March 2017

Southern MSAs dominate fastest-growing manufacturing workforces

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


Military shipbuilder hiring 3,000 in Virginia

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


Alabama auto production hits 10 million mark

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


LG to build new plant in Tennessee

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


Alevo Energy adding 200 jobs in Charlotte region

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


Auto supplier picks Alabama for new plant

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


DHL expanding Northern Kentucky hub

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


Large distribution center set for Louisville

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


Southern states top employee engagement list

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


Toyota sets milestone at Alabama plant

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


Call center adding jobs in San Antonio

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


Ernst & Young to open Louisville support center

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


Company consolidating HQ, adding jobs in Memphis

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


Agricultural startup building $50 million Kentucky greenhouse

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


Herbalife sets landmark in Winston-Salem hiring

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


Publix opens new Alabama distribution center

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


Alabama auto parts supplier adding 100 jobs

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


Pharmaceutical company hiring 300 in Louisville

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


N.C. call center grows by 600 more

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


Pharmaceutical warehouse being built in Georgia

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


Altec adding jobs in Missouri

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


Alabama exports set record

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


Kentucky shatters export record

Kentucky's exports broke a record in 2016 with $29.24 billion in goods and services shipped from the Commonwealth. The total was a 5.8 percent increase from 2015. Aerospace-related products topped all industry sectors in Kentucky's exports for last year. 


BB&T breaks ground on S.C. mortgage center

Winston-Salem-based BB&T broke ground on a 140,000-square-foot mortgage servicing center in Mauldin, S.C. in the winter quarter. The deal will create 600 jobs. 


Chewy creating 600 jobs in Ocala, Fla.

South Florida-based Chewy, a retailer of pet supplies, is establishing an e-commerce center in Ocala. The $31 million distribution center will house 600 workers. 


Formosa Plastics seeking permits for $9.4 billion investments in the South

Taiwan's Formosa Plastics plans to build two petrochemical facilities in St. James Parish, La. and another in an unnamed location in Texas if it can earn permits to do so. The chemical producer will spend a total of $9.4 billion on the two facilities. 


Corning to create more than 400 jobs in two N.C. counties

Corning and Corning Optical plan to invest over $175 million on two facilities in Cabarrus and Catawba counties in North Carolina. The projects will create 410 jobs. 


Augusta area led Georgia in manufacturing projects last year

Richmond County, where Augusta is located, led the state last year in new and expanding manufacturing projects, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Richmond County captured 11 major manufacturing projects in 2016. 


Lowe's setting up customer center in Wilkesboro, N.C.

N.C.-based Lowe's is putting a customer support center in Wilkesboro, N.C. that will house 600 workers. The center will serve customers by phone and online. 


U.S. sets oil export record

U.S. shale oil producers exported 7 million barrels during a week in February, an all-time record. The amount of oil exported is about the same OPEC members have cut back on in recent months. 


Health care services company hiring 300 in Richmond

Owens & Minor, a health care services company, is investing millions to establish a new Client Engagement Center is downtown Richmond. Richmond competed with about 60 other cities for the project that will create 300 jobs. 


GE Aviation invests $4.2 billion in five years

Between 2011 and 2016, GE Aviation invested $4.3 billion to expand its U.S. operations. The investments included new plants in Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina. 


Nestle relocating HQ from California to Virginia

Nestle USA is the latest company to relocate its headquarter operations out of California due to high operating costs. The company is moving to Rosslyn, Va. and hiring 700. According to a report by business relocation expert Joseph Vranich, from 2008 to 2015, some 1,687 companies moved their operations out of California. 


Glass plant expanding in Wichita Falls

Vitro Architectural Glass is investing $55 million in its commercial glass plant in Wichita Falls, Texas. The project will generate 50 new jobs. 


Aerospace manufacturer locating new plant in Bay County, Fla. 

GKN Aerospace is locating a new plant at VentureCrossings Enterprise Center in Bay County, Fla., near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The British company will invest $50 million and will create 170 new jobs. Panama City and Bay County competed globally for the project. 


Poultry processor to open Mississippi plant

Pearl River Foods will open a chicken processing plant in Carthage, Miss. The $2 million deal will create 150 jobs. 


Technology company relocates HQ from California to Kansas City

AutoAlert, a software company that mines customer data to create sales applications used by automobile dealerships, is relocating its headquarters from Irvine, Calif. to Kansas City, Mo. The project will create 200 jobs. 


Manufacturer expanding HQ in rural Kentucky

Whitworth Tool, a manufacturer of components for the tool and die industry, is investing over $3 million in its Hardinsburg, Ky. headquarters. The deal will create 50 jobs. 


Pratt & Whitney's big deal in Columbus, Ga. 

Aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is investing $386 million in its facilities in Columbus, Ga. The expansion will double the company's capacity for engines in Columbus. The deal will create 500 jobs. 


BMW is No. 1 vehicle exporter in the U.S.

S.C.-based BMW remained the No. 1 automobile exporter in 2016. The German automaker exported 287,700 X SUV models last year valued at $9.53 billion. 


Grocery distributor adding jobs in W.Va.

H.T. Hackney, a wholesale grocery distributor, is opening its first warehouse in West Virginia. The company is moving into a 246,000-square-foot building in Milton that will house 70 workers. 


FERC: Majority of new generating capacity came from renewables in 2016

For the second consecutive year, the majority of electric generating capacity installed in the U.S. came from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission came out with a report in February that showed that renewables added 16,124 megawatts of power in 2016, or 61.5 percent of the total added, surpassing that of fossil fuels and nuclear power.  


Distribution center going up in Georgia

ELK Group, a lighting and decor manufacturer, is setting up a distribution center in Sylvania, Ga. The $2 million project will create 100 jobs. 


Tech firm hiring over 500 in Northern Virginia

IOMAXIS, a cloud-based tech firm, is investing nearly $4 million in its operations in Fairfax County, Va. The company, which does work for the Department of Defense, will hire 555 in the expansion. 


Orthodontics company creating 440 jobs in Nashville area

SmileDirectClub is investing $4.5 million to expand two facilities in the Nashville region. The project will create 440 jobs. 


Sock manufacturer to create over 400 jobs in North Alabama

Renfro Corp. has struck a deal with Walmart to make socks for under the Fruit of the Loom, Russell, Dr. Scholl's and Faded Glory brands. The deal will create 442 jobs at the company's plant in Fort Payne, Ala. 


Web design firm adding jobs in Kansas City

Code Koalas, a website design firm, is expanding its operations in Kansas City. The company is hiring 88 employees. 


$330 million being invested in North Carolina paper plant

Clearwater Paper, the largest private-brand tissue maker in the U.S., is growing in Shelby, N.C. The company is investing $330 million in the plant and adding 180 jobs. 


India-based Volvo supplier setting up shop in Dorchester County, S.C.

Sundaram-Clayton, an India-based maker of aluminum cast products for the automotive industry, is building a new plant near the Volvo facility that is under construction in Berkeley County, S.C. The company will invest $50 million in the plant and hire 130. The facility will be operational when Volvo begins assembly cars in late 2018. 


Austin named best city to live

The annual U.S. News and World Report's "Best Places to Live in America" came out in the winter quarter. Austin topped the ranking this year and Washington, D.C., Fayetteville, Ark., and Raleigh-Durham made the top 10. 


Midtown Atlanta is one of the South's hottest urban submarkets

Several companies are expanding or moving into Midtown Atlanta to cozy up to Georgia Tech and the overall tech scene that has clustered there. NCR is moving its headquarters to Midtown, adding 3,000 employees. Anthem, Honeywell, Interface, Payscape, Kaiser Permanente and Sage Software are just a few of the many companies adding jobs in Midtown. Currently, about 12,000 new jobs are headed to the Midtown submarket. 


Coastal Cloud hiring 30 in Louisville

Coastal Cloud, a Florida-based cloud-based software company that offers services to a number of industries including economic development and real estate, is establishing an office in Louisville, Ky. The Louisville office, which will house 30 workers, will be run by Erik Dunnigan, former Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary. 


Jobs coming to Spotsylvania County, Va. 

idX, a fixture manufacturer for retail markets, is relocating its plant from Maryland to Spotsylvania County, Va. The $7.2 million project will create 150 jobs. 


Auto supplier expands in Aiken County, S.C.

The Carlstar Group, a manufacturer of specialty wheels and tires, is expanding its facility for more capacity in Aiken County, S.C. The $6.9 million project will create 43 new jobs. 


More jobs coming to Aiken County, S.C.

Emerson Electric, a valve components manufacturer, is expanding its operations in Aiken County, S.C. The company is investing $8 million and bringing 86 jobs to Aiken. 


Additive manufacturer investing $55 million in Charlotte area

Swiss manufacturer, Oerlikon, is expanding its additive manufacturing sector with a new 3D printing facility in Huntersville, N.C. The new facility will focus on surface solutions and advanced materials. The $55 million project will create 100 jobs. 


GM investing $27 million in its Tennessee plant for vehicles headed to Australia

General Motors is investing $27 million so its workers can assemble the Holden Acadia, a right-hand driving SUV that will be exported to Australia. The additional work will retain 215 jobs at the plant. 


New solar array set for S.C.

Tradewind Energy announced it is building a new solar production facility in Orangeburg County, S.C. The $85 million array will generate 75-megawatts.

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