December 2017

Plans show Los Angeles company to develop 10.3 million square feet of space in Atlanta's “Gulch.” Is it Amazon’s HQ2? 

The Gulch in downtown Atlanta is a 120-acre site and it is the primary site Atlanta leaders are selling to Amazon for its second headquarters. An October 30 filing with the city shows that Los Angeles-based CIM Group has plans to develop 9.3 million square feet of office space and 1 million square feet of retail space at the Gulch. The site is near CNN and Philips Arena. The development essentially matches the specs for Amazon’s proposed second North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2. Unnamed sources have said that the CIM project is related to Atlanta’s bid for Amazon. The Gulch meets all of Amazon’s criteria, including mass transit. 


A different Amazon project could bring 15,000 jobs to Northern Kentucky

Everyone is talking about the $5 billion Amazon HQ2 project that could create 50,000 jobs for some lucky city (or unlucky city, depending on who you talk to) and state. But there is one Amazon project that is just getting off the ground at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport that is actually located in Kentucky. It is Amazon's new Prime Air hub, which was announced in January. Amazon announced then that it would invest $1.5 billion to build the Amazon Prime Air hub in Hebron, Ky., and that the deal will create 2,700 jobs. However, Louisville is home to the UPS Worldport and that facility houses well over 20,000 employees. FedEx's main hub is in Memphis and it, on any given night, has over 12,000 employees. Considering Amazon's growth and the fact that it is at the forefront of drone delivery, just how many jobs will be created in Northern Kentucky for Amazon's first world air freight hub? 


Panama City base captures 1,600 jobs from the Air Force

The Air Force has chosen Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Fla. as the site for the new MQ-9 Reaper Wing drone division. The $250 million project will create 1,600 new jobs. 


North Carolina wins Forbes' "Best State for Business" 

North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Nebraska and Virginia made the top five in Forbes' annual best states for business report. Rounding out the top 10 were Georgia, Florida, Colorado, North Dakota and Indiana. 


Amazon short list announcement expected in early 2018

Amazon was expected to announce the short list of sites in the running for its $5 billion, 40,000-plus employee second North American headquarters by December 1. That has now been moved to sometime in early 2018. The second Amazon headquarters is known as HQ2. 


Bosch expanding South Carolina plant

Bosch Group is investing $152 million in an expansion in Anderson, S.C. The company, which will hire 130, makes electric components for the automotive industry at the plant. 


German supplier to locate plant in Alabama

German auto supplier SAS Automotive Systems, an automotive module assembler, is launching an operation that will support Mercedes-Benz and its plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The project will create 170 jobs. 


Firm expanding in Louisville

Appriss, which provides data and analytics services to clients to assess safety, risk and compliance issues, is expanding in the Louisville area. The company is investing $11.3 million and adding 200 jobs. 


Korean auto supplier opens second plant in Montgomery

Korean auto supplier, Guyoung Tech USA, plans to employ 130 people at a second North American plant in Montgomery, Ala. The project represents an investment of $7.5 million and the company will supply the local Hyundai assembly plant. 


Parts distribution center to open in South Texas

Cardone Industries is opening a new automotive parts distribution center in Harlingen, Texas. The deal will create 515 jobs. 


Walmart's "Made in USA" program creating jobs in Arkansas

Through a purchase agreement with Walmart and its made in America program, PRADCO Outdoor Brands is expanding its plant in Fort Smith, Ark. The company will install four soft plastics machines to produce YUM baits at the Fort Smith facility. The project will create 60 new jobs. 


Nucor to build new plant in Missouri

Charlotte-based Nucor, the most active steelmaker in the South, plans to build a $250 million rebar micro mill in Sedalia, Mo., located 90 miles east of Kansas City. The company considered other locations in Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina and Florida for the plant. The factory is expected to house 255 workers. Nucor also announced it is looking to build another micro mill somewhere in the Southeast. 


Medical diagnostic company to expand in Henderson, N.C.

Raleigh-based Mako Medical Laboratories will invest $15.4 million to build a new lab and warehouse in Henderson. The deal will create 153 jobs. 


Hulu picks San Antonio

Streaming service provider Hulu has chosen San Antonio for its Viewer Experience Operations Headquarters. More than 500 jobs will be created in the deal. 


Airgas to build $47 million North Carolina facility

Airgas USA, a distributor of specialty gases, will build a new air separation unit in Mebane, N.C. The project will create 35 jobs. 


Georgia expanding cybersecurity training center. 

Gov. Nathan Deal announced in the fall an appropriation of $35 million for the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta. Construction began earlier this year on the $58 million cyber center. 


New drug manufacturer starts up in Arkansas

OurPharma, a startup drug manufacturer, is investing $31.1 million to open a new facility in Fayetteville. The project will start with 12 employees but the company expects to employ over 100 within seven years. 


Big chicken deal in Tennessee

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods announced in the fall it will build a $300 million poultry processing, hatchery and feed mill in Humboldt, Tenn. The project will require the hiring of about 1,500 employees. 


Germany-based health care company expanding in North Carolina

Fresenius Kabi is expanding its manufacturing facility in Wilson County, N.C. The company is a provider of drugs, medical devices and nutrition products. The $100 million project will create 445 jobs. 


A new U.S. plant for Nissan? 

Japanese automaker Nissan is exploring a new U.S., plant, according to its chairman, "At some point, we may need it," said Jose Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America in an article published by Automotive News. Munoz said that its plants in Tennessee and Mississippi are "maxed out." 


Equipment installation underway at new Mercedes van plant in South Carolina

In 2015, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced it would build a new production facility for its Sprinter Van model in Ladson, S.C., near Charleston. The plant is nearing completion as equipment installation -- including 182 robots -- began in the fall quarter. Mercedes is expected to hire about 1,000 workers for the plant that have been trained at other Sprinter Van plants in Australia and Spain. 


Mission Foods builds major plant in Dallas

Mission Foods, a subsidiary of Gruma Corporation, has established a new production plant in Dallas that will house 1,000 workers. The plant has a capacity to produce 30 million tortillas a day. 


Chinese company investing billions in West Virginia

China Energy Investment Corporation announced plans to invest over $80 billion in shale gas development and chemical operations at multiple locations in West Virginia. Planning for the projects is underway and will be done in phases over the next 20 years, according to the West Virginia Department of Commerce. 


Shaw Industries investing in rural Tennessee

Shaw Industries Group is expanding its yarn facility in Decatur, Tenn. The company is investing $42 million and creating 75 jobs in the deal. 


Bus manufacturer setting up shop in Kentucky

New Flyer of America, a manufacturer of transit buses, is setting up a 300,000-square-foot parts fabrication facility in Shepherdsville, Ky. The project is expected to house up to 550 workers. 


Nissan to export Mississippi-made Titan pickups to China

The Nissan Titan has only a 1.7 percent share of the large U.S. pickup truck market as of October. Capacity of the truck at the Japanese automaker's plant near Jackson, Miss., is limited, but whatever is left off of U.S. sales will now be exported to China, where the vehicle is popular. Other potential export markets for the Titan include Australia, Russia and the Middle East. As of the end of October, the full-sized Titan had sold about 40,000 models, which is about the number of Ford F-series pickups sold in three weeks in the U.S.   


Austin is completely out of labor

In October, the Austin MSAs unemployment rate dipped from 2.9 percent to 2.6 percent. 


Big German automotive supplier picks Bama

German Tier 1 supplier Bocar, is investing $115 million in a new plant in Huntsville, Ala. The company will break ground on the facility next year and production will begin in 2020. The project is expected to create 300 jobs. 


Major defense hiring going on in Central Florida

Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are hiring in Melbourne and Orlando, Fla. Both have recently landed defense projects. Northrop is hiring 150 in Melbourne and Lockheed Martin is hiring more than 900, both in Orlando and Melbourne. 


Manufacturer setting up shop in Richland County, S.C.

Woodfield Systems USA, a designer and manufacturer of bulk liquid and gas handling equipment will build a new facility in Richland County. The 39,000-square-foot facility will house 50 workers. 


SAP adding jobs in Northern Virginia

SAP National Security Services, a provider of security and infrastructure solutions, is expanding its operations in Fairfax County, Va. The company will invest $6 million and add 95 jobs. 


Research organization relocates to Northern Virginia

American Institutes for Research, one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations, will invest over $12 million to relocate its major operations from Washington, D.C. to Arlington County, Va. The deal will create 320 jobs. 


Automotive supplier to establish new plant in Franklin, Ky. 

South Korea-based Taeyang Metal Industrial Company, a manufacturer of fasteners and cold-rolled steel products for the automotive industry, will establish a plant in Franklin. The $15.6 million facility, which will house 76 full-time jobs, is the first for the company in the U.S. 


In October, Tennessee's unemployment rate was the lowest in the South

The unemployment rate in Tennessee in October was historically low at 3 percent after employers across the state added 34,800 jobs in the last 12 months. The rate was the lowest of all states in the South. 


Unemployment rates of Southern states October 2017

AL 3.6

AR 3.6

FL 3.6

GA 4.3

KY 5.0

LA 4.8

MS 4.9

MO 3.5

NC 4.1

OK 4.4

SC 3.9

TN 3.0

TX 3.9

VA 3.6

WV 5.1 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. 


New Orleans captures the single largest jobs announcement in city's history

Virginia-based DXC Technology, a company formed this year when CSC and the enterprise services division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise merged, will create 2,000 jobs with a new operation in the CBD of New Orleans. With 2,000 jobs, DXC will be the largest single jobs announcement in New Orleans' history. The company provides "end-to-end" information technology services. 


Lenovo to establish three AI innovation centers

Lenovo, the Chinese computer manufacturer, is establishing one of its three artificial intelligence innovation centers at its North American headquarters in Morrisville, N.C. Lenovo announced it will invest $1.2 billion in AI and other technologies in the next four years. The company has about 2,700 employees in the Research Triangle. 


Company hiring 400 in Melbourne, Fla.. 

Jacksonville-based Enhanced Resources Centers, a provider of business process outsourcing, is expanding to Melbourne. The company is adding 400 jobs. 


Aluminum plant opens $400 million Kentucky expansion

In the fall quarter, Belgium-based Aleris Corp. opened its $400 million expansion in Lewisport, Ky. The expansion will add new capacity to produce aluminum auto body sheet for the automotive industry. The company houses about 1,000 workers at the mill.  


AEP adding jobs in Roanoke

American Electric Power will add workers at its operations in downtown Roanoke. The company will hire 102 workers engaged in support of the transmission grid in Virginia. 


Cargill investing $146 million in Nashville plant

Cargill's protein business is investing $146 million to expand the company's production facility in Nashville. The company will add 100 jobs to its dried sausage production facility. 


Snack company expanding in Arkansas

One of rural Jackson County's largest employers is expanding its workforce. Shearer's Snacks is hiring 85 workers to bring its employment to nearly 500.


Door manufacturer expanding in Northwest Tennessee

Allegion Americas is expanding it Republic Doors & Frames plant in McKenzie, Tenn. The $4.5 million project will create 70 jobs. 


WestRock investing hundreds of millions  in Florence County, S.C.

WestRock Company, a provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, announced in the fall it plans to invest $410 million in its linerboard mill in Florence County. 


International manufacturer to set up shop in Horry County, S.C.

Teknoware, a Finland-based lighting systems manufacturer, is investing nearly $6 million to set up an operation in Horry County. The project will create 45 jobs. 


McCall Farms adding jobs in South Carolina

McCall Farms, a fixture in Florence County since the 1830s, is investing $35 million to existing operations. McCall produces Margaret Holmes, Glory Foods, Bruce's Yams and other brands. The expansion will add 150 new jobs. 


If built, Airbus-Bombardier project expected to create about 2,000 jobs in Alabama

The Airbus-Bombardier partnership to build C Series jetliners is expected to create 500 direct jobs at Airbus' assembly plant in Mobile, Ala. The project will also create 550 to 700 supplier jobs and an additional 1,000 to 1,250 indirect jobs. The investment to reconfigure a new line at the Mobile plant is expected to top $300 million. The project is wrapped up in a trade dispute with Boeing. Boeing has filled the dispute with the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. 


Mexican auto supplier expanding in Alabama

Nemak USA, a Mexican aluminum auto parts manufacturer, is investing $34 million in its plant in Talladega County, Ala. The company makes engine blocks and structural components. The deal will create 67 jobs. 


Auto parts supplier expanding in Tennessee

Magnum Manufacturing, a company that supplies metal stamping, seat frames and doors for the automotive sector, is investing $2 million to expand its plant in Erin, Tenn. The move will create 50 jobs. 


Telecommunications firm doubling Arkansas operations

First Orion, a company that provides caller ID and call blocking services is moving its headquarters to North Little Rock, Ark. The firm will add about 100 positions. 


Financial website launches new Florida HQ

The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website, moved into its new headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg in the fall quarter. The move will create 165 new jobs. 


Beef processor expanding capacity in Georgia

National Beef Packing, a company that processes high quality beef, will expand capacity at its production plant in Moultrie, Ga. The $30 million project will add 100 jobs. 


GE Appliances begins second shift in Camden, S.C.

GE Appliances' (formerly Haier American) manufacturing plant in Camden started second shift production in the fall quarter. After Haier's acquisition of GE's appliance division last year, Haier restructured its U.S. operations where GE Appliances assumed responsibility for Haier's refrigeration products at the Camden plant. The $31 million expansion has created 100 new jobs. 


M&M Industries expands in Chattanooga

M&M Industries, a packaging manufacturer, is spending $42 million on its Chattanooga facility and hiring 110 workers. 


How many people do Japanese companies employ in the U.S.?

President Trump ruffled some feathers when he said during a visit to Tokyo in the fall quarter, "try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over." Well, they do. A quick fact check shows that Japanese companies employ more than 850,000 in the U.S. (almost all of them are American citizens). And the Japanese pay well, too, more than U.S.-based companies on average and more than any other country other than Germany in the U.S. 


Alcon Invests $97 million to expand Georgia plant

Alcon, a contact lenses manufacturer, is pumping $97 million in its facility in Johns Creek, Ga. The company has invested nearly $600 million in the plant, which houses several hundred workers. The expansion will add 200 more. 


Vodka maker Stoli Group breaks ground on new bourbon distillery in Kentucky

In the fall quarter, Vodka maker Stoli Group broke ground on a $150 million bourbon distillery in Nelson County, Ky. The distillery is being built on a 420-acre site and will include a freshwater lake, gourmet restaurant, convention center and a renovated train station. The main product will be a small batch bourbon called Kentucky Owl. The deal will create nearly 60 jobs. 


Louisiana bank to open regional headquarters in Hoover, Ala. 

Louisiana-based IberiaBank will locate a regional headquarters in Hoover, Ala. The existing 130,000-square-foot office building in Hoover will house more than 450 employees. 


North Carolina megasite adds 370 acres, awaits Toyota-Mazda

Officials with the Greensboro-Randolph County Megasite have added 370 acres, bumping up the site to 1,900 acres. Reports indicate the site is in the running for the prospective Toyota-Mazda project. 


Italian cable plant expanding in North Carolina

Italian energy and telecom cable manufacturer, Prysmian Group, will invest $54 million and add 50 jobs at its plant in Catawba County, N.C. The company makes optical fiber at the plant that houses 500 workers. 


Bakery gets infusion of millions 

Ace Bakery is expanding its baking facility in Cherokee County, S.C. The company is investing $31.9 million in the bakery and adding 40 jobs. 


Scout Boats adding hundreds of jobs in South Carolina

Scout Boats is expanding its headquarters in Summerville, S.C. The deal will create 370 new jobs. 


Mercedes-Benz will invest another $1 billion in Alabama plant

Mercedes-Benz announced in the fall quarter it will invest another $1 billion in its Vance, Ala., plant to assemble electric SUVs for the German automaker's EQ brand. As part of the expansion, Mercedes will build a new one million square foot battery plant next to the assembly plant. This latest expansion will add 600 jobs. 


Call center slated for Anniston, Ala. 

Viiz Communications, a Canadian call center firm, is locating a call center in Anniston, Ala. The deal calls for 150 jobs. 


IKEA to set up distribution center near Houston

Sweden-based retailer IKEA announced the operation of a distribution center in Baytown, Texas. The project will create 200 jobs. 


MetLife adding 430 jobs in Tampa, Fla. 

MetLife will invest $25 million to grow its operations in Tampa. The company currently employs about 1,500 at its Tampa campus. The new expansion will add 430 new positions. 


Tool company adding to South Carolina distribution center

Harbor Freight Tools is expanding its distribution center in Dillon County, S.C. The company is adding 1 million square feet of space and 500 new jobs. 


Armacell to add jobs in West Virginia

Armacell, a leader in engineered foams, is expanding its plant in Spencer, W.Va. The project will create 24 jobs. 


Texas oil companies have hired 30,000 workers this year

Texas drillers have hired more than 30,000 workers over the last year, bringing employment in the sector in Texas to 222,000 as of October. At the peak of the oil boom in 2014, Texas had nearly 300,000 people working in the oil fields. 


Tecumseh is consolidating Canadian operations to Mississippi

Tecumseh Products, a manufacturer of refrigeration and air conditioning products, is consolidating its Canada operations to Verona, Miss. The $1.1 million deal will create 60 new jobs. 


Chemical manufacturer to locate large operation in Kentucky

WhiteRock Pigments will locate a $179 million operation in Hancock County, Ky. The big deal will create 124 full-time jobs. 


Stanley Black & Decker to open big plant in Texas

Stanley Black & Decker, the world's largest tools and storage company, has signed a lease on nearly 300,000 square feet of space in Mission, Texas to make DeWalt power tool products. The project is expected to support 450 new jobs. 


No measurable gain in Kentucky, U.S. coal jobs 

Kentucky's economy is so much more than coal. Yet, the perception is the mining industry in Kentucky is critical to the Commonwealth’s economy. It's important, but it’s not critical. Employment in coal mining in Kentucky totaled just over 9,000 workers. Ford employs more than that in Louisville alone. Kentucky's largest export are products from the aerospace industry. Yet, almost a year into the Trump Administration, the "Trump digs coal" campaign slogan isn't gaining any traction. There were more coal miners on the job in Kentucky from July through September than in the same period in 2016, however, the industry saw job cuts of 350 workers in the last quarter. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are about 50,000 coal mining jobs left in the U.S. and that number has stabilized this year, but hasn't increased measurably. Industry experts expect the number to fall slowly over the next three years based on lower demand as more electric power plants convert to natural gas and other coal plants are closed. A proliferation of natural gas and its preference over coal as an energy source is the primary reason coal jobs have decreased from a high of 180,000 in 1985 to 50,000 in the U.S. today.  

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