May 2018

SMU study: Mexicans help create, not take jobs away from Texans

By Michael Randle

Additional employment opportunities are being created with legal and illegal immigration in the state of Texas, according to a study done by the Texas-Mexico Center at Southern Methodist University. The study reported that Mexicans provide valuable labor for a growing Texas economy. The center's report calls for "freer migration" across the border and fewer barriers to international crossings to help provide labor in a state that is at full employment. 

The study comes at a time when the Trump administration cracks down on unauthorized immigrants and remains committed to building a wall on the border with Mexico, referring to immigrants as criminals. The study used data from the Census Bureau and its peer in Mexico, INEGI. Contributions to the study also came from the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University, the Federal Reserve Board of Dallas and Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. 

With an aging population and a record-low fertility rate, meaning essentially no population growth, immigrant labor is not only valuable, it is essential. Other findings by the study show that Texas is the top export state in the U.S., and its main export market is Mexico. Also, Texas is ranked No. 1 nationally for export related jobs, with 382,000 jobs linked to trade with Mexico. 


Chinese investment in U.S. drops significantly

By Michael Randle 

For decades Chinese investment in the United States was essentially nonexistent. In fact, as late as 2004, the FDI value from China into the U.S. totaled just $473 million. And that was from 121 projects (mostly acquisitions) for an average of just under $4 million per project. To give you an idea of how paltry Chinese investment in the U.S. was in 2004, total FDI from all nations that year was $1.52 trillion. 

Fast forward to 2012, and Chinese investment in the U.S. -- again, mostly acquisitions of private companies, but greenfield projects began to show -- and Chinese FDI soared to $21.4 billion. By 2014, the Chinese accounted for $47.6 billion in U.S. investment, and that was matched in 2016 with a total of $46.5 billion. 

The rise in Chinese investment was encouraging as greenfield energy projects such as Tianjin Pipe Corporation began operations in Corpus Christi, Texas. At over $1 billion, Tianjin's project remains the largest single FDI deal from China in the U.S. 

Now, let's put Chinese investment in the United States in perspective. In 2016, a record $3.73 trillion in foreign direct investment was made in the U.S. In calendar year 2016, the United Kingdom invested over $555 billion in the U.S., so even with Chinese investments spiking that year, they were still less than 10 percent of the largest investor in this country. Japan invested $421 billion that year and Germany invested almost $300 billion. Those two countries are by far the most consistent investors in the U.S., along with the U.K.  

While it was encouraging to see China invest nearly three times more than the U.S. invested in China in 2016, 2017 was a different story. According to the Rhodium Group, Chinese investment fell from $46.5 billion in 2016 to just $29.7 billion in 2017. The decline was well before President Trump set tariffs on certain Chinese goods. 

So what accounted for the drop? In 2017, Beijing implemented limits on overseas investment by Chinese companies in real estate, hotels and entertainment, three of the largest recipient industries for Chinese investment. Also, the U.S. has created a tougher regulatory environment on Chinese investments as it relates to national security. 


Our friend Holly Sears Sullivan is heading up Amazon's HQ2 site search

By Michael Randle

I've known Holly Sears, now Holly Sears Sullivan, for two decades. She was the economic developer in Wilson County, Tenn., then later in Rutherford County, Tenn. Much of what has transformed Murfreesboro, Tenn., was her doing. It is one of the most dynamic counties in the South. There aren't many better economic developers in the South than Holly. 

Sullivan is now the head of worldwide economic development at Amazon and is heading up the site search for what is viewed as the largest economic development project in history, the $5 billion, 50,000-employee second headquarters for Amazon. After years of attracting industry to the Nashville region, Sullivan took the head job in Montgomery County, Md. We spoke shortly after she took that job. "Michael, they don't practice economic development in Maryland like they do in the South," she told me. 

You won't find Holly on Facebook. Shortly after taking the Amazon job, her site was taken down. But it sure is nice to see one of the South's most talented economic developers earn such an important job.  


SB&D's pick for location of Amazon HQ2

After reviewing over 50 locations in the U.S. and Canada, SB&D has settled on its site for Amazon's second headquarters, dubbed "HQ2," a $5 billion, 40,000-plus employee project. We believe HQ2 will be built on a 26-acre undeveloped site near Dulles International Airport on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Northern Virginia. The site is near the new East Coast headquarters for its cloud service, Amazon Web Services. Amazon is also building its latest data center campus nearby, and the site is adjacent to a new Metro station. It’s also in the middle of Data Center Alley, where 70 percent of the world's internet traffic flows on a daily basis. Amazon has about 30 data centers within a 15-minute car ride of the site. 


Fayetteville, N.C., named "most innovative city" 

Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the world based on population, has been named the nation's most innovative city by Governing in collaboration with the nonprofit Living Cities. The second annual Equipt to Innovate report, released in the spring quarter, assesses municipal governments based on several metrics, including citizen engagement, racial equity, data use and strategic planning. Other Southern cities in the report include Louisville and San Antonio. 


Manufacturer adding jobs in Lanett, Ala. 

WestRock, a paper and packaging manufacturer, is expanding its operations in Lanett, Ala. The company, which has about 300 employees, is adding a 375,000-square-foot distribution center and 50 jobs.


Swiss-based life sciences company expands in Greenwood, S.C.

Lonza, a pharmaceutical and biotech company, will invest $46 million to expand its operations in Greenwood, S.C. The company will add space at its facilities and 30 jobs. 


Mississippi wood manufacturer expanding in Vicksburg

Industrial Wood Products is locating several lines of its wood products in a plant in Vicksburg, Miss. The company will invest $2 million in the deal and create 50 jobs. 


Office leasing market is slowing

Dallas-Fort Worth is the hottest deal-making market in the country, as evidenced by the Big D's 300 points earned in this year's SB&D 100. That's the most points earned by any market in the 25-year history of the SB&D 100. But office leasing in Dallas-Fort Worth is slowing. While pre-leasing activity appears healthy with 69 percent of the space under construction already leased in the first quarter, single-tenant, build-to-suit projects are only 35 percent pre-leased. According to JLL, nationwide office net leasing in the first quarter was at its slowest annual rate since 2010. 


Big sawmill deal in Camden, S.C. 

Canfor Southern Pine will upgrade its sawmill in Camden, S.C. The company, which manufactures high-quality Southern yellow pine lumber at 14 locations in the South -- including Conway, Darlington and Marion in South Carolina -- is headquartered in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The expansion will see an impressive $40 million invested into the Camden facility. 


Coal dead? Not here. 

In the spring quarter, Warrior Met Coal opened a new $19 million portal facility at its No. 7 coal mine in Brookwood, Ala. The portal is now being worked by 350 hourly miners and 150 salaried employees. Warrior Met has hired more than 1,000 workers in the area in 18 months. 


Manufacturer expanding in Arkansas

Bekaert is expanding its heavy steel wire plant in Van Buren, Ark. The company has been part of the Van Buren community since 1976. The $16 million expansion will include 100,000 square feet of new space and 40 new jobs. 


National Association of Homebuilders say steep tariffs on Canadian lumber is killing construction industry

The National Association of Homebuilders is unhappy with President Donald Trump's tariffs on Canadian lumber. NAHB CEO Jerry Howard says the tariffs are "ludicrous" in a story from Fox Business. "It's ludicrous that a neighboring country like Canada is not being able to import into our country," Howard said. "We are importing lumber from Russia to build our American homes -- it doesn't make sense." The Trump administration announced tariffs on Canadian lumber last year, which has raised the price of lumber to increase 60 percent in two years. 


South Korean manufacturer to build new plant in West Tennessee

Dong-A USA, an automotive and appliance supplier, will invest $13 million in a new plant in Martin,Tenn. The South Korean company makes rubber and plastic components. The deal will create 200 new jobs. 


Spanish company relocating HQ to Missouri

A Spain-based fitness equipment company is relocating its headquarters to St. Charles, Mo. BH North America plans to add 50 jobs in the deal. 


Big relocation from New York to Nashville

Global investment firm AllianceBernstein announced in the spring it will relocate its global headquarters from New York to Nashville. The headquarters relocation is expected to create 1,050 jobs in Nashville. The company is investing $70 million in the move. It chose Nashville over Charlotte for the relocation. 


Big automotive parts supplier opens Alabama plant

Samvardhana Motherson Peguform (SMP) has officially opened its new 700,000-square-foot plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The company has invested $150 million in the facility and the plant already houses 320 workers. Plans are to hire up to 1,000. 


Cullman, Ala., ranked No. 1 in economic development projects

In the spring quarter, the Alabama Department of Commerce released its annual report on project activity in the state, and Cullman ranked No. 1 for total projects with a total of 31. Cullman also ranked No. 1 in expansion projects for calendar year 2017. 


A $10 billion deal near Corpus Christi announced 

ExxonMobil Chemical and Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), have formed a new joint venture for their Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project. The $10 billion project, which will be located near Corpus Christi in Portland, Texas, is expected to include a 1.8 million-ton ethane cracker, a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units. The deal will create 600 permanent jobs and 6,000 construction jobs. 


Nestlé to hire 135 workers in Missouri

Nestlé announced in the spring it will add 135 workers at a Conagra Brands plant in Trenton, Mo. The plant makes Chef-mate products. 


Save-A-Lot to build new HQ in Missouri

Missouri-based Save-A-Lot grocery will build a new corporate headquarters in St. Ann, Mo. Currently, the St. Louis headquarters houses 450 workers. Sixty-four more workers will be hired in the deal. 


Boat manufacturer investing in new Tennessee facility

Excel Boat Co. is investing $9 million in a new facility in Ridgely, Tenn. The project will create 200 jobs. Excel makes aluminum boats for recreation. 


General Motors returns to three shifts at Tennessee plant

GM will add a third shift that it took down in November at its plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The third shift will add about 1,000 jobs. GM added the shift because of high demand for its GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 models. 


Printing solutions provider adds jobs and new headquarters in Atlanta area

Wallace Graphics, a printing solutions provider, announced it is investing $1.2 million in a new headquarters in Duluth, Ga., an Atlanta suburb. The deal will create 50 jobs. 


Tariffs causing bottlenecks at U.S. manufacturing plants

Surging demand and the Trump administration's tariffs on imported metals are causing system-wide bottlenecks, according to the Institute for Supply Management's April survey. Despite increased orders, production slowed down as supplier's delivery times lengthened. According to the report, U.S. factories wait on average 67 days for materials, the longest period in decades. 


Plant coming to Vidalia, La. 

Syrah Resources announced in the spring it will build a $25 million graphite processing facility in Vidalia, La. The plant will produce graphite anode materials for batteries in electric vehicles and other products. The Australian company will hire 55 workers in the deal. 


Gulfstream expands in Savannah

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., the world's corporate jet manufacturer, is investing $55 million in its service center operations in Savannah. The company will add 200 workers to the workforce in Savannah, which currently stands at more than 10,000. 


Instacart adding 400 jobs in metro Atlanta

Instacart, a grocery delivery service, announced in the spring it will add 400 jobs in the Atlanta area. The company is also investing $40 million in metro Atlanta. The Instacart service is available in more than 240 markets nationwide and handles deliveries for seven of the eight largest grocers in North America. 


Raytheon to hire 500 in Palm Bay, Fla. 

Massachusetts-based Raytheon may employ up to 500 at the former Oakridge Global Energy Solutions facility in Palm Bay for its cybersecurity division. The defense contractor employs more than 64,000 workers worldwide in its defense, civil government of cybersecurity divisions. 


Tech company expands in Virginia

CoConstruct, a maker of project management software for home builders, is expanding in Albemarle County, Va. The deal will create 69 jobs. 


Life sciences company to hire 150 at Research Triangle Park

Biogen, a developer of innovative therapies for people with serious neurological diseases, will create 150 jobs at its Global Business Center at Research Triangle Park.


Toyota creating hundreds of jobs at Mississippi plant

Toyota announced in the spring quarter it is investing $170 million at its Blue Springs, Miss., assembly plant to add capacity. The Japanese automaker builds the Corolla model there. The deal will create 400 jobs. 


Peco Foods bringing 300 jobs to West Point, Miss. 

Alabama-based Peco Foods will take over the former AmeriCold facility in West Point, Miss., and invest $40 million in it. The company is a poultry provider. The project will create 300 jobs. 


Alabama sees record 15,000 new manufacturing jobs in 2017

In calendar year 2017, 15,465 manufacturing jobs were created in Alabama with a record investment total of $4.41 billion. The automotive and aerospace sectors led the way followed by forest products and food production. 


Constuction begins on Mazda-Toyota plant in Alabama on October 1

Constuction on Huntsville, Ala.'s $1.6 billion Mazda-Toyota plant is scheduled to start on October 1, according to Gov. Kay Ivey. The plant is expected to house 4,000 workers. 


Northern Virginia captures another HQ relocation

Arconic, a Fortune 500 company that makes lightweight metals, is relocating it headquarters from New York City to Fairfax County, Va. The deal will create about 50 jobs. 


Cabinet component manufacturer adding jobs in North Carolina

Southern Finishing, a maker of furniture and cabinet components, is investing $1.48 million in its plant in Stoneville, N.C. The project will create 54 new jobs. 


Chinese tire plant gets bigger

Last year, China-based Triangle Tire announced a $582 million, 800-employee tire plant at the Kingsboro CSX Select Megasite in Edgecombe County, N.C. In the spring quarter, company officials raised those numbers to just over $1 billion and between 1,100 and 1,200 jobs at the unbuilt plant. 


Manufacturer to open new plant in rural South Carolina

ACS Manufacturing, a maker of acoustical equipment enclosures, is opening a new plant in Abbeville, S.C. The $6 million investment will create 150 jobs. 


Lockheed Martin adding 100 jobs in Florida

Lockheed Martin is adding 100 jobs at its plant in Pinellas Park that makes parts for the F-35 fighter jet that is assembled in Fort Worth, Texas. Lockheed already employs 270 at the plant. 


New steel mill opens in Oklahoma

Commercial Metals dedicated its new micro mill in Durant, Okla., in the spring quarter. The mill is the company's second advanced micro mill that uses a manufacturing process which melts, casts and rolls steel from a single strand, resulting in higher yields and lower energy use than the traditional mini mill plant. 


Financial services company adding jobs in North Carolina

Ipreo, a provider of financial services, data and analytics is investing $2.1 million in its operations in Wake County, N.C. The deal will create 250 jobs. 


Conveyor manufacturer adding 300 jobs in Kentucky

Material Handling Systems (MHS) is investing $20 million in its facilities in Mount Washington, Ky. The company builds and installs conveyor systems for companies such as Amazon, Fed-Ex and UPS. The project will double the company's footprint and add 300 jobs. 


Triumph Gulf Coast awards grants in Northwest Florida

Triumph Gulf Coast, a seven-member, unpaid board established by the Florida Legislature to make awards that will promote the economy of the eight Gulf Coast counties affected by the BP oil spill, has awarded its first grants out of a pool of an expected $1.5 billion. The first grant will provide $10 million to the Port of Panama City for a major expansion at the port. 


Commercial truck facility adding jobs in Kentucky

E-Z Pack Refuse Hauling Solutions, a maker of commercial trucks, is investing $6.85 million in its plant in Harrison County, Ky. The deal will create about 100 jobs. 


Software company creating 42 jobs in Tennessee

A payment and software solutions company, i3 Verticals, will establish a new facility in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The company is investing $500,000 and will create 42 jobs. 


Pandora expands its Atlanta operations

Pandora, the largest music streaming service in the U.S., will expand its operations in Atlanta. The California-based company is adding 250 jobs. 


Over $100 million being invested in South Alabama plant

Kimberly-Clark is investing $100 million to expand and improve its Mobile, Ala. plant. The company makes bath tissue Scott and Cottonelle brands. 


IT firm adding jobs in Texas

Tata Consultancy Services, a global IT, consulting and business solutions firm, recently hired 200 new employees at its facilities in Plano, Texas. 


Call center adding 175 jobs in Tennessee

HomeServe USA, a U.K.-based provider of protection plans on major home systems, is investing $5.5 million to expand its call center in Chattanooga. The deal will add 175 jobs to an existing workforce of 500. 


India-based data firm to locate first center in New Orleans

India-based digital data services firm iMerit will locate its first U.S. delivery center in downtown New Orleans. The company, which uses data to teach artificial intelligence, will hire 100. 


Formosa to locate $9.4 billion facility in Louisiana

Taiwan-based Formosa Petrochemical Corp. will locate a $9.4 billion chemical manufacturing complex on 2,400 acres on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, La. The project will create 1,200 jobs. 


Texas port signs lease agreement with Big River Steel

The prospect of a $1.5 billion, LEED-certified steel manufacturing plant locating at the Port of Brownsville has moved closer to reality. Port commissioners voted unanimously to lease about 800 acres on the Brownsville Ship Channel to Arkansas-based Big River Steel. Big River in turn will build a high-tech steel mill that will house 500 workers. About 1,500 construction jobs will also be created.  


Chinese manufacturer picks Georgia for first U.S. facility

China-based Top Polymer Enterprise, a manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomer, will locate a $15 million plant in Social Circle, Ga. The deal will generate 70 jobs. 


Bank expanding in Arkansas

Bank of the Ozarks will build its fourth operations building in downtown Ozark, Ark. The company plans to create 133 new jobs. 


Thermo Fisher investing $50 million in St. Louis

Thermo Fisher Scientific will invest $50 million at its St. Louis facility to expand production of the company's biologic drug substance capabilities. The project will create 80 jobs. 


Hyundai Power Transformers expanding in Montgomery, Ala. 

Hyundai Power Transformers USA will expand its capacity to build its transformers by 60 percent as it invests 

$33 million in its plant in Montgomery. The project will result in 86 new jobs. 


Rug maker to build 650,000-square-foot distribution center in Georgia

Rug maker Loloi will build a distribution center in Cartersville, Ga. The Dallas-based company will hire 200 in the deal. 


Investment firm chooses Austin over Dallas and Denver

Pacific Management Investment Co. has chosen Austin for a new innovation office that will house 200 workers. The financial firm will use artificial intelligence to manage portfolios, client relations and economic forecasting. 


Financial technology firm hiring 150 in Georgia

InComm, a payment technology firm based in Atlanta, will invest over $20 million in metro Atlanta and Columbus. The projects will create 150 jobs. 


These states in the South saw record low unemployment

Kentucky (4.0), Mississippi (4.5), Alabama (3.7) and Arkansas (3.6) saw record low unemployment rates in the past year. There are a record 6.6 million jobs available as of May in this country.  


Tennessee adding jobs at 1.5 times the U.S. rate

Tennessee employers added 69,700 jobs from March of 2017 to March of this year. That figure is 1.5 times the rate of the rest of the country. 


New Zealand tech company chooses Nashville for first U.S. venture

New Zealand-based tech firm, Mobile Mentor, has chosen Nashville as the place for its first U.S. office. The deal will create 110 jobs. 


Port of Mobile signs MOU to ship vehicles 

The Alabama State Port Authority is partnering with a joint venture from South America to build and operate a facility that enables vehicles to be driven on and off of ships at the Port of Mobile. The joint venture is called AutoMobile International Terminal. An automobile handling center at the Port of Mobile would clearly be an advantage to Alabama's three operating auto assembly plants -- Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Honda — as well as the Mazda-Toyota joint venture assembly plant in Huntsville that begins construction in October. The new terminal could create 600 or more jobs. 


Autocar opens $120 million plant in Birmingham

Autocar, a manufacturer of concrete trucks and garbage trucks, has opened it $120 million plant in Birmingham at a 1.3 million-square-foot facility, a former Meadowcraft Complex. The company currently employs 746 workers. 


Metal manufacturers' coalition protests steel and aluminum tariffs

In the spring quarter, the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers protested President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs imposed in March. Under the banner "Tariffs are Taxes," coalition spokesperson Paul Nathanson said, "These tariffs will do nothing to uphold their stated purpose of protecting U.S. national security. They will instead hurt U.S. manufacturers in the near term by raising the price of essential inputs they need to make finished products, and do long-term harm to domestic steel producers by eroding their own customer base." 


Gerber relocating HQ to Virginia

Gerber Products is relocating its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Arlington County, Va. The company wanted to be near the headquarters of its sister company, Nestlé USA, which also is in Arlington County. The $5 million relocation will create 150 new jobs. 


Greenway Health expands Tampa HQ

Greenway Health, a healthcare IT provider, is expanding its headquarters in Tampa. The company will invest almost $2 million and add 104 high-wage jobs to its Westshore location. 


Appian sets up new HQ in Virginia, adds 600 jobs

Appian, a low-code and business process platform provider, is moving its headquarters to a larger space in McLean, Va. The company will invest over $28 million in the move, which will relocate 600 workers, and add 600 more. 


Auto parts supplier plans South Carolina plant

Germany-based Paul Bippus GmbH, a manufacturer of precision parts, is opening a plant in Summerville, S.C. The $16 million facility will supply parts to the nearby Robert Bosch plant. The deal will create 45 jobs.  


Company opens Center for Intelligent Buildings

In the spring quarter, United Technologies cut the ribbon on its Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach County, Fla. The smart building is part headquarters, part product showcase. The company builds smart buildings, and its headquarters is where it can show that technology to customers. The $115 million project will create 480 jobs. 


Pharmaceutical company investing in South Carolina

The Ritedose Corp., a pharmaceutical products manufacturer, is investing $10 million in a new 140,000-square-foot facility at the Enterprise Industrial Campus of Midlands Technical College in Richland County, S.C. Ritedose produces inhalation products, eye drops, ear drops and oral liquids. 


Economists agree current expansion will break U.S. record of 120 months

At 107 months, the current economic expansion is the second longest on record. To beat the record expansion of 1991 to 2001, this one would have to go uninterrupted until August 2019. As of June, a consensus of over 50 top economic forecasters anticipate growth of 2.8 percent this year, followed by 2.6 percent in 2019. However, they also noted that a trade war between the U.S. and China could reduce that growth, but not to the point of recession. The economists also noted that if President Trump is impeached in 2018, the U.S. economy will continue to grow through 2019. The International Monetary Fund also paints a bright future for the U.S. economy this year, predicting growth of 2.9 percent. However, it reported in the spring quarter that a trade war "threatens to undermine confidence and derail global growth prematurely." 


Nucor completes latest Arkansas expansion

In the spring quarter, Nucor Steel Arkansas completed its $230 million cold mill expansion. The company makes steel for the automotive industry near Blytheville, Ark., and is one of the largest employers in Mississippi County. About 100 jobs will be added at the mill. 


Financial payments firm investing in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Clearing House Payments Co., a financial payments firm, is investing almost $25 million in its operations center in Winston-Salem. The company, which will hire 50 in the deal, has been operating in Winston-Salem for a decade. 


Tire maker joint venture picks Atlanta for HQ

A new joint venture between two global tire makers is locating it headquarters in Atlanta. Goodyear and Bridgestone have created TireHub, a tire distribution joint venture. The new company will attempt to meet the growing demand for larger rim diameter premium tires. The new headquarters in Atlanta will house 150 workers. 


Volvo's South Carolina plant nears opening

Volvo is nearing the opening of its plant in Berkeley County, S.C. Production is expected to begin this summer. Like everyone else, Volvo is struggling to fill its employment goals at the plant, which at its height will be 4,000 workers at the $1.2 billion facility. 


Big deal in Northeast Tennessee

Belgian-based Van Hool NV, a manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, will establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Morristown, Tenn. The family-owned company plans to invest $47 million to build a 500,000-square-foot facility in Morristown's East Tennessee Progress Center. About 640 jobs will be created in the deal. 


Lighting manufacturer expanding in Virginia

Crenshaw Lighting, a custom lighting and historic restoration lighting manufacturer, is expanding in Floyd, Va. The project will create 56 jobs. 


Manufacturer expanding in Brooksville, Fla. 

Barrette Outdoor Living, a manufacturer of all kinds of outdoor products such as storage buildings and fencing,  is expanding its operations at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport. The company will add 43 jobs. 


Energy industry in Louisiana pays out $4.3 billion in wages

Despite the oil bust in recent years, Louisiana's energy industry remains a formidable economic force. Last year, oil and gas production in Louisiana -- including mining, refining and pipeline operations -- employed nearly 45,000 people with a payroll of $4.3 billion.  


Tech company expands near Richmond

Technology consulting firm UDig is expanding in Henrico County,Va. The company will invest $1.6 million in its headquarters and add 41 jobs. 


S.C. State Port opens inland port

The State Ports Authority opened its $50.5 million inland port in Dillon, S.C., in the spring quarter. The new inland port is located on a CSX main rail line that will operate six days a week. The cargo transfer hub will enable trucks and trains to exchange thousands of containers to be distributed north on Interstate 95. 


U.S. natural gas saw record production in 2017

U.S. natural gas production topped all previous years in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Gross mined withdrawals totaled 90.9 billion cubic feet per day. The record year substantially boosted exports of LNG. 


Austin named best place to live 

For the second straight year, U.S. News & World Report named Austin as the best place to live in the U.S. Other cities in the South make the ranking's top 10 were Fayetteville, Ark.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Washington, D.C. Colorado Springs, Denver, Des Moines, Portland, Minneapolis and Seattle made up the rest of the top 10. 


Oracle opens gleaming new Austin facility

California-based Oracle has opened its new 560,000-square-foot facility in Austin. Company execs call the two new buildings the "workforce of the future." The campus, just outside downtown Austin, could eventually house 10,000 tech workers. 


One in 11 Georgia jobs tied to ports

A recent study by the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business showed that Georgia's deepwater ports are one of the state's "strongest economic engines." According to the study, the ports in 2017 in Brunswick and Savannah supported over 439,000 jobs, or one out of 11 jobs in the state. 


Nashville and Austin at top of nation's job growth

Nashville and Austin were two of the nation's top three job growth markets in the U.S. last year. In terms of overall job growth, Nashville ranked third among all markets of 1 million or more residents and Austin ranked second. Riverside-San Bernardino ranked No. 1.


Well Care Health to add 100 jobs in Triad expansion 

Well Care Health, an in-home care company based in Wilmington, N.C., has opened an office in Greensboro and plans to hire more than 100 employees. 


Swiss-based Neopac locates first U.S. plant in Wilson County, N.C.

Neopac US, a Swiss-based manufacturer of packaging for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, will invest more than $30.8 million to locate its first U.S. manufacturing plant and new North American headquarters in Wilson County. The company plans to create up to 44 new jobs.


New Taurus USA facility to bring 300 jobs to Bainbridge, Ga.

Taurus USA, a firearms manufacturer, will create 300 jobs and invest more than $22.5 million to establish a manufacturing plant in Decatur County.


LabCorp locates operations in Durham, N.C.

LabCorp, known for its clinical laboratory and drug development services, will locate a new operations center in Durham County. The company plans to create 422 jobs and will invest $30 million.


Universal to fill 3,000 jobs as “Fast & Furious” ride, new hotels race to open

Universal Orlando Resort’s new Fast & Furious attraction, based on the popular film series, is opening some time in May. The company is looking for more than 3,000 new workers as it opens new attractions and hotels this summer.


Israel-based Albaad USA expands North Carolina manufacturing plant

Albaad USA, an Israel-based manufacturer of wet wipes and other hygiene products, will expand its U.S. operations in Reidsville, N.C. The company plans to add 302 jobs and invest $45 million in Rockingham County.


RBC Aerostructures expands South Carolina manufacturing hub

RBC Aerostructures, which provides control rods and precision parts to aerospace and defense customers, will invest $3.8 million to expand its manufacturing facility and add new equipment in Westminster, S.C.


Google begins construction on $600 million Alabama data center

Google has begun construction on its $600 million data center in Bridgeport, Ala. The project is expected to create as many as 100 full-time jobs in Jackson County.


Maverick Boat Group plans Florida facility

Maverick Boat Group will build a new boat manufacturing facility in Fort Pierce, creating 100 jobs. The expansion will also invest $7 million in the local economy.


Guilford County, N.C., vies for Publix

The Guilford County commissioners unanimously approved an incentives package that saves Publix 80 percent on its county property taxes for 10 years. A distribution center in the county would bring 1,000 jobs and $400 million in capital investment.


Prosphere hires 100 in Bossier City, La.

A subcontractor to General Dynamics Information Technology (formerly CSRA) has announced that it has hired more than 100 employees in Bossier City. ProSphere, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that provides IT solutions to the federal government, said in a news release that the jobs were filled to accommodate growth on a Department of Veterans Affairs contract at the General Dynamics Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City.


Jobs available after Mettler Toledo relocates to Pasco, Fla.

Mettler Toledo designs and manufactures equipment used to inspect quality in the food industry, and they are looking for everything from sales people, assembly line workers, machinists and engineers. They plan to have 600 people employed there in the next few months. . .185 of those are new jobs.


Perdue Farms is cooking in Georgia

Perdue Farms, a third-generation agriculture company, will create 125 new jobs and invest $42 million to expand its cooking operation in Houston County. The 98-year-old company will install a third cooking line to occupy a newly constructed 30,000-square-foot addition at the facility, which the company acquired in 2004, 


Two foreign companies adding 100-plus jobs in Charlotte region

Tokyo-based Yokohama Tire will open a research and development facility in Cornelius, adding 56 jobs and nearly $5.9 million in investment, while Kurz, a hot stamping and coating technology company based in Furth, Germany, will build a new $18 million North American headquarters in Huntersville and hire 90 new positions by 2022. 


Corning to construct Valor Glass facility in Durham, N.C.

Corning has announced an investment in Corning Valor Glass to build a high-volume manufacturing facility that will create over 300 new jobs in Durham County, N.C. Adding capacity for Valor Glass — a break-resistant glass for packaging injectable drugs — is part of Corning’s plan announced in July 2017 to invest $500 million and create 1,000 new jobs in the U.S. 


ATLASBX locating first U.S. manufacturing facility in Tennessee

ATLASBX  will locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tenn. The automotive battery manufacturer will invest $75 million and create approximately 200 jobs in Montgomery County.


Mohawk expands manufacturing in Virginia

Mohawk Industries, the leading global manufacturer of residential and commercial flooring products, will purchase new equipment and expand its manufacturing operation in Carroll County, Va. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $95,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.


DowDuPont investing $100 million to expand Texas  campus

Industrial manufacturer DowDuPont announced recently that the company is planning a series of investments worth $100 million at their Sabine River Works facility in Orange County, Texas to modernize and expand manufacturing capacity. Materials produced at the facility include product lines used in food packaging, transportation and consumer goods.


Ground-breaking for a new plant in Jefferson County, W.Va.

Italy-based TeMa North America is breaking ground on a 42,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Jefferson County.  The $10 million plant, announced last summer, is the company’s first manufacturing facility in the United States, and will produce insulation and drainage systems.


Boeing completes work on $45 million Alabama expansion

Alabama’s largest aerospace company has completed an expansion project at its operations center in the Rocket City. Boeing opened a new 28,000-square-foot facility for its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile seeker program in Huntsville. The $45 million investment has created 70 new jobs. 


Telemundo opens new $250 million Miami HQ

Telemundo has opened the largest TV production studio in South Florida, a $250 million complex designed for 1,200 employees, with room to grow to 1,500. The Spanish language media giant is a subsidiary of NBCUniversal and Comcast Corp.  The facility will be the hub of TV series production, news, digital content and sports for Telemundo.


Evonik expands Birmingham Competence Center

Germany-based Evonik will add extensive manufacturing and R&D capabilities at its Competence Center labs in Birmingham, Ala. The company plans to create more than 50 high-paying jobs following $50 million in investments over the past four years.


Walmart to hire hundreds for new Cocoa facility

Walmart is holding job information sessions for its soon-to-open Cocoa Grocery Distribution Center in Cocoa, Fla. The company plans to hire 375 full-time workers to distribute perishable food to Walmart stores across Florida.


Journeys Group distribution center expands in Tennessee

Journeys Group, a retail division of Nashville-based Genesco featuring fashion footwear and accessories, is expanding and expects to add as many as 75 jobs in the next five years at its distribution center in Lebanon, Tenn.


Metal building company plans Northeast Mississippi factory

A Georgia company that makes steel building components wants to open a factory in Aberdeen, Miss. Bradbury Logistics & Services will invest $1 million and hire 150 people by 2020.


Century Aluminum announces $115 million upgrade to Smelter in Hawesville, Ky.

Century Aluminum, a producer of primary aluminum, will invest approximately $116.5 million for improvements at its operation in Hawesville that will create over 250 full-time jobs. The facility produces high purity metal required for the defense, aerospace and electrical industries. 


Aviation company expanding in Birmingham, Ala. 

Stewart Industries International has leased the former Kaiser Aircraft facility adjacent to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The company said recently they expect to hire 200 to provide maintenance support to the East Coast-based aviation industry.


Manufacturer Dhollandia building $30 million North Carolina facility

Belgium-based manufacturer Dhollandia broke ground in Gaston County, N.C., on what will become the company’s first manufacturing facility in the United States. The new 160,000-square-foot facility, which will manufacture hydraulic lift gates for trucks, is expected to create up to 200 new jobs.


VA Coding Unit moves to Huntington, W.Va.

The revitalization of downtown Huntington took another step forward as the Veterans Affairs’ MidSouth Healthcare Network announced it would relocate its 85-employee medical coding unit from Ceredo, W.Va. The move will create an additional 40 jobs in a long-vacant former department store.


Doss Enterprises continues West Virginia expansion

 Doss Enterprises, an excavation and site development company, is adding 70 long-term positions to help serve across North Central West Virginia.


Stihl breaks ground on $25 million facility in Virginia Beach 

Creative Development Partners has broken ground on a new $25 million, 80,000-square-foot office building for Stihl, a Virginia Beach-based manufacturer of handheld outdoor power equipment. The company is the U.S. operations arm for German parent company Stihl Group. 


Universal Forest Products opening new facility in South Carolina

A wood products company says it will spend $6 million and create 120 new jobs in Orangeburg County, S.C., over the next five years. The facility will make products for the industrial market.


KL Outdoor expands Georgia facilities

KL Outdoor, a Michigan-based maker of canoes and other outdoor equipment, will create more than 100 jobs and invest $8.3 million in a manufacturing and distribution hub in Henry County, Ga. The company recently merged with Quebec-based GSC Technologies making it the world’s largest kayak manufacturer.


US-Stevia plans South Carolina agribusiness

US-Stevia plans a $21 million farm and processing operation for the no-calorie sweetener in Chesterfield County that’s expected to create 50 jobs. Based in Laurinburg, N.C., the company says the climate and the site are well suited for growing the plant, which is native to Paraguay.


Barrel manufacturer to add 220 jobs in Morehead, Ky.

Missouri-based barrel manufacturer Independent Stave says it will create 220 jobs in Morehead as it plans to build a new $66.5 million cooperage. The company already has a stave mill in Morehead, and the governor’s office says the cooperage announcement is a result of strong demand in the bourbon and whiskey industry.


Chattanooga startup scouting Atlanta for new HQ

RootsRated Media, a marketing company based in Chattanooga, said it has raised $6.5 million in venture capital and is moving to Atlanta. “Chattanooga has been an incredible city from which to launch RootsRated Media,” said Fynn Glover, founder/CEO of the company. “As we’ve expanded our vision and grown our team, we’ve become convinced that Atlanta is the right home for the company for its next phase of growth.” The company is expected to hire 40 workers in the deal. 


Auto supplier Yorozu opens Jasper, Ala., plant

Auto parts maker Yorozu recently marked the grand opening of its $110 million manufacturing plant in Walker County, where hiring has been ramping up and will continue to grow to 300. The Tier 1 automotive supplier produces metal stamped suspension components for automakers including Honda, Toyota and Nissan. 


California software company chooses Midtown Atlanta for East Coast HQ

Software maker Redtail Technology has chosen Atlanta for its East Coast headquarters. The Sacramento-based firm, which software for financial advisors, will create about 50 new jobs with the move. 


Connexions Loyalty plans Plano tech center

Connexions Loyalty, a full-service provider of loyalty programs, is expanding its technology footprint in Plano, Texas. The company plans to add 70 tech jobs as it moves from its temporary facility to a permanent office space in Plano. 


Walmart hiring for Mobile distribution center

Walmart hopes to hire more than 150 people for its new distribution center in Mobile County, Ala., which will eventually bring about 750 new jobs to the area.


Water hose maker gets tax breaks on Waco expansion

Swan Products, which will spend $11 million expanding its Waco plant, received tax breaks from the Waco City Council and McLennan County Commissioners Court that will allow it to create 60 new jobs. The maker of water hoses now employs 88.


Fitzgerald Industries opens Kentucky plant

Fitzgerald Industries II, which manufactures aluminum dump-truck beds, will locate in the former Belden plant in Monticello, Ky. The company plans to invest $6 million and create 250 full-time jobs.


Elavon to expand Atlanta HQ, create 180 jobs

Payments company Elavon is expanding its Atlanta headquarters and will create nearly 200 jobs at its campus located in Sandy Springs. The U.S. Bancorp subsidiary provides payment processing and services to merchants and financial institutions.


Smelter reopening in Missouri creates 450 new jobs

Magnitude 7 Metals will restart a smelter in New Madrid County, Mo., bringing 450 new jobs to begin production in the 2nd quarter.


Adient to invest $10.8 million in Tennessee

Adient will invest $10.8 million in its Lexington facility and create 200 new jobs. The automotive seating and interior systems manufacturer plans to upgrade its facility by installing equipment and expanding production in Henderson County, Tenn.


Atlanta-based Salesloft adding 200 jobs

Atlanta-based marketing automation firm Salesloft has raised $50 million and plans to add more than 200 employees. The company, which currently employs more than 220, enables sales reps to create targeted lists of prospects on the Internet. 


Call center bringing 200 jobs to Bryan-College Station, Texas

Alltran is bringing 200 “high-paying” call center jobs to Bryan-College Station. The company specializes in revenue cycle, accounts receivable and contact center solutions within the healthcare, financial services, higher education and government industries. 


Westervelt Lumber will build mill in Alabama, create 100 jobs

The 130-year-old Tuscaloosa company, Westervelt, will build a new mill in South Alabama, creating 100 jobs. The new mill will complement Westervelt’s existing lumber mill in Moundville, Ala., which the company says is the second-largest production facility of Southern Yellow Pine in the U.S. The specific location and design should receive final approval from its board of directors soon.


Steelworkers return to mill in Georgetown, S.C. 

Forty steelworkers have returned to work at a Georgetown mill, the plant’s new owners announced recently. British-based Liberty House acquired the mill from ArcelorMittal, which ceased operations at the plant in August 2015.


Emerald Transformer moves HQ to McKinney, Texas

Emerald Transformer, a national leader in transformer services, will relocate its corporate headquarters from DeFuniak Springs, Fla., to McKinney, Texas. According to company officials, the new headquarters is strategically located in the center of all Emerald operations and near the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.

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