Recap of the Roundtable

Some of the finest minds in economic development in the South gathered to exchange ideas at the annual Southern Economic Development Roundtable

The 11th annual Southern Economic Development Roundtable (SEDR) took place at the Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, Fla., January 15-17, 2024. Many of the finest minds in economic development in the South were invited. SEDR members participated in two days of discussion, laughter and camaraderie that this year included three economists, as well as educators, workforce training directors, commercial real estate contractors and site consultants. 

This section on what occurred and what was discussed at SEDR in late January is designed to brief you on the subject matter as it relates to the South’s economy and economic development trends in the region. In no particular order, the following is a long-form report, including some commentary, on SEDR@ThePearl2024’s speaker presentations.

SEDR speakers are like a “super group” of doctorate-level economic minds, an all-star team chosen from a “traveling baseball squad,” if you will. You get the picture. 

Dr. Walter Kemmsies is the founder, CEO and Chief Economist of The Kemmsies Group in Savannah, Ga. His presentation was titled “Still Climbing the Wall of Worry?” 

With some quarters approaching 4 percent GDP growth in the last two and a half years, you would think Kemmsies’ presentation “Still Climbing the Wall of Worry” Read More

LATEST NEWS 2024

April 2024

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to SouthernBusiness.com. For all projects announced in the South and more, go to SouthernBusiness.com and SB-D.com. For more information on the automotive industry in the South, go to SouthernAutoCorridor.com.

 

Alabama

 

Alabama claims No. 1 spot last year for auto-exporting states for the first time

Alabama has become the nation’s No. 1 auto-exporting state, with international vehicle shipments surging past $11.2 billion in 2023 to overtake long-time leader South Carolina, according to new trade data.

 

Alabama’s auto exports have climbed 45% in value since 2021, when they totaled $7.7 billion, according to figures from the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Alabama’s auto industry has become an exporting powerhouse, with vehicles produced in the state finding markets around the world,” said Ellen McNair, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

 

While Alabama’s auto exports have been climbing, South Carolina’s have remained steady at just over $10 billion a year since 2021, the data indicate. Other top auto-exporting states include Michigan, California and Texas.

 

Alabama auto exports landed in 78 countries in 2023, with major trading partners Germany, China and Canada being the leading destinations, according to Commerce data.

 

OMCO Solar to hire 70 in North Alabama

Arizona-based OMCO Solar, a manufacturer of steel structures for solar panels, is investing $10 million in its second facility in Alabama in Limestone County. The deal will create 70 jobs.

 

Southern Roots Nut Co. to hire 120 in Dothan, Ala.

The New Mexico-based company will invest $16.6 million to renovate an existing building and to build a new hub to process, store and distribute raw pecans. The expansion will employ 120 skilled workers.

 

Arkansas

 

Americold holds ribbon cutting in Russellville, Ark.

The global leader in temperature-controlled logistics is investing $90 million to expand its operations in Russellville, adding 30 new jobs.

 

Elopak breaks ground on $70 million production facility in Little Rock

The plant will produce Pure-Pak® cartons for milk and other liquids. The new production facility at the Port of Arkansas near Little Rock, Ark. will employ more than 100 workers.

 

Florida

 

Apple to open offices in South Fla.

The global tech giants signed a 42,000-square-foot office lease deal in Coral Gables, Fla.

 

Renewable energy project breaks ground near Orlando

Panacea Global Energy Inc. secured 63 acres in Osceola County for green tech campus, to create 1,200 jobs. A subsidiary of French renewable energy leader, CMG Clean Tech, Panacea Global Energy Inc. will build a flagship green garden village, a first-of-its-kind renewable energy research park. 

 

Georgia

 

Imola Automotive USA establishing a plant in Fort Valley, Ga.

The Italian electric car manufacturer will break ground in the third quarter of 2024, eventually employing 7,500 people.

 

Meissner Corp. plans $250 million life sciences facility near Athens, Ga.

The company, which specializes in microfiltration and pharma products, plans to build a manufacturing, laboratory and distribution facility in Clarke County.

 

Fantasy sports company PrizePicks expands in Atlanta

The company will invest $25 million in its new headquarters, hiring 1,000 new workers over the next seven years.

 

LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels opens world’s first alcohol-to-jet aviation fuel production facility in Ga., to employ 250.

The $70 million facility will produce 10 million gallons a year of sustainable aviation fuel.

 

Kentucky

 

FEAM Aero holds grand opening of $45 million expansion in Boone County, Kent.

The company’s new three-bay hanger at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will support nearly 250 full-time positions.

 

Goose Creek Candles breaks ground on new distribution facility expansion project in Casey County, Kent.

The family-owned candle maker will invest $5 million and employ 160 people.

 

North American Stainless to celebrate $244 million Carroll County, Ky. expansion Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials and leadership from North American Stainless (NAS) and its parent company, Spain-based Acerinox, to celebrate the one-year mark since the company announced a $244 million expansion at its Carroll County facility, a project creating 70 full-time jobs. The expansion to the company’s 4.4 million-square-foot Ghent facility consists of a new cold rolling mill, new roll grinders, extensive upgrades of anneal and pickling lines to support the new rolling mill, a new temper mill and the expansion of the melt shop building.

 

Louisiana

 

India-based pipe and tube manufacturer selects NW Louisiana for first U.S. plant

Global Seamless Tubes & Pipes, a leading manufacturer and exporter of carbon, alloy and stainless steel cold drawn and hot finish seamless tubes and pipes, announced it will invest $35 million to establish its first U.S. production facility in northwest Louisiana.

The India-based company expects to create 135 direct new jobs in DeSoto Parish.

 

Lincoln Foodservice Equipment, a Welbilt company, to establish operations in Caddo Parish, La.

The producer of commercial-grade foodservice equipment will create 99 direct new jobs with salaries above $50,000.

 

BBP, am automatons solutions manufacturing company, announces expansion in Baton Rouge, La.

The Louisiana-based company will create 75 new jobs with its headquarters expansion in Baton Rouge.

 

Horsburgh & Scott Company establishes 32,000-square-foot facility in Slidell, La.

The international manufacturer repairs, services and assembles industrial gearboxes for the defense industry. The Cleveland-based company will create 40 new high earning jobs with its $4.9 million investment in St. Tammany Parish.

 

Japan-based UBE Corporation will invest $500 million in Jefferson Parish, La.

The chemicals company will establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility to produce battery components dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC), which are used to create electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries.

 

Agile Cold Storage announces 150,000-square-foot facility in St. Tammany Parish

The diversified storage and logistics solutions company will invest $45.9 million in its new cold storage facility. The project will bring a total of 195 direct and indirect jobs to southeastern La.

 

Mississippi

 

CORE X Partners to establish cold storage in Gulfport, Miss.

The global supply chain and cold storage industry leader will break ground this year on a 150,000-square-foot cold storage facility. Serving food producers and manufacturing across the Southeast, the company will create a total of 73 jobs.

 

Owl’s Head Alloys locating aluminum processing plant in West Point, Miss.

The Bowling Green, Ky.-based company will invest $29 million and create 68 new jobs.

 

North Carolina

 

German-based Schott Pharma unveils plans to construct $371 million factory in Wilson, N.C.

The factory, which will produce glass and polymer pre-fillable syringes, will employ 400 by 2030.

 

New N.C. megasite? Landowner assembles 800-acre site seeking industrial rezoning near Lexington

A Charlotte-area landowner is seeking rezoning of nearly 800 acres of land in several parcels in Davidson County for heavy industrial use to create a site whose size would approach that of state-level megasites. “This property is extremely well suited for industrial development from the standpoint of infrastructure,” the county planning staff noted.

 

With no Epic Games HQ in sight for prime Cary, N.C. site, expert weighs in on property's future

One of the most exciting announcements in the South from several years no longer seems to be a reality.

 

From reports: “As the months go by with no word about the future of the former Cary Towne Center property, it seems apparent that Epic Games has no immediate plans to move forward with building a new headquarters on the prime site in a town that's attracting plenty of developers.

 

“Epic Games, the video game developer based in Cary, said in the winter through a spokesperson that there were no updates to share.

 

“Real estate watchers in the Triangle are starting to wonder what the future of the former mall property will look like as the town continues its development spree. On the other side of Cary Towne Boulevard, the highly popular mixed-use project Fenton is moving toward starting its second phase. And downtown Cary continues to transform with new retail and residential projects in the works. Meanwhile, west Cary is seeing construction boom for residential and commercial developments.

 

“Dennis Donovan, a site selection consultant with WDG Consulting, said it might be tough to attract another headquarters campus like the one Epic Games proposed back in 2021 after buying the property, which today has an assessed value of more than $100 million.

 

“First, there aren’t many HQ relocations,” he said, adding that a stronger possibility for the site, should Epic relinquish it, might be a tech company consolidating office operations, “some of which might already be based in the Raleigh, Durham area.”

 

“Donovan said the real demand is happening with sites that are ready to go. Starting from scratch, which would be the case in Cary, “becomes very difficult.” -- Triangle Business Journal

 

Oklahoma

 

Stardust Power selects Muskogee, Okla., to build battery-grade lithium refinery

The company will make a more than $1 billion investment in the lithium refinery.

 

AAR breaks ground on MRO facility in Oklahoma City

AAR Corp., a provider of aviation services, broke ground on its expansion of its maintenance and repair facility. The new facility will accommodate all 737 variants,

 

North American Air Exchange grows in Muskogee, Okla.

The heat exchange manufacturer moved to Wagoner in 2023, and is set to bring 100 new jobs.

 

South Carolina

 

Scout Motors to be revived in South Carolina

We are seeing just about every conceivable combination there are right now as automakers making a bee-line to electrification. One such effort at taking a brand that was built by International Harvester decades ago is reviving the old Scout brand, which many consider the first SUV. Volkswagen and others have invested in Scout Motors and plan a $2 billion factory capable of making up to 200,000 of the iconic vehicles in South Carolina. Reports state that Scout Motors will build its factory in Blythewood about 20 miles north of Columbia, which will ultimately employ 4,000 people, on 1,600 acres right in the middle of the developing “battery belt.” The plant itself will occupy 1,100 acres of that property.

AESC is spending over $3 billion in South Carolina

AESC, a world-leading battery technology company, announced the expansion of its lithium-ion electric vehicle battery manufacturing operations in Florence County, S.C. The company’s $1.5 billion investment will create 1,080 new jobs. This investment follows AESC’s initial announcement in December 2022 and expansion announcement in December 2023, resulting in a total investment of $3.12 billion and supporting 2,700 new jobs across the local community.

 

In 2022, the company announced a multi-year partnership with BMW to supply technology-leading battery cells to be used in the next generation electric vehicle models produced at Plant Spartanburg. AESC’s latest expansion will extend the partnership to additionally provide electric vehicle battery components for BMW Group’s Mexico Assembly Operations.

 

Tech giant Google to build data center in S.C.

The company purchased a property in Dorchester County. The location of the property and Google’s investment amount has not been disclosed.

 

Delta Children to invest $33.1 million to establish first S.C. operation

The children’s furniture manufacturer selected Orangeburg County to construct a 400,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility, creating 123 new jobs.

 

Ferroglobe, producer of silicon metal, establishing operations in Marlboro Co.

The company will invest $20 million and hire 19 workers for its quartz filtering operation in Wallace, S.C.

 

DCC Metal Recycling announces expansion in Dillion County, S.C.

The metal recycling company will create 78 new jobs with its $11 million investment. The new 48-acre site will be the company’s seventh South Carolina operation.

 

Tennessee

 

Construction progress at Ford's BlueOval City near Memphis

Work on West Tennessee's BlueOval City is entering a new phase.

Last year, Ford hit peak construction employment in Q3 2023, matching the timing given years ago when Ford first came to town. In fact, when plant manager Kel Kearns first gave that timeline, BlueOval City was still an empty field.

 

Months later, it was an active construction site about 50% done — with plenty of mud still around — when Ford CEO Jim Farley visited in March 2023. The company has spent billions getting construction and supplies and is now entering the installation phase.

 

As of April, machinery is being installed in BlueOval City's paint shop, vehicle assembly, and stamping areas. That means work now moves inside the massive facilities on campus, with literal tons of equipment installed in a way that has been planned for months to ensure top-level efficiency.

 

Now, as the campus begins installing machines, that would be followed by new workers, then Ford starts producing trucks to be delivered to customers in 2026.

 

Ford doubling down on EVs, hybrids at BlueOval City's T3 gets release window

Ford Motor Co. announced that it is embracing electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid vehicles for its Ford Blue division. By the end of the decade, it plans to offer hybrid powertrains on every model.

 

LG Chem signs $19 billion deal with GM

With construction of LG Chem’s $3.2 billion factory in Clarksville, the largest foreign investment in Tennessee history, the South Korean battery maker has agreed to provide GM with battery materials able to power 5 million all-electric vehicles with a 300 mile range.

 

Custom Foods of America Inc. to expand in Knox County

The Tennessee-based food product manufacturer will create 249 new jobs with a $51 million investment at its Pleasant Ridge location.

 

Fiberglass and polymer concrete manufacturer NewBasis, LLC to establish operations in Wilson County, Tenn.

The company will create 249 new jobs.

 

FreightWise to expand Brentwood, Tenn. headquarters

The logistics data company will create 48 new jobs and invest $2 million in Williamson County.

 

Baltimore Aircoil to expand in Rhea County

The HVAC and refrigeration manufacturer will create 63 new jobs and invest $16.5 million to expand operations at its Manufacturers Road location in Dayton, Tenn.

 

Landmarks Ceramics cuts ribbon on plant expansion in Mt. Pleasant, Tenn.

Landmarks Ceramics invested $70 million to add a new kiln to increase production, creating a North American logistics hub for the Gruppo Concorde-owned company.

 

Bridgetown Natural Foods LLC to expand in Middle Tennessee

The West Coast company will invest $78.3 million to open a manufacturing and distribution center in Lebanon, creating 219 new jobs.

 

Schneider Electric to expand, add 455 jobs

The energy management and automation company will invest $85 million in Wilson and Rutherford counties, continuing its growth in the energy sector.

 

Amazon builds facility in Jackson, Tenn.

The 69,000-square-foot, last-mile facility will bring about 100 jobs to the area, adding a distribution facility between Memphis and Nashville.

 

INTOCAST announces state-of-the-art factory in Carroll County, Tenn.

The German-based company, which specializes in manufacturing refractory products for the steel industry, will spend $15 million and create 103 new jobs. The operation will be the company’s first in the U.S.

 

Texas

 

Dallas workers' return to office ranks No. 1 among major U.S. cities

Dallas workers are coming back to the office more than other major U.S. cities, a new report says. Placer.ai report analyzing foot traffic data for office properties in the U.S. and Dallas came in first with an average of 18.6 returning to the office after three years of some workers leaving as a result of the pandemic.

 

Austin's job market ranked best in Texas — here's how it scores nationally

Austin has the hottest job market in Texas, and it's considered one of the best in the country. That's according to The Wall Street Journal's annual ranking of America's hottest job markets. The Texas capital ranked No. 7 overall — tied with Nashville — and beat out Dallas (No. 10), Houston (No. 19) and San Antonio (No. 25, tied with Denver and Boston).

 

Salt Lake City took the top spot this year, followed by three cities in Florida: Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. Oklahoma City came in at No. 5, followed by Miami at No. 6. Austin, which fell five spots in this year's ranking, had the strongest labor-force participation among large metro areas, according to the WSJ.

 

Companies like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Tesla Inc. and Apple Inc. have made huge investments in the Austin area, positioning them to add thousands more employees here in the coming decade.

 

Battery chemicals producer Orion breaks ground on plant near Houston

Orion, a specialty chemicals company formerly known as Orion Engineered Carbons, has broken ground on a new plant near Houston to manufacture battery ingredients. The company, which is incorporated in Luxembourg, began construction on its second plant producing acetylene-based conductive additives on April 9. The deal represents a $140 million investment.

 

Natural gas power plant slated for Texas east of Austin

Sandow Lakes Energy Company is building a 1,200-megawatt natural gas power plant in Milam County, Texas at the former site of the 31,000-acre Alcoa aluminum plant. It is near where Samsung is building its multi-billion semiconductor campus.

 

Virginia

 

Remember one of the biggest deals ever in the South,  Amazon’s HQ2 in Northern Virginia and 25,000 jobs? Here is an update.

Work has begun at Amazon’s Northern Virginia’s HQ2. Here’s what’s happening.

Construction plans have begun, installing utilities for PenPlace, the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2, which remains delayed but, we’re told, not scaled back.

 

In March of 2023 Amazon paused development plans for the second and larger phase of its second headquarters. A spokesperson has told SB&D that the e-commerce giant has made “no changes” to its hiring or construction plans, including building a new public school.

 

Phase one of Amazon HQ2, known as Metropolitan Park — 2.1 million square feet of new office space in two towers — opened to workers in May of 2023.

 

Conservative group files lawsuit to stop massive wind farm off Virginia Beach

The National Legal and Policy Center, a nonprofit conservative watchdog group based in Falls Church, Va., filed a lawsuit in March against Dominion Energy, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the U.S. Department of the Interior and other government bodies, to try and stop construction of Dominion’s $9.8 billion, 176-turbine offshore wind farm expected to begin construction this summer 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.

 

The group wants to suspend or stop the Commercial Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, claiming the massive wind turbines pose a risk to North American right whales under the Endangered Species Act, not to mention one of the largest military submarine bases in the world. The group also criticized President Joe Biden’s January 2021 executive order mandating an increase in clean energy production, including offshore wind energy.

 

HP Hood announces $83.5 million expansion in Frederick County, Va.

The national dairy processor will expand its dairy processing operations at its Winchester-area facility.

 

Arlington-based, RTX subsidiary Raytheon lands $118 million contract with the U.S. Army

The defense company will produce common sensor payloads for the California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ MQ-1C Gray Eagle, serving as “eyes” for the unmanned aircraft.

 

FreezPak Logistics to invest $77.5 million, create 80 new jobs

The cold and dry storage leader will build a 245,000-square-foot facility in Suffolk, near the Port of Virginia.

 

Tucker Door & Trim to create 50 jobs in Va.

The Georgia-based manufacturer of doors, windows for the construction industry will spend $10 million for its facility in Henrico County.

 


March 2024

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to RandleReport.com. For all projects announced in the South and more, go to SB-D.com. For more information on the automotive industry in the South, go to SouthernAutoCorridor.com.

 

Regional/National

 

Construction workforce shortage tops 500,000

According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, the labor crunch in the U.S. construction industry shows no signs of ending anytime soon. The industry needs to attract an estimated 501,000 additional workers beyond the normal pace of hiring this year and 454,000 new workers in 2025 as construction demand is expected to slow somewhat next year.

 

CBRE’s 2024 U.S. Investor Intentions Survey shines on the South

Included in the top 10 of CBRE’s top 10 markets for total property returns were Dallas/Fort Worth; South Florida; Raleigh/Durham; Nashville; Atlanta; Charlotte; Tampa and Washington, D.C. Make the top 10 outside the South were Boston and New York City.

 

U.S. News and World Report’s top 10 places to live in the U.S.

U.S. News and World Report recently named their best places to live in the U.S. in 2023 and 2024 and Green Bay, Wisc. Claimed first place. Huntsville, Ala.; Raleigh/Durham was third followed by Boulder, Colo. and Sarasota, Fla. Making up the top five.

 

Those were followed by Naples, Fla.; Portland, Me.; Charlotte, N.C.: Colorado Springs, Colo. and Fayetteville, Ark.

 

Alabama

 

Alabama sets record for exports

For the second consecutive year, Alabama has set a new value record for exports with $27.4 billion.

 

Overseas shipments of Alabama-made vehicles, aerospace parts, minerals and metals, as well as other products, rose more than 6% from the 2022 mark of $25.5 billion, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Looking forward, the potential for greater export growth is there, and we are already exploring new and expanding markets for Alabama companies,” said Alabama

Department of Commerce Secretary Ellen McNair, who is succeeding Greg Canfield in that role.

 

New aluminum project forges ahead in South Alabama, even though costs have risen 60 percent

 

Novelis is building a monster of an aluminum production plant in North Baldwin County, Ala. The site is at the former South Alabama Megasite.

 

Initially, the project was to cost a tad over $2.5 billion. Now, it’s estimated the plant, which will take up much of the 3,000-acre site, will cost just over $4 billion to build.

 

Steve Fisher, CEO of Novelis, said that the facility will be a “true plant of the future,” giving the lifetime of the plant of “decades.” The facility was announced to house 1,000 employees. According to Fisher, automotive and beverage contracts have already been secured to where the factory will be profitable well into the future.

 

From Alabama to space: ULA’s Vulcan Rocket blasts off on inaugural mission

United Launch Alliance’s next-generation Vulcan rocket lifted off for the first time in Florida in January on a mission that marked a new era of space capabilities for the company’s Alabama-made rockets.

Payloads are heading to the Moon and include the ashes of several deceased “Star Trek” celebrities. “Vulcan’s inaugural launch ushers in a new, innovative capability to meet the ever-growing requirements of space launch,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO.

ULA assembles the Vulcan rocket at its sprawling factory in Decatur, where it has also built the Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles being replaced by Vulcan. ULA and its partner, Beyond Gravity, which makes payload fairings, are expanding the Decatur production site through projects valued at $350 million that will create a total of 200 jobs.

 

Montgomery, Ala. Hyundai workers announce union drive; UAW eyes Tesla, VW and Mercedes

Workers at a Hyundai plant in Montgomery have launched a union drive, the second announced organization effort at a major Alabama automotive manufacturer in the last month. The other is at the state’s Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa County. That plant has fended off union efforts several times in its 26-year history.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) claimed in the winter quarter that 30 percent of workers at Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery had signed union cards.

 

Gov. Kay Ivey sets goal for Alabama to have highest starting teacher salary in the South

Alabama’s starting teacher pay could be going up to $47,600 - the highest among neighboring states, if Gov. Kay Ivey gets her way.

 

Primordial Ventures, a medical supplies manufacturing start-up, plans Birmingham production hub

The veteran and minority-owned company plans to create 30 new jobs at the Alabama facility.

 

Airbus continues constructing three new A320 hangar bays in Mobile

The aerospace giant’s major expansion is slated to bring 1,000 new jobs to the Mobile facility, doubling its industrial footprint in Alabama. Last May, the facility celebrated the delivery of its 100th Alabama-built A320 Family aircraft to Delta Air Lines.

 

Brasfield & Gorrie to expand Birmingham HQ

One of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms will expand its national headquarters with an $18.9 million investment. The expansion project will create 85 new, quality jobs.


Conecuh Sausage expanding in Andalusia, Ala.

The iconic Alabama maker of hickory smoked sausages will invest $58 million and create 110 with its second production facility in the state.

 

Myer Companies plans expansion in Mobile County

The engineering, fabrication and repair service company will invest $2.6 million and create 26 new jobs.

 

AE Industrial Partners affiliate Rocket Shoals LLC has acquired an industrial facility in Colbert County

The sprawling industrial facility will be used for aerospace manufacturing and will become the new headquarters for aerospace suppliers and manufacturers.

 

Toyota begins production on new engine line in Huntsville, Ala.

Toyota Alabama announced that it has begun production of its i-FORCE 2.4-liter turbo engine line at its Huntsville engine plant, culminating a $222 million corporate investment in the project. The 2,000 employee plant will provide powertrains for the new Tacoma pickup.

 

Douglas Manufacturing expands in Pell City, Ala.

The conveyor systems manufacturer will construct a state-of-the-art 50,000-square-foot idler plant at its Industrial Park Drive location in Pell City with an $11.7 million investment. The expansion will create 50 new jobs.

 

Arkansas

 

Missile manufacturer breaks ground on plant in East Camden, Ark.

R2S, a joint venture between Rafael Advanced System and Raytheon, broke ground in a new manufacturing facility in late February in East Camden. Sixty workers will be hired to build the Tamir missile for the Iron Dome Weapon System. R2S will invest $63 million in the project.

 

Hope Baking Co. expansion is underway in Hope, Ark.

The $37 million project is expected to create 266 new jobs.

 

Walther Manufacturing to expand firearm manufacturing facility in Fort Smith

The company plans to spend $30 million in western Arkansas, creating 76 new jobs.

 

Florida

 

Panacea Global Energy Inc. secured 63 acres in Osceola County for green tech campus, to create 1,200 jobs

A subsidiary of French renewable energy leader, CMG Clean Tech, Panacea Global Energy Inc. will build a flagship green garden village, a first-of-its-kind renewable energy research park.  

 

Disney plans massive $60 billion spending plan for theme parks, cruises

The Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant has announced its 10 year plan, suggesting expansions at its Central Florida theme parks, cruise lines and more.

 

Kaseya to create 3,400 jobs in Miami, Fla.

The global IT management software firm will make a capital investment of more than $16 million to expand in Miami-Dade County, creating up to 3,400 high-paying jobs.

 

MSC Group to open $100 million North American Cruise HQ in South Florida

The international shipping company will open a 120-square-foot cruise division in Miami’s downtown. The new headquarters is expected to create 668 new jobs.

 

Georgia

 

By capturing so many data centers, Georgia now needs more power

Georgia Power has approached regulators in the Peach State to request approval to bring more electric power to the state, even after the company just started up the nation’s first new nuclear reactor in decades last year. The wave of economic development projects Georgia has captured in the form of the electric vehicle and battery industry and data centers is already putting a strain on the grid in the state.

Company officials claimed in the winter that it needed to produce more power and fast. Most of that additional electricity capacity will come in the form of fossil fuels being burned at this point. Much of the forecasted additional demand – about 80 percent – is driven by the power needed new data centers slated for the state. Data centers, while a tax generating bonanza for states and communities, are notoriously large electricity and water users.

 

AJC moves offices to Midtown Atlanta

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution is moving its operations from the Atlanta suburbs to a new office on Midtown’s Peachtree Street. The media property will least 21,000 square feet in its relocation to the city’s center. AJC is looking to hire 100 new worker in the move. Its goal is to top 500,000 in its subscription base.

 

Hyundai supplier to create 200 jobs in Georgia

Doowon Climate Control America will build a new plant near Metter in Candler County, Ga. The $30 million investment will create 200 new jobs.

Gov. Brian Kemp said that Georgia’s expanding EV industry is benefiting rural corners of the state. “In fiscal year 2023, alone, 82 percent of new jobs created and more than $20 billion of investments went to communities outside the metro Atlanta area,” Kemp said in a news release.

 

Gerresheimer to expand in Peachtree City

The medical device manufacturer is expanding with an $88 million investment in a new facility at the Southpark International Industrial Park. Bringing 200 new jobs to Fayette County, operations at the new facility will begin in fall 2024.

 

Amazon buys 430-acre site east of Atlanta

One of the world’s largest companies has purchased a massive site within the fast-growing industrial corridor east of Atlanta. Amazon Data Services Inc., a subsidiary of online retail giant Amazon, paid $36 million for the Covington, Ga. site that could soon house a large data center campus.

 

Qcells signs huge, 2,000 job deal to build solar panels for Microsoft in Ga.

The solar panel maker will supply tech giant Microsoft with Georgia-made solar panels, enough solar modules to power 1.8 million homes. The project is considered one of the largest such deals in history.

 

Mailchimp cuts ribbon on new Atlanta headquarters

The whimsy designed, Beltline adjacent office space opened as a 360,000-square-foot white-collar workers playground, with tiki-themed rooms and quirky backdrops.

 

Solarcycle to create 600 jobs in Polk County, Ga.

The advanced technology-based solar recycling company will invest $344 million in a first-of-its-kind solar glass manufacturing facility in Cedartown. The facility will use retired solar panels to make new solar glass.

 

Kentucky

 

Gov. Beshear joins North American Stainless to celebrate $244 million Carroll County, Ky. expansion

Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials and leadership from North American Stainless (NAS) and its parent company, Spain-based Acerinox, to celebrate the one-year mark since the company announced a $244 million expansion at its Carroll County facility, a project creating 70 full-time jobs.

The expansion to the company’s 4.4 million-square-foot Ghent facility consists of a new cold rolling mill, new roll grinders, extensive upgrades of anneal and pickling lines to support the new rolling mill, a new temper mill and the expansion of the melt shop building.

 

Details on Kentucky’s $9 billion bourbon economic impact

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) held its 2024 Bourbon Economic Impact Announcement in February. Gov. Andy Beshear was quoted as saying to the crowd, “Bourbon is America’s native spirit, and even during a time when Kentucky’s whole economy is on fire, this industry continues to play a unique and enormous role in driving our economy and representing Kentucky to the rest of the world.” The 2023 report, titled “The Economic & Fiscal Impacts of the Distilling Industry in Kentucky," valued the collective economic impact at $9 billion.

 

Toyota boosts investment to $1.3 billion for Kentucky battery production

The automotive leader announced the investment in their flagship Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) facility in Georgetown, cementing their commitment to being a long-term employer and establishing the automotive plant as a central part of Toyota’s electrification strategy. The company plans on producing an all-new, three-row battery electric SUV. With a total investment of $10 billion, TMMK is Toyota’s largest production facility globally, having produced 12 million vehicles including the Camry, America’s best-selling sedan.

 

Crown Verity USA Inc. to expand operations in Warren County

The grill and cookware manufacturer will spend $9.7 million expand and consolidate its fabrication operation, creating 73 jobs in Kentucky.

 

WPT Nonwovens cuts ribbon on new facility in Ohio County, Ky.

The $19.5 million, 35 job, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will add capacity for HVAC filtration media and hygiene fabrics.

 

Staghorn, an Atlanta-based spirits company, opens first distillery, Garrard County Distilling Co.

The $250 million facility in Garrard County, Ky. will support 60 new jobs. This is the first commercial distillery in the formerly dry county.

 

Bosch Berries to locate agri-business in Pulaski County, Ky.

The $49.5 million investment in a new greenhouse operation in Somerset will create 29 new, full-time jobs.

 

Tyson Food cuts ribbon at Bowling Green facility

The state-of-the-art, $355 million food production facility will create nearly 450 full-time jobs in Warren County. At 400,000-square-feet, the facility will produce classic Tyson Brands like Jimmy Dean and Wright Brand bacon. The advanced facility is equipped with high-tech robots for increase efficiency.

 

Belmark Inc. to locate new operation in Allen County

The manufacturer of packaging will invest $99 million on their new 156,000-square-foot flexible packaging plant, creating 159 full-time jobs.

 

Louisiana

 

Wind farms and carbon capture not likely to share the same areas off Louisiana’s coast

 

A turf war is brewing off the Southwest Louisiana coast where carbon capture projects and wind farms want the same seafloor off of Cameron Parish. From reports:

  • Companies that plan to store tons of carbon dioxide under vast stretches of sea floor south of Cameron Parish are objecting to an overlapping development area Louisiana granted to a Danish offshore wind energy developer last month.
  • The two uses likely can’t coexist; the carbon-capture companies told the state Department of Natural Resources, which signed agreements for both uses on the same footprint along state-managed waters near Holly Beach and Creole.
  • Virginia-based Venture Global expressed its “strong objection” to the offshore wind agreement, saying it may “complicate or impede ongoing environmental assessments, testing and the rigorous underground (carbon) injection well permitting process."
  • Castex Carbon Solutions of Houston, which was also granted a large carbon dioxide storage area near Cameron, wants the DNR to make clear that its project “takes precedent” over the proposed wind farm. NOLA.com

Lake Charles Methanol II, LLC plans to invest $3.24 billion in new Louisiana plant

The plant will produce low-carbon methanol at the Port of Lake Charles, creating 123 direct new jobs in Calcasieu Parish.

 

Life for Tyres Group Limited announces $46 million tire recycling facility in La.

Europe’s largest end-of-stage tire recycling company, the company will establish its first U.S. processing facility at the Port of South Louisiana, creating 46 direct new jobs in St. John the Baptist Parish.

 

Lincoln Foodservice Equipment, a Welbilt company, to establish operations in Caddo Parish, La.

The producer of commercial-grade foodservice equipment will create 99 direct new jobs with salaries above $50,000.

 

Boise Cascade announces $75 million expansion in Allen Parish

The wood products and veneer maker will create a total of 107 direct and indirect jobs for southwest Louisiana.

 

Mississippi

 

Mississippi captures its largest single investment in AWS

Amazon Web Services is investing $10 billion to establish multiple data center complexes in two Madison County industrial parks. The project is a planned $10 billion corporate investment and will create at least 1,000 high-paying, high-tech jobs.

 

This investment by AWS is the single largest capital investment in Mississippi history and four times the size of the previous largest economic development project.

 

AWS is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. These data centers will enable customers of all sizes and across all industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, financial services, public sector, telecom, and more, to transform their businesses. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile and innovate faster.

 

The new data centers will contain computer servers, data storage drives, networking equipment, and other forms of technology infrastructure used to power cloud computing.

 

Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority funds will be used to assist with infrastructure needs, workforce training and site development.

 

Bill Cork, Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority said about the project, “MDA is proud to have been instrumental in the successful culmination of this transformative $10 billion project. This monumental win underscores Mississippi’s attractiveness for major investments and signifies a boost to our economic landscape.

 

In about a 10-day stretch, Mississippi captures its two largest projects in history

A joint venture among Accelera by Cummins, Daimler Trucks & Buses and PACCAR, have chosen Marshall County, Miss. for a $1.9 billion electric battery cell production plant. The project will create 2,000 jobs.

Accelera, Daimler Truck and PACCAR each own 30% of, and jointly control, the joint venture. EVE Energy will serve as the technology partner in the joint venture with 10% ownership. The joint venture aims to accelerate and localize battery cell production and the battery supply chain in the U.S. The company will manufacture battery cells for electric commercial vehicles and industrial applications, creating quality manufacturing jobs in the growing clean technology sector. 

 

CORE X Partners to establish cold storage in Gulfport, Miss.

The global supply chain and cold storage industry leader will break ground this year on a 150,000-square-foot cold storage facility. Serving food producers and manufacturing across the Southeast, the company will create a total of 73 jobs.

 

Cummins, Daimler Truck and Paccar to build $1.9 billion battery facility in Marshall County, Miss.

The tri-venture will bring 2,000 jobs at the Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park in Byhalia, Mississippi. The operation will produce batteries for medium and heavy duty commercial electric trucks.

 

North Carolina

 

Disney to invest $1.5 billion in ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games; N.C. facility a go?

The game maker took down an entire mall for its new headquarters in Cary, N.C. and that project was thought to be lost. The Walt Disney company will invest $1.5 billion in Epic where the game maker to create a “games and entertainment universe” on the property. New games featuring characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more are expected to be created.

 

Siemens Energy is bringing more than 500 jobs to North Carolina

The manufacturing jobs will be located in both Mecklenburg and Wake counties. The jobs are high-paying, with minimum wages of more than $87,000, according to what the company told the state, Siemens Energy plan to invest nearly $150 million across both counties, where it already has operations. In Mecklenburg County, the company will establish its first manufacturing site in the U.S. to build Large Power Transformers (LPTs), a critical component of the nation’s power grid.

 

Cummins plans $580 million investment in Nash County

The engine and generator manufacturer will create 80 jobs in Eastern North Carolina with its investment in new equipment and upgrading its assembly line “for next generation products.”

 

Dominion Energy buys 500 acres for massive N.C. facility

The land buy in Person County precedes the breaking ground on a liquified natural gas storage facility.

 

Aircraft MRO to open at N.C.’s PTI

Marshall USA is scheduled to open its new aircraft maintenance facility at Greensboro’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. The project will create 240 jobs.

 

Dehn Inc. will invest $38.6 million and create 195 jobs in Iredell County, N.C.

The family owned German electrical engineering company manufactures surge and lightning protections systems and safety equipment.

 

Food manufacturer to open $42.25 million operation in Gaston County

Häns Kissle cut the ribbon at its new facility, where it plans to employ more than 200 workers. The company makes salads and prepared foods that are sold in grocery stores.

 

Japan-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Kyowa Kirin selects N.C. for $200 million project

The life sciences company will create more than 100 high-paying jobs at the new Helix Innovation Park at the Brickyard.

 

Fujihatsu & Toyotsu Battery Components, North Carolina LLC to invest $60 million near Toyota plant in Randolph County

The venture will produce prismatic aluminum cell cases and cell covers with discharge values. The Toyota supplier will create 133 jobs.

 

GXP-Storage is developing $80 million campus in Nash County

The biopharma storage firm will locate its headquarters at the Middlesex Corporate Centre, near Raleigh. The company plans on hiring nearly 100 employees.

 

Drylock Technologies to invest $27 million, create 113 jobs in Reidsville, N.C.

The Belgian maker of hygiene products picked the former Albaad site in Rockingham County to relocate their baby-care production from Europe. The company is moving in to an existing 450,000-square-foot building.

 

Oklahoma

 

Stardust Power selects Muskogee, Okla., to build battery-grade lithium refinery

The company will make a more than $1 billion investment in the lithium refinery.

 

Automated production machine maker bdtronic to expand in Broken Arrow, Okla.

The announcement secures 60 new jobs with an average wage of $66,000.

 

South Carolina

 

South Carolina announces second highest year in industry investment in state history

The South Carolina Department of Commerce reported that from January to December, 2023, the state saw $9.22 billion in capital investment with 14,120 announced jobs, the second highest. Notably, there were three announcements with investments of $1 billion or more. They are Scout Motors, Albemarle Corporation and QTS Data Centers.

 

Tech giant Google to build data center in S.C.

The company purchased a property in Dorchester County. The location of the property and Google’s investment amount has not been disclosed.

 

Tesla to establish first S.C. facility in Greenville County

The electric car company plans to lease 251,100-square-feet to create a regional parts distribution facility.

 

SHL Medical, Switzerland-based pharma manufacturer to expand in North Charleston

The provider of advanced drug delivery solutions is building a $150 million facility to meet the demand of the autoinjector market. The project will create 165 jobs in the Charleston area.

 

Nova Molecular Technologies expanding Sumter, S.C. facility

Nova Molecular Technologies (Nova), a high-purity solvents manufacturer, today announced it is expanding its operations in Sumter County. The company’s $23.75 million investment will create 20 new jobs.

Founded in Texas in 1991, Nova is a leader in high-value solvent recovery technology. The company’s Recover and Return model launched in 2017 and helps customers reduce their environmental impact by recovering chemicals that would otherwise be sent to waste disposal. Nova also manufactures and markets chemicals that are used in the biopharma, analytical and agricultural markets.

 

Tennessee

 

Type One Energy moves HQ to Tennessee from Wisconsin

Tennessee has selected its first recipient of Gov. Bill Lee’s nuclear energy fund. Type One Energy Group Inc. will receive funding tied to its $223 million investment in East Tennessee, according to a news release from the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

The company will build the world’s most advanced stellarator at TVA’s Bull Run Fossil Plant. The energy company will move its headquarters from Madison, Wisconsin, to Knoxville and expand its research and development center in Clinton, Tenn.  

 

Oracle continues plans to build 1.2 million-square-foot campus in Nashville

The tech giant has purchased the industrial riverfront on the east bank of the Cumberland River, signaling the continuation of its 2021 announced, $1.35 billion investment in the River North campus. The project will create 8,500 jobs by 2031.

 

LG Chem signs $19 billion deal with GM

With construction of LG Chem’s $3.2 billion factory in Clarksville, the largest foreign investment in Tennessee history, the South Korean battery maker has agreed to provide GM with battery materials able to power 5 million all-electric vehicles with a 300 mile range.

 

Genera to expand its Sustainable Biomaterials Campus in Vonore, Tenn.

The vertically integrated manufacturer of circular, compostable packaging solutions will spend $350 million in capital investment, creating 230 new jobs.

 

Xxentria Technology announces $45 million investment to establish facility in Mt. Pleasant, Tenn.

Based in Taiwan, the leading manufacturer of metal composite material will create 85 new jobs at the Cherry Glen Industrial Park.

 

Custom Foods of America Inc. to expand in Knox County

The Tennessee-based food product manufacturer will create 249 new jobs with a $51 million investment at its Pleasant Ridge location.

 

Fiberglass and polymer concrete manufacturer NewBasis, LLC to establish operations in Wilson County, Tenn.

The company will create 249 new jobs.

 

FreightWise to expand Brentwood, Tenn. headquarters

The logistics data company will create 48 new jobs and invest $2 million in Williamson County.

 

Baltimore Aircoil to expand in Rhea County

The HVAC and refrigeration manufacturer will create 63 new jobs and invest $16.5 million to expand operations at its Manufacturers Road location in Dayton, Tenn.

 

Technology Lab to create 71 jobs in Nashville

The company will invest $1.8 million to expand its services in the Greater Nashville region.

 

Texas

 

Apple moving more jobs from California to Austin

By relocating about 120 jobs to Austin from California, tech giant Apple is growing its AI operations in the Capital City. According to Bloomberg, Apple is moving employees who work at the company’s Data Operations Annotations unit that they would be merging with the Texas portion of the group. The unit involved in artificial intelligence and Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. Apple currently employs about 7,000 workers in the Austin area, more than any other place outside of the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

 

Austin named No. 1 by Millen Institute’s 2024 Best Performing Cities

The Austin area has retaken the top spot on the Milken Institute's prestigious 2024 Best-Performing Cities list. The index from the nonprofit think tank has been published annually since 1999 and ranks cities on a variety of metrics, including job creation, wage growth and output growth.

 

Samsung’s current economic effect on the Austin region is enormous

South Korean chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. has put out new numbers to show the mighty effect the company has on the Austin area.

 

Samsung said in February is has invested $26.8 billion into the economy in the past year, which includes its long-running chip plant in Austin and its new factory being built in Taylor, Texas. The company employs about 15,000 direct jobs and it is unclear from reports if that includes thousands of construction workers building the new plant.

 

To put that amount into perspective, Tesla Inc. reported that the overall impact from its Giga Texas factory in eastern Travis County contributed $987 million to the gross state product in 2022.

 

Japanese Samsung supplier gets new digs in Austin

Samsung supplier Tokyo Electron has a new home in Austin. Tokyo Electron, which is based in Japan but considers Austin its North American headquarters, supplies customers with equipment used to manufacture semiconductors and other electronics.

 

Norwegian EV parts supplier set to spend millions, hire hundreds in Mesquite, Texas

Hexagon Purus ASA, which makes batteries and systems for electric vehicles, is moving into existing facilities in Mesquite. The project will create 250 jobs.

 

Tesla to occupy 1 million square feet in Kyle, Texas

EV automaker and Austin-headquartered Tesla is moving forward with a warehouse and light assembly facility in Kyle. No word on jobs.

 

Vehicle parts manufacturer for Tesla to open plant in Austin metro

US Farathane, parts supplier to Tesla’s Austin factory, announced in the winter it open a plant in North Austin. The project will create 100 jobs.

 

Global automotive parts supplier to invest $100 million north of Austin

Hanwha Advanced Materials LLC, a massive global automotive parts supplier is investing $100 million and hiring hundreds as it sets up shop in Williamson County, north of Austin. The company will build its new plant in Georgetown.

 

Natural gas power plant slated for Texas east of Austin

Sandow Lakes Energy Company is building a 1,200-megawatt natural gas power plant in Milam County, Texas at the former site of the 31,000-acre Alcoa aluminum plant. It is near where Samsung is building its multi-billion semiconductor campus.

 

Firefly Aerospace is growing in Central Texas

It all started with one rocket testing stand in the rural Central Texas town of Briggs, north of Leander. Today, Firefly Aerospace has grown into a commercial space payload company that plans four rocket launches this year, six to eight next year and a dozen in 2026. The company has doubled its manufacturing space and added new rocket stands as its new contract with Northrup Grumman takes off.

 

Grainger to open large facility in Hockley, Texas

Illinois-based W.W. Grainger, a distributor of maintenance and repair products, is opening one its largest U.S. facilities near Houston. The 1.2-million-square-foot facility will house 400 workers.

 

MGC Pure Chemicals America Inc. plans $130 million expansion in Killeen, Texas.

The chemicals manufacturer will double capacity to serve customers like Samsung, which is building a $1 billion plant 60 miles away.

 

Brazil-based Zallby Digital announces first U.S. headquarters in Frisco, Tex.

A leading provider of digital solutions, the company will establish a headquarters at The Star in Frisco, which is also the headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Defense giant Lockheed Martin to expand in Fort Worth

The company will lease 136,265 square feet of industrial space to be used as a storage facility. Lockheed Martin has been producing aircraft from its Fort Worth factory at 1 Lockheed Blvd. since World War II.

 

Elon Musk wants to move Tesla, SpaceX Incorporation to Texas

The Tesla, SpaceX and X chief executive said the company will hold a shareholder vote to decide whether to incorporate in the Lone Star State.

 

Swedish firm relocates North American HQ to Plano, Texas from Connecticut

Assa Abloy Global Solutions, which operates in more than 70 countries, is a manufacturer of locks, doors and other high-tech security systems. The company will hire 350 in the move.

 

Virginia

 

Dominion receives approval for $9.8 billion wind farm off Virginal coast

The 2.6-gigawatt farm will generate enough renewable energy to power up to 660,000 homes once complete.

 

Real Estate firm CoStar to relocate HQ out of DC and into NOVA

Real Estate data company CoStar Group will move its headquarters from downtown D.C. to Arlington, Va. The company employs about 650 in D.C.

 

Wizards and Capitals to move to Virginia

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is expected to move to the new $2 billion Entertainment District at Potomac Yard.

 

Universal Logistics Holdings plans to invest $50 million, create 45 jobs in Botetourt County

The Michigan-based transportation and logistics company will expand its heavy truck division at its 254,000-square-foot building in Cloverdale.

 

Mack Trucks will invest $14.5 million to expand in Roanoke County

The Swedish-based Volvo Group subsidiary and heavy-duty truck manufacturer will expand its current production facility by 72,000-square-feet to increase capacity for its medium-duty truck line and medium-duty electric truck line. The project will create 51 new jobs.

 

Solenis plans $193 Suffolk, Va. Facility

The Wilmington, Delaware-based producer of specialty chemicals will build an 80,000-square-foot production facility to supply the waste water treatment, pulp and paper industries. The facility will house approximately 100 employees.


November 2023

FDI in China turned negative for the first time on record

Foreign Direct Investment turned negative on a net basis in the third quarter of 2023. That has never happened since record keeping first began. China’s economy is suffering as it (the world’s second largest economy) continues to struggle with COVID recovery, a dearth of labor, a lack of consumer and corporate confidence and reshoring of companies that have been manufacturing in China for decades. Data from the third quarter showed an outflow of $11.8 billion, the first net negative since records began in 1998. In addition to negative FDI, China’s exports fell for the sixth straight month in October. Chinese exports fell 6.4 percent in October compared with a year earlier, to $275 billion.

In related news regarding China, the Communist country passed a significant milestone last year when, for the first time, it traded more with developing countries than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. continues to keep the heat on China with export bans, tariffs and investment limits. This has created a lessening of a reliance on supply chains out of China and more jobs for Americans and Europeans that otherwise might go to China. The limitations have also created a more secure technology transfer among Chinese and U.S. companies. 

 

So where did your favorite manager at your favorite restaurant go after COVID?

If you are like me, relationships you had at your bank, your favorite bar, restaurants, well, some of those folks seemed to disappear during and after the COVID years of 2020 and 2021. I have asked people who replaced those I adored and trusted for so long, “Where did everybody go?” It could be that they retired, according to officials with the Federal Reserve.

More than three and a half years after COVID decimated the U.S. economy, there are now 2 million more retirees than predicted by the Federal Reserve. Called the “Great Retirement,” apparently a couple million workers in this country simply up and retired rather than deal with the pandemic in their previous working environment. 

In an age when birthrates in the U.S. are at their lowest levels since the “Great Depression,” deaths almost equal births and rates of those turning 65 are ten times higher than those turning working age (16). The labor participation rate for those over 65 and older is still well below pre-pandemic levels. The fact that there are 2 million more retirees than expected by the experts is just another blow to a workforce that cannot even come close to satisfying the 10 million jobs that are available in the South and elsewhere in the country.   

 

RurAL on a winning streak, as is the rural South in general

Economic developers from rural communities in Alabama attended the RurAL Summit in November that was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Commerce. It was held at the Central Alabama Community College. Since 2020, the state’s rural counties have attracted over $4 billion in new capital investment through a series of economic development projects expected to create more than 5,400 jobs, according to Commerce estimates. Last year alone, new projects landing in Alabama’s “targeted” or rural counties will bring $1.8 billion in new investment and 1,900 jobs to communities such as Courtland, Selma, Greenville, Fayette and Cusseta. Governor Kay Ivey, a native of Wilcox County, told the economic developers gathered at the Summit that she is committed to helping spur growth across all of Alabama, particularly in the state’s rural areas. MadeInAlabama.com

 

Who said “80 percent of all new jobs are created by existing industry?” Then again, 100 percent of all lost jobs are created by existing industry

We have heard for decades the fable that 80 percent of all new jobs are created by existing industry. It is just untrue. It is a different percentage in the South in any given year. Yet, we are quite sure that 100 percent of lost jobs are created by existing industry.

That sadly happened in Ardmore, Okla., in November, and residents of the city were stunned. “No one saw it coming,” said Bill Murphy, CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority, when Michelin announced it is winding down tire production at the plant that houses 1,400 workers. Michelin is Ardmore’s largest employer and a manufacturing anchor for Southern Oklahoma’s economy.

The plant, which opened in 1970, will close by the end of 2025, or sooner. Michelin officials cited changes in the passenger vehicle market, including larger tires for SUVs and new designs for electric vehicles. The company made the decision to pass on modernizing the plant for next-generation tires. The rubber-making line at the plant will continue to operate to deliver product to other Michelin tire plants in the U.S.

 

Louisville continues its quest as an all-for-everyone major market in the South

According to a report from the payroll and HR online platform Gusto, the Louisville metro area was the fastest growing market in the U.S. for job growth in September. Jobs grew at a 2.5 percent pace in Louisville that month. Second place for job growth in September was Virginia Beach at 1.5 percent. Completing the top five were Indianapolis, Richmond and Cincinnati, all at 1 percent.

 

Kentucky tourism development projects break all-time records with over $300 million invested

Kentucky had a banner year in tourism investment in 2002, including constant additions to its famed Bourbon Trail.  Then came 2023. Over $300 million in capital expenditures broke the 2022 record for investments in tourism projects in the Commonwealth. Nine new tourism development projects were announced in 2023. Over 90,000 jobs are supported by tourism in Kentucky and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail surpassed 2 million visitors for the first time in 2023.

 

Georgia hits the jackpot with clean energy jobs

Georgia, with a large electric vehicle industry that is just emerging, is second only to Michigan with the number of new and expanded clean energy projects announced since August, when President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provide incentives for clean air application in manufacturing and other industries.

Nearly 20,000 jobs are being created in Georgia in new clean energy projects, a full 10 percent of the 200,000 expected to be created since the signing of the IRA. The Democrats’ comprehensive healthcare and clean energy law included billions of dollars in tax credits for the private sector to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Billions have already been gifted to those such as Hyundai, Toyota and other automakers, as well as in new hydrogen fuel projects and in carbon capture. Investments in deals in those fields announced since the IRA was implemented are in the hundreds of billions. One of the largest clean energy projects ongoing is Hyundai and SK’s investments throughout the South, and more than $14 billion in Georgia alone.

 

Interior Department approves massive Virginia wind farm

In November, the Biden Administration approved a plan called the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project that is designed to erect up to 176 giant wind turbines off the coast of Virginia. If completed, it would be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm yet. The 2.6-gigawatt wind farm would produce enough electricity to power more than 900,000 homes without creating any carbon dioxide. The project, to be built by Dominion Energy, would provide about 900 jobs each year during construction and support about 1,200 jobs once the wind farm begins operations. 

 

The green fuel that even red America loves

Many Republicans have railed against the government’s subsidies for wind and solar, excoriated its support for electric vehicles and decried moves to curb oil and gas. But one clean-energy candidate has broad support from some of the reddest parts of the U.S.: hydrogen. Take the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, a largely Republican-controlled region that is home to many of the oil and gas refineries in the U.S.

Backers of hydrogen in that area include Rep. Randy Weber (R., Texas) and Rep. Clay Higgins (R., La.), a Freedom Caucus member who describes fossil fuels as “the lifeblood of our modern society.” Both support a Houston-based hydrogen program vying for a piece of $7 billion in federal grants, though they voted against the legislation that made the grants possible.” The Wall Street Journal

 

“All of the above” clean energy hub may settle in the coal country of Southwest Virginia

Southwest Virginia, specifically Wise County, is coal country if there ever was one in the South. . .that region and East Kentucky.

Wise County and neighboring localities in Southwest Virginia may become home to a massive clean energy development that could attract up to $8.25 billion in capital investments, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced in November. A joint agreement has been charged between Energy DELTA Lab, Dallas-based Fortune 100 energy company Energy Transfer and Wise County that will involve the development of 65,000 acres of former coal mining land for “all-of-the-above” energy technology (Virginia Business) — including natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy and other emerging energy sources.

When completed, the massive $8.25 billion private investment project could generate 1 gigawatt of power. A total of more than a dozen individual developments are being considered that could generate nearly 2,000 jobs over up to 65,000 acres, mostly of old coal mines. “All of the above” projects include wind, solar, nuclear, hydrogen and pumped storage hydro, as well as energy storage technologies.

 

Is Epic Games more than wishy washy on Cary, N.C., headquarters?

On January 3, 2021, Epic Games announced a new headquarters at the former Cary Towne Center Mall in Cary, N.C., near Raleigh. Since then, the company and the local government have demolished most of the 980,000-square-foot former mall on an 87-acre site. Epic operates Fortnite, one of the world’s largest games with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections.  Yet, public records from the Town of Cary show no activity regarding Epic’s headquarters plan going forward. Even worse, Epic recently announced layoffs totaling 170 people in the Triangle region. Public records obtained from the Town of Cary show zero updates from Epic Games on its plans for the former shopping mall – but they do show a flurry of concern. From the Triangle Business Journal: “Sad news,” said Mark Lawson, president of the Cary Chamber of Commerce, referencing the firm’s mounting legal bills and adding that he is “not surprised.”

 

New LNG plant picks contractors to build facility in Louisiana

A new liquefied natural gas project in Louisiana led by a veteran Houston LNG developer officially has contractors for its facility. Gulfstream LNG, which plans to export 4 million tonnes per annum of LNG, has brought Honeywell UOP and Kiewit Energy Group Inc. as technical partners for the Plaquemines Parish project. All three contractors have headquarters or major offices in Houston. Baker Hughes will provide liquefaction equipment, Honeywell will provide its gas treatment technology, and Kiewit will provide engineering, procurement and construction support. Houston Business Journal

 

Alabama wage growth outpaces national wage growth

“Wage growth has been slowing in Alabama, but it was higher than national wage growth in October. For workers who have stayed in the same job for the last 12 months in Alabama, median annual salary was $60,500 in October, 6 percent higher than one year prior. That’s according to data from ADP Pay Insights, which tracks wages and salaries of over 10 million employees over a 12-month period. Nationally, those figures were $57,800 and 5.7 percent in October. Birmingham Business Journal

 

Northern Atlanta suburb the first BioReady Community in Georgia

A northern Atlanta suburb has been dubbed gold BioReady Community, a designation some local life sciences leaders hope will encourage investment in the industry. Johns Creek is the state’s first gold-designated BioReady Community, Maria Thacker-Goethe, president and CEO of trade association Georgia Bio, announced receently. The program aims to encourage communities to streamline the process for luring biological and life sciences companies to Georgia.

The BioReady designation indicates the community’s zoning allows for biotech laboratory and manufacturing and that it provides other services, such as a life sciences liaison in city hall. The designation is meant to be a signal that the area is friendly to life sciences business. Atlanta Business Chronicle

 

Samsung’s economic effect on Central Texas’ economy doubled in one year

Samsung has been operating in Austin for decades making computer chips and other technological wonders. Construction is ongoing at its new campus in Taylor, Texas, just outside the Austin city limits. It is also expanding its longtime home in North Austin. The chipmaker – part of the South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. – apparently pumped $13.6 billion into the local economy at its two sites in 2022, up from $6.3 billion the year prior, while also supporting 21,000 direct and indirect jobs.

 

Wolfspeed looking for fast ramp-up to North Carolina chip plant

Wolfspeed is cranking up its $5 billion semiconductor materials plant that is under construction in Chatham County, N.C., near Siler City. The company has just begun hiring and plans to house 1,800 workers at the plant by 2030. Wolfspeed’s CEO, Gregg Lowe, expects the North Carolina plant will be built and operational quicker than the company’s plant in Mohawk Valley, N.Y., where power devices have recently started production.

 

Urban Land Institute names Nashville the No. 1 “city to watch” in overall real estate prospects

For the third year in a row, Nashville has been ranked as the top market for overall real estate prospects according to a new study by the Urban Land Institute. In the fall quarter, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, which focuses on real estate and land use, released its 2023 Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report.

 

Ford is postponing production at second EV battery plant in Kentucky

Originally, Ford announced two electric vehicle battery plants at the former Glendale megasite in Hardin County, Ky. The first facility is well under construction; however, the domestic automaker is postponing the second plant as it weighs the market. Officials at Ford are “slowing down” investments in electric vehicle production given the “dynamic” market of EVs at this early date of the new industry. Ford has also slowed production and future capacity at plants in Michigan to better match EV demand.  

 

New Orleans officials look to fix saltwater intrusion in the water supply

Thanks to a changing climate and a deeper navigation channel in the Mississippi River, the saltwater intrusion that has threatened New Orleans area drinking water supplies this year is expected to become more frequent. The scale of the crisis has sparked calls for a permanent solution. While there is no shortage of ideas, they all come with a huge price and no certainty about who will pay for them. One favored plan would involve redesigning and rebuilding plants serving New Orleans and Jefferson Parish to allow them to remove salt from river water, projects that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, parish officials say. NOLA.com

 

Port of Brunswick (Ga.) aims to become largest vehicle export/import port

In October, Georgia Ports Authority CEO Griff Lynch outlined the growth schedule for the Port of Brunswick as it expands to surpass the Port of Baltimore as the nation’s largest port for roll-on, roll-off cargo. The Georgia port is adding a fourth ship berth at Brunswick’s main terminal and is deepening and widening the harbor.  “We will be the No. 1 port when we stand before you at this event in 2026,” Lynch told members of the Brunswick Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

 

Developers granted approval for additional phases of Huntsville industrial parks

“The Huntsville Planning Commission granted approval for additional phases to two industrial parks in the Limestone County part of the city. Both parks are near major employers Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Amazon, Buffalo Rock and Polaris and will total more than 200 million square feet when completed. The commission granted preliminary approval of the Huntsville West Industrial Park and layout and approval of phase three of Airport Properties being developed by the Huntsville Logistics Center. Triad Properties and Fairway Investments have already started work on the first building in the Huntsville West industrial Park, a 385,000-square-foot facility that will feature 32-foot minimum clear heights, 60-foot speed bays, 84 truck docks, a 185-foot truck court with 60-foot apron, space for 198 car parking spaces and 96 trailer parking spaces. AL.com

 

Nashville has the worst commutes for workers in the nation

According to a new study by Forbes Home, Nashville is home to the worst commute in the U.S. Workers in Nashville wasted an average of 41 hours to traffic last year and residents spend on average 28.6 minutes commuting to work each day. Forbes Home writes in its report. “Nashville is a city that has experienced massive growth in recent years. The city has 452,194 workers with 2.6 percent of households that do not have access to a car.”

 

EV materials project lands outside the heart of the industry in the Southern Automotive Corridor

A North Carolina county on the coast has landed a major economic development project. Epsilon Advanced Materials, an India-based manufacturer of battery materials, is planning to invest roughly $650 million to build its first North American factory in Brunswick County, N.C., far outside the spine of the Southern Auto Corridor, which now is I-65 and I-75 (considering Hyundai’s metaplant near Savannah and other projects). The company could create 500 jobs over three years to produce natural and synthetic graphite anode material.

 

Duke Energy building first-of-its kind green hydrogen system in Florida

Duke Energy Corp. plans to build a first-of-its-kind green hydrogen system at its existing facility in DeBary. The combustion turbine will be the first such system deployed anywhere. The hydrogen system is part of Vision Florida, a program that also includes the company’s first floating solar array, a pilot underway at the Hines generating station in Polk County. Vision Florida tests innovative projects such as microgrids and battery energy storage, among others, to prepare the power grid for a clean energy future, according to the company’s website. The technology for the new hydrogen system was developed through collaboration between Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy, Chicago engineering firm Sargent & Lundy, and General Electric subsidiary GE Vernova, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Orlando Business Journal

 

Hyundai’s Savannah area metaplant: The Southern Automotive Corridor’s signature win to date?

For decades, the rumors that Volvo and Audi would build full assembly plants in the Southern Automotive Corridor would surface, then go away, then surface again. One rumor ended when Volvo announced it would build its first vehicle plant in the Western Hemisphere in 2015 near Charleston, S.C., in Berkeley County. Who placed second in Volvo’s site search? Why, none other than a site near Savannah in Bryan County, Ga. Needless to say, the folks in Savannah felt that they had won the Volvo deal and were seriously bummed when they learned their place earned the bridesmaid status. Seven years later, Hyundai showed up and announced the largest automotive project in the South’s history, a nearly $8 billion battery and assembly facility that will eventually house over 8,000 workers. Not a bad consolation prize, huh?

Hyundai broke ground on the massive plant near Savannah in October of 2022. The goal of the Korean automaker and its battery partner LG Energy is to begin production in early 2025 in order to begin capitalizing on new federal tax credits for EVs manufactured in the U.S. However, Hyundai officials have stated that production could begin as early as October of 2024. The complex is enormous, encompassing 3,000 acres. Hyundai and LG Energy’s manufacturing process will be a blend of artificial intelligence, robotics and human labor for a “smart factory,” putting the meta into a “Metaplant.” Suppliers to Hyundai so far have made commitments for over 6,000 jobs and an additional $2.7 billion in new investments.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “The facility will feature a glass-encased conveyor belt ‘bridge’ to transport vehicles from the factory’s paint shop over to final assembly. Jumbo Park, the plant’s head of engineering, said the elevated and lit passage will be visible from Interstate 16.

One of the campus’ parking lots will feature a solar-panel canopy, which Park said will provide 5 percent of the factory’s electricity. The rest will be obtained through power purchase agreements, with the goal of sourcing 100 percent of the facility’s electricity from renewable sources.

Visitors to the plant will be able to explore a greenspace at the front of the facility abutting the interstate, which officials said will be larger than Savannah’s iconic Forsyth Park, which spans more than 30 acres. The goal, Park said, is to “connect the community with the people who work in the plant.”

For employees, on-site amenities will include restaurants, stores, a fitness center and health clinics, Hyundai officials said.

Hyundai has not announced which models it will assemble at the Georgia plant. However, officials have said they will make electric models from the company’s three brands. Those would be Kia, Hyundai and the luxury line, Genesis. First year output is expected to be 300,000 EVs.

 

Where are people from who are moving to North Carolina?

North Carolina had the fourth highest number of residents move from other states in 2022, new U.S. Census data shows. In calendar year 2022, almost 350,000 people moved to North Carolina from other U.S. states. That figure was the fourth highest among all U.S. states. Florida was the No. 1 state as a source of new migration to North Carolina, followed by Virginia, South Carolina and New York. Only Florida, Texas and California attracted more new residents from the U.S. than did North Carolina in 2022.

 

Virginia housing market slowest in more than 10 years

Virginia’s housing market last month was the slowest September the state has had in more than a decade, according to a Virginia Realtors report. Virginia home sales in September dropped 21.1 percent from the same month last year. Home sales totaled 8,023 last month, down 2,149 home sales compared with September 2022. The last time the September market was this slow happened in 2012, which had 7,005 sales that month.

 

Massive new office skyscrapers going up in Austin, but no one is moving in

Historically, Austin, Texas, is one of the most active office markets in the South, as its tech scene has accelerated dramatically since the 1990s. However, since the pandemic, new office space has been a crap shoot as gobs of Class A space sits empty in so many major markets throughout the country.

For example, metro Atlanta set a record for its vast amount of empty and unwanted office space. It only took three months to break it in the summer quarter. Nearly 31 percent of all office square footage in metro Atlanta was available for rent at the end of September, according to data from real estate services firm CBRE.

Austin is not immune from the vacancies. One 66-story behemoth known as “Sixth and Guadalupe” is nearing completion and timing could not be worse. Tech giant Meta signed a lease for all 19 floors of office space as construction was underway in early 2022. When the building opens near the first of the year, all of the space Meta signed up for will be empty. Meta has shelved its move-in plans and is now attempting to sublease nearly 600,000 square feet of space, 1,626 parking spots, 17 private balconies and a nice green space. As of November, there have been no takers.

In addition, the job search engine, Indeed, has moved into its namesake tower in Austin. However, it has placed 100,000 square feet of downtown office space on the sublease market.

Currently, Austin has more space on the sublease market than ever before.

 

Big River Steel opens new electrical steel line at its plant in the Arkansas Delta

U.S. Steel’s Big River plant in Osceola, Ark., has opened a new electrical steel line that will position the company as a key supplier in the electric vehicle market. The new steel product is ultra-thin with all the magnetic properties needed for EVs. No electric vehicle, motor, or generator today is operational without the steel grades needed to transform electrical power into usable energy.

 

First private rail line in U.S. in a century

The new Brightline rail had its inaugural run Friday, with round-trip tickets to and from Miami to Orlando priced at $158, or $298 for first-class. Groups can buy four round-trip tickets for $398, according to the Associated Press. The Orlando-to-Miami run is the first private intercity passenger service in the U.S. in a century. It’s estimated that roughly 40 million people travel between the two Florida cities each year, with more than 90 percent making the trip by car. Brightline has invested $5 billion with the expectation that the high-speed train will attract about 20 percent of those travelers. 

 

Mercedes-Benz to expand again in Alabama, van plant in South Carolina

Mercedes-Benz has applied for tax breaks for potential projects at two U.S. plants, including its Tuscaloosa County facility and its electric delivery vans and medium-sized electric luxury transporter plant in South Carolina. Both expansions include new all-electric models. In Alabama that would be the GLC SUV, which is currently only available with a combustion engine.

In 2022, Mercedes began electric vehicle production in Vance, Ala., capping five years of activity and more than $1 billion in investments, which also added an electric battery factory in Bibb County and 1,000 more employees. The German automaker is applying for incentives available under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which has sparked billions in clean energy projects throughout the South.

 

Florida retirees leaving Florida at rates never before seen

For more than 80 years Florida was one of the nation’s most active retiree markets, as millions migrated to the Sunshine State for the weather and a low cost of living. That is changing.

The cost of housing has risen 60 percent since 2018, according to Redfin, where the median price of a single-family home in Florida was $250,000. Today, five years later, it is roughly $400,000 for an average home in Florida. In addition, insurance costs for housing have risen as well because of a double whammy of rising rates and rising risks from hurricanes and other climate-driven disasters. If insurance becomes too expensive for people to buy homes, or banks to give mortgages in vulnerable locations, it could set off a drop in demand and property values.

Many Florida retirees are finding lower cost locations in the South, including places in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina.

 

GE completes $450 million dishwasher manufacturing lines

GE Appliances, a Haier company, cut the ribbon on its investment in the company’s Louisville, Kentucky HQ.

 

Three-million-square-foot industrial park planned for Simpsonville, Ky.

A pair of developers are planning a large industrial park on 300 acres at 64 Logistics Park.

 

GTL Americas LP to build $3.5 billion fuel factory in Jefferson County, Ark.

The liquid natural gas conversion facility will hire 2,500 construction workers to build, with an estimated 225-250 full-time employees once compete.

 

Tennessee gives Kroger $1 million incentive for 50,000-square-foot pharmacy central fill facility

The facility will be the fifth facility for Kroger in the United States and is expected to employ 140 people.

 

Ineos Group to acquire acetic acid plant in Texas

The U.K.-based chemicals company will buy a 600-kilatonne plant in Texas City for $490 million from Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical.

 

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) to invest $190 million to upgrade production line in Montgomery, Ala.

The automaker plans to retool and upgrade its manufacturing facility for the fifth generation Santa Fe.

 

Latitude Corp. hosts shovel ceremony at the Manning Industrial park in Clarendon County, S.C.

Initially lured to the state by readySC, a technical college system program to train and recruit workers, the Wisconsin-based company will spend $29 million and hire 200 employees in the rural county.

 

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation completes latest expansion in Savannah, Ga.

The $150 million expansion will increase the facility’s capacity by 142,000 square feet and will add 1,600 new jobs to the region.

 

Vietnamese glove maker is coming to Arkansas

Phu Duc Huy US Inc. plans on hiring about 300 people once its facility becomes fully operational in Lake Village, Ark.

 

SIG Sauer announces plans to expand in Jacksonville, Ark.

The New Hampshire-based firearms and ammunition manufacturer will spend $150 million to expand operations at 1809 Swift Street. The investment will create 625 new jobs over five years.

 

San Antonio Airport nears ground-breaking on the next phase of $2.5 billion expansion

Construction is set to begin on a $61.7 million facility to expand the airport’s capacity to move more passengers.

 

Raleigh-Durham International Airport to begin construction of $500 million runway

Following the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of the airport’s new international runway, officials gathered on RDU’s airstrip to celebrate with ceremonial shovels. The project will take seven years and $534 million to complete.

 

Toyota Boshoku America and Gov. Beshear celebrate announcement of $225 million investment in Hopkinsville, Ky.

The automotive company will bring 157 high-paying jobs to Western Kentucky.

 

Envelope maker expands in Virginia

Parkland Direct, a lithographic print and custom envelope manufacturer, announced a $10 million expansion in Bedford County. The investment will create 41 jobs.

 

Goldman Sachs Group breaks ground on $500 million campus in Dallas

The financial giant’s 800,000-square-foot building will be constructed on three acres on the southeast corner of the North End Development. The campus will serve as the regional base for Goldman Sachs, eventually employing 5,000 people when it opens in 2027.

 

National outdoor retailer REI Co-op opens state-of-the-art distribution center in Tennessee

The 400,000-square-foot Wilson County facility, which will run exclusively on renewable power, will employ more than 230 workers.

 

Radial Inc., a leader in eCommerce solutions, to hire 2,000 in Louisville, Ky.

The company plans to fill the entry-level fulfillment positions to support eCommerce demand this holiday season.

 

Stellar Snacks plans $137 million facility in West Louisville, Ky.

The Nevada-based snack food company will employ 350 people at the 434,000-square-foot facility, located at 1391 Dixie Highway.

 

Walmart plans to build a $350 million dairy facility in South Georgia

The dairy plant will create 400 jobs in Valdosta. It will produce dairy products that will be distributed to 750 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the region.

 

Nucor opens $1.7 billion steel mill in Brandenburg, Ky.

Gov. Beshear joined local officials and Nucor Corporation leadership for the grand opening of the company’s steel plate manufacturing facility in Meade County. The project has created hundreds of high-paying jobs.

 

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group opens office in Tampa

The Japanese bank will employ up to 500 people and sublease 80,000 square feet in MetWest International.

 

U.S. Steel launches new steel line in Arkansas

The manufacturer cut the ribbon on its new non-grain oriented electrical steel line at its Big River Steel facility in Osceola, Ark. Construction on the $450 million project began in October 2022.

 

Archer Aviation finalizes plans to develop electric aircraft plant in Georgia

The Santa Clara, California-based company is constructing a 350,000-square-foot plant to build electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft next to Covington Municipal Airport. Expected to be completed next year, the plant will create more than 1,000 jobs.

 

Airbus celebrates ongoing expansion in Mobile, Ala.

The giant facility for Airbus’ manufacturing of jetliners will employ 1,000 workers.

 

Ascension Seton plans $230 million expansion in Round Rock, Texas

The St. Louis-based company will expand its 201 Seton Parkway facility with the addition of 160 new patient rooms, operating rooms and expanded space for emergency and other departments. The expansion will create about 400 new jobs.

 

West Virginia-based Ziegenfelder breaks ground on factory near Austin, Texas

The $46 million, 61,000-square-foot factory will be operational by the end of next year. The company is known for making dessert pops and aims to produce 1 million frozen treats daily.

 

Qcells completes $2.5 billion factory expansion in Dalton, Ga.

The factory will produce 30,000 solar panels a day, creating 510 new jobs. By next year, the factory will employ a total of 1,800 people.

 

ZT Systems intends to expand in Georgetown, Texas

The New Jersey-based company manufactures equipment used for cloud computing and artificial intelligence systems. With the purchase of a 435,000-square-foot facility, the expansion will employ at least 1,500 people.

 

Alcon plans $100 million expansion in Fort Worth, Texas

The eyecare company’s proposed expansion entails the construction of a 250,000-square-foot facility on the Swiss-American pharmaceutical and medical device company’s campus.

 

Tennessee’s largest CPA firm expands into Kentucky

Nashville’s top-ranked business consulting firm LBMC expands with the acquisition of Louisville-based Strothman & Co. The move will increase the number of LBMC employees to more than 850.

 

Thermoplastic piping manufacturer expands in North Carolina

Canadian-based IPEX will create 150 new jobs in Mecklenburg County with its $200 million, 200,000-square-foot facility in Pineville.

 

Construction continues at Hyundai’s $7.6 billion Metaplant in Savannah, Ga.

The 2,000-worker, 2,906-acre construction site is showing signs of progress with steel frames going up for most of the buildings, and roof and wall work beginning. Hyundai defined the Metaplant on the facility’s first groundbreaking anniversary -- “transformative, transcending."

 

Rivian confirms 2024 Georgia factory groundbreaking

Speaking at the company’s new showroom at Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Rivian announced plans to break ground on its $5 billion factory near Rutledge, Ga., early next year. The factory will produce the R2 crossover and is expected to employ 7,500 workers.

 

Daechang Seat Corp. announces $72.5 million manufacturing facility near Hyundai’s Metaplant near Savannah, Ga.

The company makes seat frames, and the new facility will employ 500-plus people at the Savannah Chatham Manufacturing Center, an industrial park along I-16.

 

North Carolina lands EV battery components plant

Epsilon Advanced Materials, an Indian manufacturer of battery materials, will invest $640 million to build a factory in Brunswick County. The company will create 500 new, well-paying jobs.

 

Charlotte Pipe invests $460 million in Stanly County, N.C.

The move, a gamechanger for rural Stanly County, will enable the company to become more efficient. Charlotte Pipe will employ 500 workers at the new plant.

 

Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Fla., receives two contracts for F-35s

The defense contractor will supply Romania and the Czech Republic with F-35s. Romania will spend $6.5 billion and Czech roughly $5 billion. Both contracts will include training services and flight simulators, which are developed by the company in Orlando.

 

Brunswick expansion will make Georgia home to the U.S.’s largest automotive port

The Port of Brunswick and other port facilities support 561,000 jobs and contribute $59 billion annually to Georgia’s gross domestic product, according to the University of Georgia.

 

PACCAR is expanding operations in Columbus, Miss.

The global automotive technology company is investing $209.4 million in two projects that will create 100 jobs. An industry leader in the design and manufacture of premium trucks, the company is expanding its existing facility by 50,000 square feet to add remanufacturing operations to the site.

 

Skydweller Aero brings operations to Hancock County, Miss.

The $65 million total in corporate investment and solar powered aircraft inventory will bring its flight test and aircraft modification operations to Hancock County, creating 36 new jobs.

 

Alden Group opening new facility in Mississippi

The renewable energy company works with area poultry processors to transform waste products into dry matter to supply refineries to make biodiesel. Its Smith County facility will employ 30 workers.

 

GE Vernova lands in Atlanta’s The Battery

The General Electric spinoff, which encompasses GE’s portfolio of energy businesses, has leased 77,000 square feet. Around 400 employees will work out of the new hub.

 

Wolfspeed begins hiring 1,800 for semiconductor factory in North Carolina

Announced last year, the $5 billion facility near Siler City will cover more than 1 million square feet.

 

Railcar company has chosen The Line in South End for its new Charlotte Headquarters

TTX Company, which provides railcars and freight car management services, will invest $14.5 million into its 150-job headquarters.

 

Hwashin to build Georgia plant to supply Hyundai

Korean auto parts and frame supplier is investing $176 million into a new plant in Dublin, which will create 460 new jobs. Hwashin has facilities globally, including its first in the U.S. in Alabama.

 

Lionsgate to invest $200 million in Douglas County, Ga., film studio

The California-based entertainment giant says the film studio could launch in February 2024, becoming the company’s Georgia home base.

 

Centibillionaire Jeff Bezos moves to Florida

The Amazon founder, with a net worth of $160 billion, says he wants to be closer to his parents in Miami.

 

PGT Innovations, a Florida-based maker of windows and doors, will invest $54.3 million in Georges, Va.

The 659-job, glass manufacturing operation will take place in the former Rolls-Royce facility in Prince George County.

 

Global pharmaceutical company Indivior selects Raleigh, N.C. site for its first facility in the U.S.

The company will invest $60 million and hire an additional 35 employees at its new site, which will produce treatments for opioid addiction and schizophrenia.

 

DataBank announced it plans to build $2 billion data center near Atlanta

The project will become metro Atlanta’s largest data center and the company’s fifth in the region.

 

Hyundai Industrial to invest $24 million in Coweta County, Ga.

The automotive parts supplier will create 100 new jobs at a new manufacturing facility near Newnan, becoming yet another part of the large network of suppliers for Hyundai and Kia since Hyundai’s Metaplant announcement.

 

Bad Boy Mowers to expand in Arkansas

The company will expand its campus in Batesville and create 300 new jobs over five years.


September 2023

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to www.RandleReport.com. For all projects announced in the South and more, go to SB-D.com. For more information on the automotive industry in the South, go to www.SouthernAutoCorridor.com.

 

Age Demographics 2021

10,800 people per day are born in the U.S. = 3.94 million a year

10,700 people per day turn age 65 = 3.90 million per year

2,800 migrants per day enter the U.S. legally and illegally = 1.02 million a year

9,607 deaths per day in the U.S. = 3.50 million

Total: Net loss in the workforce of minus 6,707 per day = 201,000 lost workers per month = 2.40 million lost workers per year

Source: Census

 

Ranking: States with the “Best & Worst Jobs Markets”

Louisiana was named the country’s strongest labor market, boosted by “its diverse economy and range of industries, from energy to aerospace to advanced manufacturing. Louisiana’s labor productivity, increases in job openings and low quit rate led all states according to the Peak Sales Recruiting Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Eight of the top 10 states with the strongest labor markets are located in the South.

Louisiana     

South Carolina

Florida                  

Virginia

Idaho

Georgia

Alabama

Kentucky

Arkansas

Delaware

Source: Peak Sales Recruiting        

 

Three hundred people a day move from California to Texas

The “Texodus” migration continues as it has for three decades, yet, we have never seen it like this before. According to Census and StorageCafe data, residents moving from California to Texas has increased by 80 percent when compared to a decade ago. And why not? The average home price in, say, Santa Clara County, Calif. is $1.46 million. That same home can be purchased in Dallas County for $410,000. If all the residents moving to Texas from California were to create their own city, it would have a population of 111,000 people.

 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear joins Toyota Boshoku at the auto parts maker’s announcement

Toyota Boshoku announced in October that the auto parts maker is investing $225 million in Hopkinsville, which will create 157 jobs.

 

Pratt Industries opens $500 million paper plant in Henderson, Ky.

In what is written as the largest investment in 25 in this part of Kentucky, Pratt Industries opened the company’s $500 million paper plant in September. The 1.15-million-square-foot facility will house 320 workers.

 

Safran Landing Systems expands in Kentucky

Safran Landing Systems Kentucky announces the expansion of its Boone County facility, creating 92 well-paying jobs. Safran Landing Systems Kentucky produces and refurbishes advanced carbon composite brake disks and produces aluminum alloy wheels and brakes for large commercial and military aircraft. The initial carbon site construction was completed in 1999, with wheel and brake construction in 2007. In 2016, a major expansion project was launched to increase the carbon capacity of the company by 50%. The company has invested over $300 million in the Boone County site and employs 340 Kentucky workers. The Lane Report

 

Hyundai rushing to open $7.6 billion Savannah area EV plant

Korean automaker Hyundai has put construction in high gear as it tries to open the largest EV facility in the U.S. The quicker the plant can open, say officials, the more incentives the automaker can receive in federal electric vehicle incentives. Hyundai Motor Group is the parent company of Kia, which also has a plant in Georgia. Hyundai operates its other U.S. plant in Montgomery, Ala.

 

Construction pauses on $2 billion Scout Motors EV plant in South Carolina

Volkswagen, which has a plant in Chattanooga, is trying to revive a brand that many believe was the forerunner to modern-day SUV. Construction has temporarily ceased on the Scout Motors EV facility in Blythewood, S.C. is being done to give time for the company to continue clearing land and obtaining wetland permits. The finest EV model is expected to meet its planned opening in 2026. Scout and VW say 4,000 jobs will be created.

 

Texas startup to hire 200 at new North Houston plant

A startup that makes ammonia-to-power equipment to decarbonize overseas shipping is developing its first facility in North Houston. Ammonia is a hydrogen derivative. As more uses for hydrogen are created, more ammonia plants are expected on the Gulf Coast. The deal will create 200 jobs.

 

Atlanta, Dallas … office vacancies everywhere in major markets in the South

About one-quarter of Atlanta’s office space is vacant. It is worse than that. When factoring in space that companies are renting but no longer want for sublease, it is over 30 percent of all office square footage in metro Atlanta. That is a record high. All total, subleased space accounts for some 44 million square feet.

 

Atlanta sees record office space vacancies

During the summer, metro Atlanta set a record for it massive amount of empty office space. It took on two months to break it. Nearly 31 percent of all office square footage in metro Atlanta was available for rent at the end of September.

 

Hyundai pouring more cash into Alabama plant; Kia to invest $200 million to make EV SUV in Georgia; adds to Korean Automotive Corridor that started in Montgomery, Ala.

South Korean automaker Kia is investing $200 million in its West Georgia (West Point) factory to begin production of an electric-powered SUV, the EV9 large, three-row SUV. The company made the announcement in the summer quarter. Over 40 percent of Kia vehicles sold in the U.S. are assembled at the plant near LaGrange, Ga., which is just over 80 miles from its mother ship company, Hyundai, and its plant in Montgomery, Ala.

Hyundai’s multi-billion-dollar plant being built near Savannah means the Korean automakers have established a $50 billion (or thereabouts) beachhead for manufacturing their vehicles in North America, as well as their suppliers, over a 320-mile span from Montgomery, through West Georgia to Savannah. In October, Hyundai announced plans to invest another $290 million in upgrades for the next-generation Santa Fe SUV.

 

Glove maker announces plant in Chicot County, Ark.

Vietnamese manufacturer, Phu Duc Huy will invest in the nitrile glove to the tune of $50 million. The deal will create 300 jobs.

 

Gun maker, Sig Sauer, plans $150 million expansion of Arkansas facility

The firearms and ammunition manufacturer will expand employment at the plant to 973.

 

Company expanding its high-tech footprint in Mississippi

Raytheon broke ground in September on an expansion of its Consolidated Manufacturing Center in Forest, Miss. The $50 million deal will create 100 new jobs. The expansion will increase capacity for the integration of Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band pods for the U.S. Navy.

 

Latitude, a precision metal contract manufacturer, to expand to Clarendon County. S.C.

Latitude will invest $29 million in its first South Carolina plant in Clarendon County, S.C. The company started as a machine shop in Wisconsin. The deal will generate 200 new jobs.

 

$1 billion data center slated for York County, S.C.

QTS Data Centers, is investing $1 billion in a new center near Charlotte in South Carolina. It is the ninth time a company has announced a $1 billion deal.

 

Another deal for York County, S.C.

Silbaf Solar, a solar panel manufacturer, announced plans in September by establishing a plant in York County, S.C. The $150 deal will create 800 jobs.

 

Polish glass fabricator expanding in Henry County, Va.

Poland-based Press Glass Inc. will spend more than $155 million to expand its operations in Henry County and add 335 jobs, marking the largest expansion in the county’s history, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday. The largest independent glass fabricator in Europe, according to a news release, Press Glass will construct a 360,000-square-foot addition at its existing facility in the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Ridgeway, where it manufactures glass for the commercial construction industry. The company currently employs more than 300 workers at the site, which it opened in 2020. “With this expansion, Press Glass will make the largest single capital investment by a business in Henry County’s history,” Youngkin said in a statement. Virginia Business

 

Ship repair facility expanding in Norfolk, Va.

Lyon Shipyard, a full-service ship repair company, is investing $8.5 million and hiring 134 to open a marine repair facility in Norfolk. The shipyard will increase capacity to service ships that service offshore wind farm operations.

 

Denver, Houston firm to build carbon capture facility off Southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast

Carbonvert and Castax Energy announced in September they have signed a deal with the state of Louisiana to convert a 24,000-acre Gulf of Mexico tract off of Cameron Parish into a subsurface storage hub that could sequester more than 250 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The tract extends about three miles out into the Gulf.

 

St. James rare earth element recycling plant moves to the nexr phase of grant funding

ElementUS Minerals, which is proposing an $850 million facility that would recycle iron and rare earth elements from the waste at a St. James Parish alumina plant, has made it to the second phase of a U.S. Department of Energy loan program. ElementUS is seeking a $400 million loan from the energy department’s Clean Energy Financing Program. The project passed the initial phase, which included analysis of its process, business plan and anticipated carbon footprint. Several more steps must be completed before ElemtenUS gets a loan, company officials said in a press release. NOLA.com

 

Corps new for decades that dredging the Mississippi River would create a water crisis

The Army Corps of Engineers has known for decades that its continual efforts to deepen the Mississippi River for bigger ships would trigger a saltwater crisis that has New Orleans’s water systems. The area has seen saltwater in drinking water for weeks.

 

Savannah port to expand to Hutchinson Island

The George Ports Authority is planning a new 395-acre container terminal to Hutchinson Island on the Savannah River. Port officials first announced the expansion in 2019.

 

Pretty big deal south of Atlanta

NewCold, a cold storage developer, is planning a distribution facility in Henry County, Ga. The $333 million project will create at least 170 jobs.

 

America is in a factory boom again

On a warm Saturday morning in July, as Kathie Leonard planned to set out on her boat for a day on the water off the coast of Maine, her phone rang. The call was from the head of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, asking if Auburn Manufacturing — the specialized textiles maker Leonard runs — would be interested in hosting “the president” in the coming week. At first she replied, “President of what?” Leonard told CNN. Then the Maine official clarified she was referring to President Joe Biden. “I was like, ‘Really? Is this a true call?’” Leonard said. “But I was eventually convinced and said yes, of course we’re going to do it. I mean, you don’t say no to such an opportunity.”

 

The following Friday at Auburn Manufacturing, located about an hour north of Portland, Biden touted the success of his economic agenda, pointing to manufacturers’ rising investments in construction projects as evidence. In the growth of blue-collar work, Biden has much to celebrate. In July, construction spending from manufacturers rose about 71% from a year earlier, according to Commerce Department data, and manufacturers had 106,000 more employees in August compared to a year earlier, despite business surveys showing softening consumer demand. CNN

 

Why America has a long-term labor crisis

The U.S. economy has been running, improbably, with an unemployment rate under 4% for nearly two years. That isn’t just a holdover from pandemic bottlenecks, when employers let millions of people go and then struggled to find workers when demand roared back, economists and business leaders say. It is a storm that has been brewing for decades, flaring up most recently in the form of worker strikes at automakers and airlines. Labor shortages are turning into a long-term labor crisis that could push wages and turnover higher. Work experts have warned for years that the combination of baby boomer retirements, low birthrates, shifting immigration policies and changing worker preferences is leaving U.S. employers with too few workers to fill job openings. While the labor market is softening, none of those factors are expected to change dramatically in the coming years. The Wall Street Journal

 

Texas will have an $18.6 billion surplus and avoid a recession, Comptroller projects

Texas is likely to avoid an anticipated recession and, on the contrary, is projected to have more than $18 billion in unspent money at the end of this two-year budget cycle, thanks to an unexpected increase in state revenue in recent months, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday. “Despite sharply higher interest rates, household budgets stressed by inflation and adverse economic conditions among major trading partners, the national economy has continued to grow,” Hegar said in his Certified Revenue Estimate, updating how much money lawmakers will have to spend. “Meanwhile, the Texas economy has outperformed the national economy, and the economic outlook included with this revenue estimate does not assume a recession in Texas.” Texas Tribune

In a few weeks, voters from across the state will be asked to weigh in on more than a dozen proposals to amend the state’s constitution. Known as the “constitutional election,” the biennial survey follows the work of state lawmakers in Austin, who must now persuade voters to approve their recommendations to the state’s guiding document. To help voters understand some of the issues on the statewide ballot, The Texas Tribune hosted a half-day event at Angelina College on Oct. 5. Below are brief summaries of the three discussions. You can also replay each conversation, which were taped.

 

“Economic miracle” at stake in election, East Texas lawmaker says 

Texas’ economic future is at stake this election, a state lawmaker said. Rep. Trent Ashby, a Lufkin Republican and who led on several of the constitutional amendments that voters will consider this fall, said the state would fall behind if voters don’t approve three key infrastructure questions. “I think we run the risk of losing our Texas economic miracle,” Ashby said. The money allocated for each of the infrastructure propositions — water, broadband and energy — has already been allocated toward their respective projects, but can only be utilized if voters pass each amendment. The funds created allow money to be placed outside of the general treasury to be used past the biennial budget created every legislative session. Texas Tribune

 

Report Claims NC Pension Plan Underfunded By Billions. What About Other States?

North Carolina’s state pension plan has racked up more than $19 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to a new report. The report – from the Pension Integrity Project, an initiative of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank – estimates state pension systems across the nation will likely remain at historically high debt levels – but that North Carolina is doing better than most. According to the North Carolina Treasurer’s office, the state pension plan had a market value was $112.5 billion as of Sept. 22. There are 357,649 beneficiaries receiving monthly payments, and 644,975 active and former employees who are members but not yet collecting pension benefits. The total monthly distribution of benefits funds is $600 million. Leonard Gilroy, senior managing director of the Pension Integrity Project, said pension funds have to figure out how to fund benefits that will be distributed years from now. “It’s, what do we need to put in today to make sure 20, 40, 50 years from now, so there’s enough money in the kitty for when they retire,” he said, adding that unless the market is more favorable to some of the pension systems, the debt could mean some states will have major issues meeting their obligations without some other kind of intervention. Triangle Business Journal

 

Georgia Power Says It May Need More Electricity Capacity And Soon

Just over a year ago, state regulators approved Georgia Power’s plan to meet customer’s electricity needs for the next two decades, which called for shuttering most of its coal plants and replacing them with huge amounts of solar and gas. Now, a new notice published recently by Georgia Power suggests the company thinks it needs more power sooner than expected to feed demand from residents and businesses. While details are scarce and Georgia Power has not asked state regulators to approve any additional capacity yet, signs indicate a formal request from the company may be imminent. Atlanta Journal Constitution

 

SK Battery Ushered EV Sector Into Georgia. Now It Is Cutting Some Jobs

SK Battery America in Jackson County, among the foundational manufacturers in Georgia’s electric vehicle ecosystem, is laying off workers after years of rapid expansion. SK Battery declined to say Tuesday evening how many positions are involved, but the company has confirmed that a group of workers have been laid off in Commerce, about 70 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, where the subsidiary of South Korea-based SK Innovation has two lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities. Automakers and suppliers have announced tens of billions of dollars in promised EV investment in Georgia and tens of thousands of new jobs, courted with billions in state and local government incentives. But Tuesday’s news marks what may be the Georgia EV sector’s first significant loss.

 

Why The Charlotte Region Is Set To Gain Thousands Of Manufacturing Jobs

On Sept. 19, solar-panel manufacturer Silfab Solar announced plans to invest $150 million and create 800 jobs at a new facility in Fort Mill. The disclosure was the culmination of a search process dating back to 2021. The deal captures the state of Charlotte’s industrial market, which is seeing growing interest from manufacturers. The Charlotte region’s population boom, the economic growth that follows and its Southeast location make the area a natural target for resurgence in U.S. manufacturing. Those factors are aided by recent federal legislation aimed at boosting the sector. Projects like Silfab’s could represent an initial step in Charlotte’s accelerated push to diversify its economy. “We’ve got a lot of fiscal stimulus that is helping drive investment in technology like the CHIPS (and Science) Act and then the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Mark Vitner, chief economist at Charlotte-based Piedmont Crescent Capital. Charlotte Business Journal

 

GE Appliances Shows Off $450M Transformation At Appliance Park

GE Appliances, a Haier company, welcomed government and community leaders to Appliance Park to see two new dishwasher manufacturing lines on Wednesday morning. The new lines complete a $450 million investment in the company’s Louisville headquarters that was first announced in late 2021. GE Appliances, a Haier company, welcomed government and community leaders to Appliance Park to see two new dishwasher manufacturing lines on Wednesday morning. The new lines complete a $450 million investment in the company’s Louisville headquarters that was first announced in late 2021. Louisville Business First

 

Ford Pausing Work On $3.5 Billion Michigan Electric Vehicle Battery Plant

Ford is pausing work on a new, $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan, even as the transition to electric vehicles has become a major sticking point in a United Auto Workers strike against automakers Ford, GM and Stellantis. No final decision has been made on whether the plant will, ultimately, become operational, said Ford spokesman T.R. Reid. If completed, the plant will be located on a 950-acre site in southern Michigan near the town of Marshall. Ford’s plans were to employ 2,500 people when the plant opened for production in 2026. Ford had had announced plans for the battery factory last February. CNN

 

Construction Underway For All On-Site BlueOval Suppliers Near Memphis, But Mysteries Abound

Ford’s BlueOval City will feature at least six supplier facilities, and construction is underway on all of them, according to the Megasite Authority CEO Clay Bright.

 

Bright, providing a supplier park update to the wider board on Wednesday, Sept. 20, said that he is “pushing” for the suppliers to wrap up agreements and get their requests for economic incentives finalized with the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (TNECD).

 

“I have no idea how long it’s going to be. I’ll tell you this, there’s six items on there,” Bright said at the meeting. “I’m pushing all these suppliers to go ahead and come to terms with the lease agreements. The PILOT program is something I keep pushing them to go to TNECD, but the onus is on them as far as getting that done.” Memphis Business Journal


August 2023

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to www.RandleReport.com. For all projects announced in the South and more, go to SB-D.com. For more information on the automotive industry in the South, go to www.SouthernAutoCorridor.com.

 

GDP: Country/U.S. Region/Selected U.S. States      GDP 2022*

United States                                                                   $24.7 trillion

China                                                                                 $17.3 trillion

U.S. South (13 states + D.C.)                                             $8.2 trillion

U.S. West (12 states)                                                          $6.5 trillion

U.S. Northeast (12 states)                                                 $5.5 trillion

U.S. Midwest (13 states)                                                    $4.5 trillion

Japan                                                                                  $4.2 trillion

Germany                                                                           $4.1 trillion

California                                                                         $3.7 trillion

India                                                                                    $3.4 trillion

United Kingdom                                                                $3.1 trillion

France                                                                                 $2.8 trillion

Texas                                                                                  $2.3 trillion

Russia                                                                                  $2.2 trillion

Canada                                                                                $2.1 trillion

Italy                                                                                      $2.0 trillion

Source: Statista (2022 totals); U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, *Southern Business & Development using three percent gain in U.S. states from 2021 to 2022 based on BEA totals that are incomplete for 2023.

 

Available workers per 100 jobs openings in the South

State              Workers

Texas                         89

Kentucky                   66

Louisiana                  60

Florida                       59

Georgia                     57

Tennessee                56

D.C.                            55

Mississippi                55

North Carolina         55

South Carolina         53

Virginia                      51

Oklahoma                 50

Alabama                    45

Arkansas                   44

Source: SB&D and Visual Capitalist

 

U.S. Regional Populations 2022

Region                                  Population

South                                     128,000,0000

West                                       74,000,000

Midwest                                 69,000,000

Northeast                              57,000,000

Source: Census

 

Age Demographics 2021

10,800 people per day are born in the U.S. = 3.94 million a year

10,700 people per day turn age 65 = 3.90 million per year

2,800 migrants per day enter the U.S. legally and illegally = 1.02 million a year

9,607 deaths per day in the U.S. = 3.50 million

Total: Net loss in the workforce of minus 6,707 per day = 201,000 lost workers per month = 2.40 million lost workers per year

Source: Census

 

Ranking: States with the “Best & Worst Jobs Markets”

Louisiana was named the country’s strongest labor market, boosted by “its diverse economy and range of industries, from energy to aerospace to advanced manufacturing. Louisiana’s labor productivity, increases in job openings and low quit rate led all states according to the Peak Sales Recruiting Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Eight of the top 10 states with the strongest labor markets are located in the South.

Louisiana     

South Carolina

Florida                  

Virginia

Idaho

Georgia

Alabama

Kentucky

Arkansas

Delaware

Source: Peak Sales Recruiting        

 

Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act: It’s a gusher of an 80 percent increase in industrial construction in the last year

The White House celebrated the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act in late August calling the projects that result an “economic miracle.” It is a gusher of trillions of dollars of taxpayer incentives (subsidies to others) that have resulted in an increase in spending on factories – primarily built for next-generation energy, such as electric vehicles, carbon capture and the like.

Public works spending has increased by almost 14 percent in the last year; conservation and development (30 percent); electric power projects (37 percent); and highway infrastructure (over 20 percent), according to the Census and Treasury.

Clean energy projects represent 200 new projects totaling over $120 billion. The 2021 infrastructure bill increased spending by $550 billion and the Chips Act handed over $280 billion in investment, which includes $40 billion and a 25 percent investment in tax credits for computer chip factories. These incentives have perked up foreign direct investment as well.

 

Chinese ownership of American South farmlands being challenged

Across the South, the third largest economy in the world, new laws are preventing foreign ownership of farmlands. In an effort to protect national and food security, Southern states are restricting foreign land ownership after Chinese companies made inroads into buying farmland in the region. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Carolina are all a part of a wave of legislation in the South that restricts foreign land ownership. In almost every case, those restrictions center on farmland.

 

Three hundred people a day move from California to Texas

The “Texodus” migration continues as it has for three decades, yet, we have never seen it like this before. According to Census and StorageCafe data, residents moving from California to Texas has increased by 80 percent when compared to a decade ago. And why not? The average home price in, say, Santa Clara County, Calif. is $1.46 million. That same home can be purchased in Dallas County for $410,000. If all the residents moving to Texas from California were to create their own city, it would have a population of 111,000 people.

 

Atlanta, Dallas … office vacancies everywhere in major markets in the South

About one-quarter of Atlanta’s office space is vacant. It is worse than that. When factoring in space that companies are renting but no longer want for sublease, it is over 30 percent of all office square footage in metro Atlanta. That is a record high. All total, subleased space accounts for some 44 million square feet.

 

CBRE: Large industrial and distribution leases down dramatically

In a report published this summer, real estate firm CBRE Group found a 36 percent year-over-year drop in lease signings that measured 1 million square feet of less. Many companies during the pandemic felt the need to protect their inventory levels as global supply-chain disruptions made during Covid-19 made it difficult to obtain products from overseas. 

 

TVA will invest $15 billion to meet the region’s growth over the next three years

Tennessee-based Tennessee Valley Authority’s Board of Directors announced in late summer the utility will approve $15 billion in investments over the next three years to build additional generation and upgrade systems “to ensure the region continues to benefit from affordable, reliable power.” TVA CEO Jeff Lyash said,”It took us 90 years to build our current power system which positively changed the life of millions. In the next 30 years, we will have to double or triple the current systems at a speed unlike any other time in TVA history."

 

Texas breaks all-time record for oil and gas production

The largest producer of the U.S. energy sector – the Texas oil and natural gas industry – set a new record production in June and July, surpassing highs set in 40 years ago, according to the Texas Oil & Gas Association.

 

Feds to spend $1.2 billion on carbon capture projects in Louisiana and Texas

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to spend $1.2 billion in Louisiana and Texas to create “Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs” to remove more than 1 million metric tons of existing CO2 from the atmosphere each year. The two major projects in the two states are expected to create thousands of jobs.

 

Central Florida tourism industry had an $87 billion economic impact in 2022

The largest region in the South for tourism saw it hit an all-time high in investments in 2022, generating $87.6 billion. U.K.-based Oxford Economics released a study in the summer that looked at Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties’ tourism industries’ visitor spending, jobs and state and local taxes. Of course, that part of the South is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, among many others, encompassing over 40,000 acres in Central Florida.

 

Where are manufacturing jobs being added?

Texas has added the most manufacturing jobs in the U.S. between January 2021 and May 2023 with 86,000. California came in second with 79,000 and surprisingly, Florida placed third with 37,000 manufacturing jobs. Of course, those are the top three populated states in the country, so the figures are not per capita. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Electric vehicles are reinventing the automotive supply chain

The 2023 Deloitte Automotive Supply Study expected that revenues for internal combustion engines, as we as fuel and exhaust systems are expected to decline 44 percent through 2027. Meanwhile, revenues for electric drivetrains, batteries and fuel cells are expected to rise to 245 percent. An internal combustion powertrain has about 2,000 parts. Battery electric vehicle powertrains have about 20 parts. For more information on the South’s automotive industry, go to SouthernAutoCorridor.com

 

Arkansas funding “Boot Camp” to train 500 steel workers in Northeast Arkansas

Arkansas Northeastern College has received a $1.2 million grant from the Arkansas Office of Skills Development to help create a program to train 500 steel workers in the program’s first year.

 

Kia to invest $200 million to make EV SUV in Georgia; adds to Korean Automotive Corridor that started in Montgomery, Ala.

South Korean automaker Kia is investing $200 million in its West Georgia (West Point) factory to begin production of an electric-powered SUV, the EV9 large, three-row SUV. The company made the announcement in the summer quarter. Over 40 percent of Kia vehicles sold in the U.S. are assembled at the plant near LaGrange, Ga., which is just over 80 miles from its mother ship company, Hyundai, and its plant in Montgomery, Ala. Hyundai’s multi-billion-dollar plant being built near Savannah means the Korean automakers have established a $50 billion (or thereabouts) beachhead for manufacturing their vehicles in North America, as well as their suppliers, over a 320-mile span from Montgomery, through West Georgia to Savannah. Hyundai has already begun production and assembly of the first-ever Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV. It is the first Genesis model to be assembled in the United States at the Montgomery manufacturing facility.

 

CNBC’s top states for business in 2023; North Carolina takes No. 1 for the second straight year

The South is slouching. For years, the CNBC “Top States for Business had 10-out-of-10 Southern states in the top 10. Not this year. North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia made up the top four best states for business. But Minnesota, Washington, Michigan and Utah also were named in the top 10 from outside the South. Texas and Florida also made the top 10 list for CNBC.

 

Texas may be losing some of its attraction to business

For the first time, CNBC did not place the state of Texas in its top five best places for business. The state remains a juggernaut economy simply based on its major markets and population. It fell to No. 6 on the CNBC scale. North Carolina was named No. 1, followed by Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Minnesota. 

 

Texas to invest in community colleges

The Texas Senate has approved a bill to allocated almost $430 million in funding for the state’s 50 community colleges. The workforce development deal aims to incentivize and award colleges based on students’ performance.

 

Italian solar manufacturer selects Oklahoma site for $1 billion factory

Enel will invest in solar manufacturing in Inola, Okla., creating 1,000 jobs with a 3 gigawatt annual production capacity by 2025. As part of U.S. President Joe Biden’s landmark climate change law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the company’s domestically- made panels will make facilities built with the panels eligible for a lucrative tax credit.

 

Amazon’s Arlington, Va. HQ2 East Coast headquarters welcomes 2,000 employees

The tech giant will continue to welcome an additional 1,000 to 2,000 employees in phases until September or October of this year. The company has hired 8,000 people in the area so far.

 

Space Force selects Florida’s Space Coast for new training HQ

The new Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM, will bring hundreds of employees to the Space Coast to train Space Force members in wargaming and tactics. The Air Force-based command will be located at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida.

 

Clemson University, South Carolina to invest in rural internet

With a $185.8 million federal grant and $400 million from the South Carolina General Assembly, a plan to invest in South Carolina’s broadband infrastructure will begin this year. 

 

ALABAMA

First Solar will build a $1.1 billion factory with 700 workers in Lawrence County, Ala.

The facility at the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex is part of First Solar’s investment in its push to have more than 10 gigawatts of manufacturing capacity by 2025. The project is one of the biggest announced in a Northwest Alabama in recent years.

 

Alabama is all-in on finding 11,000 auto industry workers

There are more than 11,000 jobs in Alabama among its hundreds of auto industry suppliers and OEMs, like Toyota’s engine factory in Huntsville, down in Montgomery at Hyundai, in Tuscaloosa at the Mercedes plant and out east with Honda. Alabama has implemented what they call the “Shift” campaign to recruit those workers. “Shift” is a campaign crafted by Birmingham-based Big Communications to reach beyond Alabama to potential workers around the South who may be seeking their first jobs, or better ones.

 

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. plans $232 million micro-reactor manufacturing plant in Alabama

The highly automated MMR Assembly Plant will manufacture non-radiological modules needed to construct its advanced microreactors. Once operational, the facility will employ 250 workers.

 

Kronospan announces expansion in Oxford, Ala.

The wood panel manufacturer will invest $350 million into its plant in Oxford, creating 150 new jobs. Kronospan will have invested over $1 billion and will employ about 600 people upon completion of its expansion.

 

ARKANSAS

Big River Steel’s new $3 billion mill in Osceola, Ark. to source 230 megawatts of electricity from $327 million solar generation field

Entergy Arkansas is planning to meet the demand on 2,100 acres with 650,000 solar panels. The project, named Driver Solar, will supply 40% of the electricity demand for the plant.

 

Aerojet Rocketdyne grows in Camden, Ark.

The defense industry contractor will add 200 new jobs at its rocket systems manufacturing facility at the Highland Industrial Park, where it produces 75,000 solid rocket motors annually. The U.S. Department of Defense agreed to a $215 million investment to expand its facilities in Camden, Huntsville, Ala. and Orange County, Va.

 

FLORIDA

Cosentino Group to build manufacturing plant in Northeast Florida

The Spanish manufacturer of natural stone and architectural surfaces will build its first North American plant in Jacksonville with a $270 million investment, creating 180 jobs with an average salary of $56,600.

 

Space Force selects Florida’s Space Coast for STARCOM Training HQ

The command chose Patrick Space Force Base in Florida to place one of its major operations for the Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM. The move will bring hundreds of personnel to the Space Coast to help develop training for Space Force members.

 

Amazon invests $120 million in satellite processing facility on Florida’s Space Coast

The project will create 50 new, high paying jobs. The project is part of Project Kuiper, Amazon’s satellite broadband network comprised of 3,236 low Earth satellites.

 

GEORGIA

Finland-based Admares to build $750 million manufacturing facility in Ga.

The building materials manufacturer will employ approximately 1,400 workers in its South Georgia manufacturing plant in Waycross.

 

Startup EV maker Rivian gets go ahead in Georgia to build its $5 billion plant

The Georgia Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal contesting the legitimacy of Rivian’s expected property tax breaks for its new $5 billion EV facility in the state. Rivian first announced plans for a massive 2,000-acre, $5 billion electric vehicle plant in Georgia in December 2021. At fully operational, the complex east of Atlanta will be capable of assembling 400,000 vehicles annually.

 

Hyundai, LG to build $4.3 billion EV battery plant in Georgia

The electric vehicle battery plant near Savannah in Bryan County will become the second battery plant Hyundai is building in the state. The project is a part of its previously announced, $5.5 billion complex in Bryan County, which will bring 8,100 jobs.

 

Pratt & Whitney plans $200 million Georgia expansion

The aircraft engine maker will add 400 new jobs in Columbus, Ga. The aerospace company first opened in Columbus in 1984 and has since grown from a small operation to employing 2,000 workers.

 

First new Vogtle nuclear reactor becomes operational in Georgia

The first of the two new units at Plant Vogtle has officially entered commercial service. The Georgia Power owned reactors will be in service for the next 60 to 80 years. Finished years behind schedule and billions over budget, the project was initially pitched as part of a nuclear revival that would bring vast amounts of carbon-free energy.

 

Financial services giant Morgan Stanley expands in Alpharetta, Ga.

The company has expanded its lease by 100,000-square-foot and hopes to add 1,800 jobs to its Georgia workforce.

 

KENTUCKY

Gov. Andy Beshear tours BlueOval SK plant in Glendale, Ky.

In August the second electric vehicle battery plant broke ground at Ford and SK’s BlueOval’s battery facility in Hardin County, Ky. The $5.8 billion complex will house 5,000 workers who will produce advanced batteries for Ford and Lincoln brand electric vehicles. The megasite in Glendale had been available for more than two decades, with Hyundai checking it out among other large users more than 20 years ago. Hyundai eventually took its plant to Montgomery, Ala. The two battery plants in Kentucky will go online in 2025. 

 

$240 million investment starts at MAGMA tech facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

O-I Glass has begun construction on a revolutionary greenfield glass facility, utilizing MAGMA technology. The technology is used for manufacturing flexible, modular glass production.

 

Aerospace Composites Solutions announces Kentucky expansion

The $16.8 million project in Morgantown, Ky. will create 72 new full-time jobs. The composite design and manufacturing company focuses on improving aircraft performance.

 

Eastern Light Distilling is constructing a $143.7 facility in Rowan County, Ky.

The craft bourbon producer will introduce 50 new jobs.

 

LOUISIANA

$850 million rare-Earth recycling plant in Louisiana moves on to next phase

ElementUS is trying to capture a $400 million loan from the energy department’s Clean Energy Financing Program in order to recycle iron and rate earth elements from the waste at a St. James Parish, La., alumina plant. Several things must come into place before the massive project becomes a reality.

 

SunGas Renewables to invest $1.8 billion in Rapides Parish, La.

The company expects to create 109 new jobs by establishing a renewable low-carbon methanol production facility.

 

Louisiana to receive $156 million from the Department of Defense

Besides pay raises, $112 million will go to funding a weapons generation facility at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier Parish.

 

MISSISSIPPI

Hush Aerospace brings operations to Tupelo, Miss.

The unmanned aerial systems designer and manufacturer will invest $13.9 million and will create 80 jobs in its new state-of-the-art facility. The company plans to provide the domestic drone market with cutting edge UAS platforms that meet the rigorous standards of NASA and the military.

 

APEX Ammunition LLC expands in Columbus, Miss.

The shotgun ammunition manufacturer will spend $4.45 million and will create 64 direct jobs.

 

Point Eight Power, Inc. opens operations in Hancock County, Miss.

The manufacturer of power distribution systems invested $7.75 million and created 78 new jobs.

 

NORTH CAROLINA

VinFast breaks ground in North Carolina

What is expected to be the largest economic development project in North Carolina history broke ground officially on in the summer. Last year, the Vietnamese automaker announced plans to build a 7,500-job facility at the Triangle Innovation Point megasite near Moncure as part of a $4 billion investment. The company filed site plans with Chatham County that revealed the factory will be more than 2.8 million square feet with eight buildings

 

Toyota invests an additional $2.1 billion in North Carolina

The automaker’s latest investment in its EV battery plant near Greensboro brings the total investment there to nearly $6 billion. The company has yet to announce employment numbers, but expects to hire a similar number to the expansion last year, which grew job numbers by about 350.

Ameriprise Financial opens new corporate office in uptown Charlotte, N.C.

The Minnesota-based financial services firm will lease 53,000-square-feet at 300 South Tyron. The new corporate office will bring about 400 new jobs.

 

Bosch to expand in Lincolnton, N.C.

Robert Bosch Tool Corp. will invest $130 million in a major expansion of its manufacturing operations in Lincoln County, creating 404 jobs. The new positions will have minimum average wages of $53,204.

 

CommScope adds hundreds of jobs in Catawba County, N.C.

The fiber-optic manufacturer will expand its operations in the Charlotte region with a $60.3 million investment that will lead to the creation of 250 jobs.

 

OKLAHOMA

The first Cobalt and Nickel refinery broke ground in Lawton, Okla. during the summer quarter. Westwin Elements is opening the plant that will house 85 workers in 2024.

 

Sam’s Club to locating distribution center in Oklahoma City

Walmart division Sam’s Club is opening a 300,000-square-foot distribution center. The project at the OKC Logistics Park will create 130 jobs.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Largest project in Northeast South Carolina breaks ground

In the summer quarter, a groundbreaking ceremony was performed for AESC in Florence, S.C. The Japanese battery facility will employ over 1,000 workers at an average salary of $65,000 a year. The project, according to Florence County Economic Development CEO Gregg Robinson, AESC’s deal is one of the largest economic development deals in the county’s history. AESC will supply battery cells used in next generation electric vehicles produced by BMW near Greenville.

 

BMW breaks ground on new S.C. battery plant

German automaker BMW broke ground on its new high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff, S.C. in the summer. The 1-milion-square-foot facility, with an investment of $700 million, will support the company’s $1 billion in investment to supply and build fully electric BMW X models at its plant in Spartanburg.

 

E. & J. Gallo Winery to open new production line in Chester County, S.C.

The nation’s largest winemaker employs about 230 full-time employees at its Fort Lawn hub. The first phase of the expansion will include a total investment of $423 million and the creation of nearly 500 jobs.

 

“Project Cobra” to bring $1 billion project to York County, S.C.

The code-named project is slated to bring 12 new jobs to the Lake Wylie area. As of this writing the company remains unnamed.

 

TENNESSEE

6K Energy to invest $166 million in battery material manufacturing plant in Jackson, Tenn.

Governor Lee announced the company will invest in a full-scale PlusCAM™ battery material manufacturing plant. With its initial investment, 6K Energy plans on expanding to $250 million in future phases. The company will also be using its $50 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for the factory.

 

Napster to move HQ to Nashville

The global music company and music streaming service Napster has selected Nashville for its new corporate headquarters.

 

Magna International plans $790 million, 1,300-job facility in West Tennessee

The automotive supplier will build three facilities to supply Ford’s BlueOval City. Magna International is the fourth-largest auto parts supplier in the world and the biggest in North America.

 

TEXAS

Telsa breaks ground on its in-house lithium refinery near Robstown, Texas

A major investment by Tesla, the plant will produce battery-grade lithium and manufacture battery materials. The first of its kind in North America, the facility will adopt an industrial refining method using acid-free lithium routes.

 

Plant Agricultural Systems growing in West Texas

PLANT-AS is going ahead with a projected $510 million investment of more than 1,100 acres of advanced Controlled Environment Agriculture production in Amarillo and Lubbock. The project is estimated to create 700 full-time employees with a total payroll of $35 million.

 

Houston-based NextDecade secured $5.9 billion in financing to build massive LNG export terminal

The company will begin work on a massive new gas liquefaction plant and export terminal in the Rio Grande delta. When complete, the facility will become one of the largest gas export terminals in the world.

 

Microsoft plans $230 million data center north of Castroville, Texas

The company plans to build a 106,000-square-foot campus with an administrative building and two co-location centers.

 

VIRGINIA

2,000 Amazon employees move into HQ2 in Arlington, Va.

Amazon’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters has hired over 8,000 employees so far for the Virginia headquarters.

 

Poland-based Press Glass Inc. expands in Henry County, Va.

The glass manufacturer for the commercial construction industry will invest $155 million and hire 335 people, becoming the largest expansion ever announced in the county’s history.


July 2023

One hundred million dollars invested in two new Northrop Grumman offices

Offices for defense contractor Northrop Grumman have been completed at the Redstone Gateway in Huntville, Ala. The Birmingham construction firm Robins & Morton completed the $100 million project, including two “build to suit” facilities and a parking deck.

 

Construction for Goldman Sach’s $500 million new campus to begin later this year in Dallas, Texas

Regional offices of the Manhattan-based banking firm Goldman Sachs’ are to be built in the Uptown area of Dallas, Texas. Downsized by 10 percent, the project is to be completed by 2027.

 

Richardson International, Canadian based agri-business leader, to invest $220 million in Memphis Wesson Oil production plant

According to the Memphis Business Journal, the upgrade of the Wesson Oil production plant is pending approval. Richardson expanded into Memphis in 2019 with the purchase of the Wesson Oil production plant.

 

$240 million investment beings at MAGMA tech facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

O-I Glass has begun construction on a revolutionary greenfield glass facility, utilizing MAGMA technology. The technology is used for manufacturing flexible, modular glass production.

 

TAT Piedmont Aviation to expand operations at the Piedmond Triad International Airport

The aviation repair company will create 85 jobs with a $13.8 million investment. “Aviation and aerospace companies of every stripe are choosing North Carolina as the best place to grow their business,” said Governor Cooper.

 

Tennessee Governor Lee signs Transportation Modernization Act into law

Governor Bill Lee signed the historic, bipartisan legislation, creating a $3.3 billion investment to modernize Tennessee’s transportation needs in rural and urban communities.

 

Georgia-Pacific LLC spends $50 million to upgrade paper towel mill

The Port Hudson, LA mill will be upgraded with increased capacity and improved equipment. 20 miles north of Baton Rouge. The mill produces paper towels for Brawny and other brands.

 

Washington Commanders owner to sell Virginia NFL team for $6 billion

Dan Snyder has agreed to sell the team to NBA legend Magic Johnson and a group of investors. A record setting amount for any professional sports franchise, the Bethesda, Md. based group of investors also owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

 

Lego breaks ground on $1 billion Chesterfield, Va. facility

The first manufacturing plant in the U.S. for the Denmark-based toymaker, the project is one of Virginia’s largest economic development projects ever announced, according to Virginia Business. The project will create 1,761 jobs, with production starting in 2025.

 

Cross Technology of Winston-Salem is expanding with a $3.4 million grant

The 140,000-square-foot building upgrade for the machining company and maker will employ 120 more people over the next two years in Yadkin County.

 

6K Energy to invest $166 million in battery material manufacturing plant in Jackson, Tenn.

Governor Lee announced the company will invest in a full-scale PlusCAM™ battery material manufacturing plant. With its initial investment, 6K Energy plans on expanding to $250 million in future phases. The company will also be using its $50 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for the factory.

 

Albemarle Corp. will invest $1.3 billion and create more than 300 new jobs in Chester County, N.C.

Approval has been granted for Albemarle Corp.’s investment in its lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County. The significant investment comes after previous passes for incentives by the county when the project was under the code name Project Raven.

 

$3 trillion being invested in the rural American South

Federal tax incentives and loans for green energy from Biden’s climate legislation is supporting a major increase in corporate investments in the rural American South. The spending is the largest single industrial stimulus by the federal government since the New Deal.

 

Kentucky has the longest running, lowest unemployment ever recorded in the state

The record comes with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate over the last 15 months. Governor Beshear also announced the state has added 46,000 more jobs in Kentucky since February 2020, a 2.3 percent growth in jobs.

 

Georgia has received $17.5 billion in investment by Korean firms since 2020

Supporting 23,000 total jobs in the state, Korean companies like Kia, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group and others are continuing to invest.

 

240 high-paying jobs created by Marshall Aerospace in North Carolina

Marshall Aerospace has selected Piedmont Triad International Airport for its first location in the United States to service C-130 aircraft. The company plans to invest $50 million.

 

Firearm manufacturer subsidiary FN America plans expansion in South Carolina

The company plans to expand in Pickens County with a $33 million investment that will create 176 new jobs.

 

Disney plans to invest in $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the plan, which will create 13,000 jobs in Central Florida, as the company continues its feud with Governor DeSantis.

 

Acquisition Integration to create 250 jobs in Alabama

The aerospace logistics and distribution company plans to build 170,000 square feet of hangar and office space at the Pryor Field Regional Airport. The $30 million investment will create 250 jobs.

 

Global renewable energy company SPI Energy Co. Ltd. to invest $65.9 million in South Carolina

SEM Wafertech and Solar4American Technology announced the investment to establish operations in Sumter County. The solar companies’ investment will create 300 new jobs in Sumter County.

 

$42.7 expansion planned by BorgWarner Inc. in Oconee County, S.C.

As part of its “Charging Forward” initiative, the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automotive supplier will create 122 new jobs in its plans to upgrade its facility in Seneca to integrate new EV battery systems.

 

Congo LLC will expand its Louisville, Kentucky HQ

The $8.25 million project will produce 500 high-paying jobs. The company plans to relocate to a 110,000-square-foot location at 13551 Triton Park Blvd.

 

Castellini Co. creates 180 jobs, to invest $16.6 million in Kentucky

The third-party logistics company for the food industry is expanding its Wilder operations with a $16.6 million investment.

 

EV car maker Rivian to invest $10 million in Bullitt County, Kentucky

The planned remanufacturing facility in Shepherdsville will create 218 high-paying jobs, continuing the EV industries’ growth in the state.

 

Church & Dwight Company will expand in Virginia

The baking soda manufacturer plans to invest $27 million in its expansion of its Chesterfield County operations, which will create an additional 53 new jobs.

 

Richmond National Group to create 100 jobs in Henrico County, Va.

The specialty insurer plans to expand its headquarters by adding 7,200 square feet of office space to its Greater Richmond footprint.

 

Delta Star will invest $30.2 million in Lynchburg, Va. expansion

The industrial power equipment manufacturer will create 149 jobs by adding 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 14,000 square feet of new office space.

 

CharterUp is relocating its HQ to Austin, Texas

The online bus-booking platform plans to add 100 jobs.

 

Tech company Tquila Automation to create 200 jobs in Birmingham, Ala.

The delivery hub will be located at The Switch, Birmingham’s innovation district, in the 65,000-square-foot Nextec building.

 

Westwater Resources plans $202 million graphite plant in Alabama

The Coosa County plant will supply material for EV battery manufacturer SK On.

 

Telsa breaks ground on its in-house lithium refinery near Robstown, Texas

A major investment by Tesla, the plant will produce battery-grade lithium and manufacture battery materials. The first of its kind in North America, the facility will adopt an industrial refining method using acid-free lithium routes.

 

Jaxport receives its largest ships ever

Benefiting from deeper waters, the Jacksonville, Fla. port has seen the arrival of One Stork through the St. Johns shipping channel. The vessel can carry more than 14,000 20-foot-long containers.

 

Plans finalized for wind farm in Carroll County, Ark.

Scout Clean Energy has completed its plans for developing the $300 million Nimbus Wind Farm in Northwest Arkansas. The wind farm is expected to produce enough electricity to power nearly 30,000 homes.

 

Chart Industries plans to invest $73.7 million in production facility in Mobile County, Ala.

The second production site in Mobile County, the company will increase its production of cryogenic containers. The project will create 59 jobs.

 

Aerospace supplier to relocate from Texas to Creola in Mobile County, Ala.

Superior Air Parts plans to relocate its corporate headquarters and manufacturing operation producing FAA-approved replacement parts for piston-engine aircraft. The $24.2 million investment will create 180 jobs over 5 years.

 

Air tank manufacturer plans expansion in Norfolk, Va.

Bauer Compressors plans to invest $7.4 million in an expansion of its production capacity for hydrogen and natural gas compressors. The investment will create an additional 47 jobs.

 

Pentagon awards Northrop Grumman Corp. $244.6 million for ballistic missile work

The Falls Church, Va.-based defense contractor will continue work on ballistic missile defense system capabilities in Alabama, Colorado and California. The work will be complete in March of 2026.

 

Volkswagen plans to hire 500 workers in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The automaker will be hiring for its manufacturing plant in Hamilton County, raising its employee number to 5,500. The Chattanooga facility manufactures the electric ID.4 SUV as well as the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs.

 

Oneok to acquire Magellan Midstream Partners for $18.8 billion

The Oklahoma-based natural gas company will close on the deal in the third quarter of 2023. With significant operations in the Houston area, the combined company will have a total value of $60 billion.

 

Clarksville, Ark. to invest in hydrogen power plant

Syntex Industries LLC of Little Rock will design and construct a hydrogen energy power plant to generate more than 500 megawatts of clean electricity in Clarksville. Construction will begin by the fourth quarter of 2023 and is slated to create more than 100 jobs.

 

Window and door manufacturer to open production facility in Alabama

Sierra Pacific Windows will invest $60 million and hire 300 people in Phenix City. Its first production facility in the American South, the company has acquired 610,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space on 113 acres.

 

Ryder Systems relocates to South Florida

The fleet management and supply chain company will move to the Colonnade office tower in the Coral Gables’ business district. Eight hundred hybrid workers will be based in that office. The deal will rename the building to Ryder Colonnade.

 

Texas to invest in community colleges

The Texas Senate has approved a bill to allocated almost $430 million in funding for the state’s 50 community colleges. The workforce development deal aims to incentivize and award colleges based on students’ performance.

 

Italian solar manufacturer selects Oklahoma site for $1 billion factory

Enel will invest in solar manufacturing in Inola, Okla., creating 1,000 jobs with a 3 gigawatt annual production capacity by 2025. As part of U.S. President Joe Biden’s landmark climate change law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the company’s domestically made panels will make facilities built with the panels eligible for a lucrative tax credit.

 

Food sector servicer to supply 50 jobs in Springdale, Ark.

Cypress Cold Storage, a warehouse supplier for the food industry, breaks ground on a new state-of-the-art cold storage facility in Arkansas. The 170,000-square-foot facility of temperature-controlled space will accommodate 22,000 pallets of freezer storage.

 

Medical device manufacturer to bring 340 jobs to Atlanta’s former State Farm campus

Boston Scientific Corp. will lease nearly 250,000 square feet in Johns Creek. The largest office deal so far this year, the deal will bring life science research and development to the metro.

 

Hanon Systems to build auto parts factory near Hyundai Motor Group’s coastal Georgia EV plant

The Korean auto parts maker will invest $40 million and employ 160 people in its new facility in Bulloch County, Ga. The future $5.54 billion Hyundai EV plant is the largest economic development project in state history.

 

Mississippi State University begins construction of new computing center

The university will invest $45 million in building the new High Performance Computing Data Center in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. The 35,000-square-foot building will expand MSU’s high performance computing capabilities.

 

Cold-Link Logistics invests $64 million in Mississippi

The 200,000-square-foot cold storage facility will create 84 new jobs in Jones County, Miss. In partnership with transportation logistics company Whitestone Transportation, the corporate site will be developed with the assistance of the Mississippi Development Authority, the city of Ellisville and Jones County.

 

Ameriprise Financial to open corporate office in Charlotte, N.C.

The new 53,000-square-foot corporate office in uptown Charlotte will bring 400 jobs to the metro area. Joe Sweeney, Ameriprise president, said the firm chose Charlotte for the expansion due to the city’s highly skilled workforce.

 

Cosentino Group to build $270 million facility in Jacksonville, Fla.

The natural stone and architectural surfaces manufacturer has announced a major investment on a 408,000-square-foot facility at the Cecil Commerce Center. The company plans to hire about 180 people with an average salary of $56,000. This would be the Spanish companies first facility built in North America.

 

Heyco Werk USA Inc. to expand in Emporia, Va.

The automotive parts manufacturer will invest $5.4 million and create 21 jobs with its expansion in Greenville County. The company produces plastic molder parts for the auto industry, specifically meeting needs for the BMW plant in South Carolina.

 

Amazon’s Arlington, Va. HQ2 East Coast headquarters welcomes 2,000 employees

The tech giant will continue to welcome an additional 1,000 to 2,000 employees in phases until September or October of this year. The company has hired 8,000 people in the area so far.

 

Wood panel manufacturer Kronospan to expand in Ala.

Kronospan will invest $350 million to expand its Oxford, Ala., operations, creating an additional 150 jobs. Once complete later this year, the company will have employed 600 people and invested a total of more than $1 billion since 2008. The Oxford facility is the largest wood products site in North America.

 

Cooperative Electric Energy Utility Supply invests $52 million in South Carolina

With the purchase of the 247,000-square-foot Airport Distribution Center, the company will provide equipment to electric cooperatives across the state. The investment will create 61 new jobs.

 

Mattress Warehouse to create 108 new jobs near Columbia Metropolitan Airport

The company will operate a warehouse and distribution center at the Airport Distribution Center in South Carolina.

 

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits invests $80 million in relocation

The state-of-the-art distribution center will operate at the Saxe Gotha Industrial park in South Carolina.

 

Chick-fil-A creates 165 new jobs in South Carolina

The company’s $80 million investment in its new distribution center at the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park serves to meet the growing demand in the region.

 

Bluegrass Bottling to expand in Lancaster, Ky.

The woman-owned, Kentucky-based business has broken ground on a new bottling facility. The $6.25 million investment will create 27 new jobs. The bourbon-related business will continue to operate its Lincoln County operations, where it employs around 20 people.

 

Toyota invests an additional $2.1 billion in North Carolina

The automaker’s latest investment in its EV battery plant near Greensboro brings the total investment there to nearly $6 billion. The company has yet to announce employment numbers, but expects to hire a similar number to the expansion last year, which grew job numbers by about 350.

 

Hyundai, LG to build $4.3 billion EV battery plant in Georgia

The electric vehicle battery plant near Savannah in Bryan County will become the second battery plant Hyundai is building in the state. The project is a part of its previously announced, $5.5 billion plant in Bryan County, which will bring 8,100 jobs.

 

Finland-based home manufacturer plans Georgia facility

The building manufacturer will set up operations in Waycross, Ga., with a $750 million facility. The company will employ more than 1,400 people in its first U.S.-based operation. 

 

VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering plans to expand in Alabama

The aerospace company will hire 200 people in its expansion in Mobile. The expansion will begin in late June in conjunction with Airbus’ previous announcement to build a new assembly line for the A320 single-aisle passenger aircraft.

 

Steel Dynamics breaks ground on $2.5 billion aluminum factory in Mississippi

The Lowndes County plant was announced by Golden Triangle CEO Joe Max Higgins. The mill will produce nearly 650,000 tons of finished product for the beverage packaging, automotive and alloy industry.  

 

Space Force selects Florida’s Space Coast for new training HQ

The new Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM, will bring hundreds of employees to the Space Coast to train Space Force members in wargaming and tactics. The Air Force-based command will be located at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida.

 

Energizer Holdings plans North Carolina expansion

With a total investment of $43 million over four years in Asheboro, the company will create an additional 178 jobs with an average salary of $54,000. Asheboro and Randolph County together offered $420,000 in incentives for the battery manufacturer.

 

Bosch expands its Charlotte, N.C. manufacturing capabilities

The tool company announced a major expansion with a $130 million investment to increase its production of power tool accessories in Lincoln County. The expansion will create 404 jobs with an average annual wage of $53,204.

 

E. & J. Gallo Winery opens New Amsterdam Vodka production line in North Carolina

The nation’s largest winemaker will invest a combined $423 million with a creation of nearly 500 new jobs in Chester County. Operations include a distribution center, production lines, warehousing, bottling, canning and an import and export center at the Fort Lawn hub.

 

Activation Capital will build an innovation center in the Bio+Tech Park in Richmond, Va.

The innovation incubator will develop the new hub with a $53 million investment. The 34-acre commercial park is adjacent to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and has more than 70 companies and laboratories on its campus.

 

Aerojet Rocketdyne adds 200 new jobs in Arkansas

The supplier of rocket systems to the American military will expand and modernize its facilities in Camden with a $215 million investment from the U.S. Department of Defense.

 

SK Signet opens EV charger manufacturing facility in Plano, Texas

The company’s ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the first SK Signet manufacturing facility located in the U.S. The facility plans to produce more than 10,000 chargers for electric vehicles and is expected to bring 183 jobs by 2026. 

 

INFAC North America plans expansion in Taylor County, Ky.

The automotive industry manufacturer will break ground in Campbellsville as the company invests $53 million. The expansion will create 220 jobs. This will mark the second expansion by the company at their facility in Campbellsville since starting operations in 2008.

 

Clemson University, South Carolina to invest in rural internet

With a $185.8 million federal grant and $400 million from the South Carolina General Assembly, a plan to invest in South Carolina’s broadband infrastructure will begin this year.

 

The Feds are investing $12.7 million in South Carolina community development

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development had awarded Jasper County, S.C. $12.7 million in community development.

 

Dongwha begins building electrolyte plant in Tennessee

The $70 million Clarksville, Tenn. electrolyte plant, which specializes in electrolytes, the main component for batteries, will be complete in 2024. The facility will have an annual production capacity of 86,000 tons.

 

Delta Biofuel announces $100 million investment in Acadiana region.

The company plans to build a full-scale renewable fuel production facility in Iberia Parish, La. The company will convert sugarcane waste into biofuel for low-emission energy generation. The investment will create 126 new jobs with an average wage of $62,500.

 

Shell Catalysts & Technologies expands in West Baton Rouge Parish

The Louisiana Economic Development says 17 new jobs with an annual salary of $94,000 will be created with the Shell Catalysts & Technologies’ $121.7 million capital investment in its Port Allen facility. Catalysts are used to generate a less energy-intensive refining process for biofuels and aviation fuel as well as medical equipment and shoes. The catalyst refining plant in Port Allen is the largest in the world.

 

Westfield Fluid Controls to create 67 new jobs in Lafayette, La.

The new state-of-the-art facility for advanced manufacturing will create jobs with an annual salary of $49,797 with a capital investment of $5.1 million.

 

Company code-named “Project Cobra” slated to bring $1 billion data center to South Carolina

The economic development project has yet to be finalized. It could bring a data center to Lake Wylie and would create 12 high paying jobs in the area.

 

Japanese battery manufacturer Envision AESC breaks ground on facility in South Carolina

The new plant will employ more than 1,100 workers with an average salary of $65,000. Florence County Economic Development CEO Gregg Robinson says the investment marks a milestone as one of the biggest economic development projects ever for the county.

 

Walmart to invest $350 million in regional distribution center in Alabama

The Cullman, Ala. plant investment will double the amount of supplies the distribution center will ship with an implementation of a robotics and software platform developed by Symbotic LLC. Walmart operates five distribution centers and 144 retail stores in Alabama and employs over 41,000 in the state.

 

GM will invest $500 million in Texas plant

GM’s investment will prepare its Arlington, Texas facility to produce its next generation of SUVs. The investment confirms that the company plans to continue investment in its traditionally powered vehicles in preparation for its emerging EV business.


May 2023

$100 million invested in two new Northrop Grumman offices

Offices for defense contractor Northrop Grumman have been completed at the Redstone Gateway in Huntsville, Ala. The Birmingham, Ala.-based construction firm Robins & Morton completed the $100 million project, including two “build to suit” facilities and a parking deck.

 

Construction for Goldman Sachs’ $500 million new campus to begin later this year in Dallas

Regional offices of the Manhattan-based banking firm Goldman Sachs are to be built in the Uptown area of Dallas, Texas. Downsized by 10 percent, the project is to be completed by 2027.

 

Richardson International, Canadian-based agri-business leader, to invest $220 million in Memphis, Tenn.

According to the Memphis Business Journal, the upgrade of the Wesson Oil production plant is pending approval. Richardson expanded into Memphis in 2019 with the purchase of the Wesson Oil production plant.

 

$240 investment begins at MAGMA tech facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

O-I Glass has begun construction on a revolutionary greenfield glass facility, utilizing MAGMA technology. The technology is used for manufacturing flexible, modular glass production.

 

TAT Piedmont Aviation to expand operations at the Piedmont Triad International Airport

The aviation repair company will create 85 jobs with a $13.8 million investment. “Aviation and aerospace companies of every stripe are choosing North Carolina as the best place to grow their business,” said Governor Cooper.

 

Tennessee Governor Lee signs Transportation Modernization Act into law

Governor Bill Lee signed the historic, bipartisan legislation, creating a $3.3 billion investment to modernize Tennessee’s transportation needs in rural and urban communities.

 

Georgia-Pacific spends $50 million to upgrade paper towel mill

The Port Hudson, La. mill will be upgraded with increased capacity and improved equipment. Twenty miles north of Baton Rouge, the mill produces paper towels for Brawny and other brands.

 

Washington Commanders owner to sell Virginia NFL team for $6 billion

Dan Snyder has agreed to sell the team to NBA legend Magic Johnson and a group of investors. A record-setting amount for any professional sports franchise, the Bethesda, Md.- based group of investors also owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

 

Lego breaks ground on $1 billion facility in Chesterfield, Va.

Lego has broken ground on the first manufacturing plant in the U.S. for the Denmark-based toymaker. The project is one of Virginia’s largest economic development projects ever announced, according to Virginia Business. The project will create 1,761 jobs, with production starting in 2025.

 

Cross Technology of Winston-Salem is expanding with a $3.4 million grant

The 140,000-square-foot building upgrade for the machining company and maker will employ 120 more people over the next two years in Yadkin County, N.C.

 

6K Energy to invest $166 million in battery material manufacturing plant in Jackson, Tenn.

Governor Bill Lee announced the company will invest in a full-scale PlusCAM™ battery material manufacturing plant. With its initial investment, 6K Energy plans on expanding to $250 million in future phases. The company will also be using its $50 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for the factory.

 

Albemarle Corp. will invest $1.3 billion and create more than 300 new jobs in Chester County, S.C.

Approval has been granted for Albemarle Corp.’s investment in its lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County, S.C. The significant investment comes after previous passes for incentives by the county when the project was under the code name Project Raven.

 

Kentucky has the longest running, lowest unemployment ever recorded in the state

The record comes with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate over the last 15 months. Governor Andy Beshear also announced the state has added 46,000 more jobs in Kentucky since February 2020, a 2.3 percent growth in jobs.

 

Georgia has received $17.5 billion in investment by Korean firms since 2020

Supporting 23,000 total jobs in the state, Korean companies like Kia, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group and others are continuing to invest.

 

240 high-paying jobs created by Marshall Aerospace in North Carolina

Marshall Aerospace has selected Piedmont Triad International Airport for its first location in the United States to service C-130 aircraft. The company plans to invest $50 million.

 

Firearm manufacturer subsidiary FN America plans expansion in South Carolina

The company plans to expand in Pickens County with a $33 million investment that will create 176 new jobs.

 

Disney plans to invest in $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the plan, which will create 13,000 jobs in Central Florida, as the company continues its feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

 

Acquisition Integration to create 250 jobs in Alabama

The aerospace logistics and distribution company plans to build 170,000 square feet of hangar and office space at the Pryor Field Regional Airport. The $30 million investment will create 250 jobs.

 

Global renewable energy company SPI Energy Co. Ltd. to invest $65.9 million in South Carolina

SEM Wafertech and Solar4American Technology announced the investment to establish operations in Sumter County. The solar companies’ investment will create 300 new jobs in Sumter County.

 

$42.7 expansion planned by BorgWarner Inc. in Oconee County, S.C.

As part of its “Charging Forward” initiative, The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automotive supplier will create 122 new jobs in its plans to upgrade its facility in Seneca to integrate new EV battery systems.

 

Congo LLC will expand its HQ in Louisville, Ky.

The $8.25 million project will produce 500 high-paying jobs. The company plans to relocate to a 110,000-square-foot location at 13551 Triton Park Blvd.

 

Castellini Co. creates 180 jobs, to invest $16.6 million in Kentucky

The third-party logistics company for the food industry is expanding its Wilder operations with a $16.6 million investment.

 

EV car maker Rivian to invest $10 million in Bullitt County, Ky.

The planned remanufacturing facility in Shepherdsville will create 218 high-paying jobs, continuing the EV industries’ growth in the state.

 

Church & Dwight Company will expand in Virginia

The baking soda manufacturer plans to invest $27 million in its expansion of its Chesterfield County operations, which will create an additional 53 new jobs.

 

Richmond National Group to create 100 jobs in Henrico County, Va.

The specialty insurer plans to expand its HQ by adding 7,200 square feet of office space to its Greater Richmond footprint.

 

Delta Star will invest $30.2 million in Lynchburg, Va., expansion

The industrial power equipment manufacturer will create 149 jobs by adding 80,000-square-feet of manufacturing space and 14,000-square-feet of new office space.

 

CharterUp is relocating its HQ to Austin, Texas

The online bus-booking platform plans to add 100 jobs.

 

Tech company Tquila Automation to create 200 jobs in Birmingham, Ala.

The delivery hub will be located at The Switch, Birmingham’s innovation district, in the 65,000-square-foot Nextec building.

 

Westwater Resources plans $202 million graphite plant in Alabama

The Coosa County plant will supply material for EV battery manufacturer SK On.


April 2023

Southern mega-markets surge in job growth

Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and Miami have surged in job growth since the beginning of 2020. Employment levels in those markets as of January 2023 increased by 9 percent in Dallas, followed by Atlanta, Houston and Miami with levels of 4.9 percent, 3.9 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.

 

German automaker eyes U.S. assembly plant

According to a report in the Washington Post, Audi is considering building a U.S. factory to produce electric vehicles. In just the past three years, several automakers and battery manufacturers have announced plans to spend billions on new facilities in the Southern Automotive Corridor.

 

Ford and Gov. Lee celebrate historic BlueOval City in West Tennessee

In the spring quarter, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Ford Motor Company marked significant progress on construction at the historic BlueOval City complex in West Tennessee. The project is the single largest investment in Tennessee history. In 2021, Ford Motor Company and SK On committed a $5.6 billion investment to build a 3,600-acre mega-campus called BlueOval City at the Megasite of West Tennessee, where the production of Ford’s second generation electric trucks will begin in 2025. The project is expected to create 30,000 jobs in West Tennessee, anchored by Memphis, including auto parts suppliers and other support projects. The construction is expected to create 6,000 jobs.

 

Study projects BlueOvalSK EV battery plant will have $800 million economic impact in Kentucky

A new study conducted by the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and Murray State University shows the potential economic impact of the BlueOval SK Battery Park on local governments in Hardin County and the surrounding region. Once at full employment in 2025, the Ford facility is estimated to have a yearly value-added impact of nearly $800 million.

 

One billion dollars invested on a high-tech paperboard recycling mill in Waco, Texas

Graphic Packaging International plans to break ground this spring on the 640,000-square-foot facility in Waco’s Texas Central Park. The mill will turn corrugated box cardboard into thinner paperboard packaging for cereal boxes and other consumer products. Production will commence in 2026, company officials said. The company is set to hire 230 people with average pay of $65,000 plus benefits.

 

Lithium-ion battery recycler opens plant in Georgia

A $50 million lithium-ion battery recycling facility is now open in Covington, a critical piece of Georgia’s growing electric vehicle supply chain. Massachusetts-based Ascend Elements currently employs 100 workers at the facility, which is near Rivian’s planned $5 billion electric vehicle plant in Social Circle, Ga. The battery recycler plans to increase its headcount to 185 by 2024, and called the project the largest of its kind in North America.

 

EVs in Georgia account for the majority of Georgia’s biggest deals

Electric vehicle plants like Rivian and Hyundai in Georgia make up seven of the 10 largest economic development projects as of April. The Hyundai project, worth billions, is one of the largest economic development projects announced in the South.

 

Georgia takes over New York for sound stage square footage

Georgia now has over 3 million square feet of sound stages. Topping that mark made the state the second largest in film and television production space in the nation. The report came from FilmLA, a nonprofit that serves as the official film office for the city and county of Los Angeles, which has 6.2 million square feet of production space. New York has 2.8 million square feet. The report also tracks other “competitive jurisdictions” including the United Kingdom, Ontario and British Columbia. Georgia ranked fourth overall among all the locations, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

 

A new Research Triangle county is now the fastest growing

Franklin County, located in the Research Triangle of the Raleigh-Durham region is now the fastest growing in population between 2021 and 2022, according to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. At 3.8 percent, Franklin County’s population expanded greater than Johnston or Chatham counties. Johnston County is still red hot from a growth perspective. The county grew its population by 3.3 percent during the one-year interval. And it’s three times as large as Franklin, so its actual gain of residents was much higher for the year at 7,500 compared to 2,700 for Franklin, according to the Triangle Business Journal.

 

CommScope adding hundreds of jobs in Catawba County, N.C.

Hickory, N.C.-based CommScope is investing $47 million and creating 250 jobs at its fiber optic cable plants. Ninety percent of those jobs will not require a college degree. The added manufacturing will produce rural area applications of fiber optic cable to expand broadband service to areas that are lacking high-speed internet.

 

Massive investment in Kentucky

Microvast Advanced Membrane is investing $504 million in a project in Hopkinsville, Ky., to build the world’s first mass production facility for its cutting-edge polyaramid separator technology. The polyaramid technology is used in firefighting garments and insulating papers. The facility will help integrate the product into EV battery designs, including Microvast’s cells as well as those of other third-party battery manufacturers. The project will create 562 full-time jobs.

 

Toyota Boshoku to make $225 million investment in Hopkinsville, Ky.

Toyota Boshoku America Inc. (TBA) will invest more than $225 million to construct a new facility in Hopkinsville and create 157 quality jobs for Kentuckians, according to the Lane Report. The new facility will include a 365,400-square-foot building pad on 49 acres in Christian County. The plant will be the first TBA location globally to be considered a “Smart Plant.” The facility will employ innovative, cutting-edge technologies such as advanced robotics, planning and automation to streamline processes, reduce waste and enhance productivity to maximize efficiency and operations.

 

Alabama sets $10 billion investments record

Manufacturers and service providers made an estimated total of $10.1 billion investments in Alabama last year. The total broke the previous record of $8.7 billion in 2018. The numbers are from the 2022 Alabama Economic Development Impact Report that the Alabama Department of Commerce released in the spring quarter.

 

Alabama food and beverage company announces $130 million project in South Carolina

Milo’s Tea Co. announced in March it will create more than 100 jobs in Spartanburg County, S.C. The project will entail production of tea and lemonade on site by fall 2024.

 

Canada-based Epsilon manufacturer picks Tuscaloosa for plant

Epsilon Industries is investing around $3 million to open a facility to produce prefabricated modular utility systems in an integrated factory environment at the Tuscaloosa County Airport Industrial Park. The deal will create 180 jobs.

 

Clean energy manufacturer to establish $264 million plant in Shelby County, Ky.

EnerVenue will establish a new manufacturing facility in Shelby County, creating 450 full-time jobs with a $264 million Phase 1 investment with potential for further investment. The company manufactures energy storage products and systems. 

 

New distillery headed to Georgetown, Ky.

A planned $51 million distillery coming to Georgetown will be an architectural innovation from the same Danish firm that designed Google’s headquarters and the Lego brand museum, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. According to the media property, “Blue Run, which announced in August 2022 that it planned to build a whiskey operation in Georgetown, released preliminary designs by Bjarke Ingels Group. Called “Meander,” the design shows one swooping half-mile-long building housing the entire operation including distilling, aging and blending. The design is meant to evoke Georgetown’s Royal Spring, according to a news release. The whiskey operation in Georgetown, home of Toyota’s largest assembly plant in the U.S., will create 45 new jobs.

 

$1.3 billion investment announced in South Carolina

Charlotte-based Albemarle is investing at least $1.3 billion and creating more than 300 new jobs to construct a new “Mega-Flex” lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County, S.C. The facility will support the surging demand for electric vehicles and other energy storage applications that use lithium-ion batteries. Situated on nearly 800 acres near Richburg, Albemarle’s new “Mega-Flex” conversion facility will support the fast-growing global electric vehicle and energy storage markets. The term “Mega-Flex” refers to the facility’s ability to process diverse lithium feedstock, including lithium from recycled batteries. The new facility is expected to annually produce approximately 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from multiple sources, with the potential to reach up to 100,000 metric tons, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

 

Another lithium-Ion battery campus being built in South Carolina

Cirba Solutions, a comprehensive battery management and materials company, announced plans in the spring to build its newest state-of-the-art, flagship operations in Richland County, S.C. The integrated lithium-ion battery materials campus will encompass an initial investment of over $300 million and will create more than 300 new jobs. The company plans to build an approximately 400,000-square-foot, world-class lithium-ion battery recycling and materials campus that will focus on processing end-of-life hybrid and EV batteries and gigafactory scrap to extract critical materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium.

 

Oil and gas refiner to relocate HQ from Dallas to Baton Rouge

Petroleum company Placid Refining will move its headquarters from Dallas to downtown Baton Rouge, La. Placid is also investing $66 million to improve its existing facility in Port Allen. The deal will create 20 new jobs. 

 

CGI has created more than 700 jobs at its center in Lafayette, La.

Global IT and business consulting firm CGI has created more than 700 jobs at its U.S. Onshore Delivery Center in Lafayette, La., which opened in 2014. This is almost double the number of jobs it originally expected to bring to the region. CGI’s Acadiana workforce supports federal and commercial clients across the nation undertaking critical digital transformation projects.

 

Deal in Lexington County, S.C.

Cooperative Electric Energy Utility Supply, a consumer-owned electric materials supplier, announced plans to expand operations in Lexington County. The company’s approximately $52 million investment will create 61 new jobs.

 

German manufacturer picks Virginia for 100 more jobs

Germany-based Zollner Elektronik AG will invest $18 million to expand in Virginia. The company is expanding in Danville and will add 100 jobs.

 

Electric vehicle battery manufacturer expanding in Tennessee

Microvast, a maker of batteries for EVs, is investing $150 million to expand its facility in Clarksville, Tenn. The expansion will double the plant’s capacity. “Houston-based Microvast is one of several automotive companies pouring new investment into Greater Nashville and hitching the largest piece of Tennessee’s manufacturing economy to electric vehicles.” So far, Microvast has committed to close to 290 jobs at its first Clarksville factory and another 600 to 700 at a potential second factory nearby, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Microvast reported 35 percent growth in revenue from 2021 to 2022. Its backlog of orders more than tripled, to $410.5 million.

 

Old denim mill south of Raleigh to breathe new life

Harnett County, N.C., is home to the old Erwin Cotton Mills plant that has stood from more than 100 years. Once called the “Denim Capital of the World,” the site is about to see a regeneration into a new business park in Erwin, N.C. The small town of 5,000 people is about 50 minutes south of Raleigh between U.S. Highway 421 and the Cape Fear River. Erwin is about 10 minutes west of Interstate 95. The buyer of the facility will transform it into more than 1 million square feet of spaces ranging from 2,000 to up to 400,000 square feet for prospective tenants.

 

Supplier to Hyundai’s massive Georgia complex to bring new jobs

Korea-based PHA announced it will build a new plant near the Hyundai facility in Chatham County, Ga. The $67 million investment will generate more than 400 new jobs.

 

Distribution center set for Byhalia, Miss.

A Massachusetts-based third-party logistics (3PL) firm has opened its seventh Memphis-area distribution center. Barrett Distribution Centers’ new operations in Byhalia, Miss., employ 100 workers at a 960,000-square-foot facility. 

 

Tin Thanh Group to locate tire manufacturing facility in rural South Carolina; over 1,000 jobs to be created

Tin Thanh Group Americas, a tire manufacturer, announced plans to establish its first United States operations which will be in Allendale County. The company’s $68 million investment will create 1,031 new jobs. Supplying energy from reusable sources, Tin Thanh Group Americas will provide operations in recycled energy, closed industry-agriculture, recycled waste and tire leasing while serving the environment, energy, high-tech agriculture and technology markets.

 

Spending by productions in North Carolina tops $258 million in 2022

Filmmakers spent more than $258 million on productions in North Carolina last year, the sixth highest year-end total since 2000, when the state started offering incentives to support the state’s film industry. “North Carolina continues to attract great film, television and streaming projects that bring good jobs to our state,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Last year, these projects helped create 16,000 job opportunities, including 3,000 crew and talent positions for our state’s highly skilled production workforce.” In 2022, 74 film, television and streaming projects had production-related activities in all eight of the state’s prosperity zones, including previously announced N.C. Film and Entertainment Grant awardees.

 

Ship repair contractor expanding in Hampton Roads

Advanced Integrated Technologies (AIT) is expanding its Norfolk ship repair operations. The project will create 76 jobs.

 

Big apparel project in Richmond MSA

SanMar Corp., the United States’ largest supplier of wholesale printable accessories and apparel, will create an expected 1,000 jobs in Hanover County, Va. The company will invest $50 million on an existing 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center.

 

Auto parts manufacturer to hire more than 119 in Salem, Va.

German auto parts manufacturer STS Group AG will establish its North American headquarters in Salem. The company announced a greenfield project in Wythe County, Va., in 2001, but has chosen to move into an existing facility near Roanoke. The investment of $39 million will create 120 jobs.

 

Ford’s $5.6 billion BlueOval City complex attracting suppliers far and wide in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development reported in the spring quarter that Ford’s suppliers for its electric vehicle facility in Stanton, Tenn., (located just outside of Memphis) are considering sites in more places in the Volunteer State than West Tennessee. Supplier activity is hot on the site of the 11-million-square-foot plant shared by Ford and battery maker SK.

 

Little Rock MSA picks up nice healthcare deal

RelateCare is creating 255 jobs in Sherwood, Ark. The back-office project will support hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the U.S.

 

Vacant shipyard near New Orleans catching new sails

It’s not a big deal, but it is a start. An offshore wind hub is coming to the site of the former Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana as the region ramps up to serve the growing renewable energy industry in the U.S. in the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans-based Gulf Wind Technology (GWT) announced in the spring it is venturing with energy giant Shell to start a research, training and technology demonstration program at GWT’s facility within the Avondale Global Gateway in Jefferson Parish. The news comes after the Biden administration in February proposed the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the government's plan to spur offshore wind deployment beyond the East Coast. The project will start off with 30 new jobs.

 

Kentucky town wins 2023 Best Southern Small Town

In the spring quarter, Maysville, Ky., was named Best Southern Small Town by USA Today readers. The publication explained in its piece that those small towns cited “embodied charm and hospitality while also attracting visitors worldwide.”

 

“Unprecedented” coastal restoration project granted final funds in Louisiana

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is granting $660 million from a 2013 settlement of federal criminal charges involving the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster to help rebuild Louisiana’s coastline. The money is part of a $3 billion project that will help slow losses of Louisiana land on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The “unprecedented” funding, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, could top $3 billion from various sources.

 

Siemens Mobility to establish first East Coast operation in Lexington, N.C.

Manufacturer Siemens Mobility has announced it is investing $220 million in a plant to make passenger rail cars. The company picked Lexington, N.C., for the 506-job project.

 

Mississippi makes investments in industrial sites.

In the spring quarter, Gov. Tate Reeves announced the state of Mississippi will invest $56.7 million in site development projects throughout the state. Site development grant funds made available through the Mississippi Development Authority and Appalachian Regional Commission are assisting local economic development entities in their efforts to spur economic growth by attracting new industry to competitive, shovel-ready sites.

 

Amazon delaying construction on second HQ in Virginia

Amazon has decided to delay construction on its second headquarters in Virginia. The first headquarters is under construction and is expected to open in the summer. The original announcement for a second U.S. headquarters came in 2017 and over 20,000 jobs were projected.

 

Healthcare project to create nearly 300 jobs in Virginia

PRINCO, a healthcare products manufacturer, is investing over $18 million in Norfolk, Va. The deal will create 284 jobs. The products will be sold to hospitals throughout the U.S.

 

Trader Joe’s breaks ground on distribution facility in Kentucky

In the spring, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials to break ground on a new Simpson County facility for Trader Joe’s East Inc., a leading retail distributor and supplier of food and beverage products. The project will create 876 full-time jobs, behind a $259 million investment.

 

Another Hyundai supplier picks Georgia

A steady stream of automotive parts suppliers has announced plans to serve the gigantic Hyundai battery and vehicle plant in Bryan County, Ga. South Korea-based PHA announced in March it will invest $67 million in a new facility near the Hyundai plant. The deal will create over 400 jobs.

 

Alabama automotive sector continues to thrive

Alabama’s four major assembly plants continue to grow. Mazda Toyota is adding jobs in Huntsville. Hyundai (Montgomery) and Mercedes-Benz (Tuscaloosa County) continue to expand their electric vehicle lineups. And Honda plans updates on several models at its plant in Lincoln.

 

Delivery app bringing 200 jobs to Birmingham

Food delivery company ASAP (formerly Waitr) is adding jobs in Birmingham. The deal will create 200 jobs.

 

Sam’s Club to create 600 jobs in Georgia

Retailer Sam’s Club is establishing a new fulfillment center in Douglas County, Ga. The project will create 600 jobs.

 

Money being invested in Mississippi megasite

The state of Mississippi recently announced it was allocating $5.1 million to Madison County to build an additional access point to the industrial site near the Nissan factory.

 

Organic poultry producer creating 300 jobs in Virginia

Farmer Focus is expanding its facilities in Harrisonburg, Va. The nearly $18 million deal will create 300 jobs.

 

New distribution center slated for Eastern North Carolina

UPS is building a new distribution center in Onslow County, N.C. The project will create 98 new jobs.

 

Tire manufacturer hiring 125 in Tennessee

Nokian Tyres is expanding its workforce in Dayton, Tenn. The project will generate 125 new jobs.

 

Idea Nuova to invest nearly $20 million in rural Georgia

Idea Nuova is establishing a new manufacturing facility in Screven County, Ga. The deal will create 80 new jobs.

 

Louisiana LNG exports soar

Louisiana’s three export facilities delivered more than 2.45 trillion cubic feet of LNG in 2022. Overall, the nation’s seven export terminals exported 3.86 trillion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas last year.

 

Hyundai assembles first electric vehicle at its Alabama plant

Korean automaker Hyundai rolled out its first electric vehicle at its large plant in Montgomery, Ala. The Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV was the first model to be produced. The first EV comes 10 months after Hyundai announced that it would build the Electrified GV70 SUV and a hybrid version of the Santa Fe at the Montgomery plant. Hyundai invested $300 million and added 200 jobs to install an EV line at the plant.

 

Supplier adds to growth list of Korean parts makers in Georgia

In the spring quarter, Georgia announced Sewon America would invest more than $300 million into a new manufacturing facility in Rincon in Effingham County, Ga. The deal will generate more than 700 jobs.

 

FDI in Alabama soars

Foreign direct investment, mostly in automotive and aerospace, is on the rise in Alabama. Since 2018, foreign companies have launched investment projects valued at more than $13 billion across the state, generating nearly 17,000 job commitments, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.

 

Nucor to open new facility in Decatur, Ala.

Charlotte-based steelmaker Nucor announced in the spring it will invest $125 million in an advanced manufacturing facility in Decatur. The new venture will produce transmission towers and generate 200 jobs.

 

South Carolina leads nation in export of vehicle tires.

Gov. Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) and the South Carolina Ports Authority (SC Ports) announced that the state’s 2022 export sales totaled $31.5 billion, up 6 percent over 2021, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The state remains the nation’s top exporter of completed passenger motor vehicles and tires.

 

Big building materials deal in the Palmetto State

IKO, a manufacturer of roofing products, announced it will establish its first South Carolina operations in Chester County. The company’s $363 million investment will create 180 new jobs.

 

Laser technology manufacturer relocating headquarters to Greenville County, S.C.

Erchonia Corp., a global laser technology manufacturer, announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Greenville County. The company’s $6.7 million investment will create 51 new jobs.

 

Investments in Louisiana topped $20 billion in 2022

Companies invested nearly $21 billion in capital in 2022, according to Louisiana Economic Development. The investments created about 18,000 new jobs.

 

Danish toymaker hiring 500 in Richmond MSA

Lego is hiring 500 at its $1 billion Chesterfield County manufacturing facility by the end of this year.

 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to lead Tenn-Tom Waterway Authority

Gov. Andy Beshear will be heading up a four-state effort to promote the development of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and its economic and trade potential. A release from Beshear’s office announced his election as the 2023 chairman of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority.

 

Record-breaking year for Georgia trade

In the spring, Gov. Brian Kemp joined the Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) in announcing that the State of Georgia achieved a record-breaking year for international trade for a second year in a row. In 2022, Georgia’s total trade exceeded $196 billion across 221 countries and territories.

 

Manufacturer investing over $10 million in rural Tennessee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter and The Robinette Company officials announced the company will invest $10.3 million to construct a new, 100,000-square-foot facility in Piney Flats, Tenn. With a headquarters in Bristol and manufacturing operations in both Bristol and Piney Flats, the new facility will be The Robinette Company’s fourth location. Through this expansion, the company will create 70 new production jobs in Sullivan County. The company employs more than 450 in Northeast Tennessee.

 

Meta expands in Durham, N.C.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced in the spring it will create 100 jobs in downtown Durham. Meta joins other large tech companies such as Microsoft and Google that have operations in the Research Triangle.

 

Tuskegee, Ala., captures Korean auto supplier

Samkee Corp., a Tier 1 supplier to Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, will open a $128 million factory in Tuskegee, its first U.S. operation. The project will create 170 new jobs.

 

Virginia backs out of Ford deal; project goes to Michigan

Ford Motor Co. announced it will build at $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan. The plant will house about 2,500 workers. Virginia dropped out of the running for the deal in February.

 

Steel manufacturer to locate first U.S. plant in Memphis

MSS Steel Tubes USA plans to open its first U.S. plant in Memphis, the Greater Memphis Chamber announced in the spring. The Portuguese-owned company will hire 129 in the deal.

 

North Carolina reloading megasite portfolio

After announcements by Toyota and others, most of the existing megasites in North Carolina are now occupied. The North Carolina legislature has passed funding to replenish the state’s lineup of sites of 1,000 acres or more.

 

Big semiconductor-related deal in South Carolina

Pallidus, a silicon carbide (SiC) wafer semiconductor manufacturer, announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations to York County, S.C. The company’s $443 million investment will create 405 new jobs. Founded in 2015, Pallidus leverages its proprietary M-SiC technology to increase the quality and lower the cost to produce silicon carbide wafers used in semiconductors.

 

GE Appliances to invest $50 million in South Carolina

GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company, announced plans to expand its South Carolina operations with a distribution center in Greenville County. The $50 million investment is projected to create 45 new jobs. The company also has manufacturing facilities at its Kentucky headquarters and in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

 

Seoyon E-HWA joins list of Hyundai suppliers in Georgia

Gov. Brian Kemp announced that Seoyon E-HWA, a global auto parts supplier that manufactures both interior and exterior components, will create 740 new direct and indirect jobs and invest almost $76 million in a new manufacturing facility in Chatham County, Ga.

 

UAB Birmingham economic effect: $12 billion, over 107,000 jobs.

A report from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that the school and its massive healthcare complex generated more than $12 billion to Alabama’s economy in 2022. This includes wages, job generation and other factors. In comparison, UAB was responsible for $4.6 billion in economic impact in 2008. The University also sustained or supported over 107,000 jobs and $256 million in local taxes last year.

 

Boom Supersonic breaks ground in North Carolina

Colorado-based Boom Supersonic broke ground on its Overture factory at a 62-acre campus at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. The final assembly line facility and delivery center will house up to 2,400 workers. The company, which has orders for 130 aircraft, will build the Overture airliner that will fly at twice the speed of today’s commercial jets.


January 2023

Automakers optimistic for 2023 rebound

After the worst year of vehicle sales in more than a decade, automakers in the Southern Automotive Corridor are optimistic that 2023 will be a rebound year. Industry experts believe vehicle sales in the U.S. were near 14 million in 2022, an 8 to 9 percent drop from 2021. Parts and supply chain issues affected many automakers in 2022.

 

Florida is the fastest growing U.S. state

Last year, Florida was the fastest growing state in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It was the first time Florida outgrew all U.S. states since 1957. The nation’s third largest state netted over 400,000 new residents from July 2021 to July 2022. With the bounce, Florida’s population is estimated to be 22.24 million.

 

Texas gains more new residents than any another state

Texas gained more new residents than any other state in the country from summer 2021 to summer 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. During that time, Texas captured 477,708 new residents, the largest gain of any other state in the nation. The population of Texas now sits at 30,029,572 people. In terms of a percentage increase, Texas ranked fourth over the 12-month period gaining 1.6 percent. It trailed Florida, Idaho and South Carolina in population gains by percentage.

 

Kentucky knocking it out

Gov. Andy Beshear announced in January that economic development growth in Kentucky concluded its best two-year period for announced private-sector investment and job creation in state history. In 2022, 248 private-sector new-location and expansion projects committed to invest nearly $10.5 billion and create 16,000 full-time jobs. Those figures position 2022 as Kentucky’s second highest year for new investment behind 2021’s record year. Wages continue to rise in the Commonwealth as well, as Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, an 11.5 percent increase over the 2021 mark of $24 and the second highest over an eight-year period.

 

Austin is No. 1 in sustainability

Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown has been named No. 1 in sustainability by Site Selection magazine. Four other Texas cities made the Top 10 for the South Central Region, and three more ranked in the Top 10 nationwide. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington ranked No. 2; Houston-The Woodlands- Sugar Land is No. 3; San Antonio-New Braunfels is No. 5; and Waco is No. 8.

 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announces $1.8 billion Louisiana port expansion

In the winter quarter, Louisiana announced a new $1.8 billion container facility on the Lower Mississippi River. The facility is a partnership among the Port of New Orleans, New Jersey-based Ports America, one of North America’s largest marine terminal operators, and Geneva, Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company. The new Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) in St. Bernard Parish will be able to serve vessels of all sizes, dramatically increasing Louisiana’s import and export capacity and stimulating the creation of more than 17,000 new jobs statewide by 2050.

 

Tennessee Valley Authority will turn coal ash sites into solar farms

TVA is taking its first step in turning its coal ash landfills into solar energy farms, the utility announced in the fall quarter. TVA’s board approved a $216 million investment for a pilot project to build a 100-megawatt, 309-acre solar farm on top of a coal ash landfill in Paducah, Ky. The new solar energy facility will be capable of powering about 600,000 homes.

 

Energy startup proposes $7.5 billion investment in Ascension Parish, La.

Clean Hydrogen Works, a project development company established in 2021 that is focused on energy decarbonization solutions, announced it is exploring a plan to build a large-scale hydrogen-ammonia production and export facility in Ascension Parish. Doing business as Ascension Clean Energy,  in partnership with Denbury Carbon Solutions and Hafnia, the company estimates the proposed $7.5 billion project would create 350 new direct jobs with an estimated average annual salary of $73,412 by 2030. If the project moves forward as outlined, Louisiana Economic Development estimates 1,122 new indirect jobs would result, for 1,472 total potential new jobs in the Capital Region.

 

Feds pick first two Gulf zones for offshore wind farms

The federal government has selected the first two areas for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management set boundaries for the two zones: a 174,000-acre area south of Lake Charles and a 508,000-acre area near Galveston, Texas.

 

Huntsville, Ala., most affordable housing market

Huntsville has been named one of the top 10 markets to watch in the coming year by the National Association of Realtors. Of all the top 10 real estate markets cited, Huntsville is the most affordable according to the NAR.

 

UNCC Economist: No recession in 2022, nor one expected in 2023

University of North Carolina at Charlotte economist John Connaughton spoke at the North Carolina Economic Forecast and said the country did not slide into recession in 2022 and he expects the same in 2023. Overall, said Connaughton, the economy likely grew by about 3.4 percent in 2022.

 

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin ginning up industrial sites

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is allocating $350 million for industrial site development in the Commonwealth. Called Virginia Business Ready Sites, the new allocation would bring the state’s total recent investments for site development to $500 million.

 

Louisiana sets new lows for unemployment rate

The state of Louisiana’s unemployment rate in October dropped to 3.1 percent. The figure is the lowest unemployment rate in state history.

 

Renters coming to the South look to Huntsville and Biloxi

According to Rent.com and its analysis of rental data, two Southern markets are at the top of the most sought-after destinations. The Huntsville-Decatur (Florence) metro area was the second most searched destination in the country by renters, and Biloxi, Miss., was No. 1.

 

Alabama metro among top five in U.S. for manufacturing jobs

Decatur, Ala., located on the Tennessee River, has always been a haven for top-line manufacturers, such as United Launch Alliance and 3M. According to the website SmartAsset, Decatur is the second best place to work in manufacturing in the U.S., behind only Ames, Iowa.

 

Mazda not yet at “full employment” at Alabama plant

Back in 2018, Mazda and Toyota announced a joint-venture plant in Limestone County, Ala. The plant currently houses 3,700 employees, but the two Japanese automakers are having a tough time reaching the goal of 4,000 workers as a result of thin labor pools and retention issues. Mazda makes it CX-50 crossover model at the plant and Toyota its Corolla Cross model.

 

Hyundai Mobis plans EV battery module plant in Montgomery, Ala.

In the fall quarter, Gov. Kay Ivey joined executives of Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, to announce the company’s plans to invest $205 million to open an EV battery module plant in Montgomery that will eventually employ at least 400 people. Once it reaches full production, the 450,000-square-foot facility will be able to supply over 200,000 EV batteries annually to the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) factory in Montgomery and the Kia Georgia plant in West Point, Ga.

 

Hyundai and SK On announce $4 billion EV battery deal in Georgia

Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced in December that Hyundai Motor Group and SK On have selected a site in Bartow County, Ga., for a new electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility that will supply Hyundai Motor Group’s plants in the U.S. One of the largest economic development projects in state history, stakeholders estimate it will create more than 3,500 new jobs through approximately $4 billion to $5 billion of investment in Bartow County. Hyundai Motor Group and SK On recently signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the partnership for a new EV battery facility in the U.S., with the details of the partnership still in development.

 

New supplier to Hyundai’s massive Georgia EV plant

Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, plans to invest $926 million in a new facility in Bryan County, Ga. The plant will help supply electric vehicle production at Hyundai’s new multi-billion-dollar, multi-thousand-job complex in Southeast Georgia. The deal will create 1,500 jobs.

 

Another EV battery maker announces billion-plus investment

FREYR Battery, a developer of clean, next-generation battery cell production capacity, will invest $2.57 billion into Georgia’s sustainable technology ecosystem and create 723 new jobs over the next seven years at a manufacturing facility in Coweta County.

 

First Georgia Hyundai supplier to build new facility in Georgia

Joon Georgia Inc., an automotive parts manufacturer, will create 630 new jobs and invest $317 million in Bulloch County. Plans for the company’s new manufacturing facility mark the first confirmed supplier for Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America in Bryan County.

 

Kentucky’s largest-ever economic development project going up

At the Glendale Megasite on Interstate 65 in Kentucky, Ford and its South Korean partner, SK, are building a pair of manufacturing plants that will produce batteries for Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles. Construction has been going on for quite a while now on the multi-billion-dollar project, yet, the official groundbreaking took place in December. The 2.3-square-mile campus will eventually employ 5,000 workers. 

 

Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer goes public because of new North Carolina assembly plant

VinFast, which is building a $2 billion electric vehicle and battery plant in North Carolina, has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the first formal step toward a public offering this year. The automaker became Vietnam’s first automaker in 2019.

 

Electric vehicle manufacturer to open facility in Oklahoma City

Following a long line of electric vehicle and battery announcements in the Southern Automotive Corridor (go to SouthernAutoCorridor.com), Canoo announced in the fall it will locate an assembly facility in Oklahoma City. The project is expected to generate 500 jobs and 20,000 units by the end of 2023.

 

Huge deal in the South Carolina Low Country

Redwood Materials is locating its next Battery Materials Campus, in the heart of the “Battery Belt,” just outside of Charleston, S.C. The facility will be built at Camp Hall in Berkeley County. Redwood will recycle, refine and manufacture anode and cathode components on more than 600 acres, creating more than 1,500 jobs and investing $3.5 billion in the local community. The company combines recycling, refining and remanufacturing to produce and return battery materials to U.S. battery cell manufacturers used in electric vehicles.

 

Ultium Cells to expand Tennessee facility

Ultium Cells, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors, will expand its Spring Hill, Tenn., battery cell manufacturing operations. The project represents a $275 million investment by Ultium Cells, which is in addition to the $2.3 billion investment announced in April 2021, and is expected to create 400 additional jobs. Once the facility is fully operational, Ultium Cells is expected to employ a workforce of 1,700 in Maury County.

Ultium Cells will increase battery cell production by more than 40 percent, from 35 gigawatt-hours to 50 GWh. The Tennessee facility will supply battery cells to General Motors’ Spring Hill assembly plant for production of the Cadillac LYRIQ, the first electric vehicle produced at the plant, and other GM Ultium Platform-based electric vehicles. Production at the 2.8-million-square-foot facility will begin in late 2023.

 

Single largest foreign direct investment in Tennessee history announced

LG Chem announced in December a $3.2 billion, cathode manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tenn. It is part of the massive electric vehicle supply chain that is remaking much of the American South’s economy.

 

Tesla’s Austin factory delivers first electric semi-truck

In the winter quarter, Austin-based Tesla delivered its first electric semi-truck to its first customer, PepsiCo. The delivery is the first since Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company would start making the trucks.

 

Beyond Gravity to double Alabama production capacity

Switzerland-based Beyond Gravity, a manufacturer of structures for launch vehicles, is adding a new production facility in Decatur to provide additional payload fairings for the United Launch Alliance’s next-generation Alabama-built Vulcan rockets. Beyond Gravity said it is working with ULA to build the new production facility, which will add 200 workers at the site in Morgan County. The new hiring will essentially double the company’s headcount in Alabama. Beyond Gravity — formerly known as RUAG Space — said the expansion project follows its selection by ULA to supply 38 payload fairings for Vulcan rockets launching satellites as part of Amazon’s Project Kuiper.

 

United Launch Alliance expands rocket facility in North Alabama

United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced in December it is spending $300 million to expand its rocket manufacturing facility in Decatur, Ala., the world’s largest rocket plant. The expansion will allow ULA to nearly double its launch rate.

 

New Alabama solar facility to generate 700 jobs

First Solar Inc. plans to invest $1.1 billion to establish a photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Lawrence County, Ala., creating over 700 jobs in North Alabama, according to an announcement by Governor Kay Ivey. The new factory is part of the company’s previously announced investment in scaling its American manufacturing footprint to over 10 gigawatts by 2025.

 

Another major manufacturer chooses rural Arkansas county for large project

Highbar announced in the fall it will build a rebar mill on a 600-acre site that includes space for an expanded Mississippi River port facility, a railroad spur and a planned solar farm. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the first half of 2023 once permits are obtained. The deal will create 200 jobs in Mississippi County, Ark.

 

Dassault Falcon Jet to build major maintenance facility in Melbourne, Fla.

Dassault Falcon Jet announced it will build a new maintenance facility at Melbourne Orlando International Airport as part of the company’s global expansion of its maintenance, repair and overhaul network. Intended to serve customers across North and South America and beyond, the 175,000-square-foot complex will accommodate all current Falcon models (including the new, ultra-long-range Falcon 10X, the largest purpose-built business jet), and will be capable of performing major maintenance and modifications on up to 18 Falcon models simultaneously. Additionally, the site will be home to a 54,000-square-foot paint shop. Construction in Melbourne is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and opening is set for late 2024.

 

Electric vertical aircraft maker to create 1,000 jobs in Georgia

Archer Aviation, an aerospace company advancing sustainable urban air mobility, will create 1,000 jobs and invest $118 million over 10 years in a new state-of-the-art electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) manufacturing facility located alongside the Covington Municipal Airport in Newton County, Ga.

 

Absolics breaks ground in Georgia

Absolics, a subsidiary of SKC Co. Ltd., broke ground on a planned $600 million investment in Covington, Ga., for a new manufacturing facility that will supply advanced materials to the U.S. semiconductor industry. The investment will create more than 400 high-skilled jobs in Georgia and help strengthen the U.S. semiconductor supply chain by manufacturing a new material that supports next-generation computing systems.

 

Nucor opens steel plate factory in Kentucky

Charlotte-based Nucor rolled out its first steel plate in late December at its new plant in Brandenburg, Ky. The first product from the factory has been shipped to customers. The plant houses 400 workers.

 

Louisville-based Sazerac Co. to invest $600 million in Kentucky

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Sazerac, one of the largest spirits distillers in the world, will invest $600 million to build about 20 new barrel warehouses. The barrel storage facilities will be located in Laurel County.

 

AppHarvest opens world’s largest indoor farm in Kentucky

AppHarvest, a sustainable food company, recently opened the world’s largest high-tech indoor farm in Somerset, Ky. The new facility will grow cucumbers and strawberries.

 

Natural gas mining returns to Northwest Louisiana

As a result of higher natural gas prices and demand, drillers are returning in significant numbers to rural areas of Northwest Louisiana for the first time in a decade. The war in Ukraine has sent Germany and other countries scrambling for gas due to Russian supply cuts, and demand is also rising in Asia. That has pushed natural gas prices to some of the highest levels since 2008.

 

Steel Dynamics announces largest economic development deal in Mississippi history

Gov. Tate Reeves signed legislation recently to finalize Steel Dynamics’ $2.5 billion expansion in Mississippi. The project will create 1,000 new jobs.

 

Microsoft to invest $1 billion in technology facilities in Catawba County, N.C.

Leaders of Catawba County, N.C., the cities of Conover and Hickory, the town of Maiden, and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced in the fall quarter that Microsoft plans to invest a minimum of $1 billion in the phased development of four data centers in Catawba County over the next 10 years. The data centers will be located in Conover, Hickory and Maiden, and will create at least 50 new jobs.

 

Foreign-based aerospace company to build at Oklahoma Air & Space Port

Mexico-based Premium Aerospace Center plans to hire as many as 600 employees by 2026 at the Oklahoma Air & Space Port complex in Burns Flat, Okla., about 100 miles from Oklahoma City. The company will build new hangers for aircraft painting and interior remodeling.

 

Finisar considers $3 billion semiconductor expansion in Sherman, Texas

Finisar, a company that makes lasers for facial recognition technology in Apple’s iPhone, is considering Sherman for a new $3 billion semiconductor plant. The new plant, an expansion to its current 76-acre site, would produce wafers for semiconductor chips and create 700 jobs.

 

Chevron Phillips, Qatar Entergy announce $8.5 billion investment

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and QatarEnergy announced they are proceeding with the construction of an $8.5 billion integrated polymers facility in Orange, Texas, expected to create more than 500 full-time jobs and about 4,500 construction jobs and generate an estimated $50 billion for the community in residual economic impacts.

 

STIHL plans to invest $49 million to expand manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach

The City of Virginia Beach announced that STIHL plans to invest $49 million to expand its chain saw guide bar manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach. The expansion will add 26,000 square feet of space to an existing building, totaling 86,000 square feet upon completion. The project is also expected to create 15 new jobs with an average annual wage of $60,000 to $100,000.

 

Distribution facility slated for Suffolk, Va.

M S International, a California-based flooring, countertop, wall tile and hardscaping products supplier, will invest $61.6 million to establish its East Coast distribution facility in Suffolk. The deal will create 80 jobs.

 

BWX Technologies begins fuel production in Virginia

TRISO fuel produced at BWX Technologies’ Lynchburg facility in Virginia will power the Project Pele microreactor – the first microreactor to be built and operated in the USA.


November 2022

U.S. GDP makes major comeback in third quarter

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy posted its first period of positive growth for calendar year 2022 in the third quarter. The quarter’s growth in the economy eased recession projections by economists. The 2.6 percent growth on an annualized basis followed two consecutive quarters in 2022 of negative growth, which normally signals a recession. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research typically determines recessions by policy.

 

U.S. Secretary of Labor has lots to say about the economy and how to improve it through workforce innovations

In an interview at the CNBC Work Summit in October, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh expressed his opinions on the workforce and how the economy can grow through government legislation. He also addressed demography and how it is affecting the economy as baby boomers retire in droves, population growth is nonexistent and immigration reform is stuck in Washington.

 

Labor woes and how to solve them

Low unemployment and job openings that more than double those who are eligible to work were addressed by U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in an interview on CNBC. Amid one of the tightest labor markets in history, Walsh said the political parties’ approach to immigration — “getting immigration all tied up” — is among the most consequential mistakes the nation can make in labor policy. “One party is showing pictures of the border and meanwhile if you talk to businesses that support those congressional folks, they’re saying we need immigration reform,” Walsh said. “Every place I’ve gone in the country and talked to every major business, every small business, every single one of them is saying we need immigration reform. We need comprehensive immigration reform. They want to create a pathway for citizenship into our country, and they want to create better pathways for visas in our country.”

“We need a bipartisan fix here,” Walsh said. “I’ll tell you right now if we don’t solve immigration ... we’re talking about worrying about recessions, we’re talking about inflation. I think we’re going to have a bigger catastrophe if we don’t get more workers into our society and we do that by immigration.”

Walsh on the minimum wage

“It shocks me that there are members in the building behind me, if you can’t see the building behind me it’s the Capitol, that think that families can raise their family on $7-plus, on the minimum wage in this country,” he said.

Walsh on the cost of childcare and how it affects the labor shed

“Childcare is a basic necessity to get millions of women back into the workforce on a full-time basis,” he said.

“Child care has not been addressed by this country or by most states in this country for the last 50 years. The cost is too high for the average family and we can’t retain the workers in those industries. We lost a lot of workers in the childcare industry because they’re paying them minimum wage or a little bit above minimum wage,” Walsh said, referring to estimates that 100,000 workers left the sector during the pandemic.

“We have to respect them and pay them better wages. Anyone watching today that has kids in child care, you know, you’re paying 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% of your salary for child care,” he said. “A lot of families have made the decision [that], ‘We don’t want to have two people working, one person will maybe stay home, work part time and make up those costs,’ so that issue has to be resolved. It’s not just an economic issue. It’s a human rights issue in our country to get good child care,” he added.

 

Johnston County, N.C., is a juggernaut for growth

Located southeast of the capitol of Raleigh, Johnston County has seen amazing growth over the last decade, with a growth rate of about 4 percent on average according to our data. And that growth could continue as about two-thirds of its 100,000 or so workers commute outside the county. The county has a diverse employment base, led by Novo Nordisk, Bayer, Grifols, AAF Flanders and Caterpillar.

 

BMW to invest $1.7 billion in Upstate South Carolina

Announced in 1992, the German automaker BMW plans to invest $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations to build electric vehicles and batteries, the company announced in October. The investment includes a new line to produce electric vehicles at its plant that employs over 10,000 in Spartanburg County. It also includes $700 million to make battery assemblies in nearby Woodruff, S.C. The automaker expects to build six electric models at the plant by 2030.

 

John Deere expands Louisiana plant

Deere & Company, the global corporation that manufactures the iconic John Deere brand of agricultural, construction and forestry equipment, is investing $29.8 million to expand operations at its Thibodaux facility. The deal will include a $30 million investment and will generate 70 new jobs.

 

Mercedes-Benz unveils electric SUV to be built in Alabama

Mercedes-Benz Group AG announced it will build the EQE SUV at the Paris car show in the fall quarter. The German automaker also makes the flagship EQS sedan at its Alabama complex. Mercedes’ goal is to go all electric by the end of the decade.

 

Ford announces big deal in Louisville

Michigan-based Ford Motor Company will invest $700 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. The facility produces the all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty truck, among other models. Ford is the largest maker of vehicles in Kentucky and its two Louisville plants house over 12,000 workers.

 

Glove maker picks rural Alabama for manufacturing operation

ISA will locate a plant in Geneva County, Ala., to produce nitrile and latex gloves. The deal will create 80 jobs.

 

Amazon hiring 1,500 in Northern Kentucky

Amazon announced in the fall it is expanding in the U.S., hiring 150,000. Over 1,500 of those will be hired at its major air distribution hub in Northern Kentucky.

 

Bobcat cuts ribbon on its largest manufacturing facility in North America

Bobcat opened its Statesville, N.C., facility recently. The 600,000-square-foot expansion increased the footprint to more than 1 million square feet on a more than 150-acre campus. The $70 million project will create hundreds of jobs.

 

Lockheed Martin opens new facility in South Arkansas

Lockheed Martin opened its new All-Up Round III (AUR III) facility at Camden Operations in Arkansas recently. The Camden, Ark., facility produces all kinds of defense products, including the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), the world’s most advanced air defense missile.

 

Large-scale solar power coming to Mississippi

Mississippi Power has partnered with the U.S. Navy on four utility-scale solar facilities in the company’s service territory. Combined, they will generate about 160 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power more than 23,000 homes for a full year. The company serves 191,000 customer facilities.

 

Bosch Rexroth expands in Charlotte metro

Bosch Rexroth, a leading manufacturer of factory automation solutions, will invest $58 million into a new state-of-the-art customizing and research and development facility that will expand its operations for linear motion and assembly technologies. In addition to retaining 326 employees currently employed at their Charlotte operations, the company will hire 24 more people.

 

BMW makes its 6 millionth vehicle at South Carolina plant

A BMW X6 rolled off the line in October, representing the 6 millionth vehicle made at its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. The plant houses over 10,000 employees and has been in operation for 30 years.

 

Housing manufacturer announces new facility in Kentucky

Elevate Windows and Doors announced it will invest $16 million in a new facility in Hopkinsville, Ky. The company makes windows and doors. The deal is expected to create over 200 jobs.

 

Travel firm adding more than 200 jobs in Virginia

Pangiam, a travel and security technology company, will invest $3.1 million to establish its global headquarters in Fairfax County’s Tysons area, creating 201. The company provides facial recognition and data solutions to all kinds of customers, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Air Force, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

 

Energy testbed to locate in Southwest Virginia

The Energy DELTA Lab will develop a first-of-its-kind energy technology testbed in Wise County, Va. The project is an initiative is a collaborative effort by the Virginia Department of Energy, the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and InvestSWVA.

 

Bridgestone announces major Tennessee expansion

Bridgestone announced a major expansion and modernization of its Warren County, Tenn. Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) Tire Plant located in Morrison. The $550 million investment will add 380 new jobs and expand the plant’s existing footprint by 850,000 square feet to support increased capacity and to accelerate the use of advanced technologies that support cleaner, safer and more efficient commercial truck and bus fleets.

 

Boysen USA establishing operations in Spartanburg County, S.C.

Boysen USA, a subsidiary of the German-based Boysen Group, announced plans to expand its South Carolina presence with a new operation in Spartanburg County. The company’s $4.5 million investment will create 88 new jobs. A specialist in automotive exhaust technology, Boysen USA develops and manufactures exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, particulate traps, silencers and complete exhaust systems for leading original equipment manufacturers.

 

Minerals company selects Virginia

IperionX Limited, a minerals firm, plans to make a capital investment totaling $82.1 million to establish Virginia’s first titanium demonstration facility in Halifax County. The company intends to source 100% renewable energy to produce 100% recycled titanium to supply advanced industries including automotive, defense, aerospace, electric vehicles, and 3D printing.

 

GP making major investment in new plant in Jackson, Tenn.

Koch Industries owned paper products manufacturer Georgia-Pacific (GP) is preparing to invest $425 million to build a new production plant for Dixie paper plates in Jackson, TN, a release issued by the office of Gov. Bill Lee announced this week. Slated to become operational by summer 2024, the 900,000-square-foot location will help the company meet increased demand for paper plate products.

 

Nucor expanding in South Carolina’s Low Country

Nucor Corporation, a leading steel and steel products manufacturer in North America, today announced plans to expand operations in Berkeley County. The company’s $425 million investment will create 50 new jobs. With a history dating back to 1905, Nucor Corporation manufactures a variety of products including carbon and alloy steel, hollow structural tubing, electrical conduit, precision castings and more. The company’s products serve the agriculture, automotive and energy industries along with several others.

 

Manna Capital Partners plans $600 million Alabama beverage product hub

Manna Capital Partners, a minority-owned business enterprise and investment firm, said its Montgomery “beverage park” will create 280 full-time jobs and will be owned and operated by its affiliate Manna Beverages & Ventures (MB&V). Louisville, Kentucky-based Manna Capital Partners — founded by Ulysses L. “Junior” Bridgeman and Kevin Attkisson — concentrates on investment and acquisition possibilities across multiple industries, with an emphasis on sustainability and creating opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.

 

Governor Ivey announces Hyundai Mobis plans EV battery plant in Montgomery, Ala.

Governor Kay Ivey recently joined executives of Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, to announce the company’s plans to invest $205 million to open an EV battery module plant in Montgomery that will eventually employ at least 400 people. Once it reaches full production, the 450,000-square-foot facility will be able to supply over 200,000 EV batteries annually to the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) factory in Montgomery and the Kia Georgia plant. “Alabama’s auto manufacturing sector is evolving rapidly to capitalize on the EV revolution that is sweeping the industry, and this new Hyundai Mobis battery plant represents another milestone in that transition,” said Governor Ivey. “We’re excited about the company’s new investment and what it represents for the next chapter of auto making in Alabama.”

 

Dassault Falcon Jet to build major facility in Melbourne, Fla.

Dassault Falcon Jet announced it will build a new maintenance facility at Melbourne Orlando International Airport as part of the company’s global expansion of its maintenance, repair and overhaul network. Intended to serve customers across North and South America and beyond, the 175,000 square-foot complex will accommodate all current Falcon models, (including the new, ultra-long range Falcon 10X, the largest purpose-built business jet), and will be capable of performing major maintenance and modifications on up to 18 Falcon models simultaneously. Additionally, the site will be home to a 54,000-square-foot paint shop. Construction in Melbourne is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and opening is set for late 2024.

 

Biotech manufacturer to create over 350 jobs in North Carolina

ABEC, Inc., a global leader providing engineered process solutions and services for biotech manufacturing, will create 251 jobs in Wilson County. The company will invest $11 million in the City of Wilson to establish another ISO-7 cleanroom and increase single-use disposable container manufacturing capacity for its Custom Single Run biomanufacturing solutions. “Biomanufacturers that must operate at the highest levels of precision and quality choose North Carolina time and time again,” said Governor Cooper. “Biotech is a statewide industry, and ABEC will find the technical expertise and outstanding workforce they need in Wilson County.”


September 2022

After some thought, Toyota joins big in the EV manufacturing craze.

Toyota adds $2.5 billion on top of the $1.3 billion initial investment announced for its first U.S. battery factory in Liberty, N.C., near Greensboro. Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina is expected to produce batteries for its electric vehicle at the site in 2025.

Automakers, both foreign and domestic, have begun a land grab of tens of thousands of acres in the South to product electric vehicles and their primary parts, such as batteries.

Toyota officials have been slow to announce EV deals until now. In late August, Toyota’s Executive Vice President, Jack Hollis, said in multiple media reports that “the consumer isn’t demanding (EVs) at that level,” referring to the growing movement towards electric vehicles in the U.S.

 

Boeing captures $5 billion contract to defend the entire United States against long-range ballistic missiles

The giant project will be built and developed in Huntsville, Ala. Long-range ballistic missiles can house and deliver nuclear weapons and can fly as far as 10,000 miles.

 

Everyone knows about San Francisco, Palo Alto and New York’s startup prowess. It’s off the charts. But, Birmingham?

According to New Hampshire-based early-stage investment firm York IE, the fastest-growing startup city (per capita we assume) in the U.S. is Kirkland, Wash., which saw $298 million in funding for the second quarter, an increase of 1,724 percent. It was followed by Stanford, Calif., and Madison, Wisc. Birmingham followed at fourth, with $47 million in the second quarter, according to an article on AL.com.

 

$1 billion solar panel manufacturing facility to be built in the South

First Solar announced in the fall quarter it will build a new solar panel manufacturing facility in the U.S. on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act, whichincentivizes domestic manufacturing. The company said the plant will be located in the Southeast.

 

Offshore wind farms in Louisiana and Texas’ Gulf coasts could power 3 million homes

The Gulf of Mexico’s first offshore wind farms will be developed off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Biden administration announced. When completed years from now, together they are expected to power more than 3 million homes. Offshore wind energy has lagged behind other countries in Europe and in China.

 

The Midwest leads all regions in chicken eggs; South dominates chicken meat

Chicken production in America’s vast agriculture industry continues unabated as the product is the preferred source of protein worldwide. The U.S. contributes greatly to the world’s chicken production with over 8 billion chickens consumed each year out of the 65 billion worldwide. According to The Economist, the amount of chickens being eaten has increase 70 percent since 1990.States in the Midwest like Iowa, Ohio and Indiana lead all regions in overall chicken production, including eggs. Yet, in the growing of chickens for their meat, the South reigns supreme with Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi making up the top five.

 

ALABAMA

Mercedes begins assembling electric vehicles at Alabama plant

Twenty-five years after rolling out SUV job No. 1 at its plant in Vance, Ala., German automaker Mercedes-Benz assembled its first electric SUV at its only U.S. OEM facility. Five years of development and $1 billion in investments for battery-making and a new assembly line has created 1,000 new jobs in West Alabama. During that time, Mercedes has faced all kinds of hurdles to start EV production, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the semi-conductor shortage, staffing challenges and global supply chain issues. The automaker houses nearly 5,000 workers at its plants in Tuscaloosa and Bibb counties.

 

Two-million-square-foot industrial park planned near Mazda Toyota in North Alabama

Fairway Investments and Triad Properties have purchased land to build a two-million-square foot industrial park off Greenbriar Parkway in the fast-growing Limestone County part of Huntsville. The property is located a short distance from the $2.3 billion Mazda and Toyota’s joint venture automotive assembly plant in Limestone County, Ala. The name of the park will be the Huntsville West Industrial Park.

 

Huntsville, Ala., named No. 1 place to live in U.S., again

Huntsville was named the No. 1 place to live in the U.S. for 2022-2023 by U.S. News & World Report. Huntsville’s economy, which is as technically advanced as any in the country with NASA and other space-based companies, the military (namely Redstone Arsenal and other high tech firms, employs tens of thousands in the North Alabama city.

 

United Launch Alliance to expand rocket factory in Alabama

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the companies Beyond Gravity and M&J Industries are expanding facilities in Decatur, Ala. ULA will build new Vulcan rockets in Decatur to lift commercial communications satellites. The project will bring 250 jobs to the North Alabama market.

 

Rural Alabama boosted by high-tech manufacturing

Rural Alabama is capturing some of its most important job generators in decades, particularly from the big industry hitters. From Lockheed Martin’s plan to boost production of its in-demand Javelin missile in Troy to a pioneering project involving remote air traffic control in Selma, the work happening in Alabama’s rural counties is being felt around the world. “Aerospace and aviation are key industries for Alabama’s economy, and the contributions of our rural counties are vital to their success,” said Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Global defense contractors and other manufacturers have deep roots in these counties, where they have invested heavily in facilities, equipment and cutting-edge technology to serve markets around the world with strategic products and services,” Tuck said in an article published on madeinalabama.com.

 

Cabinet maker adding over 400 jobs in Alabama

Wellborn Cabinets, whose cabinets are distributed nationwide, will build a manufacturing facility in Oxford, Ala., that will produce new kitchen and bath cabinetry. The $17 million project will create 415 jobs.

 

Huntsville-based HudsonAlpha to team with the city of Dothan, Ala., for biotech innovation center

The city of Dothan and Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will team to develop an education and innovation center in Southeast Alabama. The center will also focus on agricultural research.

 

Defense contractor adding jobs in Birmingham, Ala.

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. announced recently it will expand its operations in Birmingham. Kratos acquired the engineering division of Birmingham-based Southern Research in an $80 million asset transaction in May. The $8 million deal will create 76 jobs for the company that support rocket development.

 

Company invests $25 million in Southeast Alabama

Ecore International plans to invest $25.5 million to open a state-of-the-art manufacturing and recycling facility in the city of Ozark, Ala. The Pennsylvania-based company specializes in transforming reclaimed materials into high-performance flooring and surface products.

 

ARKANSAS

Arkansas gets go ahead for federal funds for broadband

Arkansas plans to invest $47.5 million of federal funds to serve an estimated 5,500 homes and businesses through its Arkansas Rural Connect broadband grant program, the U.S. Treasury said in a news release.

 

Northwest Arkansas suffering from major success

Northwest Arkansas, home of the worldwide headquarters of Walmart, America’s largest employer, has seen home prices rise in the region nearly 50 percent in the last five years. Some essential workers such as teachers, EMTs, and police officers have moved away because of factors like cost of living and availability. The issue is not unprecedented in the South, where even small regions are suffering from economic development success.

 

Textbook distributor to expand Arkansas facilities

GoTextbooks is establishing a second distribution center in the Little Rock metro. The project calls for more than 200 new workers.

Tractor Supply to build new distribution center in Maumelle, Ark.

Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, is investing more than $120 million in a new distribution center in Maumelle. The 1.2-million-square-foot facility will house almost 500 employees.

 

FLORIDA

Over 11,000 solar industry jobs created in Florida last year

According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 11,700 jobs were created in the solar energy industry last year in Florida. The job growth took place in a year of record solar installations driven by increased demand for renewable energy among residential customers, municipalities, businesses and electric utilities.

 

GEORGIA

Massive industrial park proposed near massive Hyundai EV plant in Southeast Georgia

Haiseal Timber, a Dublin, Ga.-based company that owns swaths of undeveloped forests across the Southeast and specifically in Southeast Georgia where Korean automaker Hyundai is building one of the largest economic development projects in the South’s history, is planning to develop a large industrial park there in Bryan County. The park could accommodate up to 5 million square feet of industrial space.

 

Georgia continues film and television surge

Georgia saw $4.4 billion in spending from film and TV productions in the fiscal year that ended in June. Shooting in Georgia continues to surge thanks to its generous tax incentive program.

 

Monster electric vehicle plant’s construction has first job fair

Barnett Southern hosted a job fair in the Savannah, Ga., area to attract laborers to help begin excavation ahead of construction at the Bryan County megasite that will house the incoming Hyundai EV plant.  Over 1,000 jobseekers attended the job fair.

 

Japanese electric vehicle parts maker to shift location of $150 million plant from South Carolina to Georgia

Nippon Denkai will build a $150 million plant in Augusta, Ga., instead of its original site in Camden, S.C. The plant will make copper foil for electric vehicle batteries. The company will hire 100 in the deal.

 

Consulting firm nearly doubling staff in Atlanta

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting company, recently announced plans to nearly double its Atlanta workforce, hiring more than 700 people by 2025. The company plans to create a hub specializing in technology and innovation, and will put the center in Atlanta largely to maximize the amount of diversity in the expanded workforce, company officials said.

 

KENTUCKY

Electric vehicle parts maker making major investment in Kentucky

In late August, Envision AESC broke ground on a $2 billion electric vehicle battery gigafactory in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The deal, a further testament that the EV industry is positively affecting just about every Southern state, is expected to generate 2,000 jobs.

 

EV battery parts maker to invest over $300 million in Western Kentucky

Massachusetts-based Ascend Elements picks Hopkinsville for a plant that will produce materials for electric vehicle batteries, Gov. Andy Beshear announced in August. The plant will house up to 400 employees.

 

Kentucky distillery company to invest $400 million in Kentucky

Spirits maker Beam Suntory is investing $400 million to expand a bourbon distillery in Nelson County, Ky. The deal will create 50 jobs.

 

Another big deal in Bowling Green

O-I Glass will build a new glass bottle manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Ky. The company will invest $239 million, pay $43 an hour and create 140 jobs at the plant that will produce glass bottles for the Kentucky premium spirits market.

 

Automotive supplier Purem by Eberspaecher to add 250 workers in Louisville, Ky.

Purem by Eberspaecher, a German automotive supplier, celebrated the opening of its Louisville operation in August. The deal will create 250 jobs.

 

Atlas Machine to locate new facility in Kentucky

Atlas Machine and Supply Inc. announced it is investing $3.47 million to construct a new facility in Hardinsburg, Ky. The company will serve as the company’s Field Machining Division, which performs on-site industrial repairs for manufacturers throughout the United States. The deal will create 78 new jobs.

 

LOUISIANA

Louisiana to see energy cash windfall

Louisiana could receive $1.9 billion in revenue from Gulf of Mexico oil and gas and a separate share of revenue from Gulf wind energy operations, according to the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resource Committee. The windfall will come based on the bipartisan Reinvesting In Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems Act, authored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and Bill Cassidy, R-La. That bill would lift the existing $500 million annual cap on oil and gas revenue shared with other Gulf states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

 

Louisiana has more employed than ever before

This summer, Louisiana had more workers and the lowest unemployment rate (3.8 percent) in state history, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Louisiana now has more than 2 million employed workers.

 

Shell to convert old Louisiana refinery to sustainable fuel plant

London-based Shell plans to build a sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel production facility at its shuttered refinery in Convent, La., according to documents filed with Louisiana Economic Development. The alternative fuels complex will represent an investment of about $1.4 billion.

 

Rural Louisiana paying to recruit individuals and families

Ruston, La., is a college town of just over 20,000 residents located near Shreveport. Fueled by the explosion in remote working, Ruston has joined a cohort of small cities and rural areas around the country offering incentives to lure new residents. In Ruston’s case, the city government has awarded 25 grants worth $10,000 apiece to applicants who meet certain qualifications, including earning a certain income, working remotely and agreeing to stay for three years. Former students at Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University, the area’s two institutions of higher learning, get preferential treatment.

 

New Orleans approves huge downtown riverfront development project

A new riverfront development next to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center known as the River District was approved by the convention center’s board members. The value of the land, which is directly on the Mississippi River, is estimated at $250 million.

 

Louisiana governor announces millions in grants for affordable housing and internet services

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced $130 million in grants to create affordable housing and internet services to more than 66,000 households in Louisiana. The grants are funded through the American Rescue Plan and coordinated by the state’s Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities program.

 

Unique manufacturer to expand in Louisiana

ASH Industries, a custom molding manufacturer that produces specialized products ranging from surgical devices to laser light show components, will invest $5 million to expand its Lafayette Parish facility. The project will create 85 new jobs.

 

New sawmill to invest $110 million in Louisiana

The Teal-Jones Group, a company based in British Columbia, Canada, is building the Southern yellow pine lumber plant. It also has U.S. operations in Mississippi and Virginia.

 

Cargill to upgrade, add jobs in Louisiana

Cargill, a major international supplier of food, agricultural and industrial products, is upgrading its facility in St. Martin Parish, La., that produces food, water conditioning and salt products for a variety of industries. The $34 million deal calls for 70 new jobs.

 

Rubber manufacturer investing $22 million in Louisiana

Lion Elastomers, a synthetic rubber manufacturer, is investing $22 million on a new production facility at its Geismar plant. The expansion will increase output at the plant, which provides rubber products for tire manufacturers and other industries. It is not expected to lead to any new hiring, though it should help retain 176 jobs.

 

MARYLAND

Maryland unemployment rate stays at 4 percent

The state of Maryland is adding jobs, even though labor availability is at a premium. The average unemployment rate during the summer in Maryland was 4 percent, the lowest since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maryland jobs are up by 86,900, an over-the-year change of 3.3 percent. The education and health services sector experienced the most growth with an increase of 4,000 jobs.

 

Rural Maryland to receive economic development grants

The Washington County Office of Grant Management is accepting eligible projects to consider for funding through the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund. The grant program is funded by the Maryland Department of Commerce through a partnership with the State’s five tri-county councils serving the rural regions of Maryland.

 

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi celebrates 30 years of the “Mississippi Miracle”

The first casino in Biloxi, Miss., debuted 30 years ago. The casino craze in Mississippi began on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has employed tens of thousands of Mississippians throughout the state since then.

 

Tractor plant to bring jobs to Lowndes County, Miss.

Terberg Taylor Americas Group will manufacture terminal tractors near Columbus, Miss., in Lowndes County. The $16 million deal will create 90 jobs.

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Vietnamese electric carmaker to receive largest incentive package in North Carolina history

VinFast, a Vietnam-based EV manufacturer, will receive an incentive package from the state of North Carolina that will top $1 billion. VinFast is quickly entering the North American and European markets and will employ thousands at its plant in Chatham County, N.C.

 

North Carolina increases giant incentives package for Toyota

The Tar Heel State is adding millions to Toyota’s incentive package to assist in building an 1,800-acre megasite in Randolph County, N.C., for the Japanese automaker’s electric car battery plant, the first in North America. A regulatory bill passed into law in the summer quarter reserves another $225 million for the plant’s potential further growth. Between state and local incentives, North Carolina had already dedicated around $439 million to the project, with Toyota in turn pledging to invest $1.27 billion and create 1,750 jobs by 2029.

 

Biotech manufacturer chooses Eastern North Carolina for facility

ABEC, Inc., a global leader providing engineered process solutions and services for biotech manufacturing, is establishing another ISO-7 cleanroom to increase manufacturing capacity at its Wilson County, N.C., facility. The project will create over 250 jobs.

 

Homebuilder to bring 189 jobs to North Carolina

NVR, a Fortune 500 company that builds single-family site-built homes, will build a new factory in Fayetteville and expand operations in Cleveland and Cumberland County, N.C., to manufacture parts for its homes. The company is investing $30 million to add over 200 jobs at its two facilities in West North Carolina.

 

Hickory, N.C., captures long-standing employer’s expansion

Merchants Distributors (MDI), a wholesale grocery distributor founded in Hickory in 1931, will invest $35 million in a new expansion of its services and operations, creating 125 jobs. The company anticipates adding approximately 250,000 square feet to its perishable-foods capacity at its Caldwell County facilities.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Bosch will invest $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina

German auto supplier Bosch said it will invest more than $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina. Bosch plans to expand an existing factory in Anderson, S.C., to build the fuel cell “stacks” starting in 2026. The investment is expected to create at least 350 new jobs at the factory, the company said.

 

Drug delivery device manufacturer picks Charleston County, S.C.

Switzerland-based SHL Medical announced recently it is establishing a new manufacturing site in Charleston County. SHL Medical designs and manufactures drug delivery devices for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. The company announced the investment of $90 million, which will create 165 jobs.

 

Pet retailer to build new center in South Carolina

Pet Supplies Plus, a leading pet retail company, is investing $53 million in a new distribution center in Orangeburg County, S.C. The company will hire 272 with the project.

 

Modular housing manufacturer to hire 215 in South Carolina

Impact Housing Group, a manufacturer of modular design housing, is investing $30 million in a new assembly plant in Oconee County, S.C. The company is a fully integrated, volumetric modular housing manufacturer that provides solutions for more affordable homes. The project will create 215 jobs.

 

TENNESSEE

Foreign-based tire makers grow to invest more than $5 billion in Tennessee

The world's biggest tire manufacturers are boosting their investments and tire output in Tennessee with nearly $1.2 billion of additional investments announced in just the past week. The South Korean-based Hankook Tire & Technology Company said it will invest another $612 million in its Clarksville, Tenn., plant and add 397 more jobs over the next five years.

 

Germany-based WACKER to expand its facilities in Southeast Tennessee

WACKER will expand its silicone production plant in Charleston, Tenn. The phased investment of more than $200 million over several years will add 200 new jobs to the workforce of 700 that is currently housed there.

 

One thousand construction workers at Ford’s BlueOval City plant site in Western Tennessee

There has been no groundbreaking for Ford’s massive new electric vehicle plant just north of Memphis, but that does not mean activity has not begun. Over 1,000 workers are preparing the site as of September in Haywood County, Tenn., with over 2,000 expected by the end of October. The $5.6 billion (that’s with a “B”) electric truck and battery plant will see over 5,000 construction workers by next summer.

 

Thermo Fisher opens its newest manufacturing facility near Nashville

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, has opened its largest single-use technology manufacturing site in Lebanon, Tenn. The Massachusetts-based manufacturer of vaccines and therapies for cancer and other diseases is investing $105 million to meet growing demand for its bioprocessing materials.

 

South Korean company to locate first North American in Tennessee

Duksan Electera America will locate a new manufacturing facility in Shelbyville, Tenn. The EV-based parts maker will invest $95 million and hire over 100 in the deal.

 

TEXAS

Idaho-based Micron Technology  considers multibillion-dollar chip factory near Austin

Micron Technology is the latest high-tech giant to consider the Austin area for a multibillion-dollar manufacturing operation. According to the Austin American Statesman, the company is checking out sites near Lockhart, Texas, according to its applications for tax breaks filed with the state comptroller's office. The investment would total at least $20 billion, but could grow much higher from 2030 to 2040.

 

Korean chipmaker considering colossal Austin area expansion

Samsung, which already operates a computer chip plant in Austin and is currently building another nearby in Taylor, Texas, is considering 11 new fabrication plants in Central Texas. The projects could top out at $200 billion. The potential plans are described in 11 applications Samsung has filed with the Taylor and Manor school districts seeking tax breaks for building the facilities.

 

Dallas-Fort Worth leads all in office space starts

Dallas-Fort Worth led all U.S. markets in office building starts in 2022. Nearly 5 million square feet of space has been proposed according to the Yardi Systems Inc.’s Commercial Edge report. Austin is currently ranked second in office building starts so far in 2022.

 

Rumor: California-based Wells Fargo to locate regional campus in D-FW

San Francisco banking giant Wells Fargo is in the running to receive up to $31 million as part of economic incentive agreements with the city of Irving tied to a large-scale office development that could house as many as 4,000 workers. The development is expected to consist of 800,000 square feet of new office space, retail, restaurants and housing.

 

Tyson investing $200 million in Amarillo

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is spending $200 million to upgrade its beef processing plant in Amarillo, Texas. The Amarillo plant is one of the largest of the company’s six beef facilities. 

 

New battery distribution center opens in Temple

Another company is expanding its manufacturing operations in Texas. . .this time, it’s East Penn Manufacturing Company in Temple, Texas. The new facility is expected to bring more than $106 million in capital investment and over 260 new jobs to Temple and its surrounding area.

 

VIRGINIA

Virginia ranks third in CNBC’s top states for business

After two consecutive years at the top, Virginia slipped to third place in CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business rankings. In 2021, Virginia took the top spot in the annual rankings of business-friendly states for a second, consecutive time. Virginia also won in 2019, 2011, 2009 and 2007.

 

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to open $650 million casino in rural Virginia

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will become a joint venture partner with Caesars Entertainment in a $650 million casino development in Danville, Va. The gambling venture will create thousands of jobs and transform rural South Virginia into a tourist mecca.

 

Advanced coal mining operation expands in rural Virginia

Coronado Global Resources, an Australian producer of metallurgical coal, will invest $169 million to expand coal mining operations at its Buchanan Mine Complex, located about 10 miles southeast of Grundy in Buchanan County, Va. Metallurgical coal is used in steel production. The expansion will generate 181 new jobs.

 

Innovation in farming adding jobs in Virginia

New Jersey-based leafy greens producer AeroFarms plans to invest $42 million at its vertical farm production facility in Pittsylvania County, Va. The investment will earn the company the title of world’s largest indoor vertical farm. The deal will create 66 jobs in addition to the 92 that were announced last year.


July 2022

Letter to the Editor

"My friend, your prediction more than 20 years ago of the South becoming the center of auto manufacturing in North America has now taken another giant step forward. The announcement that Hyundai will build its first electric car plant in Georgia confirms it in this new era. I will take lucky and good every time."

J. Mac Holladay

CEO, Market Street Services, Atlanta, Ga.

 

Lithium-ion batteries for your EV? Try solid-state batteries

In recent years, car giants such as Ford, Mercedes and Nissan have been trying to overcome the shortcomings of batteries that power electric vehicles by racing to produce a next-generation battery. In all cases of lithium-ion batteries, they underperformed even after billions were invested in their development. Not only that, the liquid electrolytes used in the batteries are prone to catching fire.

Enter a new player in the fourth quarter of electric vehicle power development. Many if not all existing and startup EV and battery manufacturers are now rallying around solid-state batteries, which do not contain liquid electrolytes and can charge quicker and last longer.

 

Thoughts on immigration

The immigrant worker shortage comes as the U.S. political system is showing less of an appetite for increasing immigration. “At some point we either decide to become older and smaller or we change our immigration policy,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin told ABC News recently. Holtz-Eakin is an economist and former official in President George W. Bush's administration who is president of the center-right American Action Forum. He acknowledged a change in immigration policy is unlikely: “The bases of both parties are so locked in.” That’s certainly the case in Republican-dominated Texas, which includes the longest and busiest stretch of the southern border. The Legislature in 2017 forced cities to comply with federal immigration agents seeking people who are in the U.S. illegally. The turn against immigration distresses some Texas business owners, like Joshua Correa, a home builder in Plano, Texas. “Immigration is very important for our workforce in the United States,” said Correa. “We just need it.”

 

Comparing Mexico's available labor to ours

By Michael Randle

One way or another, automakers in North America are subsidized by their governments. They may be underwritten in different ways, but the largest industry in North America usually gets what it asks. When it comes to labor costs exclusively (discounting labor quality, innovation, and such) the U.S. can compete with just about every country in the world but one — Mexico.

Mexico, by contrast, has an overwhelming advantage when it comes to labor costs. Using the average cost of supplementing labor in Canada and the U.S. per assembly plant, Mexico’s costs aren't even close. Again, just using subsidized labor costs, it would take six to 10 years for a plant in Mexico to run up a similar labor bill to those in the U.S. and Canada. Add on the fact that Mexico’s fertility rate is more than double that of the U.S., and it’s also clear that Mexico can backfill its labor for decades to come , while the U.S. is simply getting older and smaller. The only way to change that fact is to change immigration policy.

 

Tennessee's Aerospace Park gets its first tenant

Northeast Tennessee's Tri-Cities Airport recently announced Aerospace Park’s first tenant. It didn't take long for Northeast Tennessee's Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville to capture its first tenant. “Of course, it’s always exciting to have your first build into a new economic development project like this,” said Gene Cossey, executive director for the Tri-Cities Airport Authority. The company is Final Forge, which is moving all of its operations from Massachusetts to East Tennessee.

 

D-FW office leasing comes roaring back as workers return from home

North Texas office leasing and construction continues to rebound from the COVID-19 downturn. At midyear, net office leasing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area totaled more than 2 million square feet — topping pre-pandemic activity as more workers returned from home, according to preliminary data from commercial property firm Transwestern. More than 1.1 million square feet of net leasing was recorded just in the second quarter, with the strongest demand for office space in the Dallas North Tollway corridor in West Plano and Frisco, in Uptown Dallas and Las Colinas. Office leasing declined from a year ago in downtown Dallas and along LBJ Freeway, Transwestern found. “Although clouds of recession are appearing on the horizon, the office market is favorably positioned,” Transwestern researchers wrote in a just-released report. “Overall, the region’s fundamentals may limit the downside of a recession and lead to a faster recovery, as they have over the last 15 years.”

 

New research shows American workers not better off with less foreign-born workers

Former President Trump's intentional depletion of legal immigrant visas and the COVID-19 pandemic reduced legal immigration in the U.S. by as much as 80 percent to just 250,000 in 2020. But, according to research, U.S. workers were not better off with the reduction in immigration. In fact, the lack of foreign workers helped create worse economic conditions. The lack of labor has created worker shortages, school closures, empty shelves in stores, shorter hours in retail and hospitality, skyrocketing childcare costs and the inability of many companies to fill open positions. According to Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at the University of North Florida and a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the reduction in workers as a result of COVID and cuts in immigration showed no evidence that less foreign workers improved economic outcomes of U.S.-born workers.

 

Economist: "Excessive automation" a major factor in increasing wage gaps

In an article published in the New York Times in January, Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was quoted as saying that "excessive automation" through investments in machines and software is greatly responsible for the increasing gap in wages and income inequality among American workers. Acemoglu's arguments stem from the fact that the automation of tasks formerly done by human workers has widened the income gap, especially among male workers without college degrees.

 

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson’s international terminal turns 10 with turbulence

The most dazzling part of the world’s busiest airport has soaring ceilings and an enormous Swarovski crystal chandelier, but is seen by only a small fraction of travelers passing through Hartsfield-Jackson International. That’s partly because the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, turning 10 years old this year, has not met the passenger loads for which it was built.

It roars to life during peak periods, in the mornings and late afternoons, when large long-haul jets roll up to its gates to offload and reload hundreds of passengers. After a decade of hosting travelers from around the world, though, it is still mostly empty during much of the day and night. The international terminal’s sleek lines and empty corridors stand in stark contrast to the crammed, crowded and less-luxurious domestic concourses. Hartsfield-Jackson’s international gateway faces an even steeper uphill climb to fulfill its potential after the pandemic pummeled foreign travel. International passengers made up fewer than 12 percent of total travelers at Atlanta’s airport before the pandemic, and last year stood at less than half of pre-pandemic levels.

 

Airport terminal for the rich and famous coming to Hartsfield-Jackson

A private luxury airport terminal operator known for catering to Hollywood stars is coming to Hartsfield-Jackson International to target commercial airline passengers willing to pay thousands for exclusive entry and exit from the world’s busiest airport. The company, called PS and formerly known as The Private Suite, has operated a private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport since 2017, and is known for catering to celebrities and other well-heeled customers. Hartsfield-Jackson is a frequent gateway for celebrities, thanks in no small part to Georgia’s white-hot film industry. Georgia is one of the top destinations for TV and movie production in the world outside Hollywood. Many celebs are likely familiar with the PS terminal at LAX.

 

Volkswagen chief says German car giant will overtake Tesla on EV sales by 2025

The chief executive of Volkswagen believes Europe’s biggest carmaker can overtake Tesla to become the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles by 2025. Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Herbert Diess said alleviating supply chain issues would likely help create some momentum for the German auto giant over the coming months.

 

Florida had more deaths than births last year

Many more workers in Florida and elsewhere saw more deaths than births last year as a larger percentage of the workforce is aging out and retiring than there are people born. According to Neel Kashkari, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, there are only three solutions to a situation where less people are paying for Social Security and other safety nets: (1) Accept slower growth; (2) subsidize fertility and (3) embrace immigration. The year 2021 is the first time since 1937 that the U.S. population grew by fewer than one million people. "It is just math," according to Kashkari.

 

South Carolina Ports, Port of Virginia: Record volumes in 2021

South Carolina Ports had its best calendar year in history in 2021 with an unprecedented amount of cargo. SC Ports handled 2.75 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in 2021. That was nearly a 20 percent increase from 2020. The Port of Virginia in Norfolk handled more than 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units in 2021, a 25.2 percent increase from 2020.

 

Experts: China's GDP to overtake U.S. by 2030

Officials with the British consultancy Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) published their predictions for the coming decade on U.S. versus China GDP. For decades, economists have predicted that the Chinese economy would have passed the U.S. economy, but that has not been the case so far. However, new data shows that the Chinese economy, based on gross domestic product, will surpass the U.S. by 2030.

 

Over 17,000 jobs could be created at Gulf of Mexico wind farms

According to the American Clean Power Association, wind farms off the coast of Texas and Louisiana could create 17,500 new jobs. The jobs include temporary and permanent jobs on a pair of offshore wind projects.

 

ALABAMA

 

GAO report finds no issues with Redstone Arsenal as Space Command HQ

The Government Accountability Office, in reviewing the selection process of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville as the “preferred” site for U.S. Space Command headquarters, found issues in that process and recommended the Air Force develop better guidance for future basing decisions. However, the GAO made no comment -- in highlighting the main points of its 89-page review -- on the suitability of Redstone Arsenal as the home for Space Command, but was critical of the selection process.

 

Study: Boeing’s Alabama economic impact reaches $2.7 billion

Boeing contributes more than $2.7 billion annually to Alabama’s economy, along with 9,402 jobs in its sprawling operations and support network, according to a new study. The global space and defense manufacturer, which is marking its 60th year in the Yellowhammer state, conducts a wide range of business activities in the Huntsville region, from protecting the U.S. and its allies with innovative weapons systems to charting new chapters of human space exploration.

Boeing’s journey in Alabama began with the development of the Saturn V rocket, the launch vehicle that put the legendary Apollo missions on the moon. Today, the company plays a key role in developing NASA’s powerful Space Launch System rocket, which will return astronauts to the moon and lay the groundwork for future trips beyond Earth’s orbit. With more than 3,000 employees in Alabama, Boeing’s operations span a variety of research, design and manufacturing activities.

 

Rural Alabama has seen growth of 3,000 jobs in 2020 and 2021

Rural Alabama's counties of less than 50,000 residents have seen a spike in job creation the last 18 months. According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, in 2020 and the first six months of 2021, 40 projects landed in "targeted" counties that created over 3,000 new jobs. The investments as a whole will generate at least $1.5 billion in new capital investment.

 

Korean parts supplier expanding its Alabama operations

Auto parts supplier Shinhwa Auto USA Corp. announced a $78 million expansion of its Auburn operations at Auburn Technology Park West. The company supplies parts for Montgomery’s Hyundai plant and Kia in West Point, Ga. The project will create 42 jobs.

 

Southern Research breaks ground on new, $84 million biotech center in Birmingham

In May, Southern Research broke ground on an $84 million biotech center in Birmingham on the former site of the now-demolished Quinlan Castle, an abandoned apartment building. The project is expected to create 150 new jobs.

 

ARKANSAS

 

Systems Group creating 60 jobs with Arkansas expansion

The Systems Group will purchase 47 acres of land next to its current facility in El Dorado, Ark., to expand its main fabrication and machine shop. The expansion will allow the company to make more of its patented Spray-Cooled™ equipment, which is used to prevent Electric Arc Furnaces from melting while producing liquid steel. Systems also plans to hire 60 new employees there.

 

Atlas Tube opens $150 million facility in Blytheville, Ark., 75 jobs created

Atlas Tube, a division of Zekelman Industries, has opened its newest steel mill in Blytheville, Ark. It’s the second facility they have opened in Mississippi County, Ark. The new facility will be dedicated to producing Jumbo Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) as large as 28″ OD with walls up to one inch thick. According to the company, the $150 million project is the largest private investment in the U.S. steel industry in the last decade.

 

Pet care firm adding jobs in Arkansas

Mars Pet care is investing nearly $120 million into its Fort Smith operation as pet food demand rises, capitalizing on earlier expansion plans and producing even more jobs. The company will add two new production lines and 140 new workers.

 

FLORIDA

 

Atlantic Digital Incorporated expands Tampa workforce

Atlantic Digital Incorporated, a specialized IT company and solutions provider for government, will expand operations in Tampa. The company plans to create 120 jobs over the next three years.

 

Project “Lightning Strike” bringing hundreds of jobs to Bay County, Fla.

Central Moloney, which manufactures distribution transformers, is expected to open a 140,000-square-foot facility owned by St. Joe Company. The project will bring 200 new jobs to Bay County.

 

Largest satellite facility in the world to be constructed at Florida's Space Coast

Terran Orbital announced in the fall that it will invest $300 million Merritt Island on Florida's Space Coast. Florida's governor Ron DeSantis said the company’s move to Florida will create the largest satellite manufacturing facility in the entire world. The 660,000 square-foot facility will be able to produce more than 1,000 satellites a year and 1 million satellite components. The deal will create 2,000 jobs.

 

GEORGIA

 

Procter & Gamble to build new facility in Butts County, Ga., create 350 jobs

Procter & Gamble Distributing plans to invest $205 million in a new distribution facility in Jackson, Ga. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Procter & Gamble Company specializes in a wide range of personal healthcare and hygiene products.

 

Shoe manufacturer expanding Georgia

Okabashi Brands, a third-generation family-owned and women-led shoe company based in Buford, Ga., is expanding its presence in Gwinnett County.  The company is one of the 1 percent of footwear manufacturers operating in the U.S. today and is committed to sustainable American manufacturing. The $20 million deal is expected to create 340 jobs.

 

KENTUCKY

 

Manufacturer to locate in western Kentucky, create 150 jobs

A manufacturer of electrical power distribution connectors plans to locate in Western Kentucky and create 150 jobs, officials said. Hollobus Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of engineering design technology company Superior Tray Systems, is investing $2.25 million to move its headquarters and some operations to a former Briggs & Stratton plant in Murray, a statement from Gov. Andy Beshear said. The Kentucky location will produce a new product line that is an alternative to electrical cabling for large industrial projects. The company has partnered with Murray State University to establish a pipeline for workers and said it intends to focus on hiring veterans.

 

Summit Polymers will invest $37.5 million in Kentucky

Summit Polymers Inc. (SPI) will build a $37.5 million manufacturing facility in Anderson County, Ky., creating 218 full-time jobs. Michigan-based SPI designs and manufactures decorated and assembled automotive interior components, and employs more than 3,000 workers at 15 locations worldwide. The new 140,000-square-foot facility on approximately 40 acres along the U.S. Route 127 Bypass in Lawrenceburg will conduct plastic injection molding, paint applications and assembly operations. It will support SPI’s business with automotive manufacturers in Kentucky and neighboring states, with potential for future expansion.

 

Bourbon maker bringing jobs to Somerset, Ky.

Horse Soldier Bourbon is investing $200 million to bring bourbon and tourism dollars to Pulaski County, Ky. The deal will create 50 jobs.

 

LOUISIANA

General Dynamics IT opens new center in New Orleans

General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit of General Dynamics, officially opened its new operations center in New Orleans. The project is expected to create 50 jobs.

 

Manufacturer adding 100 jobs in rural Louisiana

Greenberry Industrial, a producer of industrial components for petrochemical, maritime, energy and other industries, announced in May it will convert a former shipyard fabrication facility in Jennings, La., and add 100 jobs.

 

American Electric Power to develop $100 million transmission control center in Shreveport

American Electric Power (AEP), which manages the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, will invest $100 million to develop a new Shreveport Transmission Control Center. The project will create 20 direct new jobs, with average salaries of $115,000, and retain 20 jobs already in place in Shreveport. AEP, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, will develop the 77,000-square-foot facility on 30 acres in Shreveport.

 

MISSISSIPPI

 

This small Southern town isn't the new Hollywood, director says. It's better

There's a strange symbiosis growing between Hollywood and a small town in the Mississippi Delta, and director Tate Taylor is one of the engineers behind it. Known for films like "The Help" and "Breaking News in Yuba County," Taylor has centered his efforts in and around Natchez, a city of less than 15,000 residents that bills itself as the "birthplace of Mississippi." Incoming A-listers trade tinsel and luxury high rises for Spanish moss and antebellum homes. But it's precisely the area's un-Hollywood-ness that makes filming there so magical, Taylor said. Living in close proximity to one another sustains a sort of energy among cast and crew that's hard to replicate in a bigger city, he explained, pointing as an example to his experience directing the late Chadwick Boseman and other stars in the 2014 James Brown biopic "Get on Up." "We all lived in houses in Natchez, and everybody walked to work and (walked) home, and it was just fun," Taylor said in a phone interview. "We called it movie camp."

 

Home Town stars creating 85 jobs in Laurel, Miss.

HGTV’s Home Town hosts Erin and Ben Napier will create 85 jobs in Laurel with a new manufacturing location for Scotsman Manufacturing Company. The new company, housed in a revitalized and once-shuttered industrial facility, will be committed to American-made goods.

 

MISSOURI

 

Beef plant expected to create 1,300 jobs in Missouri

Wisconsin-based beef processing company American Foods Group (AFG) has announced plans to build a large new facility in Warren County, Mo. Pending final approval, AFG expects to settle on a precise location by next spring. The project could result in AFG investing $450 million into the St. Louis area and creating more than 1,300 new jobs.

 

Manufacturers expand operations in Palmyra, Mo.

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing and Riverview Manufacturing, worldwide leaders in manufacturing dry fertilizer handling equipment, will expand operations in Palmyra. The $1 million project is expected to create 30 jobs.

 

NORTH CAROLINA

 

European plastics manufacturer to invest $47 million to build U.S. facility in Gaston County

Premix Group, a plastics manufacturer, will create more than 30 new jobs in Gaston County, Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders announced. The company will invest $47 million to locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in North Carolina. Premix serves the automotive and electronics industries.

 

Champion Home Builders will create 182 jobs in Scotland County, N.C.

Champion Home Builders, a provider of manufactured and modular homes, will expand its North Carolina operations to create 182 jobs in Scotland County. The company will invest $18.7 million into the acquisition and development of a manufacturing campus in Laurinburg.

 

Piping manufacturer creating 168 new jobs in Nash County, N.C.

COSMOIND, a polyethylene piping manufacturer, will create 168 new jobs in Nash County. The company will invest more than $12.8 million to build its first North American manufacturing campus for industrial, natural gas and drinking water pipes in Middlesex.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

 

Food distributor expands in South Carolina

Carolina Food Service, a full-service food distribution company, will expand operations in Loris, S.C. The $3.7 million project is expected to create 71 jobs in Horry County.

 

Ruiz Foods hiring 100 in Florence County, S.C.

A frozen food distributor is looking to bring dozens of new jobs to the Pee Dee. Ruiz Foods Florence is hiring 100 more jobs for its facility there.

 

Oak barrel manufacturer chooses rural South Carolina for new plant

South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC announced in the fall it will invest $6.8 million in a new plant in Bamberg County, S.C. The barrels will be used for whiskey and wine operations. The project will generate 122 new jobs.

 

Peanut plant slated for South Carolina

Premium Peanut is investing $64.3 million to establish operations in Orangeburg County in a move expected to create 130 jobs.

 

TENNESSEE

 

“Ambitious but attainable”: How Memphis chamber plans to attract 50,000 new jobs to area

The Greater Memphis Chamber has a plan to draw tens of thousands of new jobs to the metro area by the end of the decade, and the plan focuses on inclusion, advanced industries and increasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates.  Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer for the Greater Memphis Chamber, said there could be “no more resignation than anything less than the spectacular for our region. Why? Because the competition is fierce.” The chamber unveiled its strategic growth plan Monday at the mid-year chairman’s forum at The Guest House at Graceland. The plan outlines how the region could gain 50,000 new, high-quality jobs by 2030, with half of those jobs going to minorities, a goal the chamber called “ambitious but attainable.” Helping with that effort will be the newly formed division for diversity and community development at the chamber. The vast majority of current economic growth is in advanced industries like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, aerospace engineering and other similar industries, Townsend said.

 

What a year for Tennessee

The year 2021 was historic for Tennessee when it came to large scale economic development projects. Leading the way was the Oracle announcement in Nashville that will eventually create 8,500 jobs. The other mega-deal came from Ford Motor Company and the creation of the Blue Oval City just east of Memphis. That $5.7 billion project will create 5,800 to 6,000 jobs.

 

Auto supplier announces $8 million Tennessee plant

A Michigan manufacturer of automotive powertrain and drivetrain systems plans to establish a new facility in East Tennessee, state and company officials announced. ATC Drivetrain will invest more than $8 million in the new plant in Knoxville. Over the next five years, the company expects the project to create 218 new jobs.

 

Clarksville, Tenn., ranked

Clarksville, Tenn., located northwest of Nashville, was ranked in the winter by San Francisco-based real estate company Opendoor.com as the most "desirable zip code in America." Tiny Clarksville beat out Austin, Atlanta, Orlando and Nashville among others. The ranking was based on location, living costs and amenities.

 

Monogram Assembled Foods plans Tennessee production facility

Monogram Assembled Foods will invest $53.5 million to establish new operations in Dickson, Tenn. The project is expected to create nearly 400 new jobs. The company purchased a building formerly owned by Conagra, which announced in early 2020 its plans to close the facility. As part of Monogram Foods’ acquisition, the facility never closed, and the company offered employment to Conagra’s existing employees so that no jobs were lost during the transition.

 

TEXAS

 

Dallas vs. Chicago? On jobs, population and housing, the growth story isn’t even close

Companies cite many reasons for moving to Dallas-Fort Worth, including access to air travel, the cost of living and the quality of the workforce. Chicago is competitive on all those fronts, yet Caterpillar Inc. announced that it’s relocating its headquarters from suburban Chicago to Irving, one of D-FW’s leading cities. Caterpillar follows Topgolf Entertainment Group, OpTic Gaming, Boeing Global Services, Addus HomeCare and thousands of residents from Chicagoland to North Texas. So what’s the biggest economic difference between the third- and fourth-most populous metros in the country? The growth story isn’t even close — not on population, jobs, workforce and more. And more growth means more opportunity for companies and workers alike. While Chicago had 1.75 million more people last year, D-FW has added over six times more residents since 2000. Last year, D-FW added 97,000 while Chicago lost almost 92,000.

 

High-speed rail is all but dead in Texas

Plenty of shortsighted people have been rooting for Texas’ high-speed rail project to fail from the moment it was announced. Sadly, it looks ever more likely they will get their wish. The deck has been stacked from the beginning against Texas Central Railway, which had proposed a privately funded line linking Houston and Dallas that would have put the state on the world map as an international leader in transportation.

But it looks like the naysayers got their way. Texans are still waiting on a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court on whether the project can go forward, and Texas Central’s chief executive, Carlos Aguilar, has resigned. His sendoff an indicator that this project is over.

 

A look at Austin's swift growth, and its growing pains

Austin keeps growing. And growing. And growing. That population surge is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has helped keep the region's economy among the strongest in the nation, and the region's thriving technology sector is making Central Texas an international hub. But the influx of new people also comes with its share of growing pains, including worsening affordability concerns and an unresolved homelessness crisis.

 

Sherman, Texas wins GlobiTech expansion, bringing 1,500 new jobs and $5 billion investment

Sherman has scored its second major semiconductor-related expansion with GlobiTech selecting the North Texas city for a new $5 billion plant to produce silicon wafers. The subsidiary of Taiwan-based GlobalWafers Co. will create 1,500 new jobs. Texas will provide a $15 million cash grant from its enterprise fund to go along with at least $34 million in local tax incentives. “It’s a big day for North Texas,” Sherman Mayor David Plyler said. “We’re very excited in the city of Sherman to have this kind of facility located here. Of course, the first manufacturing plant of its kind in America in the last 20 years is a big story.” The new plant will raise Texas’ “global position in the semiconductor industry amid a worldwide chip shortage,” Gov. Greg Abbott said during the announcement. GlobiTech joins Dallas-based Texas Instruments and Korea’s Samsung in committing to multibillion-dollar investments in the Lone Star State. GlobiTech also was considering sites in Ohio and South Korea for expansion. GlobalWafers CEO Doris Hsu said the company received “tremendously competitive proposals.”

 

Solar giant Qcells to build new $171 million plant in Georgia

The parent company of solar manufacturer Qcells confirmed that more solar panel production is headed to the “carpet capital of the world,” in the form of a new $171 million plant to be built near its existing Dalton facility. The announcement follows a pledge by South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions, which owns Qcells, to dramatically expand its U.S.-based solar production. The new facility will produce 1.4 gigawatts of Qcells’ next generation, high efficiency solar panels each year and bring an estimated 470 new jobs to Whitfield County in Northwest Georgia, the company said in a release. Qcells’ existing Dalton facility employs more than 750.

 

Facebook expands to Texas

Facebook’s parent company Meta recently leased a large office space in Texas, making the tech giant the latest company to move jobs and people from California to the Lone Star State. Meta leased half of a building under construction in downtown Austin that will be the city’s tallest skyscraper when completed, and has pledged hundreds of new jobs in Texas.

 

Neiman Marcus could get $5 million-plus in incentives for Dallas headquarters

Dallas plans to offer Neiman Marcus up to $5.25 million in incentives if it keeps its corporate headquarters in Dallas. The luxury retailer is eyeing a move of hundreds of workers to the Cityplace Tower on North Central Expressway just north of downtown. Many of those workers are currently housed at Neiman’s landmark store on Main Street.

To obtain millions of dollars in economic grants, Neiman’s would need to have a minimum of 1,100 Dallas jobs and “ensure that a minimum of 35 percent of retained headquarters employees are Dallas residents,” according to a resolution presented to Dallas’ city council. “The proposed project will not occur within the city without an offer of economic development incentives.” Neiman Marcus would also have to create a minimum of 300 new jobs in Dallas by the end of 2026 to gain the full incentives offered. And the city will require Neiman Marcus to keep its flagship store in downtown Dallas.

 

New rare-earth magnet facility to attract hundreds of jobs to Fort Worth

A rare earth magnet factory is coming to Fort Worth, and it will attract hundreds of new jobs. Las Vegas-based MP Materials is building its new rare earth magnet factory off of Alliance Gateway Freeway in Fort Worth's Alliance corridor. James Litinsky, the founder, chairman and CEO of MP Materials, says magnets are synonymous with modern life. "Rare earth magnets are really what will power motion, electric vehicles, wind turbines, drones, robots, robot dogs, air taxis, whatever — we could go on and on," Litinsky said during the April groundbreaking ceremony. The new facility will reshore 150 skilled jobs and about 1,300 indirect jobs.

 

Largest incentive package in Texas history agreed upon

The incentive package agreed upon between the state of Texas, local governments and Samsung for its new semiconductor plant in Taylor is the largest in state history. Taylor is located near Austin where Samsung, the Korean chipmaker, operates a multi-billion-dollar plant. Samsung will invest $17 billion in the next-generation semiconductor factory in Taylor. . .that figure is also the largest direct foreign investment in Texas history. Samsung will capture nearly $1 billion in incentives.

 

Fujifilm Diosynth expanding Texas factory with $300 million investment

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies — a contract manufacturer that develops and produces medical drugs and gene therapies — announced in December that it plans to invest $300 million to expand its current campus in College Station, Texas. The project is expected to create about 150 new jobs when it is completed in 2024.

 

VIRGINIA

 

Dominion seeks approval for a $10 billion wind farm off Virginia Beach

State regulators considering whether to approve Dominion Energy Virginia’s plans for a nearly $10 billion offshore wind farm should implement protections to shield customers from possible cost overruns and other project risks, ratepayer advocates testified in May.

No one is asking that the State Corporation Commission reject outright the planned 176-turbine project off the coast of Virginia Beach, which the company says will be the country’s largest. But attorneys representing the utility’s customers and environmental groups have sought to make the case that because of the project’s enormous costs, customer protections need to be put in place.

 

New CEO of Virginia Economic Development Partnership wants more investments in large industrial sites

Jason El Koubi, CEO of VEDP, said in the winter quarter that the Commonwealth needs shovel ready sites to land some of the large projects announced in the South the last six months of 2021. El Koubi was referring to the electric vehicle and battery plants announced in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. In an article in Virginia, El Koubi was quoted as saying, “The cost of not investing in site development has become very clear and very alarming.”

 

Biotech firm hiring in Northern Virginia

Manassas-based Virongy Biosciences is expanding its lab in Prince William County, Va. at the Northern Virginia Bioscience Center. The company plans to develop diagnostic technologies to monitor and quantify COVID-19 variants and other viral pathogens in the deal that will create 70 jobs.

 

Martinsville-Henry County, Va., is at it again

Germany-based Schock is setting up shop in Henry County, Va., one of the most successful rural locations in the South for economic development. The company manufactures all kinds of kitchen sinks. The $85 million deal will create 355 jobs.

 

Massimo Zanetti Beverage expanding in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA (MZB-USA), one of the largest vertically integrated coffee companies in North America, will invest $29.1 million to consolidate and expand operations at its roasting facility in the City of Suffolk. Virginia successfully competed with New Jersey for the project, which will create 79 new jobs.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

 

Veloxint bringing hundreds of jobs to West Virginia

Veloxint, a manufacturer of nanocrystalline metal alloys, recently announced its move to Touchstone Research Laboratory, located in Triadelphia, W.Va. Veloxint is working on commercializing high-tech metal alloys for use in the chemical, solar and aerospace industries. Over the next four years, 200 to 300 jobs are estimated to be created as a result of the move.

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