March 2018

Forget the skills gap, it's the unskilled gap that will cause the next labor crisis


By Michael Randle


Efforts to curb immigration, screen immigrants by certain educational standards and increased deportations will be the biggest threat to the nation's economy over the next five years. Note this; half of all the new jobs the government expects to be created over the next eight years will require only a high school diploma. Just about every economist you talk to says that unskilled immigrants are vital to the economy. 


The new positions over the next eight years include low-paying jobs that most Americans simply will not take. They include an estimated 778,000 personal care aides, 580,000 food service workers, 431,000 home-health aides and millions of maids, construction laborers and farm workers. I can assure you, there is no farmer in America today who claims, "We don't need any more Mexicans working on our farms." They are all saying, "We need more Mexicans and now!" 


Last year was the lowest year on record in the U.S. for fertility rates. We are in a baby bust (have been since 2002); all the while the Baby Boomers are aging out of the workforce. For decades we could count on an average of 200,000 people a month turning age 16 in this country (becoming work eligible). The last three years we have averaged 71,000 people turning 16. The unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in 17 years. There are almost 6 million jobs available in this country with about 1.5 million people who are unemployed that are suited for full-time work. We are simply out of labor. 


As for farm workers, we agree with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who said in February he would like to see a separate immigration program for agriculture workers. Perdue spoke at the annual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum in February, saying that immigration farm labor is in the crossfire of the immigration debate. "The people who come to America to work on farms and ranches are not taking jobs from Americans," Perdue said. "They are not the ones putting a burden on the criminal justice system or welfare system."  


In 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that the U.S. workforce will grow only if new immigrants are eligible to replace retiring Baby Boomers. Otherwise, the workforce will decline. Pew estimated that the U.S. working-age (25 to 64) population will rise by 10 million people by 2035 with legal immigration levels of at least 1 million per year, which has been the average for several years. Without immigration, Pew claims the workforce would shrink from 173 million today to 166 million. It would be reduced even further with mass deportations. The biggest source of increased labor supply is immigration, legal and illegal. It's not politics, it's demographics. It's simple math. 


Fed sees economy beyond full employment

The Federal Reserve's February monetary policy report to Congress showed that the U.S. economy is now beyond full employment. New Fed Chair Jerome Powell said, "Although there is no way to know with precision, the labor market appears to be near or a little beyond full employment at present." 


Automotive headquarters settling in Atlanta

In the winter quarter, PSA Group chose Atlanta for its North American headquarters. The French automaker that builds Peugeots and other brands is making a comeback in the U.S. General Motors also picked Atlanta for one of its four innovation centers and employs over 1,000 workers. Mercedes-Benz just moved into its new North American headquarters in Atlanta and Porsche also operates its headquarters near the Atlanta airport. 


Kentucky's economy is killing it

In 2017, more than $9 billion was invested in Kentucky, the most ever. The Commonwealth also set a record for exports for the second consecutive year, topping the $30 billion mark for the first time. And FDI in the state is contributing as well. About 20 percent of announced projects in the state were foreign-owned, which accounted for 23 percent of the new jobs announced in 2017.  


Dallas and Houston add most manufacturing jobs in 2017

Of the 15 largest metros in the U.S., Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston tied for adding the most manufacturing jobs last calendar year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both Texas markets added 8,800 jobs in 2017. 


The Toyota-Mazda joint venture in Alabama will be a new company

Near the end of the winter quarter, officials with Toyota and Mazda were still working on plans for their new North Alabama plant, which was announced in January. The $1.6 billion, 4,000-employee complex is being built on a Huntsville, Ala.-annexed site near I-65 in Limestone County. The new plant will build the Toyota Corolla model and a new Mazda SUV. Brian Krinock, senior vice president in charge of Toyota plants in North America, said in Automotive News that there is more to the facility than simply being a joint venture between Mazda and Toyota. "It's a new company," Krinock said. "Not Toyota and not Mazda, but a new company. There's no name for it yet." 


BMW's South Carolina plant top exporter

For the fourth consecutive year, the BMW plant in Spartanburg County, S.C., was the nation's largest automotive exporter based on value in 2017. BMW exported 272,346 vehicles, most of which were shipped through the Port of Charleston, in calendar year 2017. The vehicle exports were valued at $8.76 billion. 


Chattanooga leads a slew of Southern cities with the lowest startup costs came out with its annual list of the cities in the U.S. with the lowest startup costs. The site looked at cost of labor, office space and energy costs, among other cost factors. Topping the list with the lowest startup costs was Chattanooga, followed by Knoxville; Greensboro, N.C.; Wichita; Little Rock; Columbia, S.C.; Memphis; Lexington, Ky.; New Orleans and Louisville. 


California newspaper publishes op-ed titled, "Why California should be more like Alabama -- seriously"

In the winter quarter, Tom Manzo, president of Timely Industries and founder of the California Business and Industrial Alliance, penned an opinion piece that was published by the Orange County Register. Manzo cited the Toyota-Mazda plant that was announced in January that will be built in Huntsville, Ala. "California has a well-earned reputation of being business unfriendly, and according to one analysis has lost over 1,700 companies in the past decade" (to other states), Manzo wrote. "Fifteen states were competing for the Toyota-Mazda joint venture; California was not even on the bench" (for the project). 


"Yes, our climate is great -- but talented young professionals can find great culture and a great food scene in Birmingham just as well as Berkeley. They can also afford to live there," Manzo continued. (The median home price in Alabama is $126,500. It is just under $500,000 in California). 


Manzo finished his op-ed with this: "As the state legislature returns to Sacramento for a new session, my hope is that they'll choose to be less like themselves -- and more like Alabama. The future of our state's small and mid-sized businesses depends on it." 


Little Rock leads 10 best cities for first-time homebuyers

LendingTree ranked the top 10 cities for first-time homebuyers and a handful of Southern cities made the list. Little Rock ranked No. 1, followed by Birmingham at No. 2. Winston-Salem checked in at No. 5. 


Film production returns to "Hollywood South"

After seeing a 90 percent drop in film production in Louisiana after lawmakers there revised its Motion Picture Tax Credit Program in 2015, films are again being shot in Louisiana, dubbed "Hollywood South." Lawmakers again revised film tax credits in the summer of 2017 to once again attract the industry. 


If you want to work from home, the South is the place to be

According to a Gallup survey of more than 15,000 adults, 43 percent of Americans spend at least some time working remotely at home. saw a 385 percent increase in job seekers searching for work from home in 2017. then analyzed data from the 50 largest U.S. metros to calculate the top cities where workers were interested in working from home. The South took eight out of the top 10 markets cited. At the top was Atlanta, followed by Tampa, Phoenix, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Nashville, Dallas, Indianapolis and Orlando. 


Lockheed Martin breaks ground on new 1,800-employee R&D center

Lockheed Martin broke ground in February on a new research and development facility in Orlando, Fla. The project will create 1,800 jobs, most of which will be engineers. The defense and aerospace giant will work to develop new weapons systems at the center, including the Long Range Stand-Off Missile (LRSO), a plane-launched nuclear cruise missile.  


Birmingham had the largest jobless rate decrease last year

The largest unemployment rate decrease among the 51 largest metro areas in the U.S. occurred in the Birmingham-Hoover, Ala., metro. Birmingham saw a 2.4 percent decrease in its jobless rate between December 2016 and December 2017. 


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital announces $412 million research center

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is creating a $412 million research center, the largest project ever on the Memphis hospital’s campus and a major component of a $1 billion capital expansion of the St. Jude campus. The project will provide an estimated 5,000 construction jobs and involve more than 125 vendors, with over 75 percent of the positions expected to be hired from the local area. 


Virgin Voyages to create hundreds of jobs in South Florida

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson and his London-based Virgin Group are starting a new cruise line called Virgin Voyages and it will be based in Plantation, Fla. Virgin is investing $15.9 million in the new headquarters in Broward County and will hire up to 300. 


Big solar farm set for South Carolina

Tradewind Energy, a large solar and wind energy generation company, is building another solar farm in Orangeburg County, S.C. The Bowman Solar Project will complement an existing $85 million solar facility in Orangeburg. The new, $89 million solar facility will come online in 2020 and will be capable of powering 15,000 homes.


Arizona firm plans massive Georgia solar plant

Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar intends to build a 2,000-acre solar facility -- one of the South’s largest --  in Twiggs County, Ga., just south of Macon. Building the plant could generate 300 to 400 construction jobs, according to First Solar. The exact location and investment total have not yet been disclosed.


Southern Current plans five solar projects in Lee County, S.C.

Southern Current, a developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale solar markets, is expanding its solar farm portfolio with new facilities in Lee County. The company is investing in a total of five individual projects in the county, bringing a collective capital investment of $100 million.


Topre America expanding again in Cullman, Ala. 

Topre America, a manufacturer of stamped parts for Honda, Toyota and Nissan, is investing $80 million in its plant in Cullman, Ala. The new capacity will supply parts to the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., for the Altima model. The deal will create almost 100 jobs.  


Railroad investing $120 million in Missouri

Fort Worth-based railroad BNSF is investing $120 million in its infrastructure in Missouri, including new rail lines and a change-out of a bridge. BNSF employs over 3,600 people in Missouri, where it operates more than 1,400 miles of track. 


Ford investing in Louisville Truck Plant

Ford Motor Co. is adding capacity of large SUVs at its plant in Louisville. The automaker is investing $25 million to increase production by 25 percent of its Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models. No new jobs will be created, but 400 new robots will be added. 


Manufacturer to create over 100 jobs in Kentucky

Tru-Tone Finishing, a manufacturer of industrial e-coating, will invest $4.6 million in a new plant in Lexington, Ky. The deal will create 120 jobs. 


Mars expands Texas plant

Mars Wrigley Confectionery is expanding its Waco, Texas plant where it makes Snickers, Skittles and Starbursts. The company is investing $30 million and adding 65,000 square feet of space. The plant houses about 600 workers. 


Cooper Tire expanding in Mississippi

Cooper Tire & Rubber is locating its largest distribution center in the U.S. in Marshall County, Miss. The company will lease a new 1-million-square-foot facility and will spend $50 million in the deal that will create 100 jobs. 


Company relocates HQ from Atlanta to Monroe, La. 

Drax Biomass, which operates three wood pellet manufacturing facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi, is relocating its headquarters to Monroe, La. The company also operates a shipping operation at the Port of Baton Rouge. No word on how many jobs will be created. 


Cerner hiring 600 in Kansas City

Cerner plans to hire 600 more workers as part of its new, $4.5 billion  Innovations Campus. The expansion will support the company's managed IT and revenue cycle services. 


U.S. to be net energy exporter by 2022

According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. will export more energy products than it imports by 2022, a full four years sooner than expected. The report claims that the export of U.S.-mined natural gas and oil remains robust, and that production from the nation's shale fields will continue to grow. 


Procter & Gamble to hire 200 more at new West Virginia plant

Procter & Gamble announced in the winter quarter it will hire 900 full-time workers for its new plant in Berkeley County, W.Va. That total is 200 more than the original announcement. The plant near Martinsburg will produce Dawn, Joy, Gain and Ivory hand dishwashing products, as well as Ivory and Gillette body washes. 


South Carolina sets export record, again

For the eighth consecutive year, South Carolina set a record for exports in 2017. In February it was announced that the Palmetto State exported a total of $32.2 billion worth of goods and services. The figure is almost a three percent increase from 2016. 


French automaker chooses Atlanta for North American HQ

Groupe PSA, a French manufacturer of cars and motorcycles, has chosen Atlanta for its North American headquarters. Its brands include Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall cars. The company joins Porsche and Mercedes-Benz with headquarters in Atlanta. 


California company relocates to Hutto, Texas

JRS Company, a manufacturer of sign frames and holders, is relocating its operations from Covina, Calif., to the Burge Business Park in Hutto, Texas. The company is building a new 50,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the company's headquarters and manufacturing operations. JRS had been in Covina since 1962. About 25 families are moving with the company and about 70 more workers will be hired. 


DISH hiring 250 in Tulsa

DISH is reshoring about 1,000 jobs from overseas, and 250 of those will be in Tulsa, Okla. The network operates a customer care facility in Tulsa, where about 600 employees work. 


Japanese manufacturer expands at two sites in Georgia

OFS is investing almost $140 million to expand two facilities in Georgia. The company, which makes fiber-optic cable, will expand its facilities in Norcross and Carrollton. The deals will create 200 jobs. 


Electrolux expands in Anderson, S.C.

Appliance manufacturer Electrolux will invest $250 million in its refrigeration facility in Anderson. The expansion will not add more jobs to the 2,000-employee facility, but 800,000 square feet of space will be added to increase capacity. 


Electrolux investing $250 million in Tennessee plant

Appliance maker Electrolux will invest $250 million in its Springfield, Tenn., plant. The company is adding 400,000 square feet of space and a new line of cooking products. 


Electric hybrid technology company moving to Texas Hill Country

Hyliion, a company that designs intelligent electric hybrid technology for the trucking industry, is building a new 80,000-square-foot headquarters in Cedar Park, Texas. The new headquarters will create 200 jobs. 


Molding company expands in Mississippi

Richardson Molding, a manufacturer of custom plastic-injection-molded products for the industrial lead battery sector and automotive market, is investing over $5 million to expand its plant in Philadelphia, Miss. The deal will create 53 jobs. 


Metal treatment manufacturer lands in Arkansas

Applied Process, a metal treatment company that does work for the aerospace and automotive industries, is opening a new plant in Fort Smith, Ark. The $2.5 million project will create 30 new jobs. 


Paper company to build new Oklahoma plant

Paper manufacturer Sofidel America plans to build a $350 million plant in Inola, Okla. The large paper plant will create 500 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs. 


Alabama exported a record amount of goods in 2017

Alabama exported $21.7 billion in goods in calendar year 2017, a six percent increase over the previous year. Alabama exports have grown by 21 percent since 2011. 


Lockheed Martin adding more jobs in Central Florida

Lockheed Martin is expanding its Orlando operations by 500 more jobs. Lockheed employs about 8,000 in Central Florida and 14,000 in the state of Florida. 


Call center adding jobs in Tennessee

Allied Dispatch Solutions will bring a new call center to Sneedville, Tenn. The project calls for 100 jobs. 


Flooring manufacturer investing $60 million in Alabama

Tarkett, a maker of flooring and sports surfaces, is investing $60 million in its Alabama factories in Florence. The company is expanding capacity for its luxury vinyl tile production. The deal will create 50 jobs. 


Georgia Air Force Base to create hundreds of jobs

Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robbins, Ga., will be performing overhaul maintenance on C-130 aircraft flown by the Navy and the Marine Corp. The new work will create 400 jobs. 


Company relocates plant to Virginia

Cogar Manufacturing, a maker of equipment for coal mining, is relocating its operations to Giles County, Va. The $2.5 million project will create 60 jobs. 


Big Chinese paper plant in Arkansas gets bigger

Shandong Sun Paper, which announced a large paper products plant in Clark County, Ark., in 2016, is investing another $500 million into the facility. That brings the total investment in the facility to $1.8 billion. The plant will house 350 workers. 


CenturyLink adding jobs in Louisiana

CenturyLink is adding about 150 jobs at its headquarters in the city of Monroe, La. The jobs will be part of the company's new outbound sales center for small businesses. 


Oklahoma manufacturer adding jobs

CymSTAR, a manufacturer of modified simulators for the U.S. military, is adding 100 jobs at its facilities in Broken Arrow, Okla. The company uses mechanical, electrical and software engineering to modify the simulators. 


BASF expanding Louisiana plant

BASF will nearly double production of MDI at its plant in Geismar, La. MDI is used to produce polyurethane foams for insulation, construction and automotive products. The project calls for an investment of $150 million. 


Healthcare startup to hire 175 in Birmingham

Pack Health, a digital platform for chronic care management that was founded in 2013, is moving into a new headquarters in downtown Birmingham. The $2.9 million project will create 175 jobs. 


Union Pacific breaks ground on $550 million railyard

Nebraska-based Union Pacific has broken ground on a $550 million rail yard in Brazos, Texas. The new rail yard will be capable of switching up to 1,300 rail cars per day. 


Unmanned drone systems company hiring 350 in OKC

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is locating its Unmanned Systems Division in Oklahoma City. The expansion is needed to accommodate demand for high performance, jet-powered unmanned aerial tactical and target drone systems. The deal will create 350 jobs. 


Financial services bringing 375 jobs to North Carolina

EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) is planning to create 375 jobs and invest $8.2 million in Charlotte over the next five years through an expansion and creation of a new innovation center. The center will focus on helping companies understand how artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies are changing their industries.


“Project Big Truck” announced as $28.5 million addition in South Carolina

Reston, Va.-based defense contractor SAIC — Science Applications International Corp. — is adding to its Charleston area operations with a $28.5 million manufacturing campus that will create 200 jobs near the company’s existing site in Berkeley County.


Cullman hospital cuts the ribbon, adds 100 jobs

Alabama’s Cullman Regional recently marked the opening of the hospital’s newest expansion. The $20 million expansion added a new floor to the hospital, and will bring 100 new jobs.


New jobs coming to Lawrenceburg, Tenn.

MARTIN Technologies announced it will locate in Lawrenceburg and employ 250-plus workers. The company, headquartered in New Hudson, Mich., was founded in 1996 by engineer and drag racer Harold Martin, and provides solutions to the automotive, marine, aerospace and defense industries.


Florida’s Rex Lumber expanding into Alabama with 110 jobs

Rex Lumber will build a $110 million lumber manufacturing facility in Pike County, Ala., which will lead to the creation of 110 jobs in the area.


One-hundred jobs coming to Cenla

Hunt Forest Products will build a state-of-the-art $115 million lumber mill in Urania, a LaSalle Parish community in the heart of Louisiana’s $11 billion forest products industry. The sawmill project will create 110 new direct jobs.


Westlake Chemical plans expansion at Louisiana plant

Westlake Chemical Corp. is investing $140 million in an expansion of its Geismar plant. 


Sasol updates $11 billion Westlake plant

According to an official at Sasol, the South African conglomerate that’s building an $11 billion industrial project in Calcasieu Parish, has hired a little more than 550 plant employees and put to rest concerns that enough skilled craft workers could be found to build the project.


Magellan Transport Logistics plans Florida expansion

Magellan Transport Logistics, the nation’s largest Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, is setting down roots in Jacksonville, Fla., with an expansion of its North American headquarters. The company has acquired a 47,000-square-foot facility to create a new logistics control tower and intends to hire an additional 100 employees.


White River Marine Group reopens Missouri complex

White River Marine Group, the manufacturing arm of Bass Pro Shops, will reopen its facility in Bolivar, Mo. The plant will hire 130 new employees to produce Sun Tracker pontoons and other White River Marine brands. The facility previously housed aluminum boat manufacturing until its closure during the economic downturn in 2009.


Topgolf announces location in Greenville, S.C. 

Topgolf said construction on Topgolf Greenville will begin this spring and is expected to open in summer 2019, creating 325 full- and part-time jobs.


Convergys brings 400 new jobs to Lynchburg, Va.

Convergys Corporation, which sells customer management and information management products, announced recently that the company is opening a facility and bringing 400 new jobs to Lynchburg.


Bank of America on hiring spree

Charlotte-based Bank of America said it plans to hire more than 5,400 people as part of a plan to open more than 500 branches nationwide and refurbish older locations.


Innovovairre investing $5 million in Bedford County, Va.

Bedford County’s Innovairre Communications is investing nearly $5 million as it expands its operations. The company assists nonprofits and agencies in fundraising.


Auto parts distributor locates in Mullins, S.C.

DMA Holdings is locating new operations in Mullins with a $4.7 million investment and 34 new jobs. The company’s product line consists of shocks and struts, mount kits, brake wear sensors and other auto replacement parts.


Denso invests $190 million, adds 320 jobs in Athens, Tenn.

Auto supplier Denso is expanding its operations in North America through a $190 million investment in its Athens, Tenn., facility. The investment will add four new production lines and 320 jobs. In September, DENSO announced a $1 billion investment in its Maryville, Tenn., facility, creating 1,000 jobs focused on electrification and safety systems.


Wirecrafters investing $5 million in Louisville plant

WireCrafters, which makes wire partitions, is investing more than $5 million into its plant near Kentucky’s Louisville Airport and adding 100 new jobs.


Food delivery bringing 200 jobs to Chattanooga

Tennessee will become the eighth state Waitr has entered; the service has already proven to be wildly popular throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. To meet the anticipated demand, the company expects to hire 200 people in the area.


Kapstone Paper and Packaging expands South Carolina plant

KapStone Paper and Packaging, a producer of unbleached kraft paper and packaging products, is investing $6 million in new equipment at its facility in Cherokee County, S.C.


HAECO adding jobs at Piedmont Triad International Airport

HAECO Americas has added 150 new jobs and plans to hire several hundred more as part of an expansion of its aircraft repair and maintenance operations. The company has already hired 150 additional employees to work on large jets in the $60 million hangar at Piedmont Triad International Airport.


Construction progresses on $250 million Texas Live!

One of the largest sports-anchored developments in the nation, Arlington’s Texas Live! will house over 200,00 square feet of dining, entertainment and hotel space. The project is bringing 3,025 new jobs to the area including 2,000 construction jobs and 1,025 permanent jobs.


Two manufacturers make $15 million investment in Alabama facilities

An auto parts maker and a dietary supplements manufacturer are expanding in Lee County, Ala. Mando America Corp. manufactures auto parts such as brakes, suspensions and steering systems. It is investing more than $10 million at its headquarters in Opelika.

Pharmavite, based in California, manufactures dietary supplements and is investing approximately $5.6 million it its Opelika facility


Online clothing retailer announces $2 million expansion in Bowling Green, Ky.

The Pink Lily Boutique plans to double the footprint of its state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Bowling Green. This project is a $2.05 million investment that will create up to 56 new jobs.


Furniture maker creating 200 jobs in Tennessee

Furniture manufacturer England Inc. will invest $31 million in its operations in New Tazewell, Tenn. The expansion will create 202 jobs in Claiborne County. The high-quality furniture manufacturer is an independent division of La- Z-Boy Incorporated and has been located in New Tazewell since 1964.


Vita-Stat expands Louisville operations

Vita-Stat, an innovator of medication and care management software for assisting living and nursing facilities, will expand its operation in Louisville, Ky. The company plans a $2.17 million investment that will create 22 full-time jobs.


Boston healthcare firm relocating HQ to Dallas

Steward Health Care System, a Boston-based hospital operator founded to help a group of struggling Massachusetts hospitals, has decided to relocate its corporate headquarters with its executive team of 100 of to a newly completed Dallas office tower.


Shower door manufacturer picks Charlotte, N.C., area for new facility

A Florida-based producer of shower doors and tempered glass has chosen to bring a new facility and 60-plus jobs to Stanly County. Quality Enclosures, headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., expects to invest about $3.3 million to upfit a vacant building in Albemarle.


Magna Seating planning $8 million expansion, 130 jobs

A BMW supplier that recently opened in Spartanburg County is already planning to expand. Magna Seating has asked the county for $120,000 in additional infrastructure credits for an $8 million expansion that would create 130 full-time jobs. The revised fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement would grant Magna a total of $810,000 in special source revenue credits through 2020, with a total planned investment of $37 million and the creation of 610 jobs.


Synnex Corporation to create 600 jobs in Mississippi

California-based IT company SYNNEX Corporation is pursuing a new venture in Northwest Mississippi. The company has expanded in DeSoto County, Miss., and intends to invest $20 million and create 600 jobs over the next five years.


Transitworks opens Ladson, S.C., manufacturing campus

As the nation’s largest upfitter of commercial vans and buses, TransitWorks is starting a new production line in Ladson. The new facility is located on the Mercedes-Benz North Charleston Campus.


Sushi-rice maker to create 300 jobs in North Carolina

A North Carolina-based company with a rice-packaging technique for sushi rolls plans 305 new jobs by expanding operations. RiceWrap Foods will invest $10 million in a facility in Butner, 30 miles north of Raleigh.


Google investing $600 million in Oklahoma Data Center

Google is investing another $600 million into its Pryor data center – its second-largest data center in the world.


Google breaks ground in Tennessee

Google has broken ground on a $600 million data center in Tennessee that will bring 70 to 100 high-tech jobs. The new facility is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs and will likely go online in the first half of 2019. The Tennessee center is part of a $2.5 billion investment that includes new and expanding data centers in Alabama, Oregon, Virginia and Oklahoma.


Airborne Tactical Advantage to hire 200 in Fort Worth 

Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. will soon open an Adversary Center of Excellence facility at Fort Worth Alliance Airport where up to 200 people could be employed. ATAC is a company within the Textron Inc. family, which also owns Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter. ATAC is based in Newport News, Va., and trains military pilots for entities like the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Its employee count is about 100 workers. 


Georgia-Pacific to build $135 million Georgia lumber mill

Georgia-Pacific is building a new $135 million lumber mill west of Åugusta, Ga. The new 340,000-square-foot production facility in Warrenton, Ga., will replace an existing plant in Warren County and create 30 to 40 new jobs, bringing Georgia-Pacific’s workforce in Warren County to approximately 150 people.


Novo Nordisk plans $65 million expansion of North Carolina site

The global diabetes and obesity epidemic is driving another expansion of Novo Nordisk’s drug-manufacturing operations at its 264-acre campus in Clayton, N.C. The company will begin a $65 million expansion by the end of this year that will likely add 24 new positions.


Hydro Systems bringing 60 manufacturing jobs to Georgia

Hydro Systems, a producer of whirlpool tubs, will soon be opening a new manufacturing facility in McDonough, Ga. The operation will initially create 60 manufacturing jobs and aims to increase to 100 jobs within the first year. 


Production ramp-up at Airbus Alabama could add 600 jobs

The Airbus Alabama manufacturing facility is in line for 600 new jobs, thanks to a planned second assembly line for the Bombardier C Series jetliner and a possible increase in the production of A320 Family aircraft. For that to happen, antitrust regulators must give their approval for Canada-based Bombardier to produce the aircraft in Alabama.


Welbilt plans 110 jobs, $13 million expansion in Florida

Welbilt, a manufacturer of commercial kitchen equipment, is expanding its operations in Pasco County, Fla., adding 110 jobs in a new research and development center.


Growing Lakeland, Fla., company announces new jobs

The Lakeland-based company that prints the Florida Lottery’s scratch-off tickets just cut the ribbon on its long-awaited expansion. International Game Technology, which has doubled its workforce to 300 since opening in 2009, will be hiring 60 more people.


Kawasaki Motors to invest $26 million in Missouri operations

Kawasaki will add three new production lines at the plant that makes small engines for lawnmowers and other products in Maryville, Mo. The expansion will mean the addition of 30 new hires to the 800 that already work there.


Meritor expanding operations in York County, S.C.

Meritor, a global supplier of drivetrain, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle markets, is expanding its existing operations in York County. The $7.8 million investment is projected to create 26 new jobs.


Carrot producer planting seeds in South Georgia

California-based Grimmway Farms, the world’s largest carrot producer, has opened a new packaging facility and warehouse in Cook County, Ga. The carrots are grown in Live Oak, Fla., and are now packaged in Cook County, bringing with them 50 seasonal and four full-time jobs.


Blue Springs, Mo., gets new auto parts manufacturer  

A leading automotive technology company, Faurecia, will build a new $60 million, 250,000-square-foot facility in Blue Springs, Mo., creating 300 new jobs. The plant will manufacture and assemble door and instrument panels.


U.S. Cold Storage expands to Denton, Texas

U.S. Cold Storage (USCS) estimates that it will invest $34 million and create 67 new jobs in Denton. USCS provides its clients – Kraft and Kellog’s to name a few -- with refrigerated and frozen food warehousing and transportation. USCS has four existing facilities in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington.


Amazon hiring hundreds at new Houston-area facility

Seattle-based announced that it’s hiring for more than 400 full-time positions at its newest Houston-area facility. 


Thirty new automotive jobs for Marion County, S.C.

DMA Holdings is locating new operations in Mullins, S.C. The automotive parts distributor is projected to create 34 new jobs with a $4.7 million investment.


Zeus expands in South Carolina

Zeus Industrial Products, a polymer extrusion manufacturer, is expanding its existing operations in Aiken, S.C. Zeus develops and manufacturers tubing for a variety of industries, including the medical, fluid handling and electrical markets. The company’s $15.7 million investment in Aiken County complements a $15.9 million expansion in Orangeburg County and $76 million expansion in Calhoun County, both of which were announced over the last several weeks. With this project, Zeus is expected to create an additional 51 new jobs in Aiken.


Intermarket Technology locates HQ in Washington, N.C.

InterMarket Technology, a manufacturer of Point of Purchase displays and recycling bins, will locate its $2.7 million corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Washington, N.C. The company plans to create 57 jobs over three years in Beaufort County.


Fort Smith, Ark., gets a boost

Fort Smith’s notoriety as a manufacturing town was given a boost over the past couple of weeks with two jobs announcements that will add about 180 jobs to the local economy. A majority of those jobs – 150 -- will come from Chesterfield, Mo.-based Silgan Plastics. Another 30 jobs will come from Allied Process, a metal treatment company that does work for the aerospace, automotive and railroad industries. 


Swiss bottle cap maker to locate $25 million plant in Georgia 

Switzerland’s Corvaglia Group will set up a $25 million factory in Newnan, Ga., its first U.S. plant, by the end of this year. A Georgia Department of Economic Development announcement promises “a variety of advanced manufacturing jobs” but doesn’t list a number. 


Allegiant locates new hub on Florida panhandle

Allegiant Travel Company will invest more than $49 million to establish a new aircraft base housing two Airbus aircraft. The facility will create 65 new jobs at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport in Okaloosa County, Fla.


Holt Cat to open facility in Georgetown, Texas

Celebrating its 85th anniversary, HOLT CAT recently broke ground on an 85,000-square-foot facility in Georgetown, Texas. The project, slated for completion in mid-2019, will offer Cat machine sales, rentals, parts and service. The new regional facility is expected to create 129 jobs.

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