April 2016

U.K. report says labor costs in U.S. only 4 percent higher than China's

U.K.-based Oxford Economics recently published a report that showed that China's effective labor costs are only slightly below labor costs in the U.S. Rising wages in China and higher worker productivity in the U.S. means that U.S. workers cost just 4 percent more than Chinese workers.


More South Carolinians are employed by foreign-owned companies than any other state

A report published by the Organization for International Investment showed that in 2013 – the latest figures available -- over 127,000 workers in South Carolina got their paychecks from foreign-owned companies. In terms of percentage of the entire state workforce, the number represents the highest in the country. . .just over 8 percent of the state’s workforce.


D/FW and Houston blow away all markets in population gains, in-migration

In the 1990s, markets in Florida such as Tampa Bay and Orlando were the destination of choice for migrants looking for better jobs. This decade, Texas markets undoubtedly have that job cornered. According to the Census, Houston added 159,083 people from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. Dallas-Fort Worth added 144,704 residents in the same period. Third-place Atlanta didn't even get to six figures, adding 95,431 residents during that year. Here are the top 15 markets in the U.S. in population gains from July 2014 to July 2015.


U.S. Metro Leaders in Population Growth


Houston                    159,083

Dallas-Fort Worth    144,704

Atlanta                       95,431

Phoenix                     87,998

New York                  87,186

Los Angeles              85,671

Miami                       75,231

Washington DC        63,793

Seattle                      60,714

Orlando                    60,409

San Francisco          60,152

Denver                    58,474

Tampa-St. Pete       57,412

Austin                    57,395

San Antonio          51,285


Source: Census    


"Made in the USA" towels by Marriott

Soon, all Marriott hotels will feature USA-made towels and bathmats. Marriott has an agreement with Cincinnati-based Standard Textile to produce 2.6 million bath towels and 4.9 million hand towels annually. The towels will be made at plants in Thomaston, Ga., and Union, S.C., with 100 percent cotton fiber grown in the U.S. The contract will create 150 new jobs at the two plants. Previously, Marriott was purchasing its towels from Jordan.


Air worthy: First flight of Alabama-made Airbus A321 a success

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus successfully conducted the first test flight on its first A321 jetliner assembled in Mobile, Ala., in March. The passenger jet, which will compete with the Boeing 737 Max, took off from the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley and landed there three hours later. Brookley is a former Air Force Base where Airbus' $600 million plant is located. The first plane is being delivered to JetBlue.


The number of American breweries has hit a record high

According to data released by the Brewers Association in the spring, there are now more U.S.-based breweries than at any point in American history. There are 4,269 operating breweries of all sizes as of the end of 2015. That beat the previous record of American breweries that was set in 1873 when a lack of refrigeration meant all breweries had to be local.


Novo Nordisk breaks ground on $1.8 billion N.C. expansion

Denmark-based Novo Nordisk broke ground on a new $1.8 billion manufacturing facility in Clayton, N.C., in the spring quarter. The new facility will be 833,000 square feet and will house 700 workers. Novo manufactures medicines to meet the needs of those with diabetes.


Merck investing in Virginia

In the spring quarter, Merck announced it would invest $168 million in its manufacturing operations in Rockingham County, Va. The company is updating equipment and undertaking a training initiative to support the bioprocessing environment. Merck, a maker of medicines, began operations in Elkton, Va., in 1941.


Warranty firm adding jobs in Orlando

SquareTrade, an extended warranty company, is investing $500,000 to boost employment in Orlando. The San Francisco-based firm is adding 60 jobs.


Spanish auto supplier signs lease at K.C.'s SubTropolis

Grupo Antonlin, one of the world's leading parts suppliers, is moving into space at Kansas City's Hunt Midwest SubTropolis, the world's largest underground industrial park and business complex. The supplier will make interior parts for the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Malibu, both of which are made at Ford's and GM's Kansas City area plants.


New Acura to be made at Honda's Alabama plant

In the spring, Acura showed off its new three-row MDX crossover model at the New York Auto Show. The revamped MDX, Acura's best-selling vehicle, will be made at Honda's Lincoln, Ala., assembly plant.


Illinois-based conveyor maker adding jobs in Arkansas

FMH Conveyors, a manufacturer of material-handling equipment, is expanding its plant in Jonesboro, Ark. The company is building a new 195,000-square-foot addition, adding 110 jobs with an investment of $12.5 million.


Big auto parts deal near Roanoke, Va.

Italian auto parts supplier Eldor Corp. announced in the spring it had chosen an industrial park in Botetourt County for a $75 million, 350-employee plant. The project is one of the largest automotive-related deals ever announced in the Roanoke Valley. The company will produce ignition systems, and based on market conditions, could make powertrain systems for hybrid-electric vehicles.


Belgium manufacturer expanding in Arkansas

Bekaert, a maker of steel cord used in tires, is adding 50 percent more production capacity at its plant in Rogers, Ark. The deal will call for 100 new hires.


Amazon takes Kansas City's largest-ever spec building

Amazon.com announced in the spring it will occupy the entire 822,104-square-foot spec building in Logistics Park in Kansas City. The project will create 1,000 jobs.


Oklahoma-based MRO growing in South Florida

Tulsa-based Lufthansa Technik Component Services -- an aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul company -- plans to add 100 jobs at its facility in Miramar, Fla. Prior to this expansion, the company had grown to 90 employees.


Feds approve offshore wind research facility off Virginia's coast

The federal government has approved the construction of two 6-megawatt wind turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The two turbines will act as a research facility to test the turbines in harsh open seas. If tests prove positive, wind farms could be developed off the coast of the Commonwealth.


Boat maker sets up shop in rural S.C.

Falcon Boats is investing $1.5 million and hiring 35 to make a new line of sport-fishing boats. The company is moving into an existing building in Newberry County, S.C.


New York firm relocates to St. Petersburg, Fla.

Inside Sales Solutions, a firm that provides marketing strategies for high-tech companies, is relocating its headquarters to St. Pete. The company, which employs 50, also looked at Austin and Atlanta for its headquarters move.


Louisville FoodPort to create 350 jobs

Louisville mayor Greg Fischer and the nonprofit Seed Capitalo Kentucky signed an agreement in the spring quarter that paves the way for construction of the West Louisville FoodPort. The project is a $56 million investment and will create 150 temporary construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs.


Scotland-based company picks Jacksonville for U.S. HQ

City Refrigeration Holdings, a mechanical and electrical company, has chosen Jacksonville, Fla., to place its U.S. headquarters. The project will generate more than 200 jobs.


Wayne Farms hiring in Alabama, adds capacity

Wayne Farms is expanding its facilities in Dothan, Ala. The fresh poultry plant has already hired 200 and needs 400 more workers. The expansion will double the plant's capacity to handling up to 1.3 million chickens a week.


Plastics company investing and hiring in South Carolina

Baxter Enterprises and Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering, two companies that are suppliers to the plastics industry, are setting up shop in Oconee County, S.C. The $20.7 million project will create 87 new jobs.


Paycom to create 423 jobs in Oklahoma City

Paycom Software is investing $14 million in its headquarters in Oklahoma City. Many of the new 423 positions will be high-paying software developer jobs.


Atlanta, Raleigh named top aging cities

Atlanta is the nation's No. 1 rapidly aging city and Raleigh is second, according to Forbes. Atlanta's senior citizen population jumped by 20 percent between 2010 and 2014. (The average was 11.3 percent among the 53 largest metros.) In the South, Jacksonville ranked 4th and Austin was 7th.


Chemical company to create jobs in Georgia

ICT Industries, a producer of chemicals used to clean and waterproof various surfaces, will operate from an existing building in Augusta, Ga. The deal will create 100 jobs.


Auto parts supplier expands in eastern Kentucky

Superior Composites, a maker of filament glass fiber used in the automotive and transportation industries, is expanding its plant in Vanceburg, Ky. The $2.5 million project will create 32 full-time jobs.


Auto parts supplier hiring in Northeast Tennessee

DTR Tennessee is investing $9 million to add 66,300 square feet to its large plant in Tazewell, Tenn. The company, which makes anti-vibration and sound insulation products for the automotive industry, will add 80 workers to the 700 who already work at the plant in Northeast Tennessee. DTR Tennessee also operates a large plant in nearby Greene County, Tenn., that employs 900 workers.


Swiss dermatology firm more than doubling Fort Worth HQ

Galderma, a leader in solutions for the skin, hair and nails, is adding 100,000 square feet to its North American headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The $22 million expansion, which will add 342 to the 300 workers currently housed at the headquarters, will support research, development and training.


The fifth largest craft brewery in the U.S. picks Roanoke for East Coast facility

Roanoke, Va., snagged a prestigious project in the spring quarter. Deschutes Brewery announced it will build a brewery for the East Coast in the City of Roanoke. The project calls for an $85 million facility built on a 49-acre site in the Roanoke Center for Industry & Technology. The deal will create 108 jobs.


Chemical company to put factory in North Mississippi

Memphis-based BPI Packaging, a contract chemical manufacturer, is buying a 291,000-square-foot building in Olive Branch, Miss. The $8 million project will create 150 jobs.


Dubai chemical company spending $1 billion on new Texas plant

Dubai-based MEGlobal, which is partly owned by Dow Chemical, announced it will construct a new petrochemical plant in Freeport, Texas. The plant will manufacture monoethylene glycol, which is used to make fibers and some liquids. The company is investing $1 billion in the deal.


Bunge moving headquarters to Chesterfield, Mo.

Bunge North America is relocating its headquarters and 557 workers from Maryland Heights to Chesterfield, Mo. The company will also add 160 jobs.


Bus manufacturing adding 200 jobs in Georgia

Blue Bird is adding a second shift at its bus assembly plant in Fort Valley, Ga. The jobs are being created to add capacity for fall deliveries of its school buses.


Mortgage company relocating, adding jobs in Virginia

Movement Mortgage is investing $2 million in the relocation of its operations center from Virginia Beach to Norfolk. About 550 workers will move to Norfolk, and the company is adding 200 jobs.


Auto supplier growing in Aiken, S.C.

Switzerland-based Autoneum, a manufacturer of materials that reduce heat and noise in passenger components of vehicles, is expanding in Aiken County, S.C. The company is investing $35 million and adding 40 jobs in the deal.


BMW exports its 2 millionth SUV from South Carolina

In the spring quarter, the South Carolina Ports Authority exported the 2,000,000th BMW SUV assembled at the company's plant in Greer, S.C. Ironically, the Gray Metallic BMW X5 model was exported to Germany. In 2015, BMW set an annual record of exports from its South Carolina with more than 250,000 leaving the Port of Charleston.


LexisNexis expanding in Raleigh

LexisNexis Legal & Professional's growth in Raleigh is accelerating. The company's legal software solutions division, which is headquartered in Raleigh, is expected to add 200 jobs in the state's capital this year.


Cerner completes initial stage of 16,000-employee expansion

Electronic health records giant Cerner completed the initial stage of its $4.5 billion expansion in Kansas City, where it is headquartered. Construction is nearly complete on the first two buildings of the company's new campus where 16,000 employees will eventually be housed.


Health sciences and technology innovation district to be built in Roanoke

Virginia Tech and Carillion Clinic plan to build a health sciences and technology innovation district in Roanoke, Va. The district is expected to grow into a medical hub with the focus on understanding and treating specific diseases. Virginia Tech partnered with Carillion, a private health care system, to create a research institute and medical school eight years ago.


Advanced micro steel mill to create 300 jobs in Durant, Okla.

Commercial Metals Company (CMC) announced in the spring it will build an environmentally sustainable steel manufacturing facility in the rural south Oklahoma city of Durant. The mill will be capable of producing 380,000 tons of rebar from recycled scrap. The project will create 300 jobs.


$39 million FedEx facility slated for N.C.

A proposed $39 million logistics facility in the middle of the Research Triangle is set for FedEx Ground. The 250,000-square-foot facility will house 350 workers.


Nike expanding in Memphis

One year after Nike opened its $301 million, 2.8 million-square-foot North American Logistics Campus near Memphis, the company is leasing a 707,000-square-foot facility in Memphis. No job numbers were given on the new project.


Norfolk Southern increasing jobs counts at its Virginia headquarters

Norfolk Southern is adding 165 jobs and investing $8.2 million at its headquarters in Norfolk. The company is consolidating the railroad's Norfolk and Atlanta offices and the closure of its Roanoke office.


Orlando's job growth in 2015 was tops in the nation

With a 4.58 percent increase, Orlando led all U.S. metros in job growth in calendar year 2015 according to a revised Department of Labor report revealed in the spring quarter. San Jose, San Francisco, Tampa and Dallas-Fort Worth made up the top five.


Atlanta-based CNN adding staffers

CNN is currently hiring more than 200 journalists, video producers and other staff at its Atlanta facilities and elsewhere around the world, including London, Hong Kong and the Middle East. The Cable News Network will spend $20 million in the expansion.


Pharmaceutical company padding payroll in the Triangle

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals is investing $20 million in a new manufacturing and research facility in Durham, N.C. The project will create 52 jobs.


Property purchased for $1.5 billion aluminum mill in Louisiana

Revolution Aluminum has purchased the former International Paper mill in Pineville, La. The startup company proposes to transform the old paper mill into a new aluminum mill. The $1.5 billion project is expected to employ more than 1,000 people.


Accounting firm beefing up its business in Tulsa

New York-based Sutherland Global Services is doubling the size of its business in Tulsa, Okla. The company specializes in outsourced accounting and analytics, freeing companies to focus on the core of their businesses. The company plans to hire 150.


Money Magazine names North Carolina town best place to live in U.S.

Money has named Apex, N.C., as the best place to live in the country. According to the publication, the Wake County town has all the amenities of the big city thanks to its its proximity to Raleigh, while keeping its "small town charm."


Volvo to localize suppliers in S.C.

In the spring quarter, Volvo executive Katarina Fjording visited the Charleston, S.C., metro where the Swedish car company is building a new assembly plant. While visiting, Fjording said that when Volvo begins assembly of its S60 sedan in Berkeley County in 2018, the company plans to source the parts largely from South Carolina suppliers. A number of executives of part supplier companies from Sweden also visited the Charleston area in the spring quarter.


Fabric maker adding jobs in Upstate S.C.

Fitesa, a global manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics for use in the medical, hygiene and industrial sectors, is investing $52 million in its plant in Simpsonville, S.C. The project calls for 38 new jobs.


Answering service firm creating 310 jobs in S.C.

Call Experts, an answering service company, is investing $1.8 million in its existing operations in Charleston County, S.C. The deal will create 310 jobs.


Call for 1,800 jobs in Hampton Roads, Va.

ADP announced in the spring that it will move one of its divisions to Norfolk. The company, which provides cloud-based human capital solutions and outsources business services, will spend $32.25 million to bring an 1,800-employee call center to Norfolk.


Illinois-based Transdev to set up call center in Georgia

Transdev, an operator of multiple modes of public transportation around the country such as SuperShuttle, Yellow Cab and zTrip, is setting up a call center in Rome, Ga. The project will create 160 jobs.


Food supplier building plant in Rockwall, Texas

Los Angeles-based Pegasus Foods is building an 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Rockwall. The deal will create 300 jobs. The company supplies food for restaurants like Chili's and Panda Express.


Marketing company with big Florida expansion

Kobie Marketing is adding 255 jobs at its headquarters in St. Petersburg. The company has been in St. Pete for 25 years.


500 new jobs coming to Atlanta area

HD Supply Holdings, one of the nation's largest industrial distributors, is bringing 500 jobs to Cobb County, Ga. The company will consolidate several facilities in the Atlanta area, and is investing $100 million in the project.


German condiment maker lands in Dyersburg, Tenn.

Germany-based Develey Mustard and Condiments is locating its first North American plant in Dyersburg, Tenn. The $20 million project will create 150 jobs in Dyer County.


Medical giant McKesson investing in Texas

California-based McKesson is investing $157 million in a new regional hub in Irving, Texas. The health care and IT company will create nearly 1,000 jobs in the deal.


Automotive racking manufacturer sets up shop in S.C.

Essex Weld Solutions, which makes automotive racks for shipping auto parts, is establishing operations in Cherokee County, S.C. The $2.6 million deal will generate 70 new jobs.


Chinese textile manufacturer picks North Carolina

China-based Uniquetex is investing $31.6 million in a new textile plant in Cleveland County, N.C. The company purchased an existing 329,000-square-foot building that will house 150 workers.


Chinese-owned auto parts supplier chooses Shelby, N.C.

KSM Castings USA will spend $80 million to expand its transmissions housing plant in Cleveland County, N.C. The project will create 80 jobs.


Thomas Built Buses hiring in N.C.

Daimler Trucks subsidiary Thomas Built Buses is expanding in High Point, N.C. The company is adding a second shift to assemble its Saf-T-Liner bus. The deal will create 200 jobs.


Iron Mountain to build $350 million data center in Northern Virginia

Iron Mountain Information Management will construct a three-building, $350 million data center in Prince William County, Va. The project will create 25 jobs.


Pantex hiring 300 in Amarillo

Pantex is adding 300 workers to its plant in Amarillo, Texas -- the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility in the United States. The new hires are part of a hiring binge to meet increased demand for work on the nation's nuclear stockpile.


Daikin hiring more than expected for new Houston campus

Daikin Industries’ new Houston campus will employ up to 5,000 workers, 1,000 more than originally announced. The Japanese manufacturer of heating, cooling and refrigerant products is building a 3- to 4-million-square-foot campus in Hockley, Texas. The site will consolidate the Texas and Tennessee facilities of Goodman Global, the company Daikin purchased recently.


Accenture Federal Services growing in San Antonio

With new federal contracts worth $128 million, Virginia-based Accenture Federal Services is hiring 300 employees in San Antonio. The company already employs over 1,000 there.


Longest streak of private section job growth now at six full years

The longest recorded run of monthly job growth in the U.S. now stands a full six years -- 72 consecutive months -- as of February 2016. During that time, 14.3 million jobs were added to the U.S. economy. And in those six years, the U.S. unemployment rate has been cut in half, roughly from 10 percent to 5 percent.


Memphis, Fort Worth and Atlanta lead nation in growth of female-owned businesses

With a whopping 116 percent increase in the number of businesses owned by women -- from 2007 to 2012 (latest figures available from the Census) -- Memphis leads all U.S. metros in the category. Fort Worth is second with a growth rate of 78 percent, and Atlanta is third with 65 percent. Making the top 10 in the South were Houston, Dallas, Austin, Jacksonville and Charlotte.


BMW's $1 billion plant expansion in S.C. will be completed this year

BMW's $1 billion expansion announced two years ago will be completed this year at its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. In March 2014, the automaker announced that in addition to the $1 billion, the X7 and X4 models would be launched on new production lines. The expansion will enable BMW to increase capacity to 450,000 units compared to the record 400,904 vehicles it rolled out in calendar year 2015. The South Carolina plant is the largest in the world for the German automaker.


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