November 2018

Job generation under Obama and Trump essentially the same. But that is about to change.

So far in President Trump's first term, the average monthly job gains have been about 208,000. In President Obama's last five years in office, job gains averaged 207,000 per month. Yet, in Obama's first few years in office, there was a large unemployed labor pool. Not so today with an unemployment rate in October of 3.7 percent. There is no question that monthly job growth will slow in the next two years. It has to, and it has nothing to do with politics or who is president. It has to do with demographics. With millions of Baby Boomers aging out, and only about 70,000 workers turning working age (16) each year over the last three years, the pool of workers is getting much smaller. It's just math. It is impossible to create 200,000 jobs per month when only about a third of that total of available workers are turning 16. The only way to replace those aging out or to increase the workforce is to embrace immigration, and we all know that is not going to happen.


Restrictive visa policies creates loss of foreign students at universities nationwide

For decades and over many administrations, the U.S. has been the No. 1 destination for the world's most talented foreign students. And most of those international students are exactly what the U.S. is lacking; almost 70 percent of them pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). But according to Forbes, "Fewer of the world's best and brightest are choosing to study at U.S. universities," mainly because other countries have become more welcoming destinations. In fact, the number of international student visas has dropped by 40 percent in 2017 in the U.S. compared with 2015. All the while, Canada has seen an increase in international students at its universities by 20 percent in those two years, and Australia has seen an increase of 13 percent.  


U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs are backfiring

According to a report by Business Forward, prices in the U.S. for hot and cold-rolled steel have risen by 13.5 percent and 8.9 percent respectively since President Trump announced plans for steel and aluminum tariffs in February. As a result, U.S. manufacturers that use the metals in their manufacturing processes are paying 15.8 percent more for steel. While the tariffs have created jobs for steelmakers in the U.S., manufacturers using steel are cutting jobs. According to Business Forward, companies that buy steel in the U.S. employ more than 46 times more workers than companies that produce steel. The Tax Foundation has estimated that the tariffs and higher metal costs will cause GDP to fall by $148 billion, and lost jobs could increase by over 450,000 for manufacturers that use steel in their processes.


Study names Charlotte top tech town

CompTIA's top tech city ranking -- based on job opportunities and cost of living -- came out in the fall quarter. Charlotte ranked No. 1 followed by Raleigh and Austin. San Jose came in fourth, followed by San Francisco. Dallas-Fort Worth (sixth), Atlanta (ninth) and Huntsville made the top 10 from the South. The D.C./Northern Virginia area where Amazon will locate one of its two new headquarters finished 11th in the study.


North Texas sets record number of deals in 2017

A survey by the Dallas Business Journal came out in the fall quarter that showed North Texas economic development agencies recorded 189 projects in calendar year 2017. In terms of investment totals, the Allen Economic Development Corp. assisted in $1.23 billion in project values. Garland, Texas also saw $1.23 billion in investment in 2017. Arlington was third with $455 million, followed by Plano ($350 million) and the city of Dallas ($315 million).


Trade war costing Ford $1 billion

Few U.S. companies have been blindsided by President Trump's trade war with China and other parts of the world more than Michigan-based Ford. Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a November story published by Bloomberg, that Trump's tariffs on metal imports will cost the automaker $1 billion in lost profit by the end of 2019. This, despite the fact that Ford was already buying most of its steel and aluminum from U.S. producers.


New Volvo plant in South Carolina caught in crosshairs of tariff war

Volvo Cars is pivoting its production plans just months after opening a new $1.1 billion assembly plant in Berkeley County, S.C. The Swedish automaker, which is owned by China-based Geely Holding Group, canceled plans to export roughly half the S60 sedans it assembles in South Carolina to China. Volvo will also stop U.S. imports of its popular XC60 SUV from its factory in China. It will also reduce exports of its S90 sedan built in China. The moves are being made as the automaker finds itself in a pickle regarding President Trump's tariffs on automobiles. President Trump imposed tariffs of 27.5 percent on Chinese auto imports and in a tit-for-tat move, China's President Xi Jinping slapped a 40 percent tariff on American-built autos. In 2022, Volvo will assemble its XC90 SUV at its South Carolina plant and will focus on the American market for the S60s it is making there for now.


Which city in your Southern state is seeing the highest job growth?

Ladders analyzed job growth in every U.S. state and came up with the cities that have seen the highest percentage of employment increase from 2013 to 2018. Here are the results of all 15 Southern states:

State Market                                           % Change

AL     Daphne-Fairhope-Foley                13.9

AR    Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers     20.0

FL     Cape Coral-Fort Myers                   17.8

GA    Gainesville                                        20.9

KY     Bowling Green                                   9.6

LA     Lake Charles                                     28.3

MS    Hattiesburg                                      11.8

MO    Kansas City                                        7.9

NC    Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia         17.9

OK    Oklahoma City                                   7.1

SC    Charleston-North Charleston        12.7

TN     Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin 17.7

TX     Austin-Round Rock                          18.4

VA     Charlottesville                                  11.3

WV    Morgantown                                       6.6

Source: Ladders


Mass migration from California concerning to Texans

By Michael Randle

It's not just companies like Toyota, which cited incredibly high housing costs when it announced in April 2014 that it was relocating its U.S. headquarters from California to Plano, Texas, it is also families moving to Texas and other places in the South looking for work and a cheaper lifestyle. In fact, in 2016 alone, 70,000 Californians relocated to Texas, according to data from the U.S. Census.


The average price of a home was over $725,000 where Toyota was operating its largest North American headquarters in Southern California. In Plano, the average home costs around $325,000. Toyota relocated about 3,000 people from California and added another 1,200 workers at its new headquarters in Plano, which has been operational since move-in day in May of 2017.


Hundreds of companies have moved their operations and headquarters from California to Texas and other parts of the South. Nissan announced it was relocating its headquarters from Southern California to Franklin, Tenn., a Nashville suburb, in 2005. Thousands of people work at Nissan headquarters near Nashville, as well as the Japanese automaker's largest North American plant in nearby Smyrna, Tenn.


Why have Toyota and Nissan relocated their headquarters to the South? It's the same reason so many companies have migrated to the South over the last seven decades: operational costs, and even more important for the employer, the cost of living for their employees. Simply put, the two automakers' employees could not afford to live close to their company's headquarters in the Los Angeles region. Now employees of Toyota and Nissan can purchase a home at their new locations and a vacation home for about the same money as their California homes.


However, there are some in Texas — the leading destination for California migrants as well as migrating companies — who are worried that the state will morph into the Golden State when it comes to rising housing costs, traffic and rising taxes. In fact, many in Texas believe the state is experiencing the same growth California saw in the '50s, '60s and ‘70s, and that the growth will price out the state in time. Others in Texas support the growth, pointing to the quality of life in California that technically beats the Lone Star State's quality of life in just about every measure including education.


Trade war could relocate some BMW production from South Carolina to China

In 2017, BMW exported 81,186 vehicles made in Greer, S.C., to China with an export value of over $2 billion. Now that export is threatened by President Trump's tariffs on cars imported from China and China's tariffs on vehicles exported from the U.S. BMW, which is expected to lose $344 million in revenue as a result of the tariffs, is considering moving some production of its South Carolina-made SUVs to its plant in China. Because of Chinese tariffs that countered Trump's tariffs, BMW is expected to raise the price of its South Carolina-made X models by as much as seven percent.


GE expanding wind energy plant in New Orleans

LM Wind Power, a subsidiary of GE, is locating a wind turbine testing center at its NASA Michoud facility in East New Orleans. The project is expected to create 100 jobs.


Auto, appliance supplier adding jobs in central Tennessee

Truform Manufacturing is investing $14 million to expand its plant in Dickson County, Tenn. The deal will create 90 new jobs.


Swedish-based auto supplier picks Orangeburg, S.C., for new plant

Gnotec Group is locating a new manufacturing plant in Orangeburg County. The company specializes in chassis structures, and the new Volvo plant is located nearby. The $5.9 million plant will house 78 workers.


Korean auto supplier expands in Greenville, Ala.

Auto supplier Hwashin America is expanding its Greenville plant with a $26 million investment. The company supplies body components for Hyundai's plant in Montgomery, Ala. The project will create 50 jobs.


Raytheon breaks ground on new radar facility in Mississippi

Defense contractor Raytheon broke ground on its new radar production plant in Forest, Miss., in November. Raytheon is investing $100 million in the expansion that will create dozens of jobs.


Booz Allen expanding in Oklahoma

Booz Allen Hamilton is adding 240 jobs at its facilities in Oklahoma. The company will add software developers, data scientists and cybersecurity engineers at its locations in Oklahoma City and elsewhere in the state.


Salesforce doubling Atlanta jobs is expanding its Atlanta operations, doubling its workforce by 600 jobs. The San Francisco-based software provider is investing over $280 million in the deal according to Invest Atlanta.


Green diesel facility expanding in Louisiana

Darling Ingredients will expand its Diamond Green Diesel facility through a $1.1 billion investment. The plant, in Norco, La., will expand capacity from 400 million gallons to an annual capacity of 675 million gallons.


Barge builder adding jobs in Tennessee

Transport barge manufacturer Arcosa Marine is investing $10 million to expand its Cumberland River factory in Ashland, Tenn. The deal will create 300 jobs.


Arkansas, Missouri vote to raise minimum wage

Voters in Southern states of Arkansas and Missouri voted to raise their minimum wage. Missouri voted to raise it to $12 per hour and Arkansas voted to raise its minimum wage to $11 an hour.


Steelmaker to invest $109 million in Alabama facility

A Mobile County steel mill is poised to receive a massive investment. Swedish-Finnish steelmaker SSAB is pumping about $109 million in the company’s steel mill in Axis. The project will launch next year and is expected to be completed in 2021. No word yet on additional hires.


KPMG to create 500 jobs with move to Tysons, Va.

KPMG plans to create more than 500 new jobs as part of its planned move to Boro Tower in Tysons. The audit, tax and advisory firm will invest more than $30 million in its new space in Fairfax County.


Wholesale grocer heading to South Fort Worth

The Fort Worth City Council recently approved an incentive package aimed at attracting McLane Company, a wholesale grocer. McLane is expected to invest about $18 million in construction and employ 550 full-time workers.


Auto parts maker bringing 150 jobs and $60.9 million to Middle Tennessee

Fuel Total Systems (FTS) officials recently announced plans for a new manufacturing facility in Maury County that will create 150 new jobs. FTS plans to build a 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Cherry Glen Industrial Park as part of a $60.9 million investment.


Two hundred new jobs in Hattiesburg, Miss., expansion

SaviLinx in the last four years has been one of Hattiesburg’s fastest-growing companies. The company — which provides business process and marketing services outsourcing — set up shop in Hattiesburg in 2014 with a small crew that quickly grew to 260 employees. SaviLinx also has more than 550 seasonal jobs and is working on expanding even more, with 231 additional jobs implemented by summer. The expansion represents an investment by the company of around $354,000.


Zebra Technologies to hire 100 in Arkansas

Zebra Technologies of Lincolnshire, Ill., recently marked the grand opening of its expanded facility in Bentonville. The company, which tests and repairs mobile computers and barcode scanners used in retail and manufacturing, said it will hire 100 or more employees over the next two years and lease an additional 13,000 square feet of warehouse space.


Rural Sourcing to bring 150 tech jobs to Oklahoma City

Rural Sourcing, a provider of IT outsourcing services, will open its fifth development center in Oklahoma City. The center will create 150 software development jobs, and means a $7 million investment in the first year.


Whirlpool announces $55 million expansion in Tulsa, Okla.

Whirlpool is planning a $55 million expansion in Tulsa that will add 150 manufacturing jobs. A new distribution center will be built adjacent to the appliance company’s existing plant in Cherokee Industrial Park.


Silicon Ranch to build $89 million facility in Bluffton, Ga.

Silicon Ranch, the Nashville-based solar energy developer started by former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and two of his cabinet members, will invest $89 million to build two solar projects in Bluffton.


Weston Foods expands in Lebanon, Tenn.

Weston Foods will expand its Maplehurst Bakeries operations in Lebanon. The company will create 90 new jobs and invest $53 million in Wilson County. The expansion will add two high-speed production lines to its donut bakery.


Gas Pos relocates HQ to North Little Rock

Gas Pos, a new technology platform for the fuel business, has relocated its headquarters to North Little Rock, Ark. The company is hiring an initial 30 high-paying tech jobs to keep up with the demand for chip-reading pumps by American gas station owners.


KeepTruckin expands in Nashville

KeepTruckin, a transportation technology company, will invest $3.6 million in a move to downtown and add approximately 385 skilled jobs over the next three years in Nashville, Tenn., where it currently employs 60.


Entergy’s project lights up Texas

Entergy Texas celebrated a “wire cutting” recently to mark the launch of its $70 million Port Arthur Reliability Transmission Project, which should be completed by June 2020. It will feature 13 miles of a new transmission line that will connect two new power stations.


Virginia insurance company to expand HQ, add 75 jobs

Prosper Insurance Company has announced it will expand from its 6,000-square-foot headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. The corporate investment is expected to be $750,000, and Prosper anticipates adding 75 new jobs to its staff of 43.


Hundreds of new miners to be hired in Virginia and Kentucky

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s family coal business, Bluestone Resources, will be hiring hundreds of new miners in Southwest Virginia. The 290 new jobs will be created at Keystone Surface Mine in McDowell County,  Bishop Surface Mine in Tazewell County, Va., and at its operations in Pike County, Ky.


Topgolf to open in Baton Rouge, hiring 350

Global sports entertainment leader Topgolf has announced it’s building its 52nd location in Baton Rouge. Set to open in early 2019, the company plans to hire about 350 people there.


Pounds of Plastic chooses Owenton, Ky.

Canada-based Pounds of Plastic, a supplier to the automotive and general manufacturing industries, plans to invest more than $4.1 million and create 54 full-time jobs in Owenton.


BlackRock to open 1,000-job tech hub in Atlanta

New York-based investment firm, BlackRock, has announced plans to open a new innovation center in Atlanta, where it expects to locate about 1,000 jobs over the next several years. The company manages more than $6.4 trillion worth of assets for clients around the world.


Distillery planning $34 million expansion in Kentucky

Buffalo Trace is planning a $34 million expansion of its facility in Frankfort, Ky. The company recently received approval for $300,000 in tax incentives related to the project from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.


Nucor Building Systems expanding in Swansea, S.C.

Nucor Building Systems, a manufacturer of custom, pre-engineered metal building systems, is growing its existing operations with a $7 million investment and 60 new jobs at its existing facility in Lexington County.


MS International selects Norfolk, Va.

MS International, a North American importer and distributor of natural stones, countertops, landscaping tiles and porcelain, will invest $4.65 million to establish a distribution and showroom facility in Norfolk. With this investment comes the promise of 20 new jobs.


Siemens and Chromalloy open Florida manufacturing facility

Siemens and Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corporation celebrated the grand opening of their new joint venture, Advanced Airfoil Components, in Hillsborough County, Fla. The 210,000-square-foot casting facility represents a capital investment of $139 million and will create 350 jobs in the Tampa Bay area.


Hundreds of new jobs for Hillsborough County, Fla.

A new manufacturing plant in Hillsborough County means hundreds of new jobs for the Bay Area. Advanced Airfoil Components has already hired 75, and plans an additional 350 new jobs at its new 210,000-square-foot plant.


Room for 1,000 in Austin expansion

WeWork appears to be on a mission to dominate the co-working market in Austin. The company is adding a sixth location with enough space to accommodate 1,000 members.


Talladega Superspeedway’s $50 million reno is underway

Work on a major redevelopment of an iconic Alabama attraction is now underway. “Transformation,” The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project, has broken ground on the new Turn 3 Oversized Vehicle Tunnel. The new two-lane tunnel will allow vehicles as large as race team haulers and fans’ recreational vehicles to enter and exit the track simultaneously.


$250 million steel mill breaks ground in Baytown, Texas

Houston-based JSW Steel’s October groundbreaking on a $250 million melt and manufacture steel plate mill in Baytown represents about a quarter of a broader $1 billion expansion in the U.S. Now, CEO John Hritz wants to build another pipe mill, capable of producing longer, stronger steel pipes, he said. Hritz is currently waiting on a final investment decision.


Window maker to bring 150 jobs to Swainsboro, Ga.

Wincore Window Company, an American manufacturer of premium vinyl windows and fiberglass doors, will create 150 new jobs and invest $6.5 million in a manufacturing facility in Swainsboro.


Continental Tire is hiring in Mississippi

Continental Tire has begun hiring and training its first employees in advance of its $1.45 billion plant in Clinton making commercial truck, bus and transport vehicle tires by late 2019. The company is hiring about 30 shop-floor operators through the end of the year, with plans to hire a total of 2,500 people by 2028.


NoVa cybersecurity company expanding

An Arlington County, Va., cybersecurity and IT company is investing $3.4 million to relocate in Arlington County. Eighty-seven new employees will specialize in machine/deep learning, distributed computing, vulnerability research and reverse engineering.


Eissmann Group Automotive expands Alabama plant

A Germany-based firm that specializes in car interiors, trim components, shifter modules and other parts, Eissmann Group Automotive has completed a $14.5 million expansion at its assembly plant in Pell City, Ala. The project is adding 200 workers to the company’s St. Clair County workforce.


Data center developer investing $80 million in Virginia Beach

PointOne, a data center developer based in Alberta, Canada, has announced plans to build two facilities at the Corporate Landing Business Park in Virginia Beach, an $80 million investment.


Auto supplier to create 100 jobs in Troup County, Ga.

SEWON America, a supplier to the automotive industry, will create 100 jobs and invest $160 million in expanding its North American headquarters and manufacturing plant in LaGrange. New jobs will include positions in supervision, production and warehouse operations.


Okin BPS bringing 1,400 new jobs to San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas will be the new U.S. headquarters for a Czech Republic-based company that provides business processing services, bringing more than 1,400 jobs to the city and a $23 million investment. More than half the positions at the new Okin BPS headquarters will pay over $50,000 a year.


Nutramax to become largest manufacturer in Lancaster County, S.C.

Nutramax Laboratories will become Lancaster County’s largest manufacturer when it completes a $20 million expansion and adds 225 jobs, bringing the company’s workforce there to 600. The manufacturer of products for “people and their pets” relocated its HQ to South Carolina from its facility in Edgewood, Md.


Lubbock announces new jobs

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) recently announced the creation of 40 new jobs and more than $17 million in capital investment by WL Plastics Corporation. The company, which produces pipe for the oil, gas and water markets, will manufacture from its new facility at Rail Port in Lubbock, Texas, its ninth manufacturing plant in the U.S.


Pure Safety Group chooses Houston for world HQ

A provider of fall protection equipment, Pure Safety Group, opened its world headquarters and new global training center in Houston, Texas. The company’s global leadership team will manage the company from there. Its training center, the largest dedicated to height safety in the world, features a new state-of-the-art training program that incorporates 12 structures in a 22,000-square-foot indoor environment for hands-on, real-time application of classroom learning.


North Carolina approves incentives for tire maker's $200 million project

Bridgestone could get up to another $30 million from taxpayers if it keeps 2,000 jobs and invests at least $150 million in improvements within a six-year period at its eastern North Carolina factory. A state panel approved grants of up to $3 million a year for 10 years to Bridgestone Americas, which is updating its Wilson tire plant.


Conduit Global needs 400 workers at McLeansville, N.C., call center

New York-based Conduit Global will hire another 400 people through the end of 2018 and into 2019 as it seeks to expand and upgrade its Guilford County call center.


Ternium upgrades Shreveport plant

International steelmaker Ternium USA will invest $14.7 million to expand and upgrade its facility at The Port of Caddo-Bossier in Shreveport, La. Through the project, the company will retain 150 existing jobs.


Pinnacle Foods expands Arkansas facilities

Pinnacle Foods, a packaged foods company, opened its 164,000-square-foot warehouse, which is connected to its manufacturing building on the southern side of Fayetteville, Ark. Fayetteville is the company’s frozen meal hub, producing products such as EVOL and Hungry-Man as well as Swanson pot pies.


Virginia approves Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved a 600-mile natural-gas pipeline plan that would go through the state and is expected to create 8,800 short-term construction jobs and 1,300 long-term operations jobs for Virginians. The plan must next receive approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before construction can be authorized. It will go through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, and construction has already begun in the other two states. For all three states combined, the pipeline is expected to generate 17,000 construction jobs and 2,200 long-term jobs.


CNN moving Headline News from NYC to Atlanta HQ

CNN is bringing its Headline News brand to its headquarters in Atlanta. The move means about about 15 New York jobs have been eliminated.


AgTech breaks ground on $5 million hemp operation, creating 271 Kentucky jobs

Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated AgTech Scientific for breaking ground recently on a new facility to develop and manufacture hemp-based products in Paris, Ky. The facility is part of AgTech’s plan to work with Kentucky farmers to grow hemp and to partner with the University of Kentucky on research.


Natural beverage producers expand North Carolina operations

Asheville Kombucha Mamas, a locally-owned natural beverage company more commonly known as BUCHI, is expanding its facility, 22 miles northwest of Asheville in Marshall, N.C. The company expects to create 28 new jobs while investing $2 million with plans to invest an additional $7 million over the next three years in Madison County.


Plastipak investing $10 million in Texas expansion

Plastipak Packaging will significantly expand its Garland, Texas manufacturing operation later this year. The Michigan-based company is a major producer and supplier of plastic bottles to companies such as Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz and Procter & Gamble. The $10 million investment will expand the company’s facility and add six new jobs to the current workforce of 273 positions.


Joint venture expands fiber production in Spartanburg, S.C.

Huvis Indorama Advanced Materials, a joint venture between Thialand’s Indorama Ventures and South Korea-based Huvis Corporation, will invest $48 million to launch new manufacturing operations at Auriga Polymers’ campus in Spartanburg County. The new operations will manufacture low melting fiber commonly used in automotive and industrial composites.


Enforge expands manufacturing complex in Albemarle, N.C.

Enforge, a manufacturer of steel-formed suspension and steering assemblies for automotive companies, will invest $4 million to expand its production plant 41 miles east of Charlotte. The company plans to create 44 new jobs.


Plastic container manufacturer opens Louisville plant

Ring Container Technologies has opened its $23.3 million, 41-job facility, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced in October. The Louisville plant will be the company’s 19th plant.


Salesforce expands Atlanta operations

Salesforce, a global customer relationship management firm, will create 600 jobs and invest $12.25 million to significantly expand its presence in Atlanta, Ga.The company will grow its footprint to seven floors in its existing building, The Atlanta Plaza in Buckhead. The building will now be known as Salesforce Tower Atlanta.


BGF relocates HQ to Danville, Va.

BGF Industries, a manufacturer of high-performance technical fiber, will invest $7 million to relocate its corporate headquarters and R&D operation from Greensboro, N.C., to Danville, Va.


Rocket Lab plans launch facility on Wallops Island, Va.

California-based Rocket Lab has chosen Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island for its first launch facility in the United States. The company is already launching from its facility in New Zealand.


Home Depot adding high-paying jobs in Cobb County, Ga.

Home Depot is working on an expansion in Cobb County that could add hundreds of high-paying IT and logistics jobs. Kenneth Pollock, an attorney with Butler Snow representing Home Depot, said the two buildings will house about 1,200 employees, and the additional space will allow Home Depot to hire 700 employees countywide. The new hires will receive an average wage of $100,000, according to Home Depot. The deal must be approved by the Cobb Board of Tax Assessors and the Superior Court of Cobb County.


Empire Bakery to add 75 jobs in $10 million North Carolina expansion

Empire Bakery Commissary has announced plans to invest $10.4 million to expand its Rocky Mount production facility by 32,000 square feet. “We’re excited,” said Mike Marek, Empire’s president. “We’re busting at the seams, and now is the time to take the next leap.”


Baker McKenzie to create 300-job support center in Tampa

International law firm Baker McKenzie will open a support center in Tampa that could employ more than 300 people. The exact location has yet to be decided, but the center is expected to be operational by early 2020. It will house a variety of support positions — including those in legal services, finance, IT, marketing and communications.


Fort Worth-based American Airlines breaks ground on $1.6 billion project at LAX

American Airlines has broken ground on a $1.6 billion modernization effort at Los Angeles International Airport. The project marks American’s largest-ever individual investment at an airport in company history.


Rage Plastics investing $20 million in Virginia expansion

Rage Plastics will invest over $2.05 million to expand its Altavista manufacturing operations, which will include the creation of 20 new jobs for polymer processing.


Two hundred new jobs for Martin, Tenn., thanks to DRA funding

The City of Martin, Tenn., will use funding in part from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to build a truck staging area to support a local manufacturer's new product line. The funding will result in 200 new jobs according to the DRA. The DRA investment is $850,000 and the total investment is $10.8 million.


KIOTI Tractor investing $13 million in Wendell, N.C.

KIOTI Tractor has broken ground on a $13 million expansion of its North American headquarters in Wendell, N.C. Estimated for completion in late 2019, the expansion will double the size of the company’s existing facilities.


Quaker Window Products expands in Missouri

Quaker Window Products plans to expand its current operations to a new location in Eldon, Mo. The company will invest as much as $65 million during the next six to 10 years as the new campus is expanded. This phased plan is also expected to create 300 new full-time jobs for the region.


BB&T expands operations in Whiteville, N.C.

BB&T Corporation will build a 100,000-square-foot office facility in downtown Whiteville. The new $20 million building will consolidate the 500 BB&T associates who currently work in nine locations in the area.


Poorest county” in Mississippi gets 60 new jobs

Thanks to the expansion of a manufacturing plant in Holmes County, Miss., 60 new jobs will be provided to people in what is called the poorest county in the state. Hunter Engineering is spending $8 million to expand its facility to produce wheel alignment and balancing systems, brake service equipment and other auto repair equipment. The expansion also includes a 500-square-foot workforce training area to support continuous employee development.


New factory bringing 384 jobs to Roxboro, N.C.

POLYWOOD, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture made from recycled plastics, will create 384 jobs over the next five years in Person County. The company will invest $35 million in a new new facility there.


Forty new jobs heading to Aiken County, S.C.

Green Energy Biofuel is putting up a new recycling facility in Aiken County. The alternative fuels company, which refines and recycles used cooking oil and other food products, will locate the new facility in Warrenville.


ZLINE locates hub in Bruceton, Tenn.

Kitchen range hood manufacturer and distributor ZLINE will invest $3 million to locate its new distribution headquarters in Bruceton, Tenn., which will function as the company’s Southeast distribution hub. The company plans to create 74 new jobs in Carroll County.


Lockheed Martin flying high in Orlando and Fort Worth

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a nearly $400 million contract to produce hundreds of air-to-surface missiles for the U.S. Air Force. The work, expected to be completed by October 31, 2021, will be done at the defense giant’s facility in Orlando, Fla.

When Lockheed’s Marillyn Hewson met with then president-elect Donald Trump in January 2017 about reducing the costs of the F-35 fighter jet, she made an announcement that would significantly impact the North Texas manufacturing environment. “We are going to increase our jobs in Fort Worth by 1,800 jobs,” Hewson said. (The Fort Worth plant was already the largest manufacturing plant in DFW with an employee count of 13,400 at the time.) Twenty-two months later, Lockheed Martin has exceeded that figure. In fact, the aerospace and defense manufacturer now employs 16,400 people at its massive Fort Worth facility.


Endress+Hauser chooses Pearland, Texas, for regional center

Germany-based Endress+Hauser, a leader in the field of measurement technology, will locate its Gulf Coast Regional Center in Pearland, Texas. Its new Pearland facility will consolidate several of its Houston-area operations, housing about 110 employees, including management, engineering, sales, operations and administrative staff.


Lonza opens Center Of Excellence in Pearland, Texas

Lonza reported it opened “the world’s largest dedicated cell and-gene-therapy Center of Excellence,” in Pearland, Texas. The center is expected to reach 200 full-time staff by the end of 2018 in greater Houston, and continue to recruit positions as market demand increases.


FreightWaves will create 260 jobs in Tennessee expansion

FreightWaves will invest $3.9 million to expand its operations in Chattanooga. The transportation and logistics data and content provider will create 260 new jobs in Hamilton County.


Z Modular to locate in Killeen, Texas, bringing 250 jobs

Z Modular, a division of Zekelman Industries, announced it has purchased a 230,000-square-foot building in Killeen. The new facility will manufacture American-made steel-framed modules for a variety of markets, including university student housing and affordable multifamily housing.


Auto parts supplier to add 250 Kentucky jobs

Metalsa announced plans to expand its plant in Elizabethtown, Ky. Metalsa, based in Mexico, is a supplier to automotive manufacturers, and its Elizabethtown facility is one of the largest operations throughout the company.


Struggling coal towns awarded $26 million

The Appalachian Regional Commission is spreading $26.5 million in awards to nine states to assist struggling coal communities. The commission said in a news release that the money is projected to create or retain more than 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investments in those areas. West Virginia is set to receive about $7.6 million of the grant awards, while Kentucky will receive nearly $3 million and Tennessee about $1.5 million.


JBSA lands new mission and 135 jobs for San Antonio

The U.S. Air Force announced it will activate the Special Warfare Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland (JBSA). “San Antonio was one of eight locations competing for this crucial mission, and the selection of JBSA is a huge vote of confidence for Military City, USA,” Mayor Nirenberg said. “The mission brings 135 new jobs and significantly enhances to the military value of JBSA.”


Pharma adding 100 jobs to its North Carolina site

U.K.-based CDMO Almac is adding to its U.S. operations with a new building — the fourth at its Durham site — where it will house 100 new employees. The company declined to say how much it is investing, but a spokesperson said that it will be “multi millions” of dollars. The company will add the 100 workers over the next three years.


Medical manufacturer moving HQ to Forsyth County, N.C.

Gant Medical, a manufacturer of medical products, is moving its North American headquarters to Forsyth County and bringing more than 100 jobs. Robert Long, vice president of economic development with the chamber, said, “We have similarly situated companies nearby, so there is a talent pool of qualified candidates for key positions that will ensure this product’s success.”


Leggett & Platt to expand in Carthage, Mo.

A $10 million expansion to the Leggett & Platt plant in Carthage, Mo., will also come with a 50 percent property tax break. The company, which is based in Carthage and manufactures a variety of products (many of them wire-based), plans to hire 35.


GE Appliances plans $200 million investment and 400 jobs in Louisville

GE Appliances, a Haier company, announced it will create 400 new jobs with a $200 million-plus investment in its laundry and dishwasher production facilities in Louisville.


Facebook to invest $1 billion in Virginia data center

Facebook will bring more than $1 billion of new investment to Virginia. The social media giant is directly investing $750 million to establish a 970,000-square-foot data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County. In addition, due to a new renewable energy tariff designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook, hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be invested in the construction of multiple solar facilities in the Commonwealth to service Facebook’s Henrico Data Center with 100 percent renewable energy.


McCreary County, Ky., (one of the nation’s poorest) to get 350 jobs

The U.S. Army has selected Fibrotex USA, in partnership with Outdoor Ventures Corporation, to produce next-generation state-of-the-art camouflage netting for the military during the next 10 years in Stearns, Ky.


Textile company renews pledge for 1,000-employee plant in Pikeville, Tenn.

The co-founders of a new U.S. textile company renewed their pledge to Pikeville to build Bledsoe County’s biggest manufacturing facility over the next three years. Textile Corporation of America, which promised more than a year ago to convert an abandoned automotive parts plant into a 1,000-employee textile mill, has so far hired fewer than two dozen workers and not yet installed any equipment in the 186,000-square-foot plant built by Dura Automotive, which closed in 2005.


German polymer company to invest $1.7 billion in Baytown, Texas plant

Germany-based Covestro AG, one of the world’s largest polymer companies, announced in October that it will build a new production unit at its existing site in Baytown, east of Houston. The project, which is expected to cost about $1.72 billion, is the largest single investment in the company’s history. Formerly Bayer MaterialScience, Covestro expects to start production in 2024.


UnitedHealth hiring 200 in Tampa

UnitedHealth Group's federal health services business OptumServe plans to hire 188 customer service representatives in Tampa.


Stonepeak Ceramics to expand operations in Tennessee

Stonepeak Ceramics, maker of tiles and countertops, will expand and open a new production line at its Crossville facility. The total investment of $70 million will increase the factory’s capacity by 20 percent.


Floor & Decor will create 500 new jobs in Cobb County, Ga.

Floor & Decor, a specialty retailer of hard surface flooring and related accessories, will create 500 jobs over five years in the expansion and relocation of its headquarters in Atlanta. New jobs will include administrative and customer service positions.


Manufacturer bringing 60 jobs, $13.4 million investment to Rock Hill, S.C.

Linde Hydraulics will invest $13.4 million and create more than 60 jobs when it opens a new production site in Rock Hill. Linde is a global hydraulic and electronic drive system maker.


New hospital  in Mansfield, Texas will add 280 jobs

Texas Health Resources has started construction on a new four-story, $150 million hospital with plans to open in late fall 2020. Texas Health Mansfield will be a 192,400-square-foot hospital with 95 beds initially and a full range of medical services, including an emergency room and an 80,000-square-foot medical office building.


Gun maker expands Arkansas facility

A high-end gun manufacturer has announced an expansion of its three-year-old northwest Arkansas manufacturing facility, investing more than $750,000 in a new building and equipment. Nighthawk Custom, a manufacturer of custom firearms and other tactical weapons, is expanding its $1.25 million Berryville facility after receiving $125,000 in state grants for equipment.


Solar energy company planning $16 million expansion in Marion County, S.C.

Southern Current, a developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale solar markets, is expanding its solar farm portfolio with five new facilities in Marion County. The company is projected to invest a total of $16 million in the new projects.


Duke Energy plans $500 million investment in Carolinas

Duke Energy plans to build $500 million of battery storage projects in North and South Carolina over the next 15 years.


M&Ms’ new flavor only made in Cleveland, Tenn.

A new line of M&Ms — Hazelnut Spread —  will be made exclusively at the Mars Wrigley Confectionery factory in Cleveland. Three U.S. factories make M&Ms, but the Cleveland plant is the biggest M&M plant in the world. The new line means a $142 million investment in the plant and should bring 79 new jobs.


Mercedes breaks ground on Alabama battery plant

At a groundbreaking ceremony, Mercedes-Benz officials formally marked the start of construction on a 2 million-square-foot plant in Bibb County, Ala., that will supply battery packs for the automaker’s Alabama-made electric vehicles. The battery plant is a key component in a $1 billion Mercedes expansion announced in September 2017. The plan calls for Mercedes to begin producing electric SUVs at its assembly complex in Vance, about seven miles away, at the beginning of the next decade.


Manufacturer to create 80 jobs in Tennessee

A Canadian company has announced that it will set up its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., an investment of $6.4 million expected to create 80 jobs. Craig Manufacturing produces steel attachments for heavy construction, forestry, mining, energy and utility equipment.


Volkswagen could add 1,000 jobs in Tennessee

VW officials say they plan to add a third shift to the automaker’s Tennessee plant, a move that could add more than 1,000 workers. The new hires will help produce the five-seat Atlas SUV next year. Hiring is expected to start this year and continue in 2019.


Blue Origin building on Florida’s Space Coast

The private rocket company headed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin, plans to build an additional facility just south of the Kennedy Space Center. Blue Origin already has a giant rocket manufacturing facility just south of Kennedy Space Center, and much like SpaceX, Blue Origin plans to land the first stage booster to reuse it. But the company will need additional facilities to refurbish the rocket. The Florida Department of Transportation will pay up to $38.8 million dollars to help build roads and infrastructure around the new buildings — a key to bringing the facility and additional jobs to the area.


Spirit Airlines expands service from Orlando

Spirit Airlines recently celebrated its first day of international service out of Orlando International Airport, bringing hundreds of new jobs to the area with a new crew base for flight attendants and pilots. The crew base will open on December 1, 2018, and will start with nearly 150 crew members. Spirit is expected to bring hundreds more inflight positions to Orlando this spring with job fairs expected in the coming months.


Senior care provider invests $200 million in Tampa Bay

ChenMed, a primary care provider, plans to open 10 new Dedicated Senior Medical Centers in Tampa Bay, a $200 million investment. ChenMed first introduced Tampa Bay Medicare-eligible seniors to Dedicated centers in August 2017 when it opened facilities in Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg.


Caterpillar locating in Greenwood County, S.C.

Caterpillar, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, will locate a casting facility in Greenwood County. The company’s $13.5 million investment is projected to create 85 new jobs.


Wheel Pros eyes York County, S.C.

Wheel Pros, a designer and distributor of aftermarket wheels, plans to establish new manufacturing and distribution operations in the former American Eagle Wheel plant in York County. The $13.9 million investment is expected to result in 275 new jobs.


Vintech Industries to open facility in Newnan, Ga.

Michigan-based Vintech Industries, which makes metal and plastic products including molding, seals and assemblies for auto manufacturers, has purchased a building in Newnan where it plans to begin production in the first quarter of 2019. The project is expected to create 30 jobs initially and eventually more than double that figure.


B&B Electric breaks ground on HQ bringing 300 jobs to Madison County, Miss.

B&B Electrical and Utility Contractors is breaking ground on its new headquarters in Canton, investing $6.5 million. The family-owned company that has been in continuous operation since 1982.


MTC Logistics to open $58 million distribution facility at Alabama port

Baltimore-based MTC Logistics announced plans to build a $58 million cold storage facility on property owned by the Alabama State Port Authority, creating between 50 and 70 jobs and providing a boost to the port’s container operations.


Smithfield Foods to expand in Kentucky

Smithfield Foods has unveiled plans to invest $1.2 million to expand its ham processing plant in Grayson, Ky. The expansion of the plant, which currently employs approximately 570 workers, will add about 40 jobs.


Chinese recycling firm setting up shop in Georgia

China’s decision to crack down on plastics recycling imports will mean dozens of jobs in rural Georgia. UPT Group Inc. is planning on transforming a former frozen foods plant in Montezuma, Ga., into a plastics recycling facility that will produce finished pellets that can then be exported to China. Operation National Sword, concerned with pollution and the quality of materials, effectively shut the door on most plastic exports to China where processing of imports had taken place.


Change of plans could mean 500 jobs for Gaston County, N.C.

A company that intended to open an automobile dealership in Lowell has now shifted gears. Echo Park Automotive has nearly completed construction on a large building that was designed to house one of its new sales centers. But it is now considering using the site as a call center that could employ 500 people and lead to an additional investment of $11.2 million over five years.


Columbia, S.C., to get 750 jobs

As a result of its decision to cease operations at its plants in Macon, Ga.,, by the end of the year and Lexington, Ky., by the end of 2019, Ingersoll Rand, an HVAC manufacturer, will hire 750 new employees for its facility in Columbia.


Callcenter aims to create 600 jobs in Georgia

A Colorado-based company says it plans to create 600 jobs in Georgia over the next five years. Global Callcenter Solutions will occupy temporary space in downtown Columbus before moving to a 46,000-square-foot structure that used to be a Winn-Dixie supermarket.


Bombardier to open Florida facility with 300 employees

Aerospace giant Bombardier will open a new facility at Miami-Opa Locka Airport that will eventually host 300 jobs. The company announced it would build a 300,000-square-foot facility for a service center and mobile response team, which responds to the needs of jet operators around the world.


South Carolina manufacturer expanding with 115 new jobs

MAHLE Behr, a supplier of air conditioning and radiator assemblies, will be expanding its manufacturing operations in Charleston County. The company’s $36 million investment is projected to create 115 new jobs.


Construction is complete on 350-job project in Botetourt, Va.

Construction is complete on the ELDOR Automotive Plant, and the manufacturer is bringing hundreds of new jobs to the Botetourt area. The Italy-based company, which make pieces for ignition systems and other parts, is opening it’s first North American plant in the Roanoke Valley.


Moon Express to add jobs on the Space Coast

Moon Express, which ultimately plans to send spacecraft to mine the moon, scored $12.5 million in funding recently. This will allow Moon Express to build out its facilities at launch complexes 17 and 18 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.


Real Truck chooses Ocala, Fla., for HQ

Real Truck, an online truck accessory retailer, will locate its global headquarters in Ocala. The company will undertake a capital investment of $2 million and create 77 jobs.


Auto supplier expands in Lee County, Miss.

Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi (APMM) is increasing production in Lee County, investing $100 million and creating 50 jobs. A Tier 1 automotive supplier located in Guntown, APMM produces stamped auto parts, body weld parts and plastic parts. The expansion accommodates increased production for the 2019 Toyota Corolla.


Evanesce Packaging locating in Colleton County, S.C.

Evanesce Packaging Solutions announced plans to locate its first large-scale production operations in Colleton County. The facility, which will manufacture compostable food service trays, represents a $70 million investment and is expected to create 368 new jobs over the next five years.


Eastern Shipbuilding bringing thousands of jobs to the Florida panhandle

Eastern Shipbuilding announced recently the approval to build its first U.S. Coast Guard cutter and begin work on the second cutter in Bay County, Fla. Construction will begin early next year and will take about three years to complete the first vessel.


Boeing’s $9.2 billion win means hundreds of jobs for Texas and Missouri

A $9.2 billion military jet contract won by Boeing in October will mean hundreds of jobs at an aviation manufacturing facility in Red Oak, Texas, that 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. Triumph previously estimated Boeing’s receipt of the contract would translate to 950 direct and indirect jobs, but the Dallas Morning News reports officials based that figure on a much larger deal.

Chicago-based Boeing, which partnered with Sweden-based Saab to win the work to replace the Air Force’s aging Northrop T-38 Talon fleet, had said last year that the new aircraft would be assembled in St. Louis if it won the competition.


Yamaha brings 100 jobs to Cobb County, Ga.

Yamaha has expanded its presence in Cobb County by opening a new headquarters for its motorsports division. The project will create 100 new jobs.


Ingalls’ $5 billion contract means jobs for Pascagoula, Miss.

Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula will build six destroyers over the next five years for the U.S. Navy under a contract valued at more than $5 billion. Ingalls also has been awarded a $48.5 million contract modification for repairs, restoration and modernization of the USS Fitzgerald. The Navy ship was brought to Pascagoula to be repaired after a collision with a container ship off the coast of Japan. The Pascagoula shipyard, which is the biggest employer in Mississippi, will produce six Arleigh Burke-class DDG-51 Flight III destroyers, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told members of the Mississippi congressional delegation.


Massive $200 million Swiss Krono expansion in South Carolina

More than $45 million in tax credits will go toward funding a 250,000-square-foot, $200 million expansion of Swiss Krono’s plant in Barnwell, S.C. Swiss Krono is one of the world’s leading producers of engineered wood.


ALDI opens new Virginia distribution center

ALDI opened its regional headquarters in Petersburg, Va., in October. The $57 million facility will serve 70 to 80 ALDI stores in Virginia and North Carolina and create approximately 150 jobs. The facility is part of an ongoing expansion program for the grocery store chain to create 25,000 jobs nationwide through 2022.

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