 

Investment of $35 million in Garland’s plastic industrial cluster approved

The City of Garland has approved a deal worth more than $35 million. True Velocity, a tech company specializing in sophisticated products for clients who require precise, will open a new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Garland, which will initially employ 30 people.

 

Lumenier expands Sarasota plant

Lumenier, a designer and manufacturer of racing drone products, has expanded into a 24,000-square-foot facility one mile from downtown Sarasota, Fla. The new facility will be home to drone design engineers and administration.

 

Athenahealth to bring 500 more jobs to Atlanta

Healthcare tech company Athenahealth will add 500 jobs and double its operations at Ponce City Market (the historic Sears & Roebuck building) in Atlanta.

 

NARENCO plans two solar farms in South Carolina

NARENCO (National Renewable Energy Corporation) will be constructing two new solar farms in Orangeburg County. Both projects are expected to bring $89.1 million in new capital investment to the area that is about 37 miles 


January 2017

Fed's Lockhart: Recovery "largely done" 

In one of his last speeches before retiring, Atlanta Federal Reserve bank president Dennis Lockhart said in the winter quarter that the recovery from the Great Recession is "largely done." Lockhart said the U.S. is near full employment, inflation is low and that the country is kind of locked in to steady growth of about two percent for the next two years or more. 

 

End of 2016 saw the longest job growth streak in 75 years

As of the end of 2016, the U.S. economy added jobs for 75 straight months, the longest consecutive monthly job generating period since the 1930s. The job growth has been somewhat slower than previous recoveries. However, it must be noted there has been no job growth in the last 75 months from the public sector. In the past 75 months, there has been a reduction of over 300,000 government jobs.  

 

Wages finally rising

The economic recovery since 2009 has produced plenty of winners, including homeowners, investors and companies. But workers haven't been winning as wages have remained stagnant throughout the recovery. However, the Labor Department reported in January that in calendar year 2016, the average hourly earnings rose by 2.9 percent, the best annual performance since the recovery began in mid-2009. 

 

Final tally: 11.3 million net new jobs created in Obama's two terms 

Former President Barack Obama entered office with one of the most daunting tasks any President has faced in history regarding the economy. Unemployment would spike shortly after he entered office to over 10 percent nationwide. That figure was more than cut in half during his last term in office. In comparison, Clinton's terms saw job gains of 22.9 million, followed by Reagan at 15.9 million and Bush at 2.1 million. 

 

Right-to-work, and states with no income tax populations dominating U.S.

From 2010 to 2016, the U.S. saw population growth of 4.7 percent, from 308.7 million to 323.1 million residents. In the same period, states with no income tax grew by 9.1 percent, while those with state income taxes grew by only 3.5 percent. Right-to-work states' populations grew by 6.2 percent while those with forced unionization grew by only 3.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau. 

 

Dallas-Fort Worth beats U.S.’s amazing monthly job streak

At the end of the year, the U.S. saw 75 consecutive months of job generation, the best streak since a streak began in 1939. But Dallas-Fort Worth's consecutive monthly job generation stood at 80 months at the end of the year. 

 

Gov. Haslam: VW committed to Chattanooga facilities

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in January that in the midst of pleading guilty to criminal charges over the diesel emissions scandal, German automaker Volkswagen is committed to growing its only U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Haslam said he talked to several VW officials after the company settled with the federal government for $4.3 billion for cheating on emissions tests and destroying evidence to cover it up. VW officials assured him that the automaker will continue to add jobs at the plant. 

 

Charlotte will soon reach population milestone

In 2017, Census data shows that metro Charlotte will reach a population milestone. According to Census, the population of Charlotte will reach 2.5 million by May. 

 

Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston to reach population milestone

Census data predicts that Texas' and two of the South's largest metros will reach population milestones this year. Dallas-Fort Worth is projected to reach 7.4 million residents later this year and Houston's population will reach 7 million by the end of the year. 

 

Amazon adding 1,000 jobs at Kentucky fulfillment centers

Seattle-based Amazon announced it will add 1,000 jobs at its Kentucky fulfillment centers in Shepherdsville, Campbellsville, Hebron and Lexington. The company currently employs more than 10,000 in Kentucky. 

 

Texas LNG clears critical hurdle

The Woodlands, Texas-based company Texas LNG has executed four 20-year terms by state-owned and private buyers in Southeast Asia and China to purchase up to 3.1 million tons of natural gas per year. The deal will almost assuredly pave the way for Texas LNG to build a multi-billion dollar LNG export facility at the Port of Brownsville in South Texas if it can meet environmental regulations. Currently, Cheniere Energy is the only large-scale exporter of shale gas in the U.S. That plant is located in Southwest Louisiana in Cameron Parish. Other LNG export plants on the Gulf Coast are under construction. 

 

Oil and gas jobs see first gains in over two years

Labor Department data shows that in November of 2016, jobs linked to the oil and gas sector rose for the first monthly gain in over two years. Employment rose in the sector by 3,300 for the month. Total jobs in the oil and gas sector now are at 384,300 compared to over 530,000 two years ago. Over 500,000 jobs have been lost globally in the oil and gas industry in the past two years. 

 

Right-to-work passed in Kentucky

Kentucky adopted right-to-work legislation in the winter quarter. The measure gives workers the choice to not pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Kentucky became the 27th right-to-work state. . .now all states in the South are right-to-work except for Missouri. Missouri is also expected to pass the measure soon.  

 

German logistics firm bringing 200 jobs to Houston

Germany-based Talke Group will create 200 jobs in the Houston area as it has won a 10-year contract from Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil. Talke will do the logistics in exporting the 1.3 million tons of additional capacity of polyethylene coming online this year at Exxon Mobil's expanded Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant near Houston. 

 

Ireland-based cybersecurity firm to open center in Atlanta metro

Sysnet Global Solutions will open a call center in Brookhaven, a suburb of Atlanta. The 24-hour multilingual call center will eventually house 500 workers. 

 

Firm relocating from North Carolina to Tampa

BlueLine Associates, a professional services firm, is relocating its headquarters from Cary, N.C., to Tampa, Fla. The company will hire 150 in the move. 

 

Beverage company expanding in Tampa

Cott Corporation, a beverage maker, is expanding its headquarters in Tampa, Fla. The project will create 60 new jobs. 

 

Sarasota-Manatee region tops all others in Florida

The Sarasota-Manatee region in South Tampa Bay was the only metro area in Florida that saw more employment growth in 2016 compared to 2015, according to economist Hank Fishkind. The Sarasota-Manatee region added over 10,000 jobs in calendar year 2016. 

 

Navy Federal adding 1,400 jobs in Virginia

Virginia-based Navy Federal Credit Union is investing $100 million in its support and service operations in Winchester, Va. The project will create 1,400 new jobs. 

 

German gun manufacturer expanding in West Georgia

Hackler & Koch is investing over $28 million to expand its gun manufacturing operations in Columbus, Ga. The project will create 84 new jobs. 

 

Retailer setting up center in Georgia

Z Gallerie, a fashion retailer, is investing almost $4 million in a distribution center in Douglas County, Ga. The deal will create 115 jobs. 

 

Healthcare provider hiring 800 in Atlanta metro

Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest integrated healthcare system, has opened a call center in Gwinnett County, Ga. The deal calls for 800 jobs. 

 

German company expanding in Georgia

Zschimmer & Schwartz, a Germany-based chemical company with facilities in Milledgeville, Ga., is expanding into Gordon, Ga. The company will build a $50 million facility and hire 75 workers in the deal. 

 

Startup technology company creating 725 jobs in South Florida

Magic Leap will move into the former Motorola factory in Plantation, Fla., to create a "R&D Center of Excellence." The $150 million investment will create 725 jobs. 

 

Silicon Valley firm to create 250 jobs in downtown Nashville

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Houzz Inc., a provider of online platforms for home design and remodeling, is moving into the UBS Tower in downtown Nashville. The company will occupy 37,000 square feet and hire 250 employees. 

 

Baretta supplier moving headquarters to Tennessee

California-based Axem Distributing, a supplier to the new Baretta firearms plant in Gallatin, Tenn., is relocating its operations to the city. The project will create 50 jobs. 

 

Virgin Mobile opens HQ in Kansas City

Communications firm Virgin Mobile has chosen downtown Kansas City for its U.S. headquarters. The project will create 100 jobs. 

 

Software provider adding 100 jobs in Columbia, S.C.

TCube Solutions, a software services provider, is investing $1.7 million to expand its operations in Richland County, S.C. The deal will create 100 jobs. 

 

HP could add 2,400 employees in Houston

HP Inc. has pre-leased 378,000 square feet of space at the 2,000-acre mixed-use community in north Houston called Springwoods Village. The California-based company's new campus will house about 2,400 employees. 

 

Toyota planning to spend $10 billion in the U.S. in next five years

Including its new headquarters being completed in Plano, Texas, the CEO of Japanese automaker Toyota said in January the company will spend $10 billion in the U.S. over the next five years. CEO Jim Lentz, in response to criticism from President Donald Trump over building cars in Mexico, said that the company will spend $10 billion in the U.S. on autonomous vehicles, to update existing plants, and finish its new North American headquarters in Plano.  

 

Toyota begins relocating employees from Kentucky 

One of Toyota’s former headquarter operations in Erlanger, Ky., is relocating its employees as the Japanese automaker consolidates three U.S. headquarters into one in Plano, Texas. Toyota has already relocated hundreds of employees from its former headquarters in Southern California. When completed later this year, Toyota’s new North American headquarters in Plano will house 4,000 to 5,000 employees. 

 

Toyota's Alabama engine plant sees record production

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama saw record growth at its engine plant in Huntsville. The workers at the facility built 702,014 engines in calendar year 2016, an 11 percent increase over 2015. 

 

BMW sets unit record at South Carolina plant

German automaker BMW recorded its largest annual production total in calendar year 2016 at its plant in Greer, S.C. The plant produced 411,171 X models in 2016. Of those, the company exported 287,700 vehicles last year. 

 

Continental Tire expanding North Texas distribution facility 

Continental Tire is adding almost 300,000 square feet to its distribution center in Grand Prairie, Texas. The expansion will give the company more than 1 million square feet. No word yet on job additions. 

 

Bridgestone investing $180 million in North Carolina operation

In 2015, Tennessee-based Bridgestone invested $164 million in its facility in Wilson, N.C. The company announced in the winter quarter it is investing another $180 million in the facility, however, only 16 jobs will be added.   

 

Alabama’s auto industry sets assembly record

Alabama’s three automotive assembly plants set a record in calendar year 2016 with 1,048,597 cars, vans and SUVs assembled. It was the second year in a row that the three automakers combined to produce over 1 million vehicles. 

 

Auto industry sets U.S. sales record

Last year was the seventh consecutive year of growth in car sales. In the U.S., 17.55 million cars and light trucks were sold, an industry record. 

 

Electric bus manufacturer expanding in South Carolina

Thanks to an infusion of $140 million in cash, electric bus manufacturer Proterra will triple assembly production at its plant in Greenville, S.C. The company, which employs 165 workers, will add 25 jobs and produce about 90 buses this year. 

 

Hyundai subsidiary to take over part of former GM plant in Shreveport

Glovis America, a subsidiary of South Korea-based Hyundai, will take 125,000 square feet of space in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, La. The company will use it as a distribution center and a parts aftermarket for imported vehicles. Glovis will outfit imported vehicles with equipment and exterior upgrades such as security systems, sunroofs and additional electronics. The project will create 400 jobs. 

 

Manufacturing boom at end of 2016

The U.S. manufacturing sector saw an expansion in December of 2016 that was the best since August 2009. 

 

Construction spending reaches highest level since 2006

Construction spending on homes, nonresidential buildings and government projects reached $1.18 trillion in November 2016. The total was the highest since April 2006. 

 

German auto supplier invests in North Carolina

Kaco USA, a Germany-based manufacturer of sealing solutions for the automotive industry, will expand its facility in Lincolnton, N.C. The company is investing $8.4 million and adding 100 workers in the deal. 

 

Linde Group building plant in rural Georgia

The Linde Group, an industrial gas manufacturer, will invest $40 million in a new plant in Adel, Ga. The new large-scale air separation facility will supplement other facilities in Cartersville, Ga., and Aiken, S.C. The deal will create 35 jobs. 

 

German company opening facility in Richmond region

Germany-based iMPREG Group, a manufacturer of fiberglass pipe liners, will open a warehouse in Henrico County, Va. The $5.4 million expansion will create 60 jobs. 

 

Tyson expanding Kentucky plant

Tyson Chicken is expanding its poultry plant in Henderson County, Ky. The $13.5 million project will create 66 jobs. 

 

Online cabinet retailer opening design center in St. Louis

CliqStudios, a designer and retailer for custom kitchen cabinets, will invest almost $2 million on a new cabinet design center in St. Louis. The project will create 98 jobs. 

 

Utility-scale solar farms set for South Carolina

Two large solar farms will be built in Orangeburg, S.C., by the National Renewable Energy Corporation. The project calls for an $89.1 million investment. 

 

Aerospace systems provider Safran expands in South Carolina

A leading supplier of aircraft equipment for Boeing, Safran will invest $7 million in its Ladson, S.C., operations. The expansion will create 15 new jobs.

 

Daniel Defense breaks ground in Georgia

The arms manufacturer is starting construction on a $29.5 million expansion of its corporate offices in Black Creek, Ga. The project is expected to bring 75 new jobs.

 

Snack maker Snyder’s-Lance expanding in Charlotte

The company will invest $38 million in expanding operations in its facility in Charlotte, N.C. With this investment, 130 new jobs will be created with an average annual salary of $45,000.

 

American Marksman invests $35 million in ammo manufacturing facility

The commercial ammunition provider plans to renovate 336,000 square feet at the Lake City Ammunition Plant in Missouri. The Omaha based company will create 400 jobs. 

 

Chinese fiberglass manufacturer to start construction in South Carolina

China Jushi, a company based out of Zhejiang, China, broke ground in Richland County in December for a $300 million plant that is expected to create 400 new jobs. 

 

Kubota begins expansion in Georgia

The construction equipment manufacturer has begun a $16 million dollar expansion of its distribution center in Jefferson, Ga., to meet growing consumer demand. 

 

Data Analytics Firm to hire 500 in Central Florida

TeleTech Holdings will hire hundreds of new customer service and tech support representatives for its customer experience center in Rockledge, Fla.

 

The Weather Company to hire 400 in relocation

The IBM business and weather forecast company is relocating its headquarters within Atlanta. The move will help the company, which makes 40 billion forecasts daily, to grow with an additional 400 new positions.

 

800 new call center jobs coming to N.C. Triad area

Expert Global Solutions, an Alorica company, is planning to add 800 new positions at its call center in Greensboro, N.C.

 

Leading boat seat manufacturer to create 74 new jobs in Tennessee

The Wise Company announced it will hire 74 new employees and expand its current facility in Savannah, Tenn. 

 

Furniture firm Crown Mark expanding in Triad area

The company will invest $11.7 million for a new 250,000-square-foot distribution center in High Point, N.C. 

 

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Patheon to acquire facility in South Carolina

Patheon has acquired the former Roche Holdings facility in Florence, S.C. The company hopes to increase capacity in the 300,000-square-foot facility producing active pharmaceutical ingredients. The deal will create 200 jobs. 

 

Chemical company Ashland growing to accommodate upward demand

Global chemical company Ashland is expanding existing facilities in Greenville County, S.C., with a $5.6 million capital investment.

 

Spacecraft supplier production facility to be built on Florida’s Space Coast

Swiss-based RUAG Space USA Inc. will create 60 high-wage jobs with the construction of its plant in Titusville, Fla. 

 

ConocoPhillips will relocate HQ in Houston

The company is scrapping a sublease plan for Energy Center 4 and will instead make the 597,629-square-foot building its new headquarters.

 

Chinese garment manufacturer moving to Little Rock

Tianyuan Garments will acquire a 100,000-square-foot plant to set up operations producing clothes for brands like Adidas, Reebok and Armani. This marks the first Chinese manufacturer to produce clothing within the U.S. With a $20 million investment, the firm expects to hire 400.

 

Atkinson Candy Company expanding in Texas

The business, located in Lufkin, Texas, is investing $5 million in additional facility space.

 

SolarCity adding hundreds of jobs in Florida

The California-based solar panel company is increasing services in Florida, and, if growth in Nevada and elsewhere is any indication, the company is prepared to add hundreds and later thousands of jobs with multiple locations. The $2 billion Tesla-acquired company will need to hire electricians, roofers, construction workers, sales consultants and managers. 

 

Erlander will invest $50 million in Chattanooga

The health services provider will create 400 new jobs with its $50 million expansion in the East Brainerd area. Included in the expansion will be an intensive care unit, four operating rooms and a cardiovascular lab, as well as almost doubling the number of hospital beds.

 

Automaker GM will expand its in-house finance company in Arlington, Texas

The $35 million investment at GM Financial will bring 1,300 new jobs to its Arlington campus. The addition of 250,000 square feet of new office space will allow the company to surpass 4,000 employees. 

 

Major carpet manufacturer completes new plant in Georgia

Shaw Industries Group has finished construction of its new carpet tile manufacturing plant in Adairsville, Ga. The new $85 million facility will accommodate 500 new jobs.

 

Wink Equipment will create 50 jobs in Kentucky

The aluminum trailer manufacturer will invest $1.55 million in operations in Dawson Springs. The 69,000-square-foot facility will manufacture 400 to 600 aluminum side dump trailers a year.

 

Ortec plans for 60 new jobs in South Carolina

The polymer and biomaterial technology company is investing $20 million in its 200,000-square-foot facility in Anderson County.

 

Custom box manufacturer invests $17 million in Charlotte expansion

Company Box will add 25 new employees and invest $17 million to expand operations to meet increasing online orders of its custom boxes and packaging.

 

Industrial equipment supplier to open in San Antonio

With a $3.9 million investment, W.W. Grainger opened its new operation center in San Antonio, Texas. The project is expected to provide 200 new jobs for the area.

 

Cargill, Calysta opening fish food factory in Memphis

To meet demand for farm-raised fish bound for China, Cargill and Calysta will build a new factory that will employ 75 new people.

 

Home cabinet manufacturer to consolidate HQ in Virginia

American Woodmark Corporation will bring its headquarter operations to Frederick County, Va. The company will invest $30 million in the consolidation, and create 55 new jobs.

 

BP to go ahead with a $9 billion project in the Gulf of Mexico

The UK-based major oil company announced it will be resuming the second phase of its project in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

Automotive supplier constructing new plant in South Carolina

Magna International is building a new automotive seat manufacturing plant in Spartanburg County. The company will invest $29 million and create 480 new jobs. 

 

B&W Fiberglass is launching new operation in South Carolina

The advanced materials manufacturer has acquired a new facility in Greenville County, and with an investment of $5 million, the company will create 46 new jobs.

 

Pin Oak Holdings closes on a $100 million investment in Louisiana

A petroleum and chemical storage terminal is being built in St. John Parish and will be operational by June of 2017.

 

Shaw Industries Group completes manufacturing plant in Atlanta

Shaw Industries, a major producer of carpet tile, has announced that their new $85 million facility is now operational. The company plans to employ an additional 500 new people when the facility reaches full capacity.

 

Leclerc Foods expands in Tennessee

The food production company is expanding its existing facility in Kingsport. The company will also build an additional $49 million facility that will create 105 jobs.

 

Everest Textiles USA opening new manufacturing plant in North Carolina

The Taiwan-based sports apparel maker will add 610 new jobs in Rutherford County. The company, which supplies Nike, Columbia and Patagonia, will invest $18.5 million in the plant with a $3 million tax incentive.

 

Fareva opens new plant in Virginia

The household, cosmetic and pharmaceutical contract manufacturer has opened a new aerosol plant in Henrico County. The $40 million investment and expansion will employ 80 to 100 people.

 

Skylight and window manufacturer expands in South Carolina

Velux, a leading roof window maker, is expanding with a $4 million investment and an additional 21 new jobs in Greenwood County, S.C.

 

Raven Petroleum to build new refinery in Texas

The first refinery to be built in decades, Raven will invest $500 million to build a facility that will produce 50,000 barrels a day. The facility will be located east of Laredo and will export nearly all its refined fuel to Mexico.

 

Fresco Foods to bring 50 new jobs to Tampa

The prepared and pre-packaged meal company will build a new commercial kitchen and food service production facility in eastern Hillsborough County. The new facility will employ 50 people.

 

Consumer healthcare provider bringing jobs to South Carolina

PL Developments plans to hire 450 new employees at a new warehouse in Greenville County, S.C. 

 

CompuCom relocating HQ to South Carolina

The technology infrastructure services company will locate its new headquarters in Lancaster County, S.C. The project will bring $41 million in capital investment and will provide the area with 1,500 new jobs over the next several years.

 

Cabinet hardware manufacturer to expand near Charlotte

Blum Inc. will invest $16 million to upgrade its existing facilities in Lincoln County, N.C., and hire 20 new workers. 

 

Mortgage company opening new headquarters in Texas

Service First Mortgage will move its headquarters and employ 128 people at the McKinney Corporate Center in McKinney, Texas. 

 

Linak expands in Louisville

The company, which makes parts used in healthcare equipment, furniture and other products, will create 413 new jobs with the planned $33 million expansion. 

 

Qorvo plans expansion in Florida

Tech manufacturer Qorvo will expand existing operations in Apopka, Fla., with an additional 100 new employees.

 

Geico hiring in Virginia Beach

The insurance company plans to hire more than 500 people by the end of 2017.

 

Peet’s Coffee invests $58 million in Virginia

The craft coffee brand will establish a new manufacturing operation in Suffolk, Va. The 175,000-square-foot roasting operation will create 135 new jobs.

 

LignoTech Florida to locate in Fernandina Beach

The joint venture of chemical company suppliers will create 50 new jobs in Nassau County.

 

INC Research to relocate HQ in North Carolina

The Raleigh-based company has announced it will invest $37.9 million and move to Morrisville. The project will create 550 new jobs.

 

Credit Karma expands in Charlotte

The San Francisco-based company will hire 100 new employees with a new office in Charlotte.

 

Poultry plant to bring jobs in Arkansas

Summit Poultry will open a plant in Pine Bluff that will employ 100 workers.

 

Tencel fiber company to build new plant in Mobile

Austrian-based company Lenzing will spend $300 million in construction of a new plant that will bring 163 new jobs. 

 

Tire industry supplier Evonik to build plant in South Carolina

Evonik Industries will build a $120 million plant near Charleston. The project will create 55 new jobs.

 

PL Developments to bring jobs in South Carolina

The manufacturer and distributor of pharmaceutical products will invest $45 million in a new facility in Greenville County, S.C., that will bring 450 new jobs. 

 

Wacker Chemie AG will build a new plant near Chattanooga

The chemical company has announced it will construct a new production facility with a $150 million investment. The move will create 50 new jobs in Bradley County, Tenn.

 

Healthcare tech firm invests in Tampa HQ

CareSync will hire 350 new employees at its new Tampa headquarters. 

 

US Steel to reopen part of plant in Granite City, Mo.

United States Steel Corp. will refill 220 jobs at the reopened hot strip mill in Granite City, Mo.

 

Novatech to bring jobs to Virginia

The door and door glass manufacturer will invest $3 million to build a new facility in Henry County, Va., that will employ 50 people.

 

ProBrass Inc. investing in South Carolina

The manufacturer of rifle brass cartridge cases is establishing itself in Clarendon County. The start-up firm will invest $40 million in the new facility, creating over 70 new jobs.

 

Mars Petcare expands in Arkansas

The pet food manufacturer will expand its Fort Smith operations with a committed $72 million investment. The expansion will create 130 new jobs.

 

Citrix adding 400 new jobs in North Carolina

The tech company will employ an additional 400 new workers at its Raleigh location.

 

KPS Global will expand in Tennessee

The walk-in cooler, freezer and environmental chamber manufacturer will bring 64 new jobs with an investment of $1.5 million in Sullivan County, Tenn.

 

Magnum Venus Products to expand in Knoxville

The manufacturer of composites application equipment has acquired space to build a $12 million facility that will employ 70 new workers.

 

EnviroSep will expand in Georgetown, S.C.

The manufacturer of integrated solutions for fluid handling, heat transfer and energy recovery will invest $5.2 million in its expansion with an addition of 100 new jobs.

 

Kerry Group expands in Missouri

The food ingredients company will spend $14.3 to expand operations in Greenville, Mo.

 

R+L Carriers investing in South Carolina

The global logistics and shipping company will hire 25 new employees and invest $7 million in expanding operations in Yemassee, S.C.

 

Fiber-optic cable manufacturer expands in North Carolina

Italian-based Prysmian Group will invest $20 million in its Catawba County plant, and will add 95 new jobs.

 

E-commerce marketing software firm to hire in Atlanta

Atlanta-based Springbot will invest $10 million and hire about 70 new employees.

 

Acquisition brings jobs back in Georgia plant

Gossen, North America’s largest integrated plastics manufacturer, will bring 49 jobs back to its plant in Cartersville, Ga.

 

myNexus expands in Nashville

The healthcare information tech company will expand operations with an investment of $1 million and the addition of 260 new jobs.

 

Techtronic Industries expanding in South Carolina

The manufacturer of home improvement and consumer products will invest $75 million over the coming years. The company will hire an additional 200 or workers.

 

Flooring company Unilin expands, hires in North Carolina

The Mohawk-owned company will invest $36 million in its facility in Thomasville, N.C., adding 50 new employees.

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement to bring jobs to Folkston, Ga.

The government agency will hire 200-plus workers after opening a privately run detention center in Folkston.

 

Volkswagen hiring in Chattanooga

Hiring for production of the new VW Atlas SUV is underway in Chattanooga. The factory plans to hire 600 more workers by mid-March. 

 

Skuid is adding jobs in Chattanooga

The cloud software company is hiring 60 new employees after a new product launch.

 

Sparks Custom Fabrication grows plant in Tennessee

The company, which specializes in stainless steel, stone and millwork products for the food industry, will expand manufacturing operations in Adamsville, Tenn. The company will create 140 new jobs over the next five years.

 

Unanet expands in Virginia

The web software company will add 100 jobs at its Loudoun County location. The company will invest $7 million after receiving a $125,000 incentive package from the county’s Department of Economic Development.

 

Ebtron expanding in South Carolina

The manufacturer of air flow measuring devices will expand operations in Horry County. The $2.5 million in capital investment will lead to the creation of 100 new jobs.

 

Comprehensive Health Services adding jobs in Cape Canaveral

The medical management services provider will create 150 new jobs as a part of a consolidation move. The new jobs have an average annual salary of $66,000.

 

After economic incentive approval, GKN Driveline to create 302 jobs in N.C.

The auto parts manufacturer will expand four of its plants after North Carolina economic development leaders approved $3 million in incentives over the next several years. The company plans to invest $179 million at plants in Alamance, Catawba, Lee and Person counties.

 

Dolphin Pointe Health Center to add 500 jobs in Florida

North of the Jacksonville University Campus, the 120-bed skilled nursing center will add as many as 500 new jobs with an $18 million investment.

 

Liquefied natural gas plant to create jobs in Louisiana

The $8.5 billion Venture Global LNG project planned for Plaquemines Parish will generate 250 new jobs.

 

Triangle Services to open regional HQ in Fort Lauderdale

The provider of management services for commercial real estate will invest $7.88 million and will create 300 jobs.

 

Carbon Cycle Energy building $100 million biogas plant in North Carolina

Located near Warsaw, N.C., the plant will produce biogas for energy and transportation fuel by utilizing anaerobic digestion of animal and food waste. The facilities will be the largest in the U.S. 

 

Bosch expanding North Carolina plant

The German engineering and electronics company will make a $13.3 million investment in new equipment and machinery for its Robert Bosch Tool Corp’s facility in Lincolnton, N.C. The investment will include the addition of more than 50 jobs. 

 

Blue Ridge Aquaculture expands in Virginia

The largest tilapia aquaculture operation in the world is expanding with an investment of $3.2 million at its facilities in Henry County, Va. The project will create five new jobs. 

 

Computer tech start-up Magic Leap expanding in South Florida

The company has acquired a second facility. The “R&D Center of Excellence” will provide 725 new jobs and a $150 million capital investment in Plantation, Fla.

 

Jones Plastic expanding in Tennessee

The plastic injection mold manufacturer will invest $4.5 million in its facility in Camden, Tenn. The company plans to hire 52 new workers.

 


December 2016

"Mass migration from Mexico is over." 

We all know how tight the labor market is getting, particularly the slim pickings among the skilled labor set. But what about low-skilled workers, the folks hired by business owners in construction, agriculture and the hospitality industries? A shortage of Mexican immigrants is making it difficult for those industries to fill job vacancies. "Mass migration from Mexico is over," Pia Orrenius, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas told The Wall Street Journal in an article published in the fall quarter. Data suggests Orrenius is dead on. Between 1995 and 2000, almost 3 million Mexican-born immigrants left Mexico for the U.S. according to the Pew Research Center. That figure was reduced by half to about 1.4 million between 2005 and 2010. And from 2009 to 2014, only about 870,000 Mexican immigrants headed to the U.S. In fact, today, more Mexicans return to their country from the U.S. than cross the border into the U.S.  

 

Largest new U.S. refinery in 40 years to be built in South Texas

Houston-based Raven Petroleum will build a $500 million oil refinery in Duval County, Texas. When completed in 2018, the facility will be the largest new refinery built in the U.S. in nearly 40 years. 

 

U.S. Army breaks ground on Army Cyber Command near Augusta, Ga. 

The U.S. Army broke ground on the $85 million first phase of its Army Cyber Command headquarters at Fort Gordon, Ga. The facility, located just outside Augusta, is expected to house up to 1,200 workers who will be at the front line of the nation's cyber defense. Georgia officials estimate the new command could create an additional 16,000 jobs from civilian defense contractors.  

 

Chattanooga top candidate for VW electric vehicle

Volkswagen announced in the fall quarter it plans to assemble its first electric vehicle in North America starting in 2021. The German automaker's Chattanooga plant is considered the front-runner for the zero-emissions vehicle. VW also operates plants in Mexico. 

 

Ernst & Young study shows VW supports almost 17,000 jobs in Tennessee

A new study by Ernst & Young showed that Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga was responsible for 16,794 direct and indirect jobs in Tennessee in 2015. Wages for those jobs topped $1 billion and gross economic output totaled $7.8 billion in 2015. The German automaker's plant is expected to house 3,500 workers in April of 2017, shortly after VW's new SUV begins full production. 

 

Texas shale play holds record 20 billion barrels

In the fall quarter, geologists discovered a vast new field of shale rock near Midland, Texas that could be the largest source of shale oil in the U.S. Called the Wolfcamp Shale geologic formation in West Texas, the area could yield 20 billion barrels of oil, 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. If true, the find could be worth nearly $1 trillion. The new discovery is part of the large, energy-rich Permian Basin that is located in West Texas and southern New Mexico. 

 

TVA territory sees record investment total in FY 2016

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporate agency of the U.S. government that provides electricity for 9 million people in parts of seven Southeastern states, saw a record-breaking year of capital investment in fiscal year 2016. TVA assisted in growing or retaining 72,000 jobs and $8.3 billion in capital investment in its territory in the last year. 

 

Boeing Dreamliner supplier expanding

French aerospace supplier Safran has invested $7 million to expand its plant in Charleston County, S.C., that supplies Boeing's 787 full assembly plant in North Charleston. The deal will create 15 jobs. 

 

RUAG Space USA to build facility on Space Coast

RUAG Space, a supplier of spacecraft structures and equipment, is building a new facility at the Port Canaveral Titusville Logistic Center. The facility will house 60 workers. 

 

Auto supplier to build new Alabama plant

Wheel & Truck Group plans to build a $35 million wheel assembly factory in Vance, Ala., near the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant. The Spanish company is hiring 85 workers in the project. 

 

Big River Steel opens in Arkansas

The $1.3 billion Big River Steel mill near Osceola, Ark., has begun production. The first shift of 260 employees is now housed at the facility, and at buildout up to 600 are expected to work at the plant. 

 

Pfizer plans biopharmaceutical facility in Missouri

Pfizer will invest $200 million in a new biopharmaceutical facility in Chesterfield, Mo. The deal will create 80 jobs. 

 

Rural South Carolina county lands $200 million solar project

Clarendon County, S.C., will be the home of two separate solar projects. Adger Solar will build the two solar farms at a cost of $200 million.  

 

Aerospace composite manufacturer opens plant in South Carolina

Advanced Ceramic Coatings, a joint venture between GE Aviation and Turbocoating Corp., has opened a new plant in Duncan, S.C. The $15 million facility will house 50 workers. 

 

First Quality expands tissue plant in Anderson, S.C.

First Quality Enterprises will invest in a new tissue-making machine at its plant in Anderson County, S.C. The deal will create hundreds of jobs. 

 

GKN adding to North Carolina plant

GKN Driveline is investing almost $29 million at its automotive parts plant in Mebane, N.C. The project will create 36 jobs. 

 

Housing has best month in nine years

Construction in the residential sector soared by 25.5 percent to 1.3 million new homes in October. That is the largest increase in new home construction since July 1982. New construction is also at the highest level since August 2007.  

 

A chicken in every pot

The South is the largest poultry producing region in the country, and the U.S. is the second-largest producer of chickens in the world (China is first). Exports of the product support millions of jobs, but according to Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, we will need to double poultry production worldwide by 2050. China and Russia were the largest export markets for U.S. poultry, but now Mexico is No. 1. Giles said at a breakfast sponsored by the Greater Hall County (Ga.) Chamber of Commerce that the world's population is expected to grow from 7.3 billion today to 10 billion by 2050, requiring a doubling of poultry production.  

 

$229 million wood pellet plant opens in Pine Bluff, Ark. 

Highlands Pellets has opened its 600,000 metric-ton-per-year wood pellet facility in Pine Bluff. The pellets are used by European industrial utilities to provide energy. The $229 million facility will house 68 workers. 

 

Deloitte expanding center in Orlando metro

Deloitte Consulting is expanding its U.S. Technology Delivery Center in the Orlando metro. The company is investing $24 million and hiring 850 new associates. 

 

UPS investing in Jacksonville hub

Atlanta-based UPS is investing $196 million to expand capacity at its Jacksonville regional distribution hub. Ten jobs will be added to the 1,650 who are already employed there. 

 

FEUER opens first U.S. plant in Mississippi

FEUER, a manufacturer of powertrains for the automotive industry based in Nordhausen, Germany, officially opened its first U.S. plant and headquarters in Tunica County, Miss., in the fall quarter. The company will produce crankshafts at the $140 million facility. The project will create 300 jobs. 

 

Alabama transforms state's workforce system

Alabama business, education and workforce training leaders unveiled a new system called Alabama Works. The program will seamlessly link employers looking for skilled workers with residents seeking jobs or job training. Alabama Works brings together key components of the K-12 and two-year college systems, state workforce training and placement services and industry. 

 

Magna Seating to set up new plant in South Carolina

Canada-based Magna Seating will set up shop in a new 230,000-square-foot facility it will build in Spartanburg County, S.C. The $60 million automotive seat plant will house 250 workers.  

 

Weather Company relocating, adding jobs in Atlanta

The Weather Company, which makes apps and provides forecasts and data to the aviation, energy and insurance companies, as well as for governments, is relocating its headquarters to Brookhaven in the Atlanta area. The IBM-owned firm will also add 400 employees with the move. 

 

Champion Petfoods adds capacity, jobs in rural Kentucky

Champion Petfoods is expanding its high quality pet food plant in Logan County, Ky. The company's employment will rise to 200, and so far more than $178 million has been invested in the facility. 

 

Brose expanding parts plant in Alabama

Brose Tuscaloosa is investing $26.5 million in its auto parts plant in Vance, Ala. The door systems supplier will add 50 jobs. 

 

Bombardier plans West Virginia expansion

Montreal-based Bombardier will nearly double its service center for regional jets and turboprop planes at the West Virginia Air Center in Bridgeport, W.Va. The company currently has about 400 employees at the center, and it expects to add 150 more. 

 

Boeing consolidates, adds 400 jobs in Huntsville, Ala.

Boeing announced in the fall quarter it will consolidate its strategic defense and intelligence systems by closing plants in Texas and Virginia. The moves will create 400 jobs in Huntsville. Boeing is investing $70 million in the project. 

 

Boeing consolidation to bring 500 jobs to St. Louis

Boeing is moving 500 jobs from Huntington Beach, Calif., to its facilities in St. Louis. The project is part of Boeing's consolidation of its Defense, Space and Security division. 

 

CBS Radio moving 200 jobs to Nashville

The radio division of CBS is moving 200 jobs to downtown Nashville. The media property is investing $5 million in the project. 

 

Japanese company investing $600 million in South Carolina

Japan-based Teijin Ltd. announced plans in the fall quarter to build a carbon fiber plant on 440 acres in Greenwood, S.C. The company will manufacture carbon fiber to supply the automotive and aerospace industries. The $600 million project will create 220 jobs. 

 

Company investing $13 billion in unfinished nuclear plant

A Washington, D.C.-based company purchased TVA's unfinished Bellefonte nuclear plant in Hollywood, Ala., and will spend $13 billion on the facility to bring it online as an energy producer. The project will create 2,000 jobs. 

 

Microsoft expanding rural Virginia data center again

Microsoft Corp. is investing $251 million to expand its data center campus in Boydton, Va. The expansion, which will create 44 new jobs, is the fifth for the company since it opened in 2011. 

 

UPS investing $400 million in Atlanta

Atlanta-based UPS is investing $400 million in the city to build the company's third largest processing facility. The 1.3 million-square-foot regional hub is being built on a 341-acre site in west Atlanta near Charlie Brown Airport. The project will create 1,250 jobs. 

 

Call center adds 175 jobs in South Carolina

Finance firm OneMain Holdings is expanding its call center in Fort Mill, S.C. The company is adding 58,000 square feet and adding 175 jobs. 

 

Big call center deal in High Point, N.C.

Expert Global Solutions is adding 800 workers at its call center in High Point. The call center currently has a staff of over 1,000, making it one of High Point's largest employers. 

 

Facebook expanding Fort Worth data center

Facebook will increase the size of its data center under construction in Fort Worth to nearly 2.5 million square feet of space, tripling the original size of the project. The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion. 

 

German company building plant in North Carolina

Norafin Industries, a manufacturer of fire and heat-retardant fabrics, is building a new 75,000-square-foot plant in Henderson County, N.C. The $18 million project will create 46 jobs. 

 

Nutritional supplement company sets up shop in South Carolina

Thorne Research, a nutritional supplement manufacturer, is building a new facility in Summerville, S.C. The $35 million project is expected to create 330 new jobs. 

 

Uranium enrichment project to create hundreds of jobs in Paducah, Ky. 

GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment is spending $1 billion to enrich uranium at a new facility being built in Paducah, Ky. The project will create 800 to 1,200 jobs. 

 

Flooring company hiring in North Carolina

Mohawk Laminate is expanding it plant in Thomasville, N.C. The company is adding 50 positions. 

 

Manufacturer reopening Tennessee facility

Huber Engineered Woods plans to reopen its flooring and roofing products plant in Spring City, Tenn. The facility was closed during the housing downturn in 2011. The reopening will bring back 140 jobs. 

 

Big bakery set for Mebane, N.C.

Belgium-based Lotus Bakeries has chosen Mebane, N.C., for a new 160,000-square-foot bakery to produce Lotus Biscoff cookies. The $48 million project is the first for the company in the U.S.

 

Packaging company adding jobs in Virginia

Dominion Packaging, which does business with Anheuser-Busch, Philip Morris, McDonald's and other companies, is investing $25 million in its plant in Henrico County, Va. The deal will create 60 jobs. 

 

Tory Burch hiring 150 in Georgia

New York-based clothing and home goods retailer Tory Burch is setting up an e-commerce fulfillment center in McDonough, Ga. The project will create 150 jobs. 

 

Pepsico adding jobs in rural Mississippi

Pepsico is building a new distribution facility in Leflore County, Miss. The project will create 60 new jobs. 

 

New Chattanooga-made SUV to be exported worldwide

The new SUV being made in Tennessee will be exported worldwide. The VW Atlas model is part of Volkswagen's $900 million expansion of its Chattanooga plant. The German automaker is adding 1,100 employees to its Tennessee plant to produce the Atlas. 

 

Continental breaks ground on $1.45 billion Mississippi plant

In the fall quarter, German tire manufacturer Continental AG broke ground on its $1.45 billion tire plant in Clinton, Miss. State and local governments are offering up to $650 million in incentives to the company that will hire 2,500 at the facility. 

 

Jeld-Wen to build new HQ is Charlotte

Jeld-Wen, a window and door manufacturer that moved to Charlotte from Oregon, is building a new headquarters in southwest Charlotte. The project will create 200 new jobs. 

 

Minnesota firm hiring hundreds in Orlando

Optum, an information technology-enabled health services firm, is hiring over 400 customer service representatives in Orlando. The company is part of Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group. 

 

Chinese appliance manufacturer moving HQ to Louisville

Haier America, which recently purchased GE Appliances and its Appliance Park in Louisville that houses 6,000 employees, is relocating its headquarters from Wayne, N.J., to Louisville. About 80 employees will relocate to Louisville. 

 

GM adding space in Atlanta area

General Motors is adding an additional 250,000 square feet of space in north Atlanta. The informational technology unit will add several hundred jobs. 

 

Charles Schwab now planning for 5,000 new jobs at its DFW hub

Originally, financial services giant Charles Schwab planned for 2,000 workers at its new Dallas-Fort Worth hub in Westlake. Now the California-based company is planning on hiring 5,000 for the new campus. 

 

Textile manufacturer to build North Carolina plant

King Charles Industries plans to build a $12.5 million textile plant in Anson County, N.C. The company will produce textiles for the automotive and medical industries. The deal will create 100 jobs. 

 

Insulation manufacturer investing $45 million in North Carolina

K-Flex, a maker of thermal and acoustic insulation, is investing $45 million in its facilities in Franklin County, N.C. The project calls for 100 new jobs. 

 

Health care firm to place HQ in Nashville

After eliminating Austin, Atlanta and Tampa, Apricity Resources announced it would place its headquarters in Nashville. The company provides back-office functions for nursing centers. The project will create 200 jobs. 

 

CVS building large distribution center in Kansas City

Retailer CVS announced in the fall quarter it will build a 752,000-square-foot distribution center on 72 acres in Kansas City. The facility will house 400 workers who will work three shifts. 

 

South African auto supplier sets up shop in Henderson County, Ky. 

Hansens Aluminum LLC is locating an aluminum extrusion facility in Henderson. The company, which will supply automakers in the U.S. and Mexico, is investing $18.4 million in the project that will create 90 jobs. 

 

Want skilled manufacturing labor? Check out Eastern Kentucky

Coal miners keep getting laid off in East Kentucky. In fact, the coal industry cut jobs in the region by 27 percent in just the first six months of this year, and layoffs have been ongoing for three years. This has created a skilled and available workforce of about 10,000 people in Eastern Kentucky, including welders, molders, electricians and industrial truck and tractor operators. 

 

Top three millennial growth cities are in the South

A new report from the U.S. Census showed that millennial population growth (adult ages 18-34) grew faster in Charlotte than any of the 50 largest U.S. metros. Charlotte's millennial population grew by 30.7 percent from 2005-2015. Following Charlotte was Houston, at 17.4 percent and Austin at 16.4 percent. 

 

Air Force and Rolls-Royce create jobs in Oklahoma

A new public-private partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Rolls-Royce is creating jobs at Tinker Air Force Base's Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. The partnership will overhaul and repair F137 engines that power the Air Force's fleet of Global Hawk drones. 


November 2016

Amazing turnaround by the automotive industry

By 2008, the automotive industry was declining rapidly. By 2009, it had essentially collapsed. General Motors and Chrysler bankrupted and federal bailouts were needed to save tens of thousands of jobs. Since then, the automotive sector, including its retail and wholesale components, has created massive numbers of jobs. The following chart shows automotive jobs in each Southern state in 2008 compared to 2015.

 

Auto jobs by state 2008 and 2015

State                           2008                  2015

Alabama                      49,346             165,470

Arkansas                     17,142                62,110

Florida                         99,199              242,335

Georgia                        54,954             206,810

Kentucky                    65,468               205,800

Louisiana                     19,404                84,230

Mississippi                 20,879                  73,820

Missouri                     55,722                167,060

North Carolina            59,276             197,465

Oklahoma                    21,484               69,400

South Carolina            41,285             138,800

Tennessee                   79,424             268,870

Texas                           137,191           460,650

Virginia                        47,485             152,760

West Virginia              8,966                  39,160

*Includes auto assembly, auto parts supplier, auto wholesale, parts wholesale and new car dealership jobs. Source: Center for Automotive Research.  

 

Samsung investing $1 billion, adding jobs at Austin semiconductor plant

South Korea-based Samsung will invest more than $1 billion in its Austin, Texas semiconductor plant. The plant makes chips for mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices. The project will also create hundreds of new jobs.

 

Volkswagen’s new made-in-USA crossover has a name!

Volkswagen’s largest-ever crossover SUV will be called the Atlas. The seven-passenger sport utility vehicle will be built at VW’s Chattanooga plant and is expected to launch in the spring of next year. By then, the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga will house about 3,500 employees, the most ever.

 

KLX Aerospace Solutions takes off in Miami

KLX Aerospace Solutions, a global distributor of aerospace fasteners and consumables, is expanding its operations and building a new global headquarters/distribution center in Miami-Dade County, Fla. KLX will also hire 100 new employees.

 

Anthem ensures 1,800 jobs in Atlanta tech center

Indianapolis-based Fortune 50 health insurer Anthem Inc. will invest $20 million in a technology hub in Atlanta. The Indianapolis-based company will create about 1,800 jobs at the software development center in Midtown's Bank of America Plaza.

 

GKN Aerospace shipping 300 jobs to Alabama

The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers says about 300 jobs will be leaving GKN Aerospace's St. Louis location for the company's facility in Tallassee, Ala. No timetable has been announced.

 

Computershare to add 850 jobs in Louisville, Ky.

Computershare, a financial services firm based in Australia, plans a much larger presence in Louisville than the company first announced in September 2014. Computershare now plans to add 1,100 jobs in Louisville – up from the company’s initial estimate of 250. Price tag for the expansion looks like $20 million.

 

Crystal Distribution launching operations in York County, S.C.

A Charlotte HVAC equipment manufacturer is establishing new operations in York County. The project is expected to bring $4.8 million in new capital investment and will allow the company to relocate existing positions from its operations in Charlotte. Crystal Distribution will also add new jobs to create a total of 83 positions in South Carolina.

 

CTD Holdings locates corporate headquarters in Jupiter, Fla.

CTD Holdings, a biotech company, will establish its corporate headquarters in Jupiter, Fla. The company expects to add 42 jobs and invest $2.75 million in the region.

 

Harry’s Fresh Foods opens Nashville production facility, adding 300 jobs

Harry’s Fresh Foods, an Oregon-based manufacturer of refrigerated and frozen foods, has expanded its operations with the opening of their new 200,000-square-foot production facility in Nashville.

 

New development on Jefferson Davis corridor to bring 300 jobs

A developer hopes a new project will bring jobs to the Jefferson Davis corridor in the area’s biggest development initiative in over 40 years. Fountainhead properties is transforming the former Philip Morris tobacco storage facility into Clopton Siteworks. The development in Richmond, Va., will house offices and warehouse space for small and medium sized businesses.

 

Warner Music adds 175 finance jobs in Nashville

Warner Music is expanding its Nashville presence, adding 175 finance jobs over the next two years. Warner Music Nashville will remain at its Music Row location and the new jobs will be located in the downtown Nashville City Center.

 

New investment, jobs in Buckingham County, Va.

Rock Wood Products of Dillwyn will invest $8.75 million to expand sawmill operation in Buckingham County. The company will create 12 new jobs in the county and source 100 percent of its timber needs from Virginia land owners.

 

Kentucky’s Bed Wood and Parts to expand, add 42 jobs

Bed Wood and Parts, an automotive aftermarket supplier of domestic and exotic wood bed kits for pickup trucks, plans a $3.7 million expansion of its operation near Hopkinsville, Ky., a project expected to create 42 full-time jobs.

 

Pepsi Bottling Ventures plans distribution center in Robeson County, N.C.

Pepsi Bottling Ventures will create 50 jobs over the next five years at a new $16.5 million distribution center in Robeson County, N.C.

 

Dothan-area distribution center expanding, adding 50 jobs

A Houston County (Alabama) grocery distribution center has announced a $17 million expansion that is expected to add 50 jobs. McLane Dothan is adding between 70,000 and 80,000 square feet to its existing 320,000-square-foot distribution center near Cottonwood.

 

GE Digital finds its home in Buckhead

GE Digital has chosen the Buckhead area of Atlanta for its new global digital operations center, bringing 250 high-paying jobs. The company has announced that software development is the future of GE, and the Atlanta office will help make the programs and applications that not only go in its products, but will help GE run its sprawling businesses.

 

New jobs coming to CSRA in Louisiana thanks to $166 million contract

A $166.9 million contract awarded to CSRA (which provides IT services to government clients in national security, civil government, health care and public health) by the Defense Intelligence Agency will create about 35 to 40 new jobs in the near future at the company’s Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City.

 

Food packaging company to create 310 jobs in Spring Hill, Tenn.

Food packaging company Armada Nutrition will expand its operations in Maury County, investing $2.1 million and creating 310 new jobs over the next five years at the company's Spring Hill plant.

 

Morley opens new facility, creates 270 jobs

Morley, a 153-year- old customer service company, is hiring to fill the 270 new jobs at its new customer contact center in Greenville County.

 

Arkansas foam manufacturer expanding, adding 100 jobs

A foam manufacturing company is expanding its Fort Smith facility and adding more than 100 new jobs. Elite Comfort Solutions, which creates foam for bedding and furniture, will be hiring employees for “all facets of the plant’s daily operations.” After the expansion, the manufacturing facility will have about 185 employees.

 

Textile company to bring 100 jobs to the Charlotte region

With an investment of $12.5 million, textile company King Charles Industries plans to hire 100 people at its new manufacturing site in Anson County, N.C. King Charles Industries is a joint venture between Taiwan’s Kingwhale Corp. and Hornwood Inc., a 70-year-old North Carolina textile company.

 

United Airlines begins construction in Houston

United Airlines has begun construction of the airline's new $162 million United Technical Operations Center at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

 

Global plastics distributor headed for Houston

A global plastics distribution company has purchased 200 acres in Houston's Cedar Port Distribution Park, the largest rail- and barge-served industrial park in the nation. Ravago Americas, a subsidiary of Belgium-based Ravago, will develop a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution and manufacturing campus on the land. The campus will be equipped to handle more than 2 billion pounds of plastic resin annually.

 

Textron to add 150 jobs in Augusta, Ga.

Textron Specialized Vehicles will add 100 to 150 jobs to its Augusta workforce during the next year as it combines operations with Jacobsen of Charlotte, N.C., a leading manufacturer of turf-care equipment. The new jobs will come in addition to an expansion announced earlier this year, which will create about 400 new jobs over the next five years. The company expects to have about 1,100 employees in Augusta at the end of 2017.

 

GENCO to expand in Memphis

FedEx subsidiary GENCO has announced a new Memphis warehouse for health care manufacturers. The 1.1 million-square-foot multi-tenant facility comes as “. . .manufacturers of medical devices, diagnostic testing and pharmaceuticals are hyper-focused on streamlining their supply chain,” said Kevin McPherson, VP at GENCO.

 

Giant Tennessee employer pursues new headquarters

One of the 10 largest employers in Williamson County, Tenn., is pursuing a headquarters that would ignite a nearly $1 billion mixed-use development in Cool Springs. Mars Petcare, known for pet brands such as Pedigree and Sheba, already employs 1,000 people in the fastest-growing county in Tennessee.

 

CoStar picks Richmond for major research center; hiring 730

Washington D.C.-based CoStar Group, a research and analytic company for the commercial real estate industry, has selected Richmond as headquarters for its research operations center. The company is also starting an aggressive recruitment strategy to hire 730 people there.

 

HTS International to locate global HQ in Knox County, Tenn.

Advanced manufacturer HTS International Corporation will invest $21.4 million to establish its global headquarters and new U.S. manufacturing facility in Knox County. HTS plans to create 200 jobs to manufacture components for use in injection molding, die casting, extrusion, and hot stamping.

 

Medline creates 200 new jobs in Lithia Springs, Ga.

Illinois.-based Medline is adding another 200 jobs at its Lithia Springs, Ga., facility. The medical supply company invested an additional $60 million to increase manufacturing of disposable incontinence products.

 

GoHealth Insurance opens Charlotte office, adds 500 jobs

A Chicago-based health-insurance tech and services company has opened a new office in Charlotte, bringing about 525 jobs to the area during open enrollment. GoHealth operates a private health insurance marketplace, and works in conjunction with 300 health-insurance companies.

 

New jobs coming to the Upstate South Carolina

A Michigan chemical company is planning to expand into Spartanburg County and bring 100 new jobs. Pacific Industrial Development Corporation focuses on innovative research and development.

 

Jacobs Engineering Group relocates HQ to Dallas

Jacobs Engineering Group will be relocating its global headquarters from Pasadena, Calif., to Dallas. The move means more than 100 new jobs and $4 million in capital investment. The company currently occupies 80,000 square feet in downtown Dallas, and will expand to 100,000 square feet once relocation is completed.

 

Hi-Rez Studios to expand Alpharetta headquarters

Hi-Rez Studios, Georgia’s largest developer of online games, will expand its headquarters in Alpharetta and create 75 additional jobs.

 

McLane Dothan is expanding its grocery distribution center

McLane Dothan, a grocery distribution center, has announced a $17 million expansion. The facility in Cottonwood, Ala., will add 50 jobs in connection with the expansion.

 

Mount Franklin Foods opens in Sumter County, S.C.

Mount Franklin Foods, a leading manufacturer of high-quality candy and nut products, is launching new operations in Sumter County, S.C. The project is expected to bring $10 million in investment and 225 new jobs.

 

Little Rock lands U.S.’s first Chinese garment plant

Suzhou Tianyuan Garments, a Chinese company that makes clothing for Adidas and other brands, has agreed to put a garment plant in Little Rock, Ark., investing $20 million and employing 400 people.

 

New Johnson & Johnson center to bring 500 Tampa jobs

Gov. Rick Scott was on hand to formally open J&J’s new North America Global Services Center, which will ultimately employ 500 people by 2020. The $23.5 million deal was announced last year, and there are already 240 employees at the center.

 

Gibbs Die Casting expanding in Henderson, Ky.

Gibbs Die Casting, a supplier of innovative, high-quality aluminum die cast components and assemblies, will expand its North American Manufacturing Complex in Henderson with a $10 million investment projected to create 46 full-time jobs.

 

EuWe Group boosts investment in Anderson County, S.C.

A BMW supplier will “double down” its investment in Anderson County. EuWe Eugen Wexler US Plastics Inc., the American subsidiary of Germany-based EuWe Group, will invest an additional $5 million to expand its facility and create 29 jobs during the next five years.

 

Pepsi bottler to add 40 jobs, spend $45 million in South Carolina

Carolina Canners, an independent Pepsi bottler in Cheraw, will add 40 jobs and spend $45 million as it expands its plant to make room for Lipton’s Pure Leaf iced tea.

 

U.K.’s Holroyd bringing jobs to Spartanburg County

A manufacturing company based in the U.K. is establishing its first U.S. operations in Spartanburg County, S.C. Holroyd Precision Components, a division of Precision Technologies Group Limited, is making a $12.5 million investment and is expected to create up to 23 new jobs for high precision machine tool design, build and supply for a variety of industries.

 

Daniel Defense to begin $29 million expansion outside Savannah, Ga.

Firearms maker Daniel Defense plans a $29 million expansion at its Black Creek, Ga., facility, a move that will create 75 new jobs. The company is consolidating the Black Creek facility and Ridgeland, S.C., facility into a single operation.

 

MöllerTech to locate $46.3 million plant in Bibb County, Ala.

MöllerTech will build a $46.3 million production plant in Bibb County. The plant will be the German auto supplier's third location in North America, and its flagship production facility, employing about 220 people to manufacture interior parts for the next generation of Mercedes-Benz SUVs.

 

BL Harbert begins $27.5 million FBI expansion project at Redstone

A Birmingham company is behind a $27.5 million expansion to the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal. Herbert recently held a career fair in Huntsville to hire up to 200 crew members for federal and industrial construction jobs, including the FBI expansion project.

 

Auto supplier to expand in Athens, Tenn.

E & E Manufacturing of Tennessee, a Tier 1 automotive supplier, will expand its manufacturing facility in Athens. The automotive components manufacturer will invest $23.5 million and create 123 jobs in McMinn County. The plant produces stamped and welded parts for a number of car manufacturers.

 

Drug firm to add over 1,000 jobs at new $113 million Texas campus

AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group has decided to consolidate its North Texas workforce within a new $113 million, 40-acre campus in Carrollton, Texas. The Pennsylvania-based wholesale drug company  will initially relocate almost 1,200 workers to the campus.

 

Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems expands in Danville, Ky.

Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems recently opened the $9.3 million expansion of its manufacturing and distribution campus in Danville. The project that will create 66 jobs.

 

Defense contractor Envistacom locates center in Duluth, Ga.

Atlanta-based defense contractor Envistacom will open an engineering and innovation center in Duluth, Ga. The 20,000-square-foot center will focus on research and development for counterterrorism technologies and will employ up to 100.

 

$100 million venture in Mississippi commits to 150 jobs by 2020

Praxair Surface Technologies and GE Aviation announced a $100 million joint venture — PG Technologies LLC in Ellisville, Miss. The project is expected to increase employment at the former GE Aviation facility (currently at 100) to 250 by 2020, with the potential to grow to 400 jobs.

 

GE Aviation opens center in Austin

GE Aviation is opening what it calls a "digital collaboration center" in downtown Austin. The digital center is an effort by GE "to bring the industrial world into the digital era," according to a company statement. The digital center in Austin is the company's fourth worldwide. The others are located in Dubai, Paris and Shanghai.

 

Hallmark completes 100-job KC-area distribution center

Hallmark Cards  recently cut the ribbon to mark completion of its new 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Independence. The Kansas City-based company leased underground space in Carefree Industrial Park, a 4.2 million-square-foot subsurface development.

 

Charter Communications hiring hundreds in San Antonio

Connecticut-based Charter Communications is planning to double its call center footprint in the Alamo City after acquiring Time Warner Cable's network and customer base. The telecommunications company plans to hire 200 employees.

 

International Mold Corporation establishing first South Carolina operation

International Mold Corporation, a Michigan-based aluminum design and build company, is establishing a new manufacturing operation in Spartanburg County. The project is expected to bring $6.2 million in new investment and create 60 new jobs.

 

West Fraser expanding operations in Newberry County, S.C.

West Fraser, a diversified wood products company, is expanding its Newberry County sawmill operations. The project is expected to bring $33 million in new capital investment. Established in 1955, West Fraser has grown into the largest lumber producer in North America, operating facilities throughout western Canada and the southern United States.

 

Endurance IT Services to add 62 new jobs in Virginia Beach

Endurance IT Services, a Virginia Beach information technology services firm, will more than double its workforce with 62 new jobs and build a new headquarters facility.

 

Tech firm to create 100 jobs with new Irving, Texas hub

OKI Data Americas — a New Jersey-based printing technology firm which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based OKI Data Corp — plans to open a regional operations in Irving that will bring 100 jobs and $3.5 million of capital investment into the North Texas city.

 

Pinewood Atlanta Studios to become largest complex in U.S. outside of L.A.

Pinewood Atlanta Studios is wrapping up its third phase of construction, which will make it the largest studio complex in the United States outside of Hollywood, according to Eoin Egan of Pinewood Studios.

 

Polaris celebrates new Alabama vehicle plant

A recent ceremony served as the symbolic opening for Polaris Industries’ new Alabama manufacturing facility, a $140 million greenfield plant. Employment at the Alabama factory, which has around 500 workers, is expected to reach 1,700. Minnesota-based Polaris announced plans for the Alabama plant early last year and launched Alabama production of its Ranger off-road vehicles and Slingshot three-wheeled roadsters in late spring and summer.

 

Company adding jobs in Bowling Green, Ky.

BlueCotton, a custom screen printing and embroidery operation, is expanding in Bowling Green, adding 112,000 square feet of space. The company is also adding 94 jobs.           

 

Auto parts manufacturer locating plant in rural Kentucky

MACA Plastics, a maker of components for the automotive and medical industries, is locating a new plant in Maysville, Ky. The $7.9 million investment will create 156 jobs.   

 

Ficosa opens plant in rural Tennessee

Ficosa, a provider of vision and safety products for the automotive industry, has opened its new plant in Cookeville, Tenn. The company is investing $50 million and hiring 500 workers who will produce rear view mirrors.

 

Jacksonville port sets record for TEUs

The Jacksonville Port Authority announced it moved a record number of twenty-foot equivalent units during its latest fiscal year. Jaxport moved 968,279 TEUs for the year, beating the previous record of 936,972 units in 2014. 

 

Florida led all U.S. states in job creation

From September 2015 to September 2016, Florida added 252,400 new private sector jobs, the highest job gains in the country. The Sunshine State also created 15,300 new manufacturing jobs, which also led all U.S. states. Since December 2010, Florida businesses have created 1.22 million private sector jobs.

 

Toyota marks five years of production in Mississippi

In October, Toyota celebrated its fifth year of Corolla model assembly at its plant in Blue Springs, Miss. Toyota has invested more than $1 billion in the plant in five years, which houses about 2,000 workers.

 

Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth lead real estate ranking

Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth were the top two markets in the nation in PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute's ranking for real estate investing. Nashville was ranked sixth, Raleigh-Durham seventh and Charlotte was No. 9 in the ranking.

 

Voestalpine, a poster child of the natural gas-fed manfucturing revolution on the Gulf Coast

Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine opened its $740 million hot briquetted iron plant in Corpus Christi in the fall quarter. The iron pellets are a key ingredient in making steel. Voestalpine picked the South Texas site because of its location near the Eagle Ford Shale, where natural gas is piped to run the furnaces of the plant. Natural gas prices in Texas are three times cheaper than in Austria. Voestalpine is just one of hundreds of heavy industry projects that have located on the Gulf Coast as a result of cheap and abundant natural gas that has come from widespread fracking.

 

Engineered Floors' Dalton, Ga. facility to be largest carpet plant in the world

Engineered Floors, a Dalton, Ga.-based carpet manufacturer, is finishing up its latest expansion. When completed, the company's plant -- at 2 million square feet -- will be the second largest building in Georgia and the largest carpet plant in the world. The $450 million mega-mill will house 3,000 employees. 

 

Louisiana raking in FDI

Since 2008, Louisiana has captured more than $33 billion in foreign direct investment. The total is the second largest in the country and largest per capita. Most of the investments are from the petrochemical sector in the Mississippi River corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and in Southwest Louisiana where South African-owned Sasol is building petrochemical facilities worth billions of dollars.

 

Top 10 cities for job growth; almost all are in the South

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Naples, Tucson, Dallas, Deltona, Phoenix, Ocala and Provo all made Forbes magazine's top 10 "Best Cities for Future Job Growth" that came out in the fall.

 

Dallas-Fort Worth is the hottest office market in the country

Dallas-Fort Worth was the hottest office market in the U.S. in the first nine months of the year, with net office leasing totaling 3.6 million square feet of transactions according to Cushman Wakefield. The large North Texas metro also was second to Nashville in new office construction with 8 million square feet of office buildings under construction as of November 15, 2017.

 

Site consultant Mark Sweeney: North Carolina losing projects over HB2

Site consultant Mark Sweeney, principal at South Carolina-based McCallum Sweeney Consulting, told those in attendance at a local economic development meeting in Lincoln County, N.C., that North Carolina is losing projects over its controversial House Bill 2. Many contend the bill discriminates against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The legislation, commonly called the "bathroom bill," seeks to regulate access to restrooms on the part of transgenders on the basis of their sex stated on their birth certificates. Sweeney said that at least one of his projects ruled North Carolina out because the company told him the state is "not the kind of place we want to invest in" because of HB2. Sweeney also said at the meeting that "you're not going to know how many projects have passed" on the state.

 

Oil states slammed, Florida No. 1 manufacturing state in the South

From September 2015 to September 2016, Texas lost 26,800 manufacturing jobs, almost all in the oil and gas mining and equipment sector. Much worse per capita was Oklahoma and Louisiana, as they saw manufacturing job losses of 9,300 and 7,400 respectively. Incredibly, Florida led the South in manufacturing job gains for the year gaining 11,800 jobs.

 

Manufacturing Job Gains and Losses

Alabama                  +4,300

Arkansas                     -700

Florida                   +11,800

Georgia                    +3,700

Kentucky                     +300

Louisiana                  -7,400

Mississippi                  +500

Missouri                    -2,300

North Carolina         -1,200

Oklahoma                 -9,300

South Carolina        +4,400

Tennessee                +7,500

Texas                        -26,800

Virginia                       -4,400

West Virginia                -800

*Year ended September 2016. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

First layoffs we've seen from the automotive industry in years

In October, Ford idled Ford F-150 production at its plant in Kansas City for one week. All three shifts were affected. In Louisville, Ford laid off employees who assemble the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC for two weeks. A total of 9,000 workers were affected by the temporary layoffs. 

 

The first new nuclear generator in 20 years at full power

The Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Unit 2 in Spring City, Tenn., began operating at full power in the fall quarter. It's the first new nuclear power plant in 20 years to begin operations. During the testing phase, the plant produced more than 500 million kilowatt/hours of carbon-free energy. The $4.7 billion plant can meet the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes.

 

Toyota begins moving employees to Texas

Toyota has been moving about 100 employees a month from California to Plano, Texas, site of its new North American headquarters. The relocated employees are working in temporary space as construction continues on the new headquarters campus. More than 4,000 employees will be housed at the new headquarters in Plano, and Toyota believes 3,000 will relocate from three former hubs in California, Kentucky and New York. Another 1,000 will be hired from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The campus is being built to accommodate up to 6,500 employees.

 

NCR to receive an additional $45 million in incentives for Atlanta HQ move?

One of the largest projects in the South in 2016 was NCR's announcement that it would relocate its headquarters and 3,600 employees from Gwinnett County, Ga., to Midtown Atlanta. The city of Atlanta offered $16 million in incentives for that project. In September, NCR officials announced there would be a second phase to its new headquarters, adding a second tower to the 20-story building now under construction and 1,800 more jobs. The expanded headquarters could fetch NCR $45 million in additional state and local incentives.

 

Alabama ranks No. 1 in the nation in critical education attainment. . .again

For the eighth consecutive year, Alabama ranks No. 1 in the nation in the percentage of growth of students achieving qualifying scores on math, science and English Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Almost 28,000 students took the AP tests in 2016, up from 5,327 test takers in 2008. The figures represent a 422 percent increase in eight years of AP exams in Alabama. During those years, the national increase was only 65 percent.

 

Georgia shows rising high school graduation rate

Georgia's high school graduation rate in the 2014-2015 school years saw a considerable leap. In those two years, the state's graduation rate was 78.8 percent. In 2013-2014, it was 72.5 percent.

 

Cheniere Energy given approval to export more LNG

In the fall quarter, Houston-based Cheniere Energy was given approval by federal regulators to export liquefied natural gas from a second plant at its Southwest Louisiana terminal. The newly approved volumes could double the amount of LNG the U.S. exports. In February, the Cheniere terminal became the first large-scale LNG export facility in the U.S. Several are being built in Louisiana and Texas now. Cheniere spent billions originally on the terminal as a LNG import facility. When widespread fracking began in this country, the company spent billions more turning the facility into an LNG export terminal.

 

Will Hyundai build new plant in Alabama?

Media property Wards Auto reported in the fall quarter that Korean automaker Hyundai plans to bring two Genesis luxury models to the U.S. for assembly. But where? Hyundai's only U.S. plant is in Montgomery, Ala. Sister automaker Kia operates its only U.S. plant in rural West Georgia near the East Alabama border. Both plants are at full capacity and there is no space for two more lines for the Genesis models. Wards Auto wrote in the fall article that "Montgomery, where Hyundai's current Alabama plant is located, is a likely spot." That spot would likely be the 1,800 acres in Montgomery across Interstate 65 from the current facility if Hyundai decides to build two more lines.   

 

AT&T decides to keep HQ in downtown Dallas

After looking at Hillwood Urban's and Spire Realty's new downtown Dallas developments for a new headquarters, AT&T is instead going to spend millions on its current headquarters facility in the southern portion of Dallas' central business district. The Dallas-based telecom giant will work with the city of Dallas, Downtown Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transit to make the company's four-building complex an urban destination. The redevelopment of the company's headquarters into an "urban tech center" is expected to start in 2017 and will create more than 1,300 jobs.

 

Empty new buildings in Houston

Because of the oil and gas industry's downturn, there are numerous large blocks of available space throughout Houston, much of it newly built. ConocoPhillips, the Houston-based oil company, recently built Energy Center Four, a 22-story tower in Houston's Energy Corridor. The building was expected to be completed by the end of 2015. ConocoPhillips has now put the entire 597,629-square-foot tower on the sublease market.

 

In rural Kentucky, U.S. farm chief launches $401 million program to reduce rural poverty

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Berea College in the fall quarter to launch a $401 million federal program to reduce rural poverty in the U.S. The program will make long-term, low-interest financing available to groups with track records of successful programs that reduce poverty in rural areas. The money will be used to build, maintain or renovate essential community assets such as those in education or health care, and infrastructure such as housing and roads.

 

Greenhouse operation to create 75 jobs in Kentucky

Kentucky Fresh Harvest broke ground in the fall on a $10.7 million high-tech greenhouse operation that will produce cherry tomatoes. The facility, located in Lincoln County, Ky., will house 75 workers.

 

Belgian company picks Clarksville, Tenn.

Verstraete IML USA will locate a new in-mold labeling plant in Clarksville. The $20 million investment will create 59 new jobs.

 

Michelin building $270 million distribution center in the Upstate

Michelin will break ground soon on a $270 million tire distribution center in Spartanburg County, S.C. The project will create 350 jobs.

 

French company selects Virginia for HQ

French cloud provider OVH has chosen Fauquier County, Va., for its first U.S. data center and North American headquarters. The company will invest $47 million in the deal that will create 54 jobs.

 

Wayfair sets up distribution center in McDonough, Ga.

Wayfair, one of the largest e-commerce companies for home furnishings, is locating a distribution center in McDonough. The center will house 150 workers.

 

Verizon adding jobs in Little Rock

Verizon has expanded its facility in Little Rock. The call center operation will add 85 positions.

 

New hospital to open next year in Arkansas

Acadia Healthcare will build a new behavioral health hospital in Conway, Ark. The new facility will create 150 jobs.

 

Georgia healthcare firm to open facility in Cullman, Ala.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Sequence Health will open a healthcare contact center in Cullman. The healthcare technology firm will create 128 jobs in the deal.

 

Corning Optical expands in Winston-Salem

Corning Optical Communications is expanding its optical cable plant in Winston-Salem, N.C. The company is investing $30 million and adding 100 jobs.

 

Citi adding jobs in Northeast Tennessee

Citi, one of the largest employers in Washington County, Tenn., is adding positions. The company will create 200 jobs at its call center in Gray, Tenn.

 

Swiss biotech firm plans major expansion in Houston area

Swiss pharmaceutical and biotech firm Lonza has announced plans to add 150,000 square feet to its facility in Pearland, Texas. The expansion will enable the company to produce commercial quantities of viral gene and cell therapies. The project is expected to create 100 jobs.

 

Italian manufacturer sets up shop in South Carolina

Ritrama North America, a manufacturer of coatings and adhesives for the automotive and packaging industries, is investing $85 million in a 350,000-square-foot facility in Spartanburg County, S.C. The deal will create 150 jobs.

 

Manufacturer breaks ground in Missouri

Advanced Drainage Systems broke ground on a 72,000-square-foot plant in Harrisonville, Mo., in the fall quarter. The company, which makes products for water management solutions, will hire 50.

 

Manufacturing in Florida is growing and fast

Florida has emerged as one of the nation's fastest growing manufacturing states, as unlikely as that might read. For years, Florida was where NASA launched rockets and the shuttle, but today, much of the manufacturing for the space industry is also being done in the state. In fact, a recently published analysis by PwC ranked Florida No. 2 in the nation for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited Florida with the second largest growth in manufacturing firms between 2012 and 2015. And from September 2015 to September 2016, Florida led all Southern states with a net gain of about 12,000 manufacturing jobs.

 

San Antonio and Austin top fastest growing economies list

The Bureau of Economic Analysis delivered a report in the fall quarter ranking metropolitan areas by gross domestic product growth in calendar year 2015. Of the large metros, those with populations of two million or more, San Antonio topped the list with a growth rate of 5.9 percent. Neighboring Austin ranked second with 5.0 percent growth. Collectively, real GDP for U.S. metro areas increased 2.5 percent in 2015.

 

This Southern city is the fastest growing in the country

In another ranking done by WalletHub, Frisco, Texas was named the fastest growing city in America. The study examined 515 U.S. cities using 14 metrics, including population growth. Frisco was followed by League City, Texas; Lehigh Acres, Fla.; Kent, Wash.; and Surprise, Ariz.

 

Honda celebrates 4 million in Alabama

In the fall quarter, Japanese automaker Honda Manufacturing of Alabama celebrated a key milestone. In October, the automaker produced its 4 millionth vehicle and V-6 engine made at its Alabama plant. Honda assembles the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV, Ridgeline pickup and the Acura MDX luxury SUV at its Alabama plant.

 

Another foreign-owned manufacturer decides to make it in the U.S.

Almost unnoticed, foreign-owned manufacturers are deciding to "make it where you sell it" for profit-driven reasons. Paris-based Sediver, a maker of glass insulators used to insulate electric power lines, is opening a 130,000-square-foot facility in West Memphis, Ark. The company has been selling the product to U.S. utilities for about 60 years and this is the first time the insulators will be made in the U.S. since 2001. The deal will create 70 jobs.

 

Textile company expands in North Carolina

Specialty Textiles is expanding its plant in Kings Mountain, N.C. The company is investing $11.5 million to add 150,000 square feet to its existing plant. The deal will create 59 new jobs.

 

Little Rock manufacturers expand

Two manufacturers that are owned by the same family are expanding in Little Rock. G.C. Evans and Sleeve Seal, makers of packaging and labels for the food industry, are moving their operations to a larger facility. The $6.4 million project will create 43 new jobs.

 

Space Florida official: 200 launches a year possible

Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello said in the fall quarter that the Kennedy Space Center could see up to 200 launches a year as space companies such as Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, SpaceX and OneWeb boost production. DiBello said that Space Florida is quickly transitioning from a federally funded operation to one that is highly responsive to commercial markets. 

 

Charleston Harbor project gets go-ahead

The $500 million deepening of the Charleston Harbor cleared a hurdle in the fall as the House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act. The bill frees up $200 million in federal money for the deepening project.

 

New megasite in the South being marketed

In the Florida panhandle, near the Alabama-Florida state line, lies the South's newest megasite. Called the Florida-Alabama Mega Site, the site features 2,240 contiguous acres near U.S. Highway 231 near Campbellton, Fla.

 

Economic miracle: millions of Americans climb out of poverty

In 2015, more Americans climbed above the poverty line than any year since 1999. In addition, the poverty rate fell by the largest percentage in almost 50 years. According to census data released in the fall quarter, more than 3.5 million Americans saw their income rise above the poverty level. The census data showed that African-Americans and Hispanics, who account for more than 45 percent of those below the poverty line of $24,300 for a family of four, saw the most gains in income. Last year, incomes in metro areas grew by 6 percent while incomes in rural areas of the U.S. grew 3.4 percent in 2015.

 

Mercedes-Benz USA breaks ground on new Atlanta HQ

In the fall quarter, Mercedes-Benz broke ground on its $93 million Sandy Springs, Ga., headquarters. The automaker is relocating its North American headquarters to metro Atlanta from New Jersey. The 200,000-square-foot facility will house up to 1,000 workers and will be completed in the second quarter of 2018. Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, stated that the company was attracted to Atlanta because of the workforce, transportation infrastructure and quality of life. Mercedes operates its only U.S. plant just over 200 miles to the west on Interstate 20 in Vance, Ala. Mercedes is the latest in a series of automotive industry headquarters to call the South home, joining Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and Porsche to name a few.

 

Lake Charles, Fort Myers land on top five cities adding the most jobs

Lake Charles, La., and Fort Myers, Fla., are two of the top five cities in the U.S. in terms of employment increases from June 2012 and June 2016, according to 24/7 Wall Street. During that time period, Fort Myers-Cape Coral and Lake Charles saw a 16.9 percent employment increase. 

 

Amazing job stats from Texas' big four

Texas' unbelievable growth since the recession ended is bolstered by four large metros: Austin, Dallas-Forth Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Known as the "Texas Triangle," the four cities contain two-thirds of Texas' population and almost 70 percent of all the jobs in the state. The four markets account for almost 30 percent of job growth in the entire country.

 

Look to the South for rising income growth

The Census Bureau released a report in the fall that showed that Nashville and Birmingham were the top two cities in the nation for income growth between 2014 and 2015. Nashville saw incomes rise by 10 percent and Birmingham residents' income rose by 9.3 percent. The national average for median household income rose by 5.2 percent during that time. Atlanta, Kansas City, Orlando and Memphis made it into the top 10 in metro income growth.

 

Automotive parts suppliers spending big bucks in Alabama

Alabama's automotive sector is booming. The three assembly plants are expanding, as is Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville. Over the past year, parts suppliers have invested nearly $1 billion in the state and over 2,500 jobs have been created.

 

Houston led all U.S. markets in exports

The Houston metro area ranked No. 1 for total goods exported in 2015, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report. Houston exported $97 billion worth of goods last year, beating out New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. It's the fourth consecutive year Houston has led all U.S. markets in exports. Metros in the U.S. exported $1.3 trillion worth of goods in 2015.

 

Boeing opens $200 million aerospace composite plant in St. Louis

Chicago-based Boeing opened a $200 million plant in St. Louis that will produce composite parts for the aerospace manufacturer’s new 777X airliner. The 424,000-square-foot facility will produce composite wing and empennage parts.

 

Carbon Fiber manufacturer to break ground on new plant in Northeast Tennessee

LeMond Composites, a manufacturer of carbon fiber for the transportation, renewable energy and infrastructure markets, will break ground on a new plant in Roane County, Tenn. The Oak Ridge-based company will spend $125 million in the deal that will create 242 new jobs.

 

Cushman & Wakefield adding 600 jobs in St. Louis area

Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield is adding 600 jobs in the St. Louis area, most of them in Town and Country.

 

Manufacturer breaks ground on Richmond area plant

Officials with Polykon Manufacturing, a maker of ingredients for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics markets, broke ground on a new 55,000-square-foot facility in Henrico County, Va. The $60 million project will create about 50 jobs.

 

Big lumber mill set for rural Alabama

Two Rivers Lumber Co. will invest $65 million to build a state of the art sawmill in Demopolis, Ala. The project is expected to create 95 jobs.

 

GM adding 650 jobs at Tennessee plant

General Motors is adding a third shift and 650 jobs at its plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The company said the new overnight shift will boost assembly of the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 models.

 

Another Amazon facility going up in the South

Amazon is expected to open a large warehouse at the Opa-locka, Fla. Airport. The 900,000-square-foot facility will house about 1,000 workers.

 

Honeywell locating software center in Midtown Atlanta

Honeywell is locating a $20 million software development center and division headquarters in Midtown Atlanta. The deal will create 800 jobs.