October 2018

China imposing tariffs on U.S. LNG shipments could be a costly problem

By Michael Randle

The largest industrial projects being built in the South right now -- the largest projects in the South's history -- are multi-billion-dollar LNG export facilities. Houston-based Cheniere Energy has been operating its $18 billion export facility for almost three years now at the Sabine Pass in Southwestern Louisiana.


These are some serious projects, with thousands of construction workers that spend years building a single facility. More of these LNG export facilities are being built in Texas and Louisiana because of the region's incredible production of natural gas, which becomes LNG when it is super-cooled, and can then be transported by ship to points all over the globe that are switching from coal to the cheaper and less-polluting natural gas to power their economies.


China is such a customer. The largest polluter of coal-based carbons in the world needs this natural gas, mined in the United States, as bad as it needs anything for its economy and its environment. In fact, during President Trump's visit to Beijing in the fall of 2017, China officials agreed to invest roughly $43 billion into a single LNG project in Alaska. Now, in a trade war, China has moved to impose a 10 percent tariff on U.S.-shipped LNG.


The Chinese tariffs probably won't affect U.S. LNG exports in the short term, or the export facilities that have been approved in Texas or Louisiana that are under construction. However, with China imposing tariffs on LNG, it could price our natural gas out of the market. That would threaten the financing of future LNG export facilities in the United States.


Skilled and less-skilled immigrants are incredibly important to the U.S. economy

By Michael Randle

At the same time the Baby Boomer generation ages out of the workforce in huge numbers, the Millennial generation now owns the lowest fertility rates of any generation in American history. In fact, the U.S. population has not grown by over one percent since 2002. That is not a good combination for the U.S. economy. In short, many of the workers who are retiring are not being replaced.


So, what do we do to replace those aging out of the workforce? There is only one answer to that question. . . embrace immigration. Recent legal immigrants are far more educated than the U.S. population. But it is the less-skilled immigrants who are equally as important.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 115 million workers in the U.S. were employed in jobs that do not require a Bachelor's degree. That's 74 percent of the entire workforce. In addition, about 24 percent of all jobs are those that do not require any educational attainment.


As for the future, it looks the same, according to BLS. In 2026, 73 percent of all jobs -- 123 million -- will not require a Bachelor's degree and 24 percent of all jobs will not require any educational attainment.


What's the secret to rural Southern markets' success?

By Michael Randle

For 25 years now we have tracked economic development projects in well over 2,000 different markets in the South, from tiny hamlets to mega-markets. There are only 154 metropolitan statistical areas in the South, meaning the other 1,800 markets are either micropolitan cities or rural markets.


There are many successful small economic development cities in the South. Columbus, Miss.; Aiken, S.C.; Mississippi County, Ark.; Cullman, Ala.; and Martinsville, Va.; among others, have consistently outperformed other small and rural markets over the last 25 years in project activity. What's their secret? In every case their economic development agencies are well funded. They advertise on a regular basis, their workforce training programs are impressive and they are constantly developing products such as industrial parks and certified sites.


Take the case of Martinsville-Henry County, Va. Since July, over 500 new jobs and over $75 million in investments have been announced in Henry County. The Martinsville-Henry County EDC has invested years and countless dollars in a new development called Commonwealth Crossings. The 720-acre site is rail-served, and it just secured its first tenant, a Polish glass manufacturer that is investing over $43 million and will create 212 jobs.


Workforce training in the Martinsville area is second to none. The area is served by the Patrick Henry Community College, as well as the New College Institute, a new facility where Martinsville-Henry County EDC has its offices.


South dominates fastest growing economies ranking

WalletHub came out with another one of its rankings in the fall quarter. This one ranks the fastest growing local economies based on population gains, GDP and other factors. Fort Myers, Fla., took the No. 1 spot followed by Midland, Pearland, McKinney and College Station in Texas, Lehigh Acres, Fla., and Mount Pleasant, S.C. Those cities making the top 10 outside the South were Bend, Ore., and Enterprise, Nev.


Do we import farm workers, or do we import food?

Southern farmers are struggling more than ever to recruit enough migrant laborers. With increased security at the border, mass deportations of the undocumented, refugee admissions at historic lows and cuts in legal immigration, those that farm fruits and vegetables are in dire need of workers. Unlike corn and soybeans, which can be farmed and harvested by machines, most fruits and vegetables must be picked by hand to keep them from bruising. More than half of America's farmworkers are undocumented immigrants. "We have a situation where we need laborers, and we don't have the labor we need," said Will Rodger of the American Farm Bureau in a story by UPI. "Without workers, it is not economically feasible to grow the food at all. We can import workers, or we can import food. It's really that simple."


If you are set to buy a new car, buy it now, say experts

New tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on auto parts from China will not only impact automaker profits and cut sales, the costs are going straight to your wallet. Trump's tariffs on over 100 imported Chinese auto parts -- from tires to brake pads to batteries -- will increase the cost of vehicles made in the U.S. "It's going to be felt by Americans and it's going to be a big deal," said Peter Nagle, senior analyst at IHS Markit.  


September unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 1969

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September from 3.9 percent in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That is the lowest rate since December 1969. In September, non-farm payrolls rose to 134,000.


Consecutive monthly job growth doubles record

With 134,000 jobs created in September, the U.S. set yet another record for consecutive monthly job growth. The monthly job growth as of September is exactly eight years, double the previous record.


Maryland-based logistics company to build cold storage facility at Alabama port

MTC Logistics announced plans in the fall to build a $58 million cold storage facility on property owned by the Alabama State Port Authority in Mobile, Ala. The project will create 70 jobs.


Joint venture purchases Louisiana's Avondale Shipyard site

The 254-acre Avondale Shipyard near New Orleans is being purchased by Virginia-based T. Parker Host and Illinois-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners. The new entity will be called Avondale Marine. The companies will redevelop the port, and the site could create up to 2,000 jobs. Avondale was once one of the largest private employers in Louisiana with about 26,000 workers.


Smithfield Foods to expand Kentucky plant

Virginia-based Smithfield Foods is investing $1.2 million in its ham processing plant in Grayson, Ky. The deal will create 40 jobs at the plant that houses about 570 workers.


HVAC manufacturer consolidating in South Carolina, will add 750 workers

Ingersoll Rand, the parent company of Trane, is closing plants in Macon, Ga., and Lexington, Ky., and will consolidate operations at its plant in Columbia, S.C. The deal will create 750 jobs.


Call center to create 600 jobs in Georgia

Colorado-based Global Callcenter Solutions will move into temporary space in downtown Columbus, Ga., before moving into a former Winn-Dixie supermarket in the city. The project is expected to create 600 jobs.


Aerospace giant to open new facility in South Florida

Bombardier will move its Learjet service center from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. The company will build a 300,000-square-foot facility in Opa Locka and hire about 300 more workers.


Blue Origin to build another facility on Florida's Space Coast

Jeff Bezos' private rocket company Blue Origin will build a second facility near Kennedy Space Center. It operates a rocket manufacturing facility there and is building a rocket engine plant in Huntsville, Ala. The new facility will refurbish first stage boosters for reuse.


Spirit Airlines adding jobs in Orlando

Orlando-based Spirit Airlines is expanding its crew base at the Orlando International Airport. The airline is adding about 150 new flight attendants and pilots, but will hire hundreds more inflight positions next year.


Wheel manufacturer investing in South Carolina facility

Wheel Pros, a manufacturer of branded aftermarket wheels, is investing almost $14 million in a facility in York County, S.C. The project will create 275 new jobs.


Auto supplier expands in South Carolina

MAHLE Behr Charleston, a supplier of air conditioning and radiator assemblies for the automotive industry, is investing $36 million in its plant in Charleston County, S.C. The deal will create 115 new jobs.


Floor & Decor relocating HQ in Atlanta area

Floor & Decor is relocating its headquarters from Smyrna, Ga., to Cobb County, Ga. The company is adding 500 jobs with the move.


Toyota builds first next-gen engine at Alabama plant

Toyota's Huntsville, Ala., plant produced its first next-generation four-cylinder engine in September. The engine was made possible after a $106 million investment to prepare the facility for advanced production. The next-gen project replaced the entire four-cylinder engine line at the plant. The facility is the only one in the world where Toyota makes four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8s.


Caterpillar picks South Carolina for new facility

Caterpillar, a manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, will locate a casting facility in Greenwood County, S.C. The $13.5 million project will create 85 new jobs.


Auto parts supplier expands in Mississippi

Automotive supplier Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi is increasing production capacity at its plant in Lee County, Miss. The company is a Tier 1 supplier of stamped parts to Toyota's assembly plant in nearby Blue Springs, Miss. The $100 million project will create 50 jobs.


Site work begins at Northeast Tennessee aerospace park

Site preparation on the new Tri-Cities Airport's Aerospace Park began in September. The 160-acre Aerospace Park is adjacent to the airport in Blountville, and being marketed regionally to aerospace companies by city officials in nearby Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City.


GE Appliances invests in Louisville

GE Appliances, which was recently acquired by Chinese company Haier, is investing $200 million in its giant facilities in Louisville. The project will create 400 new jobs.


Yamaha motorsports division opens new HQ near Atlanta

Yamaha's motorsports division (motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs) opened a new headquarters in Cobb County, Ga., near SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. The new headquarters will include jobs in sales and marketing and administrative work. Some of the 100 new jobs are being relocated from California.


Amazon hiring 1,500 in Memphis

Amazon is planning to hire more than 1,500 employees. Of those, about 800 are being hired at a new receiving center. The other 700 will be hired to work at Amazon's sortation center in Southeast Memphis.


Volvo at full production at new South Carolina assembly plant

Volvo is now at full production of its newly designed S60 sedan at its new plant in Berkeley County, S.C. The first S60 models will arrive at U.S. dealerships later this year. Global distribution will begin in the spring of 2019. There are about 2,000 employees at the plant, with 2,000 more slated to be hired when the Chinese-owned, Sweden-based automaker builds another line for XC90 SUV.


Hundreds of new jobs coming to DFW after Boeing wins T-X trainer

In the fall quarter, the Air Force chose Boeing to build its next-generation T-X trainer jet. The decision means up to 950 jobs will be announced by Triumph at its plant in Red Oak, Texas, located just south of Dallas. Triumph was chosen by Boeing to make the wing, vertical tail and horizontal structures for the jet.


Boeing decision on training jet means nearly 2,000 jobs for St. Louis

Boeing has been chosen by the U.S. Air Force for a $9.2 billion contract to build the next-generation trainer jet, the T-X. The jet will be fully assembled at Boeing's St. Louis facilities, where nearly 14,000 employees are housed. The new aircraft assembly line is expected to create 1,800 more jobs. 


Blue Origin to officially build rocket engines for ULA

In October, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin received word that United Launch Alliance will contract with the company to build rocket engines. Blue Origin announced last year it would build the BE-4 rocket engine manufacturing facility in Huntsville, pending the contract with ULA. ULA assembles the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets at its facility in Decatur, Ala.


Lexington, Ky., is the most affordable city for early retirement

A study by SmartAsset.com that accounted for a city's tax rates, crime rates and medical facilities, showed that Lexington, Ky., is the most affordable city in the U.S. for early retirement. Lexington beat out Boise, Madison, and Plano, Texas. Those cities made up the top five most affordable.


All four owners of Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion agree to continue with build-out

Following days of discussion and despite the never-ending increase in the price tag, all four owners of Plant Vogtle agreed to continue the build-out of units 3 and 4 of the multi-billion nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Ga. Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities own the plant.


Tractor Supply expanding Kentucky distribution center

Tractor Supply, a rural retailer, is investing over $8 million to expand its distribution center in Franklin, Ky. The project will create 156 full-time jobs.


Lumber products company investing in Lufkin, Texas

A manufacturer of wooden ground protection mats and other products is investing $30 million in a new plant in Lufkin, Texas. Sterling Lumber will build the plant that will house 150 workers.


Fifty jobs coming to Georgia's Fort Gordon

BurningCastle LLC, a provider of information technology and logistics, is setting up shop at the Army's Cyber Command at Fort Gordon. Fort Gordon is located near Augusta and is home to the Georgia Cyber Center that opened earlier this year. Fifty jobs will be created in the deal.


Dollar Tree moving 700 workers to Virginia HQ from North Carolina

Dollar Tree, which bought Family Dollar three years ago, is moving 700 employees from the Family Dollars headquarters in Matthews, N.C., to its new headquarters that is under construction in Chesapeake, Va.


Norfolk Southern scouting sites in Atlanta for headquarters

Norfolk Southern Railroad scouted sites in Atlanta in September for a new headquarters, according to Bert Brantley, COO of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The company allowed Brantley to confirm the search. If Norfolk Southern relocates its Virginia headquarters to Atlanta, it could mean as many as 1,000 jobs.


Study shows four of the five most affordable retirement markets are in the South

A study done by GOBankingRates found that cost of living is lowest in the U.S. in Birmingham, Ala., for retirees. Average annual cost of living expenses for a retiree in Birmingham are $33,219. The other four cities making the top five were Detroit; Jackson, Miss.; Memphis and Augusta, Ga. 


Microsoft makes land buy in Northern Virginia

Microsoft has purchased about 332 acres at the Compass Creek development in Leesburg, Va. Loudoun County, where Leesburg is located, is one of the largest data center clusters in the world. Microsoft declined to say what it plans to build in Leesburg.


Virginia unemployment falls to three percent

Virginia's unemployment rate fell to three percent in August, the lowest rate since July 2007. Virginia has created almost 60,000 jobs in the last year.


Port of Savannah's 10-year plan doubles container capacity

The Port of Savannah's 10-year plan calls for nearly doubling its containerized cargo capacity. Executive director Griff Lynch in his annual State of the Port address said that the $2.5 billion plan will add a new rail yard that will double the port's capacity to move cargo by rail. The investment also includes new equipment, berth improvements and additional roads.


Four airports in the South make J.D. Power's top 10

According to a report in September from J.D. Power, the Orlando International Airport tied the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport as the top two airports in the country. Dallas/Fort Worth International came in fifth, Hartsville-Jackson Atlanta International Airport came in at No. 6, and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport came in at No. 7.


Maryland-based logistics company to build cold storage facility at Alabama port

MTC Logistics announced plans in the fall to build a $58 million cold storage facility on property owned by the Alabama State Port Authority in Mobile, Ala. The project will create 70 jobs.


Boeing decision on training jet means nearly 2,000 jobs for St. Louis

Boeing has been chosen by the U.S. Air Force for a $9.2 billion contract to build the next-generation trainer jet, T-X. The jet will be fully assembled at Boeing St. Louis facilities, where nearly 14,000 employees are housed. The new aircraft assembly line is expected to create 1,800 more jobs. 


Hundreds of manufacturing jobs coming to DFW after Boeing wins $9.2 billion award

A $9.2 billion military jet contract won by Boeing will mean hundreds of jobs at an aviation manufacturing facility in Red Oak (part of the DFW metro), which will be a major supplier for the project. Triumph Group will supply the wing, vertical and horizontal tail structures and other components for the next generation T-X aircraft.


Blue Origin to officially build rocket engines for ULA

In October, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin received word that United Launch Alliance will contract with the company to build rocket engines. Blue Origin announced last year it would build the BE-4 rocket engine manufacturing facility in Huntsville, pending the contact with ULA. ULA assembles the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets at its facility in Decatur, Ala.


Lumber products company investing in Lufkin, Texas

A manufacturer of wooden ground protection mats and other products is investing $30 million in a new plant in Lufkin, Texas.  Sterling Lumber will build the plant that will house 150 workers.


Amazon hiring in Georgia

According to officials with Amazon, the company is hiring 1,200 part-time positions at their new sortation center in Jefferson.


Facebook will invest $750 million into Henrico, County, Va., data center

Facebook expects to break ground early next year on the second phase of its eastern Henrico County data center development. As the first phase of the project in White Oak Technology Park nears completion, the social media giant said it will invest an additional $750 million to expand the data center complex it launched last year with a $1 billion investment.


Hunter Engineering expands Mississippi operations

Automotive service equipment manufacturer Hunter Engineering will invest $8 million to expand operations in Durant, Miss. The company plans to create 60 jobs.


North MS Tool expands to Ripley, Miss.

North MS Tool is investing $700,000 to expand its growing production center and relocate operations from Booneville to Ripley, Miss. The company specializes in tool and die manufacturing for customers such as Winchester and American Pipe.


3D manufacturer relocates HQ in Texas

The 3D manufacturing company Essentium is relocating its headquarters from College Station to Pflugerville, creating 170 high-paying jobs. Positions range from scientists, chemists and various engineering and specialist roles that will have a minimum $75,000 average annual salary.


Dallas area lands two more Amazon hubs

It looks like the digital retailing giant has targeted the Dallas-Fort Worth area for one of its largest concentrations of distribution facilities in the nation. Amazon is expanding its warehousing operations with two huge fulfillment centers — one in West Dallas and another in southern Dallas County. The Dallas City Council recently voted to give the Seattle-based Internet retailer about $2 million in incentives to build a $100 million distribution center in West Dallas that is expected to create 1,500 new jobs.


UPS plans $3.8 million expansion in Louisville

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service is considering expanding its Supply Chain Solutions campus in Louisville. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval for $1.35 million in tax incentives for the company based on the company’s plan to invest $3.8 million and create 135 jobs at Supply Chain Solutions.


Louisville tech firm to establish new HQ

Tier3 Technologies plans to relocate its Louisville headquarters and significantly expand its workforce. The IT provider is planning to invest more than $2.4 million and add 62 full-time jobs.


Mercedes supplier hiring 250 in Alabama

Lear, a supplier of seating and electrical systems to the Mercedes plant in Vance, is hiring 250 entry-level operators.


Cambrex keeps expanding at North Carolina site

Cambrex, which recently completed a $425 million deal to buy Halo Pharma and its two manufacturing sites, is expanding its facilities in North Carolina. The New Jersey-based API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) maker announced it will acquire a leased facility it operates in High Point, as well as an adjacent building, to establish a “center of excellence.” When the expansion is complete, the company expects to have 150 employees at the facility.


New IT and cybersecurity jobs for Augusta, Ga.

BurningCastle, an IT consulting company, will create 50 jobs and invest in the development of a skilled IT staff in Augusta. New jobs include positions in IT and cybersecurity instruction.


Publix to grow headcount by 700 in Lakeland, Fla.

Publix is planning a major expansion of its Lakeland headquarters, meaning 700 new corporate jobs. Publix is approved to receive a qualified target industry refund through the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity if it adds 700 jobs and invests $25 million in capital improvements, according to state records.


Insurance company doubling workforce in Frankfort, Ky.

A Frankfort-based insurance company is set to expand its local operations creating 75 new full-time jobs in the city. Investors Heritage Life Insurance Company says it will double its Kentucky workforce with a $1 million investment in its local operations.


Manufacturer to create 28 new jobs in Holly Hill, S.C.

Longleaf Packaging announced plans to establish a new manufacturing facility in Orangeburg County. The company’s $6 million investment is projected to create 28 new jobs. Longleaf Packaging will produce dry mix products such as mortar mix, concrete mix and more.


Glass manufacturer consolidating in Coral Springs, Fla.

Aldora Aluminum & Glass Products is consolidating its southeast Florida operations into a new regional headquarters in Coral Springs. Employees from its existing office there, as well as those from its plant in Miramar, will move to the new office. Aldora will create 35 new jobs with a $4.73 million investment.


Groundbreaking ceremony for first U.S.-built Coca-Cola bottling plant in in a decade

Dallas-based Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, a subsidiary of Mexico-based Coca-Cola bottler Arca Continental, is moving forward on the $250 million project it announced earlier this year. The company held a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility in September.


Manufacturer to create 33 new jobs in Craven Count, N.C.

A manufacturer of custom lamination and processing equipment, McGuckin & Pyle, announced it will build a new plant in the New Bern area. The company will add 33 new jobs and a $2.25 million investment.


Dental equipment maker picks North Carolina over Pennsylvania for 320 jobs

Dental equipment maker Dentsply Sirona has chosen North Carolina over its Pennsylvania headquarters for a North American commercial operations center. The center, located in Mecklenburg County, will create 320 jobs over eight years, and means a $3 million investment.


Danimer Scientific locates fermentation plant in Winchester, Ky.

Danimer Scientific, a manufacturer of biodegradable and compostable plastic products, will invest $36.2 million to purchase and revitalize the former Alltech algae building and locate a fermentation facility in Winchester. The company plans to create 37 full-time jobs.


IT company announces $5.3 million expansion in Marshall County, Ky.

United Systems and Software, a software and IT services provider for utilities and local governments, will expand its operation in Marshall County with a $5.3 million investment expected to create 50 high-paying, full-time jobs.


Shell considering Louisiana expansion, seeking tax break

Shell Chemical is considering a $1.2 billion expansion of its Geismar facilities that would create 23 permanent positions and support more than 1,000 temporary construction jobs. The expansion would add a world scale mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) unit.


Testing company to open Anderson, S.C., facility, create 31 new jobs

Element Materials Technology plans to open a new facility in Anderson County. The materials and product qualification testing company is investing $3.4 million in the facility, which expects to create 31 new jobs.


Archer Forest Products expanding Georgia facility

Archer Forest Products, a division of Fram Renewable Fuels and supplier of wood pellets to the European industrial market, will create 35 jobs and invest $15 million at its new facility in Brantley County, Ga.


Green Cloud Technologies opens Greenville, S.C., HQ

Green Cloud Technologies, a provider of hosted solutions and services, opened its new headquarters facility in Greenville. The company’s $7.8 million investment is projected to create 50 new jobs over the next five years.


Manufacturer commits to vacant Caterpillar property in Thomasville, Ga.

A gun magazine manufacturer from the northeast, to be named in November, has given a verbal commitment to move its headquarters south. The deal means a $15 million investment and 230 new jobs, which will make up for the jobs lost when the Caterpillar plant closed two years ago.


Waitr delivering 100 jobs to Albany, Ga.

The food delivery app called Waitr announced it will launch in Albany, bringing 100 jobs in the form of delivery drivers.


Wheel equipment maker to spend $8 million to expand, hire 60

A manufacturer of wheel alignment and balancing systems will spend $8 million to expand its plant in a Durant, Miss., hiring 60 new workers. Hunter Engineering of Bridgeton, Mo., announced the expansion in September at its Durant plant, which now employs 192.


Lake Charles celebrates Chennault’s rehab

Louisiana’s governor was on hand to celebrate the completion of $18 million in major infrastructure improvements — runway, runway lighting and taxiway rehab projects — at Chennault International Airport.


Total authorizes $1 billion Bayport plastics expansion

The French energy major Total and its partners will soon begin construction on a new plastics plant at Total’s Bayport campus near Pasadena, Texas, a project estimated to create more than 1,700 construction-related jobs. The $1 billion project involves building a new plant to produce polyethylene, which is the world’s most common plastic.


Superior Pipe Products investing $24 million in Texas

Superior Pipe Products, a manufacturer of pipe products used in agriculture, municipal and other industries, will open a new facility in Lubbock. Capital investment in the facility is estimated at $24 million, and it will add 71 highly-skilled jobs to the region over the next five years,


Monogram Foods investing $30 million in Virginia expansion

Memphis-based Monogram Food Solutions will invest $30 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Henry County, Va. Monogram considered six other states for the project, which will create 300 new jobs. Monogram Foods manufactures branded meat snacks, corn dogs, pre-cooked bacon, smoked sausage, appetizers and pet treats for brands that include Bass Pro Shops, Johnsonville and Butterball.


New jobs coming to Covington, Ky., riverfront

About 90 good-paying jobs are coming to the Covington riverfront as part of two separate business announcements. Prolocity Cloud Solutions Inc., a software consulting practice, is expanding its operations. Over the next two years, the company plans to add at least 30 new positions with an average salary of over $100,000. BM2 Freight Services is moving its headquarters to RiverCenter l, and hopes to add 10 more employees over the next few years. 


ZF plans $40 million, 60-job expansion in Gainesville, Ga.

German car parts maker ZF is investing more than $40 million to expand its plant in Gainesville. ZF will add three new assembly lines and 60 new jobs.


Groundbreaking at CVG Airport, 100 new jobs

Ground was broken in September on a new 103,000-square-foot hangar at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. FEAM Aero plans to create 100 high-paying jobs with its $19 million investment.


Lumber company investing $28 million in Alabama plant

A family-owned lumber company in Tuscaloosa County is expanding operations. KyKenKee is investing $28.2 million at its plant in Vance. The move is expected to create more than 70 new jobs. KyKenKee manufactures hardwoods and Southern Yellow Pine, as well as specialty cut items and Greenscape products such as wood chips and bark. The company currently employs more than 600 people.


New HVAC manufacturing plant, 160 jobs for Enka, N.C.

Canada-based Haakon Industries, a custom HVAC manufacturer, will build a new state-of-the-art facility on a parcel of land once part of American Enka's 2,000-acre rayon manufacturing campus. The company expansion will create up to 160 new jobs, with an investment of $19.6 million.


Westrock announces plan to invest $248 million in Covington, Va.

A major employer in the Alleghany Highlands announced plans recently to invest more than $248 million in new equipment to upgrade its Covington paper mill. Westruck employs 1,000 at the mill, which produces bleached paperboard that is converted into packaging.


The largest factory in Richland, S.C., is hiring

The Jushi fiberglass manufacturing plant in Columbia — the largest factory ever built in Richland County and one of the biggest in the state — is still under construction, but has begun the process to hire 400 workers. Jushi is a Chinese company (the name means “giant stone”), and is investing  $400 million in the project, which will be its first production facility in the United States.


Pottery Direct International locates production in McKenzie, Tenn.

Pottery Direct International, a ceramic flowerpot manufacturer, will invest $8 million to establish operations in Carroll County, with plans to create approximately 40 jobs.


Caterpillar investing $15 million in North Carolina

The Sanford City Council will provide Caterpillar with state grant funding to renovate an existing building thanks to a $500,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s building reuse program. Caterpillar has two years to fill 40 new positions, and the jobs must pay at or above the Lee County prevailing wage of $39,092.


MLMC Florida Opening New Operations

MLMC (Materials Lifecycle Management Company), a manufacturing company specializing in alternative fuels technology, will open a new $10 million facility in Plant City creating 45 jobs. The facility will receive more than 150,000 tons per year of manufacturing process and packaging waste materials from local businesses, such as non-recyclable, coated paper and Styrofoam, to manufacture a clean, energy dense fuel product.


Georgia poultry farm will invest $12 million in Screven County

Claxton Poultry Farms, a large family-owned, egg-to-market poultry processor, will soon start building a state-of-the-art chicken deboning and packaging facility in Sylvania, Ga. Construction on the $12 million project is slated to begin this year and is expected to create at least 75 jobs.


Pizza and steel may create 100 jobs in Lexington County, S.C.

Lexington County may get more than 100 new jobs if all goes as planned at public hearings for Nucor Building Systems SC. Nucor, a steel company, would build an $8.5 million expansion to its existing Swansea site, which employs 285 workers. The new addition would add at least 60 full-time jobs. Domino’s would open a food manufacturing and distribution site at the Lexington County Industrial Park. The site would bring in at least 75 full-time jobs and $20 million in investment.


Life Time to hire 350 in Texas

Life Time plans to hire 350 workers at its new athletic club under construction. The Minnesota company has scheduled a hiring fair in Webster, Texas, in the Houston metro.


Company cuts ribbon on $8 million Central Texas expansion

U.S. Silica cut the ribbon recently on an $8 million expansion project and its sand mine and processing facility in Kosse in Limestone County, Texas. The sand mined and processed at the plant is primarily used by the oil and gas industry as frac sand.


JKG Group expands Florida manufacturing plant

JKG Group has expanded its high-demand product packaging capabilities at its plant in Deerfield Beach, Fla. According to Adam Gittlin, President of JKG Group, many product manufacturers are transitioning to smarter packaging such as soft-sided pouch packs to replace rigid plastic packaging. The pouch packs use less material, create less waste, require less shelf space and cost less to ship.


Waco company breaks ground on expansion

Swan Products broke ground recently on a 300,000-square-foot expansion that will mean 60 new jobs. The facility in Waco, Texas, makes garden, industrial and aeration hoses.


Meat snack plant means jobs for Marshall County, Okla.

Stryve Biltong will bring more than 100 jobs to the area in a building that once housed a peanut processing facility. “Biltong” is a process of air-drying meat that originated in South Africa. The product is similar to jerky, but has more protein, less sugar and lower fat. Stryve plans to source some of its meat from local farmers and tribes, as well as hire up to 150 employees.


Wallace State creating jobs in Alabama

Wallace State Community College in Cullman County, Ala., has landed a $2 million federal grant for a technical education program expected to create 68 jobs. The grant will fund a technical education center aimed at providing workers with new, in-demand skills for the changing workforce.


Lockheed Martin needs 800 new workers in Fort Worth

In September, Lockheed Martin offered letters of intent to 800 people to work at its Fort Worth factory. For almost two years, the company has been hosting job fairs to add to its workforce at the facility where the F-35 is manufactured. Since Lockheed Martin does a significant amount of work for the U.S. military, potential employees must pass background checks before they can go to work. Those offered letters of intent go through three steps — an online test, a drug screening and a basic background check.


Software firm to bring 150 jobs to Oklahoma City

Rural Sourcing, a software development company with no presence in Oklahoma, is set to open an office employing 150 people in Bricktown. The deal is pending approval of $450,000 in incentives.


Drone manufacturing facility unveiled in Gulf County, Fla.

Skyborne technologies unveiled its new manufacturing facility and its new airship and drone technology. Ten to 15 jobs will be available within the first three months, and the company hopes to offer up to 100 jobs within the first three years.


National General commits to major expansion in Winston-Salem

National General Holdings confirmed recently it will expand its Winston-Salem operations by adding 626 full-time jobs following the approval of additional local and state incentives. The insurer has committed to filling the new jobs over a five-year period, as well as making a $12.3 million capital investment near its operational hub.


Precision Strip doubles investment to $31.7 million in Bowling Green, Ky.

Ohio-based Precision Strip, which processes, stores and delivers steel and aluminum, will double its originally planned investment in Warren County to approximately $31.7 million and create of 31 full-time jobs.


UPS hiring 100,000 workers for holiday season

UPS expects to hire about 100,000 seasonal employees for the upcoming holiday season, the company said in a press release. Both part-time and full-time seasonal positions, primarily package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers have long been an entry point for permanent jobs at UPS. Over the last three years, 35 percent of people hired for seasonal package handler jobs were given a permanent position after the holidays.


Dot Foods needs 50 new truck drivers

Due to increased customer demand, Dot Transportation, the trucking partner of Dot Foods, will hire 50 new drivers for its Tennessee Distribution Center.


Alorica plans to expand in Missouri

Alorica’s Joplin call center has announced plans to nearly double its local workforce. The company hopes to begin hiring 625 full-time, customer-service employees.


Green Tech Solution bringing 200 jobs to Cherokee County, S.C.

A China-based company is bringing hundreds of jobs to the Upstate.

Green Tech Solution plans to invest $75 million in a new recycling facility in Blacksburg, creating about 200 new jobs. Green Tech Solution is a subsidiary of an investment company headquartered in Tianjin, China.


Beast Code to expand on the Panhandle

Beast Code, a software engineering company that has called Fort Walton Beach, Fla., home since 2016, announced plans to double in size in the next three years, hiring 40 new employees. Beach Code specializes in operational training, modeling and simulation and data mining, primarily for the military.


Black Rifle Coffee opens Tennessee facility

Black Rifle Coffee Company has announced a new roasting facility in Manchester, Tenn. The new facility — a $6 million investment creating 52 jobs — will not be a replacement for its facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah, but is intended to handle a growing demand from the East Coast.


WillowTree to expand with 200 jobs in Virginia

Virginia-based WillowTree will relocate and expand its operations, adding 200 new jobs in Albemarle County. The Charlottesville-based company, which develops smartphone apps, will expand its headquarters and renovate 50,000 square feet of space in the former Woolen Mills factory. The project is expected to cost $12.3 million.


Tile maker plans $70 million expansion in Crossville, Tenn.

Stonepeak Ceramics is investing $70 million to add a new production line at its plant in Crossville to begin production of the first large size porcelain panels made in the United States. The Italy-based company is adding 160 jobs to the 280-employee plant over the next five years and represents the largest foreign direct investment in Cumberland County.


Food company to expand Henry County, Ga., facility

De Wafelbakkers, a manufacturer of made-from-scratch breakfast products, will invest $15 million to expand its production facility in Henry County. This project, the first part of a two-phase expansion, will create 83 jobs.


MG Foods chooses Melbourne, Fla., for hub

MG Foods will invest $2.3 million to renovate and relocate into a new production and distribution facility in Melbourne. The company plans to hire 95 associates. Headquartered in North Carolina, MG Foods is a private label production company specializing in fresh and frozen foods.


New Flyer cuts ribbon on $30 million facility in Bullitt County, Ky.

New Flyer of America in Shepherdsville recently unveiled its $30 million transit bus and motor coach parts manufacturing facility that will create up to 550 jobs.


Kentucky steel mill gets $650 million expansion

North Carolina-based Nucor will spend $650 million to nearly double the capacity of its Nucor Steel Gallatin plant in Kentucky. It will mean 70 new jobs at the Ghent, Ky., plant, bringing the headcount there to 535.


Global tech company adding 350 jobs in Jax

Hinduja Global Solutions, a business process management company based in India, is opening a customer experience center in Jacksonville, Fla., with plans to hire 350.


Reich plans $10.9 million investment in Arden, N.C.

Reich, a precision vehicle parts manufacturer, plans to invest $10.9 million into its facility, adding 15 new jobs to its workforce in the process.


Harden Furniture leaving New York for  North Carolina

The CEO of Ison Furniture manufacturing, which acquired Harden’s equipment and assets and has a contract to buy its plant in New York, said he is planning to move Harden’s production to North Carolina by the end of the year. The move could create up to 200 jobs there. Harden Furniture, which began production in 1844, is one of the oldest furniture manufacturers in the United States. The company’s future had been in limbo since February when its assets were in a foreclosure auction.


One hundred jobs, $72 million coming to Newton County, Ga.

Japan-based Nisshinbo Automotive Manufacturing (NAMI), a manufacturer of environmentally friendly brake pads, will create 100 jobs and invest $72 million in an expansion of its Covington facility. New jobs at the facility will include positions in production and administration.


Mercedes opens first Sprinter factory in the U.S.

In September, Mercedes opened its first Sprinter van production plant in the U.S. In addition to cutting the ribbon at the $500 million factory in North Charleston, S.C., the company announced an order for 20,000 of the vans from Amazon. The facility employs 900 workers.


Canadian manufacturer adding 130 jobs to New Braunfels, Texas plant

CGT U.S. Ltd. plans to add 130 jobs after investing another $80 million into its New Braunfels plant. The Canadian firm manufactures coated fabrics and films for industrial uses.


Over 100 new jobs in Lowell, Ark.

The Ozark’s Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. is bringing 150 new jobs to Benton County.


Chinese company bringing $15 million plant to Charlotte region

A Chinese company will open a $15 million facility in Chester County, N.C., to manufacture microscopic materials that are used to improve the performance of paints and other substances. ShayoNano USA, which is based in Texas but owned by a company in Singapore, will also bring 40 jobs to Chester, which is about 45 miles south of Charlotte.


Walmarts tech arm adding 100-plus jobs in Reston, Va.

Walmart Labs, the technology arm of the world’s largest private employer, plans to double its workforce at its Reston office. New software engineers and data scientists will build new platforms for the company as demand for automation, especially for online grocery shopping, increases.


American Outdoor Brands facility nearly complete in Columbia, Mo.

American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith and Wesson Holding Corp., which manufactures and distributes firearms and outdoor equipment, will open a 632,000-square-foot distribution facility in December. The center will create 154 jobs in the first three years and 328 jobs long term.


Volvo Car University coming to South Carolina

Volvo Car USA plans to build Volvo Car University at its Berkeley County campus later this year. The university will focus on workforce training and leadership development for North America.


Radial need workers

Radial believes consumers are going to dig deep in their wallets during the holidays. So, the eCommerce provider plans to be very busy. Radial said its needs to ramp up its Space Coast workforce by hiring nearly 2,000. But with unemployment below 4 percent in Brevard County, they will be contending with a much-squeezed labor pool. Radial also announced it plans to bring on an additional 750 workers in Brunswick, Ga.


Primary care provider launches $200 million investment in Tampa Bay

ChenMed, a leading primary care provider, confirmed a five-year, $200 million investment in Tampa Bay where 10 Dedicated Senior Medical Centers are planned to open. The announcement came at the grand opening celebration recently for Dedicated’s center in Largo. There will also be an October grand opening celebration for the new North Tampa center.


Valkyrie Systems Aerospace eyes OKC

Valkyrie Systems Aerospace (VSA) plans to bring manufacturing facilities, as well as flight operations and training, to metro Oklahoma City. According to Governor Mary Fallin’s Office, VSA was recently awarded a 21st Century Quality Jobs Program incentive contract that will create at least 352 new high-paying jobs for the state of Oklahoma.


Singapore-based robotics company chooses Atlanta

GreyOrange, a global leader in AI-powered robotics systems for distribution and fulfillment centers, is establishing its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. The company has announced 50 new positions there. In addition to the corporate headquarters, there will also be a factory in a separate Atlanta location. In the next three years, the facility plans to manufacture and deploy an additional 20,000 robots in the U.S.


Walmart plans fulfillment center in Bullitt County, Ky.

Walmart will invest $41 million and create 400 full-time jobs at a new facility in Bullitt County. The facility will fulfill online orders from Walmart.com and Walmart subsidiary jet.com.


Starbucks expands with Atlanta hub

Starbucks will continue to grow its presence in Georgia by creating up to 500 jobs in a new east coast satellite office in Atlanta.


Corsair Distillery investing $11 million in Tennessee

Corsair Distillery will invest $11.1 million to expand its operations in Davidson County. The distillery will create 52 new jobs in Nashville. Corsair Distillery was founded in 2008 in Bowling Green, Ky., by two Nashville natives.


WebstaurantStore creating 300 jobs in Florida

Ecommerce restaurant supply company WebstaurantStore will expand its operations in Tampa. The Pennsylvania-based company’s new office will create more than 300 new jobs and include $1 million in capital investment.


New jobs for South Carolina after $5.8 million automotive expansion

By 2020, JTEKT North America plans to fill at least 100 new positions as a part of its $5.8 million expansion on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.


Mueller expands HVAC manufacturing in Mississippi

Mueller Industries has unveiled its new $3.83 million warehousing and distribution operation facility in Fulton — predicted to bring 60 new jobs to the Mississippi area — adjacent to its new distribution facility. Mueller makes and distributes HVAC, refrigeration and industrial components. The company’s headcount at the location is 615 workers.


Hundreds of Topgolf jobs for Pharr, Texas

Sports entertainment leader Topgolf announced hiring plans for its 50th location, which will open late fall 2018 in Pharr, Texas. Approximately 350 new jobs have been posted.


Sister Schubert expands in Hart County, Ky.

Sister Schubert’s, a major producer of frozen dinner rolls, has announced a $50 million phase I expansion of its manufacturing operation in Hart County expected to create 72 full-time jobs.


Crude oil export terminal project means big money in Louisiana

Louisiana officials say a crude oil export terminal on the Mississippi River and a 700-mile pipeline project will be a $2.5 billion investment, creating 35 permanent jobs. Kansas-based Tallgrass Energy and Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners are building the project in Plaquemines Parish.


Virginia lands largest capital investment in modern history

Micron Technology will invest $3 billion to increase memory production at its operation in the City of Manassas, Va. One of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, Micron will create 1,100 new jobs by 2030.


Publix to build $300 million distribution center in North Carolina

Publix Super Markets will create up to 1,000 jobs by 2025 and invest up to $300 million in a new refrigerated distribution center in Greensboro, N.C. The facility will be completed by the end of 2022 and is part of a multiphase project.


Nine Dragons Paper purchases West Virginia pulp mill

ND Paper, a subsidiary of China-based Nine Dragons Paper Limited, is acquiring Resolute Forest Products’s recycled bleached kraft pulp mill located in Fairmont, W.Va. The Chinese company plans to spend $55 million.


Hemp oil manufacturer expands Kentucky production

Zelios, a manufacturer of hemp oil extract, will double production capacity with a $2.1 million investment, creating 44 full-time jobs in Lexington, Ky. The project comes as market demand increases for refined cannabidiol (CBD) oils.


Sephora opens distribution hub in Olive Branch, Miss.

Beauty retailer Sephora officially opened a new 720,000-square-foot distribution facility in Olive Branch. The project is expected to provide an estimated 400 jobs in DeSoto County. Sephora currently employs more than 220 workers at its facility.


One hundred new jobs at Tennessee Dal-Tile facility

Dal-Tile is now hiring to fill 100 jobs at its second Dickson production facility, which will begin operations “in the next few months,” according to company officials. Dal-Tile will for the first time produce quartz slab to be used on countertops.


IT company cuts ribbon on Richmond expansion

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in attendance, IT company CGI announced the grand opening of its new Richmond facility. The company said it plans to add 40 new technology jobs in the coming year.


Chinese company bringing jobs to Kentucky

A Chinese company says it will buy a shuttered western Kentucky paper mill and reopen it by the end of this year. Global Win Wickliffe will purchase the former Verso Corp. mill in Ballard County. The company plans to invest $150 million and hire 500 people to produce pulp and brown paper packaging.


Exxon gets tax break on Baton Rouge expansion

In September, ExxonMobil won approval for a multimillion-dollar property tax break on a potential Baton Rouge plant expansion worth between $500 million and $1 billion. Exxon said it will make a final decision later this year on the project — a major expansion of its polypropylene operations — at its polyolefins complex in north Baton Rouge.


RoundPoint HQ to create 1,100 jobs in South Carolina

RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corp. is bringing an estimated 1,100 jobs to South Carolina with the construction of a new headquarters building in Fort Mill. The company broke ground recently on the planned headquarters building, projected to cost $34 million.


Continental Motors investing $75 million in Alabama factory

Continental Motors is investing $75 million to transform its aircraft-engine manufacturing operations at the Mobile Aeroplex in Alabama. In September, the company hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its “Blue Marlin” project, which includes construction of an advanced manufacturing facility for the production of engines and parts for light aircraft.


CVS opens new distribution center in Kansas City, Mo.

In September, CVS Health officially announced the opening of a new retail distribution center in Kansas City. When fully operational, the facilty will add more than 360 new jobs to the area.

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