March 2016

Getting closer to full employment

Even though some large companies are cutting spending, there are signs from the winter quarter that indicate full employment is achievable this year. A report in February from the Labor Department showed that voluntary job quits rose to 3.1 million, the highest level since December 2006. The quits indicate that companies are now being forced to pay higher wages to keep key employees.


Manufacturing jobs spiked in January

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in the winter quarter that manufacturers in the U.S. added 29,000 workers in January. Of 79 manufacturing sectors, 64 percent added workers. The surge in employment in January helped the manufacturing sector reach a seven-year high of 12.4 million workers in the U.S.


Union membership growing in the South

While union membership in South Carolina dropped to the lowest level in the country in 2015, union membership rose in the 15 states covered by SB&D. The number of organized workers grew from 2.2 million or 5.2 percent of the workforce in 2014, to 2.4 million, or 5.5 percent of the workforce at the end of 2015 in the South. 


West Virginia becomes 26th right to work state

A majority of U.S. states now have right to work laws now that West Virginia become the 26th state to pass the legislation this winter. The Republican dominated state legislature overrode Dem. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of a right to work bill in February.


Texas No. 1 export state for 2015, again

A Bureau of Economic Analysis report in the winter quarter ranked Texas as the top exporting state in the U.S. for the 14th consecutive year for 2015. Texas exported more than $251 billion in goods in calendar year 2015. Nationwide, exports totaled $2.2 trillion, down $112.9 billion, or 4.8 percent in 2015. Imports were $2.8 trillion, down $89.7 billion, or 3.1 percent.


Boeing South Carolina rolls out 100th 787-8 Dreamliner

In the winter quarter, Boeing rolled out its 100th Dreamliner at its facilities in North Charleston, S.C. The mark came a little less than four years after the first 787 was built. Boeing officials stated that the next 100 Dreamliners to be built at the South Carolina factory will be produced in half the time. The airliner was delivered to American Airlines.


Kentucky, Arkansas top nation in drop in uninsured

Data provided by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed that from 2013 to 2015, Kentucky and Arkansas saw the sharpest decline in the percentage of residents without health insurance. Both states saw their uninsured rate drop by 12.9 percent during that time.


Global law firm to place service center in Louisville

U.K.-based Hogan Lovells, a global law firm with its U.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., plans to open a Louisville service center that is expected to grow to 250 employees. The firm is investing $8.9 million in the project.


Melbourne-based Harris Corp. hiring 300 more workers

Harris Corp. is adding 300 jobs, with most of them being housed in the company's new Technology Center in Palm Bay, Fla. Almost all of the jobs are engineering-based. The new hires will work with Harris' Space and Intelligence, Critical Networks and Electronic Systems divisions.


Packaging company investing $20 million in Virginia

Graphic Packaging International is investing $20 million in its facilities in Staunton, Va. The project will create 43 new jobs.


HVAC company breaks ground on new R&D lab in Oklahoma

AAON, an air conditioning, heating and ventilation company, broke ground in the winter quarter on a new R&D lab on its Tulsa campus where it employs 1,400. The $26 million facility, which will house 20 workers initially, will be used to test the company’s HVAC products.


Aerospace manufacturer adding jobs in Kentucky

Messier-Bugatti-Dowty is expanding its aircraft wheel and carbon brake plant in Walton, Ky. The $100 million project will add 80 new jobs.


Illinois-based distributor setting up facility in Kentucky

Eby-Brown, a convenience store distributor of tobacco and candy is investing about $37 million in a facility in Bullitt County, Ky. The project will create 245 jobs.


Indiana-based company building $57 million bakery in Kentucky

More Than A Bakery, LLC, announced it will build a $57.1 million bakery in Versailles, Ky. The facility will produce cookies and crackers for major food brands. The deal will create 310 jobs.


$444 million federal prison to be built in Kentucky

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed in the winter quarter that the Bureau of Prisons plan to build a $444 million federal prison on a 700-acre site in Letcher County, Ky. The project will create 300 jobs.


Austin captures California relocation

Shopgate, a German mobile commerce firm, is relocating its U.S. headquarters from California to Austin, Texas. The company will hire 50 in the move.


Piedmont Airlines hiring 300 in Charlotte

American Airlines subsidiary Piedmont Airlines is adding 300 jobs in Charlotte. The airline operates regional flights for American.


Tape maker to build $40 million plant near Charlotte

In the winter quarter, Intertape Polymer Group announced it will build a new plant in Cabarrus County, N.C. The $40 million plant will house 49 workers.


California furniture manufacturer to open N.C. plant

CH Living, an upholstered furniture brand of California-based Castle Home Furnishings, will open an 180,000-square-foot plant in Greensboro, N.C. The plant will house 200 workers.


Hundreds of aerospace and defense jobs being filled in Central Florida

Several aerospace and defense companies are hiring in Central Florida. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin is hiring 276 engineers for its Orlando, Melbourne and Cape Canaveral facilities. Virginia-based Northrop Grumman is hiring 223 analysts and engineers in both Orlando and Melbourne. Northrop Grumman won an $80 billion U.S. Air Force contract to design and build a new bomber aircraft. The bomber contract is expected to generate thousands of workers in Melbourne by 2019.


Naples, Fla., medical device manufacturer hiring 350

Arthrex, a Naples-based medical device company, is investing $47 million in its manufacturing center in Ave Maria, Fla. The company is adding 218,000 square feet of space and 350 jobs.


Walmart's buy USA pledge creates 100 new jobs in tiny Alabama town

Because of Walmart's $250 billion pledge to support American manufacturing, a tiny Alabama town of 750 is landing 100 new jobs. Wadley, Ala., is home to Wadley Holdings, which manufactures patio furniture. Walmart recently chose the company to make the furniture for its stores. The result is the addition of 100 jobs at the plant in Randolph County.


Wayfair to create 450 jobs in Bryan, Texas

Boston-based Wayfair, one of the largest online retailers for decor and home furnishings, will open a new customer service center in Bryan. The project will generate 450 job openings.


New aircraft facility slated for Huntsville region

Sierra Nevada will build a new 130,000-square-foot plant at the Madison County Executive Airport in Meridianville, Ala. The plant will be equipped for future fixed and rotary-winged aircraft support. The deal will create 200 jobs.


Nashville leads U.S. in STEM pay

From 2013 to 2014, Nashville had the highest income growth among 54 of the largest U.S. metros in STEM jobs according to Payrolls for science, technology, engineering and math fields rose 5.3 percent in Nashville in that year. The national average was 1.6 percent.


Alabama company first to land plant deal in Cuba in 50 years

Cleber LLC, an Alabama-based manufacturer of small tractors used for farming, received federal approval to open a plant in Cuba. Cleber is owned by two former IBM executives who worked in the Research Triangle. The company will build an assembly plant in the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone, an industrial park for foreign companies that's located adjacent to a new port west of Havana. The parts will be made in Alabama and the tractors assembled in Cuba. The tractors will be used by Cuba's 70,000 non-government farming co-ops and small independent farmers, many of which still rely on animals to plow their fields. The plant is the first for a U.S. company since the Cuban revolution and the subsequent U.S. trade embargo more than 50 years ago.


Fintech Kabbage doubling workforce in ATL

Kabbage, which uses automation and analytics to provide short-term working capital to small businesses, is adding up to 300 jobs, doubling its Atlanta workforce. Kabbage fills a niche in the small business lending sector by making loans to companies who are often turned away by traditional financial institutions.


Health care firm building new HQ in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Twelvestone Health Partners announced in the winter quarter it will build a new headquarters in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The $14.9 million project will create 200 jobs.


Welded pipe manufacturer expands in Bristol, Tenn.

BRISMET, a manufacturer of stainless steel, nickel alloy, super duplex and titanium welded pipe used by the heavy industrial sector, is investing about $5 million in its plant in Bristol. The project will create 60 new jobs.


German company expanding in K.C.

Multivac, a Germany-based packaging solutions company, is investing $6.9 million in its U.S. headquarters located in Kansas City. The project will create 50 new jobs.


Bosch Rexroth investing in S.C. plant

Bosch Rexroth Corp. is investing $5 million in its Fountain Inn, S.C. plant. The plant produces many types of hydraulic pumps and motors used in the construction, agriculture, mining and material handling sectors.


NC Virginia to expand its data center

Native Cloud (NC) Virginia is investing $42 million in its data center in Scott County, Va. The project will create 72 new jobs.


French aerospace company moving operations from New Jersey to Florida

Safran S.A., is moving its AeroSource unit to Manatee County, Fla., from Somerset, N.J. The MRO company will hire 84 workers in the move. 


Plastics manufacturer adding jobs in N.C. Triad region

Plastics maker Nypro is moving into a spec building in Mebane, N.C. The project will create 75 new jobs.


Med tech company relocating to Austin

ClearData Networks, a medical technology company, is relocating its operations from Tempe, Ariz., to Austin, Texas. The digital health care cloud services firm will hire 80 in the move.


Electronics components processor to open facility in Virginia

Krystal Engineering, a processor of materials for electronics components, is opening a production facility in Caldwell County, N.C. The plant will house 82 workers.


Target adding 600 jobs at Virginia distribution center

Retailer Target is boosting employment at its large distribution center in Suffolk, Va. The company is adding 600 to its workforce and will install new equipment to distribute products quicker.


Monsanto building $140 million cotton operation in Lubbock

Monsanto announced plans to build a new $140 million cotton seed processing facility in Lubbock, Texas. The facility will be the company's primary U.S. hub for all commercial cotton seed processing, including treating and bagging the seed. The project is expected to create 40 jobs.  


Shell breaks ground on $717 million Louisiana project

Shell Chemicals broke ground on its $717 million linear alpha olefins plant in Geismar, La., in the winter quarter. When completed, the plant will become the largest single-site producer of alpha olefins in the world.


Stryker expanding in Texas

Stryker Communications is expanding its Flower Mound headquarters to more than 200,000 square feet. The company is adding 200 jobs.


Recycler adding 350 jobs in Charlotte

Republic Services, a provider of recycling services, is opening a Customer Resource Center in Charlotte. The $6.8 million deal will create 350 new jobs.


European manufacturer to open plant in Richmond metro

Polykon Manufacturing, a European manufacturer of ingredients used in drugs and cosmetics, will invest $60 million to open a plant in Henrico County, Va. The $60 million project will create 50 jobs. 


Jack Daniel's investing $140 million in Tennessee

Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp. plans to invest $140 million at its Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. Plans include an updated visitor center, new barrel houses, expanded bottling operations and other upgrades. The deal will create 30 jobs.


D-FW is the "most competitive" job market

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area added 112,829 jobs between 2014 and 2015, surpassing expectations by 44,871 jobs. That made it the "most competitive" of the 150 largest metro areas in the U.S. CareerBuilder ranked metros in the U.S. based on the number of jobs created above and beyond what was forecast from 2014 to 2015. San Jose, Los Angeles, Seattle and Miami made up the ranking's top five most competitive markets. Atlanta, Orlando, San Francisco, Riverside, Calif., and Charlotte made up the ranking’s top 10.


State Farm hiring 1,500 in Atlanta, raising wages

State Farm announced in the winter it is increasing the minimum wage for its new hires to $15.50 per hour. The company also said it is hiring 1,500 employees in the Atlanta area this year.


Stone and tile company to bring facility to Virginia

Emser Tile, a producer of tile and stone, is investing $16.25 million in a new distribution center in Suffolk, Va. The project, which narrowed its list to South Carolina and Virginia, will create 98 jobs.


Delta Furniture adding 100 jobs in rural Mississippi

Pontotoc, Miss.-based furniture manufacturer Delta Furniture Manufacturing is setting up shop in Chickasaw County, Miss. The company, which has several facilities in Mississippi, is moving into an existing building in New Houlka that will house 100 workers.


Telemundo building new $250 million, 1,300-job HQ in Miami-Dade

In the winter quarter, Comcast, NBC Universal and Telemundo Enterprises executives joined Florida Gov. Rick Scott to announce the plans for Telemundo's new $250 million, 1,300-employee headquarters to be located in northwest Miami-Dade County. The new facility is expected to open in 2018.


Blue Origin to build rocket plant on Florida's Space Coast

Blue Origin, a spacecraft company backed by founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is building a $200 million rocket assembly facility in Brevard County near the Kennedy Space Center. The facility will house about 300 workers. Brevard County is also in the running to land the company's BE-4 rocket engine plant.


IT company relocates to Tampa

Cohesion, an information technology firm, recently relocated its headquarters from Ohio to Tampa. The deal will create up to 100 jobs.


Alabama passes small business tax credit

The Alabama Legislature passed a bill that would give businesses with 75 employees or less a $1,500 income tax credit for each new, full-time job paying at least $40,000 a year. To qualify, businesses would have to show a net increase in full-time employees.


Software company expands HQ in NOVA

Opower, a maker of cloud-based software for the utility industry, is expanding its headquarters in the Northern Virginia county of Arlington. The $10 million project will create 70 jobs.


Tyson Foods adding jobs in N.C.

Tyson Foods is expanding it chicken processing plant in Monroe, N.C. The $5 million project will create 56 jobs. The company employs more than 1,500 workers in Monroe.


Five Southern cities make "Top Ten Cities for Creatives"

New Orleans was ranked the No. 1 city for creatives by the website SmartAsset. The ranking was based on cost of living and the concentration of creative workers in 28 professions. Also making the top 10 in the South were Austin, Nashville, Durham and Kansas City.


Aerospace manufacturer adding jobs in Missouri

High Tech Solutions, a manufacturer of machined components for the aerospace industry, is relocating its headquarters to Lee's Summit, Mo. The project will create 46 new jobs.


U-Haul: N.C. is No. 1 inbound state

U-Haul's report titled "U.S. Growth States" showed that North Carolina posted the biggest net gain of one-way U-Haul truck rentals entering the state compared to those leaving in 2015. Virginia placed second and Florida was fourth.


Aerospace supplier expands in Virginia

EURO-COMPOSITES, a manufacturer of advanced composite materials used in aviation, space and defense technologies, is expanding its plant in Culpeper County, Va. The $10.5 million deal will create 58 jobs.


Company expands in Ada, Okla.

Florida-based iQor, a provider of business process outsourcing, is adding 100 new jobs at its Ada, Okla., facility.


Topship planning for more than 1,000 jobs in Gulfport, Miss.

Edison Chouest Offshore subsidiary, Topship LLC, will build a shipyard at the state port in Gulfport. The company plans to invest $68 million at the inland port and at least 1,000 jobs will be created.


Bank adding jobs in Greenville, S.C.

TD Bank is boosting its presence in Greenville. The bank, which employs about 1,000 people at its center on I-85 in Greenville, will add 300 more.


Perdue Foods expands in N.C.

Perdue Foods, a subsidiary of Perdue Farms, is investing $10.9 million in its Rockingham, N.C. processing plant. The deal will create 30 jobs.


Call center hiring 155 in Central Florida

Convergys is expanding its call center operations in Lake Mary, Fla. The company will hire 155 more workers at the center.


Kaman Aircraft adding 200 jobs in Jacksonville

Kaman Aircraft, an aerospace and industrial manufacturer, is expanding its operations in Jacksonville, Fla. The company is investing $30 million and adding 200 new jobs.


Charlottesville, Va., No. 1 for startup investment

According to the National Venture Capital Association, Charlottesville has been the fastest-growing U.S. market for venture capital investment every year since 2010. The number of companies receiving venture capital funding in Charlottesville increased about 55 percent annually from 2010 to 2015.


Atlanta tops list of moving destinations

For the sixth year in a row, Atlanta topped Penske Truck Leasing Co.'s annual moving destination ranking. Making the top 10 list in the South were Tampa Bay, Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando and Houston.


Promotional items manufacturer hiring 200 in Charlotte area

ETS Express, a maker of printed promotional items such as tumblers and mugs, has opened its new plant in Concord, N.C. The company is hiring 200 in the deal.


Company to expand in Kentucky

Custom Resins, a producer of nylon resins, is investing $12 million in its plant in Henderson, Ky. The project will create 40 new jobs.


Health care provider adding 450 jobs in Columbus, Ga.

Health care insurer Anthem is adding 450 jobs at its BlueCross BlueShield campus in Columbus. The company, which is investing $3 million, already has almost 1,300 workers at its Columbus facility.


Evolent Health adding jobs in Louisville

Evolent Health, a health systems and plans firm based in Virginia, is creating a new regional Medicaid headquarters in Louisville. The project will create 650 jobs.


Pharma firm expanding operations in Lexington, Ky.

India-based Piramal Pharma Solutions, which purchased Coldstream Labs last year, is expanding in Lexington. The company, which manufactures injectable pharmaceuticals, is investing $10 million and adding 40 workers.


Austin tops Forbes' "America's Cities of the Future" ranking.

Forbes' America's Cities of the Future ranking saw six Southern cities make the top 10. The magazine ranked the 53 largest metro areas based on eight metrics, including the percentage of children aged five to 14 and net domestic migration from 2010 to 2014. Austin was ranked No. 1 and Raleigh, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City made the top 10.


Caterpillar adding jobs in Mississippi

Caterpillar is adding a remanufacturing engine line in Corinth, Miss., which will require the addition of 41 jobs. The company is also adding four jobs at its plant in Booneville.


Unisys opens service center in Augusta, 700 jobs coming

Unisys Corporation opened its client service center in Augusta, Ga., in the winter quarter. The deal is expected to create 700 jobs over the next five years.


Japanese medical device manufacturer expanding in Memphis region

Olympus is building a new national service and distribution center next to its medical device plant in Bartlett, Tenn. The $12 million project will create 280 jobs.


Packaging plant adding jobs in Virginia

Arkay Packaging is bringing 50 new jobs to its plant in the Roanoke Valley. The company is investing $11 million in new equipment in its Botetourt County facility.


Construction spending in 2015 highest since 2007

According to the Commerce Department, construction spending jumped 10.5 percent in 2015 to $1.1 trillion, the largest total since 2007. In 2015, home construction rose 12.6 percent and non-residential construction was up 12.0 percent.


Cloud-based software firm picks Virginia

New Jersey-based AvePoint, a software producer that supports Microsoft Cloud applications, is setting up an operations center in Richmond that will house 100 new technology jobs. The company is also bringing 55 jobs to Arlington, Va.


$30 million data center opens in Oklahoma City

TierPoint LLC has completed its third and largest Oklahoma data center in Oklahoma City. The $30 million data center is located in a 69,000-square-foot facility. 

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