June 2016

Fed official: "We're basically at full employment" 

In the spring quarter, San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams said that "we're basically at full employment." Williams also said there is a lot to be happy about regarding the current economy, citing growth of about 2 percent a year, an unemployment rate that has been cut in half since the recession and the nation averaging about 200,000 new jobs a month for the past two years. 


Ga., S.C., moving ahead with shared port

The Georgia Ports Authority approved $7.5 million to conduct an environmental assessment for a proposed $5 billion Jasper Ocean Terminal, a new port near the Georgia and South Carolina border. South Carolina officials have already funded their part of the environmental work. The new port will be shared by the two states and will include 10 berths on 1,500 acres in Jasper County, S.C. The project is expected to open in 2030. 


Port of New Orleans sets back-to-back record container months

The Port of News Orleans set a record of 48,594 containers handled in March, then a record. But in April, the port handled 50,974 containers setting another monthly record. 


Construction begins in November for new $1.5 billion Louisiana port

Construction on the first phase of Port Cameron on the Calcasieu Ship Channel south of Lake Charles will begin later this year. The $1.5 billion project when fully leased will generate about $2.8 billion in sales and create 10,000 jobs. The four-year build-out phase will create about 16,000 construction jobs.  


Chinese manufacturer creating 400 jobs in S.C.

China Jushi, a manufacturer of fiberglass products, is investing $300 million in a new plant in Richland County, S.C. The project will create 400 new jobs. 


Amazon hiring 1,000 at Texas center

Amazon.com will open a new distribution center in San Marcos, Texas in the summer. The 855,000-square-foot warehouse will house 1,000 workers. 


Engineering firm relocating HQ from California to Dallas

Jacobs Engineering Group, a large engineering and design firm with 230 offices around the world, is relocating its headquarters to Dallas. The firm already has about 300 workers in Dallas. The company expected to relocate 100 top executives to Texas. 


What? Sarasota County votes not to accept relocating HQ

You know the economy is good when communities begin to reject prospective projects. That's exactly what Sarasota County, Fla. did in the spring quarter. The County Commission voted 4-1 in May against offering $720,000 in incentives for a national roofing company to relocate its headquarters to Sarasota. About 20 local contractors and professional associations also spoke out against the project. They argued that the new company would make it more difficult for local companies to retain key employees. The unemployment rate in Sarasota is 4.3 percent.  


FedEx hiring 700 for new Louisville distribution center

Memphis-based FedEx has already hired 300 workers for a new distribution center in Louisville. The 300,000-square-foot facility will eventually house 700 employees. 


Glass plant back in business in Northeast Tennessee

Heritage Glass has sold its closed solar glass facility in Kingsport, Tenn. to EnviraGlass. The new company is reopening the plant and will initially employ 104 workers. 


San Francisco-based apparel company bringing 300 jobs to Ga. 

thredUP, an online retailer of secondhand women's and children's clothing, is opening a warehouse in Gwinnett County, Ga. The project will create 300 jobs. 


Manufacturer expanding in Bay Springs, Miss. 

Hol-Mac Corp., a manufacturer of oil field equipment and hydraulic cylinders, is expanding its facility in Bay Springs. The $5 million deal will create 40 new jobs. 


Hallmark expands in Missouri

Hallmark Cards has hired about 345 full-time employees at its Liberty, Mo., distribution center. The company expects to hire 300 more workers at the center in the summer. 


Texas ammunition manufacturer to build plant in West Virginia

Texas-based Ranger Scientific announced in the spring it will build an ammunitions factory on 1,000 acres of reclaimed mountaintop land in eastern Kanawha County. When operational, the plant will produce more than 500 million rifle rounds per year. The project will create 400 jobs. 


Silicon Valley company picks Raleigh for regional HQ

WalkMe Inc., a Silicon Valley-based software company, announced it picked downtown Raleigh for a new regional headquarters that will house hundreds of workers. The company designs software that simplifies the online user experience. The Raleigh office will be one of only five worldwide for WalkMe. 


Georgia-based furniture manufacturer top open rural Alabama facility

Farmer's Home Furniture plans to open a new factory in the Northwest Alabama town of Russellville. The 325,000-square-foot plant will house about 80 workers. 


Humana hiring 100 in South Florida

Health care giant Humana is adding 100 workers at its telesales facility in Miramar, Fla. The company provides enrollment assistance at the facility. 


TVA achieves nuclear reaction at Watts Bar

The Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Unit 2 achieved its first sustained nuclear fission reaction in May and is now operating. The plant will eventually provide up to 1,150 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.3 million homes. 


New plant slated for South Alabama

Morganton Pressure Vessels, a subsidiary of Italy-based Baglioni Group, will establish a new compressed air system manufacturing plant in Bay Minette, Ala. The $1.5 million plant will create 70 new jobs. 


Virginia lands another major craft beer brewery

San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits announced it will open a new brewing operation in Botetourt County, Va. The $47 million project will create 178 new jobs. 


Packaging company to create jobs in rural Georgia

Polymer Logistics, a retail packaging firm, is investing $4 million in a new 73,500-square-foot distribution center in Dublin, Ga. The center will house 110 workers. 


Citi relocating jobs from Connecticut to Tampa

Citigroup is relocating employees from Connecticut to its Citi Service Center in Tampa. The move affects about 150 workers. 


Nashville has a ridiculous number of jobs available

We all know there are over 5 million jobs available and unfilled in this country. Of those, there are about 1 million tech-based jobs available right now. As of late May, there were nearly 100,000 jobs available and unfilled in the Nashville metro. 


New auto parts distribution center sets up shop in Winchester, Va. 

FCA US, a subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler, is investing over $12 million in a parts distribution center in Winchester, Va. The 400,000-square-foot center will house about 70 workers. 


New data center breaks ground in Virginia

In May, Seattle-based Sabey Corporation broke ground on a new 900,000-square-foot data center in Ashburn, Va. The center will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. 


People flocking to Southern major markets

According to Realtor.com, 8 of the top 10 inbound migration cities in the U.S. are located in the South. The No. 1 city was Tampa, followed by Jacksonville, Charlotte, San Antonio, Austin, Las Vegas, Orlando, Nashville, Raleigh and Portland. 


Massive expansion announced by bourbon distillery

Kentucky's bourbon boom continued in the spring quarter as officials with Buffalo Trace Distillery announced they would invest $200 million in an expansion that will take place over 7 years. The Frankfort-based company is currently converting seven former barrel aging buildings back to their original use and 30 new aging warehouses are planned. One is scheduled to be built every five months. Kentucky bourbon makers filled almost 1.9 million barrels in 2015, a 44 percent increase over the previous year. 


200 new tech jobs coming to Midtown Atlanta

California-based Keysight Technologies and Georgia Tech are collaborating on a new software design center near the university's campus in Midtown Atlanta. The facility will focus on Keysight's transformation into a software-centric solutions provider for its customers. The deal will create 200 new jobs. 


Technology firm adding 300 jobs in South Carolina

Charleston-based technology firm Blackbaud is building a new headquarters on Daniel Island. The new $150 million, 360,000-square-foot campus will house the company's existing 1,500 employees and 300 more. 


Shipping broker expands in Knoxville

Axle Logistics, a logistics broker, is expanding its downtown Knoxville headquarters. The company is adding 40 employees.   


Japan's automotive industry impact on the Southern Auto Corridor

Japanese automakers operate 7 major assembly plants in the Southern Automotive Corridor and several large engine and transmission facilities. The plants are located from Texas to West Virginia, but most are located near the spine of the Southern Auto Corridor, which is Interstate 65 that runs through Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) released its 2015 advance contributions data in the spring quarter and it showed that Japanese automakers have a cumulative manufacturing investment in the U.S. that totals $45.4 billion. The release also stated that 75 percent of Japanese-brand vehicles sold in the U.S. are produced in North America. Other data from the release includes: 




Japanese vehicle production in the U.S. 3,850,000

Japanese exports from the U.S. 417,699

Number of U.S. employees (Mfg) 60,640

Number of U.S. employees (R&D) 5,086

Number of U.S. employees (HQ) 22,062

Number of U.S. employees (dealerships) 375,143

Total employees 462,931


Source: JAMA


German manufacturer launches HQ in S.C. 

A manufacturer of electrical railway couplings is setting up its headquarters in Pickens County, S.C. Germany-based era-contact USA is investing $3.6 million in the deal, which will create 45 new jobs. 


BMW rolls out 3.5 millionth vehicle in S.C.

BMW Manufacturing Co. set a milestone in the spring quarter. The German automaker rolled out its 3.5 millionth vehicle. The company produced 400,000 SUVs in calendar year 2015.


Artificial intelligence software firm expands in Middle Tennessee

Digital Reasoning, a leader in cognitive computing and artificial intelligence software for government agencies, financial institutions and healthcare companies, is expanding its headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. The company is adding 189 employees. 


Newport News Shipbuilding adding 1,000 jobs

The large shipyard in Newport News, Va., is adding more than 1,000 jobs. The hires are a result of more submarine contracts with the Navy. 


United Technologies building new headquarters in South Florida

United Technologies Corp.'s Climate Controls and Security division broke ground on its new $115 million headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens in the spring quarter. The project is expected to create about 400 jobs. 


Canadian manufacturer growing in Tennessee

Montreal-based Bath Fitter Manufacturing, a maker of tub and shower liners, is investing $5.1 million to grow its plant in Springfield, Tenn. The deal will create 51 jobs. 


New Jersey pharmaceutical firm expands in Durham, N.C. 

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals announced in March it will invest about $20 million in a new manufacturing and research facility in Durham County, N.C. Braeburn's new facility will house 52 bio-manufacturing workers as well as R&D specialists. 


Michelin to build $300 million distribution center in S.C.

Michelin announced in the spring it will build a $300 million tire distribution center in Spartanburg County, S.C. The new center will house about 350 workers. 


MRO hiring 75 in Myrtle Beach

Executive Helijet, an aircraft maintenance company, is investing $1 million at its facility at the Myrtle Beach International Airport. The project will create 75 jobs. 


Two large Georgia megasites gain certification 

Two large sites in middle Georgia gained certification by the state in the spring quarter. The Heart of Georgia Megasite in Laurens County near Dublin features 2,000 acres and is located on Interstate 16. The other is the Sibley-Smith Industrial Park on the U.S. 441 bypass in Baldwin County, Ga., which consists of 1,657 acres. Both sites have rail access.  


New York-based Paychex expands in Baton Rouge

Paychex, a payroll and personnel services firm, is expanding its operation in Baton Rouge by 100 jobs. 


Big call center deal in Texas

Results Companies is setting up a new call center in Palestine, Texas. The project calls for at least 500 new hires. 


Call center to create hundreds of jobs in Columbus, Ga. 

Ohio-based Convergys is moving into the former Road America facility on the riverfront in Columbus, Ga. The new call center will be staffed by about 450 workers. 


Packaging conglomerate locating HQ in Memphis

Three packaging companies have merged to create a $5.5 billion conglomerate. The new company, Evergreen Packaging, will locate its headquarters in Memphis and add 70 jobs. 


Japanese auto parts company locating second facility in Bowling Green, Ky. 

Kobe Steel will build a new plant near its sister company, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, in Bowling Green. The new plant will produce aluminum parts for cars and trucks. It will be staffed by 106 full-time workers. 


Largest Chinese greenfield investment to open by end of the year in Corpus Christi

By the end of this year, the largest Chinese greenfield investment in the U.S. will be operational. The $1.3 billion Tianjin Pipe (TPCO) facility near Corpus Christi will produce seamless pipe for the energy industry. Much of the pipe will be used at the nearby Eagle Ford Shale formation in South Texas. The project is expected to create 600 jobs. 


Sprint opens regional office in Little Rock

In the spring quarter, wireless carrier Sprint opened a regional headquarters office in Little Rock that will serve Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. About 100 jobs will be created. 


Danish company adding 150 jobs in Pensacola

Danish wind power turbine manufacturer Jupiter Group is expanding its manufacturing facility in Pensacola. The company is adding space and 150 new jobs at its plant. 


Online retailer expanding in Kentucky

Rue La La, an e-commerce company with facilities in Shepherdsville, Ky., is adding space and investing $15 million there. The Boston-based company is also adding 102 jobs. 


City of Melbourne, Fla., approves Northrop Grumman's expansion

While there has not been an official statement yet from Northrop Grumman where it will design and build the new Air Force's Long Range Strike Bomber, the City of Melbourne has approved a site plan that would accommodate the project at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne. Northrop Grumman recently opened its Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence at the Melbourne airport. If the bomber is built in Melbourne, the number of new employees for the project has risen to 1,900. 


Boeing employment up to 2,500 in Oklahoma 

Just a few years ago, Boeing employed a few hundred workers in Oklahoma City. Now that workforce has grown to 2,500 and should top 3,000 by the end of the year. In Oklahoma, Boeing works on defense, including designing modifications to the AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System), cargo, bombers and fuel tanker aircraft. Another engineering facility is being built in Oklahoma City and should open by the end of the year. Another 600 engineers are expected to be hired when the new facility opens. 


UPS to build $70 million facility in Texas

Atlanta-based UPS announced it will build a $70 million distribution center in Round Rock, Texas. The new center will bring additional capacity to the Austin area. The project will generate 300 jobs. 


Local recycler, Chinese company work on joint project in S.C. 

A Berkeley County, S.C. tire recycler and a Chinese chemical company have announced a joint venture to form Viva Holdings Group. The new company is building a $28 million rubber and plastics recycling plant that will make industrial and consumer products from scrap plastics and rubber that have been molded together. The project will create 200 jobs in Berkeley County.


Health care company adding jobs in Charlotte region

Ensemble Health Partners, a health care revenue consultant, is expanding into a larger facility in Huntersville, N.C. The company will also add 120 jobs. 


Sitel adding jobs in Oklahoma

Call center operator Sitel is expanding its call center in Bartlesville, Okla. The company is adding 70 new jobs. 


Coatings manufacturer expands in rural Virginia

Lohmann Specialty Coatings is expanding its plant in Orange County, Va. Lohmann's products are used in a variety of industries including automotive, where the company has clients such as BMW and Bosch Siemens. The $6.7 million project will create 56 new jobs. 


TAG Manufacturing adding 200 jobs in Chattanooga

TAG Manufacturing, one of the first tenants of Chattanooga's Enterprise South industrial park where Volkswagen's assembly plant is located, is expanding its plant. TAG produces attachments such as buckets for heavy construction equipment. The company is investing $15 million in the purchase of 19 acres for a new 200,000-square-foot building. The deal will create 200 jobs. 


The cost of putting all 4,000 Toyota headquarter employees under one roof: $1 billion

Toyota is currently building its new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. Its current headquarters is in Torrance, Calif. However, Toyota has employees in Kentucky and New York that it wants to consolidate to Plano. Moving those and its employees in California to Plano will ultimately cost $1 billion Toyota officials revealed in the spring. Toyota's new headquarters project is more than half finished and is expected to open early next year. 


LMI Aerospace expanding in Missouri

LMI Aerospace, a manufacturer of aerostructures and components for the commercial, military and corporate aerospace markets, is expanding its machining facility in Washington, Mo. The project calls for 60 more employees. 


Sioux Chief Manufacturing establishing new plant in S.C.

Sioux Chief, a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures, is establishing operations in Cherokee County, S.C. The $2.5 million deal will result in 77 new jobs. 


GE relocating division to Houston

General Electric is relocating a small division to Houston as it closes a Pittsburgh plant and consolidates its operations. GE's Power Conversion unit will add about 70 jobs in Houston to the 50 it already has there. 


Big deal in Georgia

Texas-based Sparta Industries, a maker of foam insulation air ducts for commercial buildings, is moving into the former Rheem complex in Milledgeville, Ga. that has been vacant for years. The project will produce more than 1,000 new jobs. 


Aerospace parts plant going up in South Alabama

Huntsville-based Brown Precision, a manufacturer of precision parts used in the aerospace and medical industries, is building a new plant in Atmore, Ala. The company, which provides parts of GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and GKN Aerospace, will create 35 new jobs initially with 100 expected within a few years. 


Sitel's new call center in Spartanburg to house 400

Sitel's new call center in Spartanburg County, S.C. opened in the spring quarter. The $2.5 million, 47,000-square-foot facility houses about 400 workers. 


Dollar General plans 1 million-square-foot center near Atlanta

Tennessee-based Dollar General is building a large distribution center in Jackson, Ga. The project is the retailer's 15th distribution center and will create 500 new jobs. 


Coca-Cola Bottling opens new Montgomery facility

Coca-Cola Bottling opened its new $35 million distribution facility in Montgomery, Ala., in the spring quarter. The project created 63 jobs. 


Memphis industrial real estate market soaring

Because of the FedEx hub in Memphis, the city’s industrial market is a good barometer of the economy. In 2015, the Memphis MSA's industrial real estate sector saw a record-breaking year with an absorption rate of 8.4 million square feet. The market continued to soar in the first three months of this year, with 4 million square feet of newly leased space. 


South lands six states on Chief Executive's "Best States for Business" 

Once again Texas was Chief Executive's 2016 "Best State for Business." Texas was followed by Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Ohio in the top 10. The bottom five were Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, New York and California. 


19th century textile mill to be converted into data center in Augusta, Ga. 

The Historic Sibley Mill, a long-idled, 600,000-square-foot former denim plant near downtown Augusta, is being converted into a 10-megawatt data center and technology park. Two South African entrepreneurs are partners in the venture called Cape Augusta Digital Properties. The $90 million to $150 million project will be known as Augusta Cyber Works. The mill's location is unique in that it is directly on the Augusta Canal. The building has a built-in 2.5 megawatt hydroelectric system. Together with the canal and the hydroelectric system, the mill can provide the two things data centers need the most: water and electricity. 


Customer service center generating 120 jobs in Tennessee

Empyrean Benefit Solutions, a benefits technology firm, is opening a new customer service center in La Verge, Tenn. The project calls for 120 jobs initially. 


Health care solutions firm expanding in Knoxville

TeamHealth is investing $6.7 million in a renovation of 62,000 square feet of space located adjacent to its Knoxville headquarters. TeamHealth is one of Knoxville's largest employers. The expansion will mean 250 more workers for the company. 


California smoothie company moving HQ to Texas

Jamba Inc., operators of Jamba Juice shops, is relocating its headquarters from Emeryville, Calif., to Frisco, Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro. The move will affect about 120 workers in California. Once settled, the company will employ about 100 in Frisco. 


Florida Gov. Rick Scott takes job poaching trip to California; Miami Beach mayor counters

Gov. Rick Scott took another recruiting trip to California in the spring quarter, provoking California Gov. Jerry Brown again. Scott's message to California execs was the usual sales pitch; lower taxes and wages in Florida compared to California. Scott claimed that Brown had hurt California's business climate by boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the state by 2021. But after Scott's trip, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine purchased radio ads in major California metros that stressed the positive value of minimum wage hikes, which he is trying to do in his city. The ads partly read: "I want the people of California to know that Miami Beach is about to vote on a historic measure; a living wage for all its residents, one that allows them to not only work here but live here." Gov. Brown and Gov. Scott have been going at it recently as Scott tries to poach jobs from California. If you recall, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry took similar highly publicized recruiting trips to California a few years ago. 


$20 billion Texas LNG export terminal has taken another step forward

The Woodlands, Texas-based NextDecade LLC filed its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in May. The company plans to build a 137-mile pipeline and a LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville. NextDecade is filing for permission to take natural gas mined from the Eagle Ford Shale region south of San Antonio and export it overseas to customers. The project, called Rio Grande LNG, is expected to cost $20 billion. 


Poultry plant to reopen in Siler City, N.C.

Delaware-based Mountaire Farms is acquiring the former Townsend poultry processing plant in Siler City. The plant has been closed since 2011. Once the plant is renovated, the new owner plans to hire about 500 workers. 


Software company expands in Florida

eMaint, a provider of maintenance software, is relocating its headquarters from Estero to Bonita Springs, Fla. The $2 million move will result in 150 new jobs. 


Bama Foods expands in Oklahoma
Tulsa-based Bama Foods is expanding its plant in Owasso, Okla. The company recently won a contract to provide pancakes to McDonald's. The expansion will add 55 jobs. 


Italian company to create 300 jobs in Brownsville, Texas
Italy-based SATA USA, a manufacturer of high technology components, is investing $114 million in a machining facility in Brownsville. The project will create 300 jobs.


Minnesota company establishes plant in South Carolina
J&L Wire is establishing its first South Carolina plant. The $2.5 million project will create 50 new jobs. 


Husqvarna adding 513,000 square feet in Orangeburg, S.C.
Husqvarna Consumer Outdoor Products, a manufacturer of outdoor power machines, is adding 513,000 square feet of space to its existing operations in Orangeburg County. The project will cost $29 million. 


Furniture maker hiring 50 in N.C.
Hughes Furniture, the fifth largest employer in Randolph County, N.C., with 800 employees, is adding 50 jobs at the company's Randleman plant. The company is building a 300,000-square-foot distribution center. 


The bleeding of manufacturing jobs has stopped
From the time China joined the WTO in 2001 to 2010, it has been estimated that about 3 million manufacturing jobs offshored to the country from the U.S. That's an average of almost 300,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs lost in the U.S. each year and an estimated 120,000 jobs lost each year in the South.

But in 2010, offshore moves by manufacturers began to slow as the U.S. become more competitive as a result mainly of rising Chinese wages and lower energy costs here in the U.S. That is when the word "reshoring" was invented and the South and the U.S. have been adding manufacturing jobs every year since. In fact, nearly 1 million manufacturing jobs have been added in the U.S. since 2010.

 While offshoring is an issue in this presidential campaign, it really shouldn't' be. According to the Reshoring Initiative, today there is a breakeven score between offshoring and reshoring of jobs in this country. In 2015, there were about 60,000 manufacturing jobs offshored to other countries, but about 67,000 manufacturing jobs were reshored to the U.S.


The most important political-economic news of the millennium?
According to the International Energy Agency, for the second consecutive year, global GDP grew and global carbon emissions leveled off. It was the first time in 40 years that carbon emissions did not rise when global GDP increased. Here in the U.S., GDP has grown by 28 percent since 2000, while its carbon emissions have decreased 6 percent. About the severing of the historic link between rising emissions and a growing economy, Robinson Meyer wrote in The Atlantic, "...it seems no exaggeration to call this the most important political-economy news this millennium."


Chinese investment in the U.S. to set record this year
After investing a record $15 billion in the U.S. last year, the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations reported in the spring quarter that Chinese investments are likely to total between $20 billion and $30 billion this year. If the $30 billion mark is reached, it would mean China would be one of the largest foreign direct investment nations in the U.S., joining countries like Japan, The Netherlands and the U.K. Just five years ago, Chinese investments in the U.S. were virtually nonexistent. Most of the investments in the U.S. are acquisitions, therefore politicians and regulators are increasing their inspections of the deals.


Deloitte: U.S. expected to pass China in manufacturing competitiveness by 2020
Supporting another study comparing how competitive the U.S. and China are in the manufacturing sector, Deloitte's 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index showed that U.S. manufacturing competitiveness has risen to No. 2 in the world, with China remaining at No. 1. But like a similar study put out by the Boston Consulting Group last year, Deloitte expects the U.S. to surpass China as the most competitive manufacturing country by 2020. Like the BCG report, Deloitte interviewed more than 500 senior executives at global manufacturing companies.


North Carolina megasite moving toward certification
The financial supporters of the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite near Liberty, N.C., are moving ahead with several infrastructure projects on and near the 1,400-acre site. The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation, part of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, has signed a contract with Duke Energy to bring power to the site. The Foundation has also signed a contract with a preconstruction firm based in Charlotte to design a large interchange at the site to connect with U.S. 421. In the spring, North Carolina Railroad closed on 800 acres to complete the megasite.


New Orleans is much less susceptible to flooding
New federal maps show that New Orleans is much less vulnerable to flooding than before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. So much so less vulnerable that Mayor Mitch Landrieu said more than half of the city's properties will see a large decrease in the cost of flood insurance. Army of Corp Engineers spent more than $14 billion improving the city's defenses against flooding.


More than 1,400 new jobs coming to Arkansas
Arkansas is currently at its lowest unemployment rate in state history with a 4 percent jobless rate. Many credit the economic growth to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s efforts, which include the following new announcements: Chinese Shandong Sun Paper will build a $1 billion pulp mill in Clark County near Arkadelphia, which will employ 250. Sprint will be adding a regional headquarters in Little Rock with a hundred more jobs.


More ammo for Arkansas
An ammunition plant coming to Jacksonville will bring 50 new jobs to the town. Sig Sauer is relocating from Eubank, Ky., to a "permanent site" in Jacksonville.


Insitu adding 25 jobs at new facility at MSU
Last month saw the ceremony opening of Insitu’s new facility at Mississippi State University in Starkville. The partnership between the company that produces unmanned aircraft and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at MSU will create 25 jobs.


Spreemo expanding to Addison, Texas, adding up to 100 jobs
Fast-growing Spreemo, a New York City-based health care platform that helps large companies manage care for injured employees, will expand to Addison. The company plans to hire 75 to 100 employees in the coming year and will go into 8,000 square feet of space.


Florida Hospital plans new ER that'll create 100 jobs
Florida Hospital has submitted plans to build a freestanding emergency facility near Waterford Lakes. The facility will be 18,500 square feet and include 24 beds, which is nearly identical to Florida Hospital's freestanding ER that's opening in Lake Mary on May 26. The Lake Mary facility is also creating 100 new jobs.


Creform breaks ground on new manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky.
Creform, which has had a sales office in Georgetown for five years, recently broke ground on a new manufacturing facility. Creform is a handling system for use in the car manufacturing process invented by the Japanese company Yakaki Kako Corp. The new plant means 50 jobs for the company that does a large business with Toyota.


New aerospace manufacturing plant to add 260 jobs in Alabama
A new aerospace manufacturing facility is expected to bring 260 jobs to southwest Alabama. UTC Aerospace Systems is developing an 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Foley.


Texas A&M building $150 million research campus on old air base
Texas A&M will spend $150 million building a 2,000-acre research park and education center on an old air base just west of its main campus between Houston and Austin.


Japanese machinery firm moves HQ to Houston from Manhattan
Top Japanese machinery maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has moved its Americas headquarters from Manhattan to Houston, resulting in the transfer of around 40 employees. MHI had maintained its Americas headquarters in New York since 1988, but began operations in Houston last month as one of the world’s leading industrial firms, providing services and products across a wide range of industries including energy, transportation, aerospace and aviation.


Sheetz is hiring 8,000 new employees
Sheetz kicked off 2016 by promising $15 million in wage increases to its gas station/convenience store employees. Now it’s hiring 8,000 more people in six states—Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and North Carolina.


Tennessee lands new customer service center
Empyrean Benefit Solutions will locate a new customer service center in La Vergne, Tenn. The Houston-based employee health and benefit solutions provider will invest $2.9 million in the new customer service center operation, creating 120 jobs in Rutherford County.


Apple still growing in Austin
Apple is reportedly on track to meet the goals of its tax incentives agreement signed in 2012 and worth $35 million. The California-based tech giant has created 2,000-plus jobs in Austin since 2012. . .on top of thousands of jobs it already had there. To receive the incentives, Apple must create more than 3,600 full-time jobs in 10 years while retaining at least 3,100 full-time jobs year over year.


Georgia’s Kumho Tire opens $450 million manufacturing plant
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Macon’s largest manufacturing plant to open in 40 years. The Kumho Tire Georgia plant is the company’s first U.S.-based manufacturing plant and will have the capacity to produce 4 million tires a year.


Chemours plans $230 million expansion in Corpus Christi
The Chemours Co. will spend $230 million to expand its facility in Ingleside, Texas to produce a refrigerant required in European cars. Chemours spun off from DuPont last July and occupies a former DuPont plant on 600 acres along the banks of the LaQuinta Channel. It’s here that the company plans to expand supply of its Opteon family of products.


Louisville Forward named one of top economic development organizations
Site Selection Magazine has named Louisville Forward as one of 2015’s top economic development organizations. Louisville Forward has helped bring 60 new businesses, 5,000 new jobs and almost $2 billion in investment into the Kentucky city.


Honda to begin production of new pickup truck
At its plant in Lincoln, Ala., Honda Manufacturing of Alabama has begun production of the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck — what some auto industry experts are calling a second crack at the lucrative American truck market.


Germany's Berghoff Group to open $30 million plant in Auburn, Ala.
A German machining operation has announced plans to establish its first United States manufacturing facility in Auburn. The Berghoff Group plans to invest $30 million into the plant and create 100 precision-machining jobs over the next five years.


Cable assembly firm to create 72 jobs in Pickens County, S.C.
An Iowa-based company that assembles and distributes fiber optic and copper cables — Zero Connect — is opening up operations in Easley and plans to create more than 70 jobs.


Manufacturer to invest $20 million, create 100 jobs with Georgia plant
A Meriden, Conn., retail shopping bag maker will open a new $20 million industrial facility in Walton County, Ga., creating 100 jobs. Flexo Converters USA offers a line of custom and stock paper bags as well as recycled paper bags.


Asahi Kasei Plastics North America opens Alabama plant
A leading international compounder of advanced engineered polymers, Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, opened its newest plastics compounding facility in Athens, Ala. The Athens facility will serve as a production and distribution hub for the company in the South, to a number of their key segments in the region; automotive, commercial seating, pool and spa, electrical and electronics.


JPMorgan Chase & Co. to begin construction on Plano campus
Financial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. has bought 50 acres within the $3.2 billion Legacy West development to build its campus, which is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Construction on the 1 million-square-foot campus, which will house up to 6,000 employees, is expected to get begin in the next few weeks.


Champion Homes to bring up to 150 jobs to Marshall County, Ky.
Champion Home Builders Inc. will bring up to 150 jobs to Marshall County after deciding to invest $6.3 million in a production facility in Benton. The Michigan-based company will produce modular, mobile and manufactured housing for distribution to retailers in Kentucky and other states.


Commercial Metals Company opens mill In Durant, Okla.
Commercial Metals Company began construction on its second technologically advanced micro mill in Durant. CMC's innovative micro mill technology uses a manufacturing process that melts, casts and rolls steel from a single uninterrupted strand, producing higher yields and lower energy consumption than the traditional mini-mill process. The Oklahoma micro mill is expected to create approximately 300 jobs in the Durant area.


Health care company plans $25 million expansion, 400 new jobs in Louisville, Ky.
A Louisville-based logistics provider for the pharmaceutical industry plans a major expansion that could create 400 jobs. RxCrossroads received preliminary approval for $4 million in state tax incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority during its monthly meeting in Frankfort recently.


Amazon continues DFW expansion with another hub in Fort Worth
E-commerce giant Amazon has decided to expand its Fort Worth footprint a week after announcing it would open a 1 million-square-foot, 1,000-employee distribution center there. Amazon has signed a lease for 318,488 square feet at another location. Additional jobs have not been announced.


Thomson Reuters to add 250 jobs, invest $6 million in Texas expansion
Thomson Reuters will add at least 250 new jobs and invest $6 million by expanding its facility in Carrollton. The financial information and media company already employs more than 1,000 people at its 240,000-square-foot Carrollton facility.


Medical manufacturer creating 175 jobs in Daytona
Daytona Beach seems to be on a growth spurt these days, and it's not just because of its well-known tourist attractions such as Daytona International Speedway. B. Braun Medical Inc. — a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of medical products — is expanding to Florida and creating 175 jobs in the process. Gov. Rick Scott officially announced the expansion on April 25, stating that he met with Braun Medical last year in Pennsylvania during a trade mission. The 175 jobs, which will be created by 2019, will pay an average annual wage of $41,963.


GE opens first advanced manufacturing plant in South Carolina
General Electric recently opened a new state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing plant in Greenville, S.C. The 125,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) facility is expected to generate at least 80 engineering and manufacturing jobs. GE has invested $73 million in the plant to date and will invest another $327 million across the Greenville campus over the next several years.


Automotive supplier bringing 170 jobs to Shepherdsville, Ky.
An automotive supplier that manufactures seating for vehicles is looking to beef up its Bullitt County workforce. Magna Seating of America Inc., which does business as Louisville Seating, intends to create 170 jobs at its Shepherdsville facility as part of a $12.7 million plant expansion.


Health care tech company adding 75 jobs in Tampa
A health care information technology company has announced plans to add 75 positions to its Tampa office by 2017. Ability Network, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, currently employs 100 in Tampa.


Praxair plans major expansion at Geismar plant
Praxair, a global industrial gas company, will invest more than $100 million in its facility in Geismar, La. The company will expand its carbon monoxide production and support growing customer demand in the Mississippi River corridor.


Mercom expands South Carolina hub
Technology firm Mercom is expanding operations in Georgetown County, S.C. The company is investing nearly $6 million and is expected to create 152 new jobs over the next five years.


New York manufacturer adds 100 jobs in South Carolina
A New York company that makes automatic fire sprinklers is expanding in South Carolina, investing $23 million and creating 100 jobs. Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co. will be adding to its existing plant in Liberty in Pickens County.


Groundbreaking for solar energy facility in Hattiesburg
Local and state officials were on hand last month for a ceremonial groundbreaking of a new solar energy facility in Hattiesburg, Miss. Silicon Ranch Corp. and Mississippi Power are partnering to build the $100 million, 50 megawatt solar farm, which is expected to generate enough electricity to supply power to about 6,500 homes.


Hardee's to create 100 corporate jobs in Franklin, Tenn.
The parent company of burger chain Hardee's will create more than 100 jobs in Franklin through a relocation of its corporate headquarters from California. CKE Restaurants Holdings will invest $5 million in the move.


Allergan brings manufacturing jobs to Texas
Texas manufacturing received a boost as the Ireland-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Allergan broke ground on a $200 million facility expansion in Waco. The move will more than double its capacity to produce eye care and dermatological products and add more than 100 full-time jobs.


GM to invest $790 million in Spring Hill plant, create 800 jobs
General Motors recently announced plans to invest $790 million and hire hundreds of workers at its Spring Hill plant as the automaker prepares to launch a new high-efficiency engine program.


Nissan adds almost 200 jobs in $57 million project
Nissan will expand and more than double its existing footprint about 30 miles east of Nashville, pushing its real estate there to 1.5 million square feet.


Company expanding into Lawrenceburg, 47 new jobs coming
Novus Advanced Manufacturing LLC, based in Jackson, Tenn., will expand its operation and open a facility in Lawrenceburg. The company is investing $1.9 million into renovating a 50,000-square foot facility there and will employ 47 to make metal interior walls used in the construction of hotels and motels.


Citigroup adds 1,000 Florida workers to cut costs
Citigroup will add 1,000 new jobs in Florida as part of a broader strategy to cut costs at the New York-based bank — the latest attempt by Wall Street to move workers to cheaper locales.


Alabama call center adding 300 jobs
Sitel, a Nashville-based call center outsourcing company, plans to add more than 300 jobs to its Hamilton, Ala., customer care center. "The Hamilton team has continually provided high-quality customer experiences for our clients, which has helped business demand grow and prompted the need for additional support," said John Thomas, the site director for Sitel Hamilton.


Pharmaceutical company adding 275 jobs to Durham, N.C.
Generic drug maker Aurobindo Pharma USA plans to establish a new research and development facility in Durham and create 275 jobs. The New Jersey-based company, a division of the Indian drug maker Aurobindo Pharma, plans to invest $31.7 million building a new headquarters that will focus on developing specialty pharmaceuticals.


DC tech firm to bring 300 jobs to Nashville area
A company backed by former AOL co-founder Steve Case’s venture capital firm and other investment heavy hitters is bringing about 300 jobs to the Greater Nashville area this year. Washington, D.C.-based Optoro — a technology company that works with retailers and manufacturers to manage and then resell their returned and excess merchandise — plans to bring 300 jobs as part of its warehouse and operations hub.


Torch Technologies expands in Okaloosa County
About 170 new jobs will be created when Torch Technologies expands its business in Shalimar, Fla. The company, which specializes in R&D of weapons systems, presently employs about 20 in Okaloosa County.


Lumber company investing $3.5 million in Nelson County, Ky.
Legend Lumber Lee Corp. plans to open in a shuttered hardwood lumber concentration yard in Boston, Ky., investing nearly $3.5 million and creating at least 30 full-time positions to produce hardwood for export to Asia.


Mohawk investing $100 million in Georgia vinyl tile plant
Mohawk Industries is investing $100 million at its Dalton, Ga., luxury vinyl tile plant, where it will increase U.S. manufacturing capacity and create about 200 jobs. The facility will increase production of flexible and rigid LVT for residential and commercial uses.


Nationwide Custom Homes to expand in Martinsville, Va.
Modular homebuilder Nationwide Custom Homes will expand production and hire 59 additional employees in Martinsville.


White House launches $100 million grant program to expand workforce development
The White House announced $100 million in grants to provide tuition-free job training at community colleges. This summer, the administration will launch a grant competition by the Department of Labor to expand workforce-training programs. The colleges will partner with employers and agencies that provide training. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, announced America's Promise Grants Monday at the Community College of Philadelphia, a school that adopted the tuition-free model last year.


Apparel company plans a big Louisville expansion
Los Angeles-based apparel company Guess Inc. recently spent nearly $29 million to buy its Louisville distribution center, and now plans to significantly expand the facility. Guess filed plans with Louisville Metro Government to build a second warehouse of 232,500 square feet.


Alabama projects produce 19,000 jobs, $7.1 billion in investment last year
Mercedes-Benz and Polaris Industries were among Alabama's top companies planning new facilities or expanding their operations in 2015. Gov. Robert Bentley and the Alabama Department of Commerce recently released the state's 2015 New & Expanding Industry Report, which shows there were a total of 19,262 jobs and $7.1 billion in investment announced last year. The report does not include data on incentives tied to projects. Limestone County led the state in job creation with 2,618 new positions thanks to Polaris' $140 million off-road vehicle factory. The plant, which is annexed in Huntsville, will employ at least 1,700 people at full production.


New mattress plant in Walton, Ky.
Sherwood Bedding will locate a 174,000-square-foot mattress production factory in Boone County. The company will invest approximately $11.1 million its operation and creating up to 150 jobs.


Missouri printer adds 50 jobs
An economic-development tax incentive will allow commercial printing company Modern Litho to add a fourth press and 50 new jobs to its operation in Jefferson City, Mo.


Embraer delivers its 1,000th private jet
Tuesday, April 19 was a day of celebration in Melbourne, Fla., as the Embraer facility not only delivered its 1,000th jet, but also toasted 600 hires since 2011, and 500 more on the way.


Honda Aero breaks ground for $21 million expansion in Burlington, N.C.
Honda Aero recently broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot, $21 million expansion at its plant in Burlington. The added space will be used for production of the HF120 light-jet engine, and possible future projects. The company plans to hire an additional 20 to 30 people to work at the plant over the next several years.


California manufacturer moving its headquarters to Fort Worth
A California-based manufacturer of commercial aircraft engine composites — Calcomp Inc. — plans to move its corporate headquarters to North Texas and has signed a deal for a facility in north Fort Worth. Calcomp will relocate 15 employees from California and hire upwards of 35 employees in North Texas.


New FedEx hub will bring 500 jobs to Mesquite, Texas
A new FedEx distribution facility on the former Big Town Mall site in Mesquite is underway and officials expect the 334,000-square-foot hub will bring 500 jobs.


Carroll County, Ark., approves incentives for new Tyson Foods plant
A Carroll County Quorum Court judge has authorized incentives that will help Tyson Foods of Springdale build its first new plant in years. The company plans to build a $136 million, 200,000-square-foot processing plant across the street from an existing Tyson plant in Green Forest, with a corridor connecting the two. Tyson says the project will bring about 85 jobs to the county, where it already employs more than 2,600 people.


Plasma donation center bringing 50 jobs to Snellville, Ga.
BioLife Plasma Services, a subsidiary of Baxalta, has opened a plasma collection center in Snellville. The new facility will house 50 workers.


Tampa distributor expands HQ, creates 70 jobs
Food distribution firm Beneficial Blends is expanding its headquarters in Tampa and will create 70 new jobs by 2019.


Total Quality Logistics will bring 100 jobs to Sarasota
Total Quality Logistics (TQL) announced that it is expanding operations to the Sarasota area. One of the country’s largest freight brokerage firms plans on making a $600,000 capital investment and will hire 100 there.


Cleveland, Tenn., leads nation in job growth in past year
Cleveland, Tenn., led the nation in the past year in the share of new jobs added from February 2015 to February 2016. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said employment in metropolitan Cleveland jumped by 9.3 percent in the past 12 months, adding 4,968 jobs in the two-county area. Among the nation's 387 metropolitan areas, no other city added a bigger share of new jobs, according to the BLS.


BMW opens new vehicle distribution center at the Port of Galveston
The BMW Group opened its new vehicle distribution center at the Port of Galveston on April 20, about a year after first breaking ground. The new 44,000-square-foot facility was developed to better serve the New Jersey-based company's 45 BMW and Mini dealers in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. The company expects to import and process approximately 32,500 vehicles annually at the new facility.


Shaw wraps up $40 million Tennessee expansion
Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet maker, announced in April the completion of a $40 million expansion at its South Pittsburg, Tenn., engineered hardwood flooring manufacturing plant.


Tesla, BMW partner Demmel bringing 50 jobs to Henderson, N.C.
Henderson County workers will soon have a hand in luxury cars made by BMW and Tesla. Demmel will create 50 jobs at a $4 million facility in East Flat Rock. The factory, slated to begin hiring this summer and reach its full employee count within five years, will manufacture automotive sill plates and emblems using metal stamping, printing and injection molding processes.


United Phosphorus to establish operations in Williamsburg County, S.C.
United Phosphorus, a manufacturer specializing in chemical blending operations, plans to establish a new operation in Williamsburg County. The company will invest more than $20 million in the project and create 65 new jobs over the next several years.


ChartSpan announcing operations in Greenville County, S.C.
ChartSpan Medical Technologies, a health care data company, is establishing operations in downtown Greenville. The development is expected to bring $3.2 million in capital investment and lead to the creation of 300 new jobs.


Harry's Fresh Foods plans Nashville facility, 302 jobs
Oregon-based food manufacturer Harry’s Fresh Foods plans to open a Nashville facility in the third quarter of 2016, eventually creating 302 jobs. The 39-year-old company will take over the former Oberto Brands production facility in South Nashville. Oberto announced it would close the facility in January, three years after the Seattle-based beef jerky manufacturer promised to create 310 jobs in Nashville to keep up with growing consumer demand.


Tile maker plans $30 million expansion in Tennessee
Del Conca USA, a porcelain tile manufacturer, will invest $30 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Loudon, Tenn. The company plans to create 40 jobs.


OneWeb Satellites bringing 250 jobs to Space Coast
A state-of-the art factory opening next year at Kennedy Space Center will put the Space Coast at the forefront of a new type of space business — mass production of satellites. OneWeb Satellites confirmed plans to crank out as many as 15 small communications spacecraft a week from its assembly line; work expected to create 250 jobs in the 120,000-square-foot facility to be built in KSC’s Exploration Park on Merritt Island.


Multi-million dollar Frederick County, Va. plant expansion
Ireland-based Kingspan Insulation is investing $25 million to upgrade its manufacturing plant in Frederick County, Va. The company is a manufacturer of rigid insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building service applications.


CABTEQ Solutions locates plant In Rock Hill, S.C.
CABTEQ Solutions, a company that specializes in commercial cabinetry, is establishing an 80,000-square-foot industrial facility in Rock Hill. The company is investing $3 million in the facility, which is expected to create 125 new jobs in York County.


OxyChem planning $145 million Geismar plant expansion
OxyChem’s expansion will add 12 new jobs (average salary of $80,000 a year) to the 400 the plant already employs in Louisiana. The expansion project includes equipment for producing a new raw material to be used in the making next generation of climate-friendly refrigerants.


Over 600 Alabamians to be employed at new auto parts plant
SMP (Samvardhana Motherson Peguform Automotive Systems Alabama Inc.), an India-based automotive parts supplier, is getting ready to break ground on a new 100-acre site in Cottondale, right outside Tuscaloosa. The 700,000-square-foot factory, which will cost $154 million, was originally announced in August last year, but now the groundwork is finally getting started.


Beretta opens in Gallatin, Tenn.
Beretta USA recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new facility in Gallatin, Tenn. The gun maker has moved all manufacturing from Maryland to the Nashville metro market.


EdenCrete to create 250 Jobs, invest $67 million in Georgia
Australia-based EdenCrete Industries, a manufacturer a carbon-strengthened concrete additive, will establish its global manufacturing headquarters operation in Augusta, Ga. The project represents the creation of more than 250 new jobs and an overall investment of $67 million.


Georgia Ports storage warehouse plans to add 70 jobs
A cold storage warehouse company connected to the Georgia Ports plans to add 70 jobs and double it's capacity. Nordic Logistics and Warehousing has doubled capacity at its Savannah location.


Logistics company set to move into Greensboro, N.C. distribution center
NFI Industries, headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., is set to move into the former Kmart distribution center in Greensboro, where it will initially employ about 60 people. NFI describes itself as a third-party logi

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