November 2019

Major cuts in immigration threaten U.S. economy

According to new data, legal immigration to the United States fell 70 percent last year to only 200,000 people, the lowest level in over a decade. H-1B visas have been held up by the tens of thousands and the White House announced in October it will accept only 18,000 refugees in the coming year, down from the 110,000 people that President Barack Obama said should be allowed into the U.S. in 2016. The U.S. has averaged about 1 million legal immigrants each year over the last 10 years. So, why do cuts in legal immigration threaten the national economy? In 2018, on average per day, 10,200 people retired in the U.S. However, on average per day, only 2,230 people turned working age (16), meaning we are potentially losing 8,000 people a day in the workforce. 


Tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs lost in political battleground states so far this year  

NBC News reported in October that Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin lost a total of 27,000 manufacturing jobs from January through September of 2019. The job losses come in states Trump narrowly won in 2016 and are widely seen as battleground states in the 2020 election.


Florida still cranking out the jobs

Florida's three largest metro areas saw strong job growth from October 2018 to October 2019. Orlando, with 48,400 new jobs, ranked first in year-over-year job gains. Miami saw 29,100 new jobs and Tampa Bay created 27,000 new jobs. Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville saw the lowest metro unemployment rates in the state in October. 


Lehigh Acres, Fla.; Mount Pleasant, S.C.; named fastest growing U.S. cities

According to an analysis by personal finance website WalletHub, Lehigh Acres, Fla., ranked as the fastest-growing city in the U.S., and Mount Pleasant, S.C., was named the second fastest growing U.S. city. The analysis compared 515 cities of varying population sizes based on “sociodemographics,” and the local economy, using 17 metrics that include population growth, job growth, income growth, poverty rate decrease and building permit activity growth, among others. Bend, Ore.; Enterprise, Nev.; and Frisco, Texas, rounded out the top five. Shreveport, La., the study showed, is the nation's slowest-growing city.


Toyota expanding Kentucky plant, again

Japanese automaker Toyota is expanding its Georgetown, Ky., plant once again. Toyota is adding 400 workers as soon as possible at the plant, which is the automaker's largest in the world. All workers hired will receive a $500 signing bonus if they remain on the job for at least six months. It is the first time Toyota has offered a signing bonus for new hires. This is the latest announcement in what has been a busy year for Toyota’s Kentucky plant. In March, the automaker announced it would invest $238 million to launch assembly of two hybrid vehicles in Kentucky, its RAV4 and the luxury Lexus ES 300.


President Trump attends opening of Louis Vuitton's new plant in rural Texas

President Trump visited the new Louis Vuitton plant opening in Keene, Texas, in October. It's the first U.S. plant for the France-based maker of $1,400 to $2,200 purses and handbags. The plant had 150 employees when it opened.


Kentucky's bourbon industry has set two records

Last year, Kentucky distilleries filled more than 2.1 million barrels of bourbon. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association says it’s the highest inventory in the 52 years they’ve kept records. It’s also the first and only time since 1967 that distillers have filled more than 2 million barrels of bourbon. Kentucky now boasts two barrels of bourbon and aging spirits for every person living in the Commonwealth. The last census estimates the state’s population as 4.5 million.


The automotive industry is slowing faster than expected

Last year there were 55 automotive-relative deals announced of 200 jobs or more in the 15-state Southern Auto Corridor. That's half of the 111 jobs announced in the South in 2015, when the industry sector peaked. The total last year was the lowest since 2008. The sector experienced a "sharp downturn" in production and sales through 2018 and that is not going to get any better this year. The auto sector represented 20 percent of 2018's slowdown in GDP and roughly 30 percent of the slowdown in global trade, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook survey released in the fall quarter. 


North Carolina's population is growing and fast

According to new research released by the Carolina Demography, North Carolina has grown by 848,000 people since the 2010 Census and the population today is at 10.4 million. More than 85 percent of those new residents came from within the United States. Migrations from Florida led the way with 32,000. Virginia (29,000), South Carolina (27,000), New York (27,000) and California (20,000) made up the top five in migrations to North Carolina.


Singapore replaces U.S. as world's most competitive economy

The economy of Singapore has overtaken the U.S. economy as the world's most competitive according the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness report. The index, published in the fall quarter, takes stock of an economy’s competitive landscape, measuring factors such as macroeconomic stability, infrastructure, the labor market and innovation capability. The U.S. fell to No. 2. 


Millions of job openings, not enough workers

Labor shortages are making it tough on employers in almost every state according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The shortage of workers is jeopardizing economic expansion nationwide. States are offering financial incentives to bring natives back to their state to work and raise their families. States are also digging deep, trying to find those who have quit looking for job. . .high school dropouts and those with criminal records.


FP&L's plans for building the world's largest solar battery plant are underway

Florida Power & Light Company is close to breaking ground on the world's largest solar battery plant in Parrish, Fla. The company has a goal of installing 30 million solar panels by 2030. The new battery plant is replacing an aging fossil fuel plant for the utility, one of the nation's cleanest companies. The battery storage plant is being built next to one of FP&L's largest solar farms. 


The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announces a $44.4 million investment package

In the fall quarter, the Appalachian Regional Commission announced a $44.4 million investment to diversify the coal region of the organization's territory. There were over 54 awards given to retain almost 6,000 jobs. The money will also help secure $39 million in private investment, create or retain almost 3,000 businesses and train thousands of workers and students within the broadband and entrepreneurship sectors. Money is also being set aside for substance abuse recovery. The downturn in the coal market has been devastating to the economies of nine Appalachian states. 


BMW celebrates 25 years in South Carolina

In the fall quarter, BMW workers and officials celebrated 25 years of its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. To date, BMW has assembled 4.75 million vehicles and has exported 3 million of those through the Port of Charleston. BMW is the nation's No. 1 exporter of vehicles from just one plant that houses 11,000 workers. 


American Airlines opens new Fort Worth headquarters

In the fall quarter, American Airlines opened its new headquarters in Fort Worth. Employees bike from building to building on the 8.3 miles of trails within the car-free campus interior. Celebrity chefs are guests at the cafeteria and there are no offices. The CEO has the same size desk as a new hire. 


UPS creating 1,000 jobs in Louisville, Ky., with $750 million investment

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service is making another huge investment in its Worldport hub in Louisville that will be spread across multiple projects costing in excess of $750 million. Those projects are expected to create 1,000 new jobs paying an average of $70 an hour including benefits. 


Tech startup hiring 200 in Charlotte

Charlotte-based Stratifyd, a technology startup, is moving into a new 30,000-square-foot office in the FreeMoreWest neighborhood of Charlotte. The project is expected to create 200 jobs. 


American Airlines adding jobs at Oklahoma maintenance facility

There are over 5,000 people working at American Airlines fleet and maintenance facility in Tulsa. As of the fall, the company is adding 400 more for its Tech Ops team to work on Boeing 787 Dreamliners operated by the Texas-based airline. 


Lumber plant expanding in Mississippi

Jones Lumber Co. is expanding its lumber operations in Natchez, Miss. The $18 million investment is expected to create 35 jobs.


HVAC manufacturer expands in Louisville

In the fall quarter, KCC Manufacturing announced it would invest $50 million in its Louisville HVAC products plant. The deal will create 400 full-time jobs.


Korean manufacturer to locate HQ in Georgia

Alfrex, a manufacturer of fireproof exterior panels, is locating its North American headquarters in Buford, Ga. The company will invest over $6 million in the project that will create 30 jobs. 


Company expanding its aluminum recycling operation in Georgia

Novelis, a maker of aluminum for the automotive industry and others, is investing $36 million in its recycling plant in Greensboro, Ga. The recycled aluminum will then be used by auto assembly companies.


SNF to invest $375 million in Louisiana facility

Over 150 jobs are being created as part of an expansion of the SNF Holding Company water polymer plant in Plaquemines, La. The $375 million investment will retain 390 existing jobs. 


Chinese company to establish first U.S. facility in Tennessee

Global Track Manufacturing, a maker of rubber tracks and undercarriage parts for industrial and agricultural equipment, is reopening the old Tower Automotive plant in Milan, Tenn. The deal, which will open next summer, will create 250 jobs. 


Robotics software developer to double workforce in San Antonio

Plus One Robotics, a San Antonio company that makes software for industrial robots, is planning to double its 30-person workforce in the next year. The company opened its new headquarters in the fall quarter at Port San Antonio. 


Hydroponic greenhouse to create jobs in North Carolina

BrightFarms, a New York-based packaged salads company, will invest $21 million to operate a 280,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse in Henderson County, N.C. The deal, which will create 2 million pounds of leafy greens per year, will create 54 new jobs. 


Microsoft Corp. is bringing 575 new jobs to North Texas

Microsoft will expand its operations in the Los Colinas community in Irving, Texas. The $31 million project will create 575 jobs. 


Microsoft creating 430 new jobs In Charlotte, N.C.

Microsoft is expanding its existing Charlotte campus and creating 430 new jobs, it was announced in the fall quarter. Microsoft will spend an estimated $23 million to expand its campus in South Charlotte. 


Manufacturer to open facility at Little Rock Port

Michigan-based HMS Manufacturing plans to start production at a Port of Little Rock facility in the summer of 2020. The company, which provides injection molding to make housewares, will create about 90 new jobs.  


Food manufacturer picks Amarillo, Texas

SSI Foods will locate a new 75,000-square-foot plant in Amarillo. The project will employ 150. 


Martinsville, Va., lands 1,200 jobs

Radial, a fulfillment center company, will hire more than 1,200 workers for the holiday season in Martinsville, Va. Martinsville's unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent in August. 


Van assembly plant set for rural Virginia

Morgan Olson will invest $57.8 million to establish a new aluminum walk-in step van assembly plant in Danville-Pittsylvania County, Va. The vans are used by food distributors and other industries. The project will create 700 jobs. 


Nucor opens Mississippi County, Ark., steel plant

Charlotte-based Nucor Steel opened its new specialty cold steel mill at its massive complex in Mississippi County, Ark., in the fall quarter. Most of the new capacity will be used for the automotive industry. The company invested $230 million in the project that will create 100 new jobs. 


Firetruck company bringing more than 300 jobs to Georgia

Fouts Brothers is moving it headquarters and manufacturing operations to Milledgeville, Ga. The company will invest $15 million and create 300 jobs.  


Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate in September was lowest since 2000

As a whole, Georgia lost jobs in September. However, that same month, Atlanta gained 1,500 jobs and its unemployment rate dropped to 2.9 percent, the lowest in almost 20 years. While unemployment may be reaching new lows in Atlanta, that doesn’t mean workers are seeing an increase in wages. In fact, Atlanta ranks among the worst in the nation for wage growth. According to a report released by PayScale, Atlanta is No. 7 nationally for cities with the lowest wage growth.


Another new fintech firm for Atlanta

A growing Silicon Valley-based fintech said it will expand to Atlanta by establishing a new “center of excellence.” Ondot Systems, a digital card services firm, has grown to 300 employees worldwide and will place 40 in Atlanta.  


Cyber security firm expands in Georgia

Parsons Corporation, a cyber security technology provider, is expanding its operations at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Ga. The company is adding 80 jobs.  


Australia-based crop protection company opens operations in Mississippi

Australia-based Nufarm, a crop protection and seeds company, opened its new facility in Greenville, Miss. The company is investing $20 million and will create 68 jobs.


Chinese manufacturer opens plant in Arkansas

China-based Heifei Risever Manufacturing has opened its new plant in Jonesboro, Ark. The company is a maker of heavy equipment parts. Over $20 million was invested in the plant. 


Company’s expansion bringing 1,200 new jobs to Arkansas

An IT company outsourcing firm is bringing 1,200 new jobs to Conway, Ark. DXC Technology announced in October that the Fortune 500 company would establish a global Center of Excellence in Conway (where it currently operates a call center) to serve the Medicaid business in 30 states.


Recycling truck equipment manufacturer to create 100 jobs in Mississippi 

Recycling and refuse equipment manufacturer New Way Trucks is opening operations in Booneville, Miss. The $2.5 investment is expected to create 100 jobs.


Zeus is nearing completion of Aiken, S.C., expansion

Zeus Industrial Products is expanding in South Carolina. In February 2018, the polymer extrusion manufacturer announced a $15.7 million investment in Aiken. The funds were earmarked to convert a warehouse into usable manufacturing space to increase production. Zeus manufactures custom tubing and extrusions used in the medical industry, among others. 


Software company opens in West Virginia

Software company Infor held a grand opening ceremony in Charleston in October. Infor is a company that runs cloud applications for both local and federal government organizations. The project has created 100 jobs. 


Mexican packaging company building new plant in Virginia

A packaging company based in Mexico is planning to open a plant in Chesterfield County that will employ 63 people. Cartograf will invest $65.3 million to open a folding and micro-corrugated package printing facility in the Meadowville Technology Park. 


United Rentals to grow in Charlotte

Equipment rental giant United Rentals will soon grow its Charlotte operation, which includes relocating to a new office space. The company is adding 150 jobs. 


McCall Farms investing $50 million in its Florence, S.C., operations

McCall Farms, the manufacturer of Glory Foods, Margaret Holmes, Bruce’s Yams, Allens and other food brands, plans to expand its existing operations in Florence County, S.C. The company will invest $50 million and create 140 new jobs.


Arlington, Va., Raleigh and Austin make top 10 cities for young professionals

Arlington, Va., Raleigh and Austin made's top 10 in its ranking titled, "30 Best Cities for Young Professionals." Madison, Wisc., was the site's choice for No. 1. Arlington is where Amazon is building its HQ2 and hiring 25,000 workers. Raleigh and Austin are home to high-tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. 


Central Florida's Port Canaveral responsible for $3.85 billion economic impact. 

Port Canaveral generated an economic impact of $3.85 billion to Florida’s economy in 2018, a just-released study indicates. Most of that economic impact from the world’s second-busiest cruise port was felt on the Space Coast and in the Orlando area. The port also supports 32,650 jobs. 


Company expands in Anderson County, S.C.

Strategy Plastics, a plastic injection molding manufacturer, has relocated its operations to a new facility in Anderson County. The $3.4 million deal will create 81 new jobs. 


Florida manufacturer plans expansion, new jobs

Formulated Solutions, a hygiene product manufacturer in Pinellas County, plans to spend $6.6 million to expand its facility and hire new workers. The deal will create 75 jobs. 


U.K.-based metal recycling company to establish plant in Henry County, Va.

More jobs are coming to Henry County, Va. Advanced Revert of the United Kingdom is investing $5 million and plans to hire over 30 employees within the next few years.


Wind farms being built for Walmart

France-based Engie SA is building two giant wind farms in Texas and Oklahoma under an agreement with Arkansas-based Walmart. The deal has Engie providing 366 megawatts of power generation capacity to the retail giant from two new wind farms, one in Texas and the other in Oklahoma. The Texas project, the 300 megawatt Prairie Hill Wind Project, will build a $307 million wind farm near Mart, Texas, in Limestone County. 


In September, Alabama set unemployment rate at all-time low of 3 percent

Alabama's unemployment rate in September was at 3 percent, an all-time low. The unemployment rate in August was 3.1 percent. The civilian labor force also grew to 2,261,077, a new high. It’s the eighth consecutive month in which Alabama’s job growth percentage either sustained or exceeded the national job growth percentage.


City revenues see signs of recession

According to the National League of Cities, shrinking revenue sources is putting pressure on municipal budgets. The report also stated that almost two in three finance officers in large cities are predicting a recession as soon as 2020. One of the first signs of changing economic conditions can be seen in city revenue collections. For the first time in seven years, cities expect revenues to decline as they close the books on the 2019 fiscal year. Changing economic conditions are felt by cities sooner than by states or at the national level. 


Wood manufacturer announces new plant in Montgomery, Ala. 

In October, Texas-based wood products manufacturer Conner Industries announced it will build a new plant in Montgomery. Conner produces lumber, pallets, crates and other packaging products. The company currently operates 12 facilities in the U.S., and is headquartered in Fort Worth. The deal will create 100 new jobs. 


Winston-Salem, N.C., creating more jobs than its peers

Over the last two years, Winston-Salem is creating jobs at a pace that is besting its peers. From August 2017 to August 2019, the city of Winston-Salem has seen a 3.9 percent gain in jobs. That's a higher percentage than Greenville, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. Mayor Allen Joines said this fall that the city goal is to create 5,400 new jobs a year. The new data shows that they've created 10,500 new jobs in the past two years. "We want to continue to hit that 5,400 new jobs for the next three years, and in doing so we will become one of the top 50 metro areas in the country in the terms of job growth," Joines said in a story published by WFMY.


Canadian company to open new yarn plant in North Carolina

Gildan Yarns, a Canada-based yarn-spinning company, will locate a new plant in Eden, N.C. The $5 million facility will house 85 workers. The plant will be the apparel maker's fifth mill in North Carolina. 


Agero adding 275 jobs at call center in Tennessee

Agero, a provider of driver assistance software and services, is increasing its employee count in Clarksville, Tenn. The company is filling 275 open positions. 


Manufacturer opens doors in East Texas

Sterling’s Terra-Lam Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) Mat Manufacturing Facility opened its doors in Lufkin, Texas, in October. The company's facility, which ships laminated timber products nationwide, will house 150 workers. 


New hangar at Oklahoma's Tinker AFB expected to attract 1,300 new jobs

Tinker Air Force Base has completed the first hangar built specifically for the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 Pegasus mid-flight refueling tanker. The tankers, which are based at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, will be maintained, repaired and overhauled at Tinker's new hangar. As many as 1,300 jobs are expected to be created. 


Volkswagen will break ground soon on a new facility at its plant in Tennessee

Volkswagen is expected to break ground soon on a new facility that will produce the VW ID.4, a compact SUV that's 100 percent battery electric. The new facility will enable VW to produce 240,000 units of the vehicle by 2022. The electric model will be built first in Germany in late 2020. 


Chicken processor for Chick-fil-A adding jobs in Georgia

A poultry facility that provides for Chick-fil-A exclusively opened in June in Sylvania, Ga. Claxton Poultry opened with 75 full-time workers and as of November, it had 187. 


Public company relocating headquarters from Dallas to Houston

The Howard Hughes Corp. announced in the fall it is relocating its headquarters from Dallas to The Woodlands, a Houston suburb. Consolidating the Dallas corporate headquarters into the company’s largest regional office in The Woodlands will save $45 million to $50 million a year, according to the company. 


$300 million Arkansas poultry plant begins operations

Simmons Prepared Foods has started operations at its $300 million facility in Benton County, Ark. First phase of production is expected in January 2020, when 1,200 workers are expected to be housed at the facility. Employment could reach over 2,000 by 2022. 


Fulfillment centers expected to increase employment by over 2,000 in Northern Kentucky

In October, Radial announced plans to bring on an additional 2,629 workers in Northern Kentucky to support the increased demand during the upcoming holiday season. 


Steel manufacturer expanding operations in Tennessee

Novus Advanced Manufacturing says it will expand the operations of its plant in St. Joseph, Tenn. The company makes steel framing components for the construction industry. The $2 million investment will create 174 new jobs. 


Alabama plant wins "Plant of the Year" 

GE Appliances in Decatur, Ala., was named Assembly Magazine's "Manufacturing Plant of the Year" in the fall quarter. The GE plant is owned by Chinese company Haier and makes refrigerators. The 42-year-old facility recently saw $115 million in investments to earn the company's Manufacturing Center of Excellence for top-freezer refrigerators. The investment also created 255 new jobs for a total of 1,300 at the plant. 


Ball Corp. to build new plant in Rome, Ga. 

Colorado-based Ball Corp. will build a plant in Rome to make aluminum cups. The company said its new plant is meant to serve a growing market for more environmentally friendly beverage packaging. The company already has operations in Northwest Georgia. The $200 million deal will add 180 jobs. 


Four Southern markets make "America's Youngest Cities" list came out with its top 10 list of "America's Youngest Cities,” and four cities from the South made the top 10. They are Stillwater, Okla. (2); Jacksonville, N.C. (3); College Station, Texas (6) and Statesboro, Ga. (9). Provo, Utah, was named the youngest city in American in the study. 


Epic Games announces "epic" expansion in North Carolina

Epic Games is expanding its headquarters campus in Cary, NC., in a big way. The company announced the expansion in October and said construction on a new building could start in 2020 — potentially making room for thousands of employees in Cary. The official announcement said 2,000 would be hired, however, it could be more. Epic Games is the maker of video games, including "Fortnite." The company also created “Gears of War” and the “Infinity Blade” series.


Truck manufacturer will establish operations in South Carolina

Spartan Motors, assembler of fleet, work truck and specialty service vehicle manufacturing, is establishing operations in Charleston County, S.C. The $1.15 million investment will create 308 jobs. 


Cybersecurity firm will expand operations in Memphis

DEVCON, a cybersecurity firm that develops software, is expanding its headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. The $2.4 million project will generate 161 jobs. 


Insurance company to hire 750 in Jacksonville, Fla. 

GuideWell, the parent company of Florida Blue, announced in October it will add 750 employees at its downtown office. The new hires will bring employment there to 1,750. 


Coca-Cola to build new sales center in Georgia

Birmingham-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company United announced in the fall it will invest $60 million in a new sales center in Tifton, Ga. The deal will create 200 jobs. 


Spirit Airlines to spend $250 million on new South Florida headquarters

Spirit Airlines, which is America's fastest-growing airline, announced in the fall it will build a new headquarters in Dania Beach, Fla., near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The airline's new headquarters will encompass 500,000 square feet. 


Oklahoma call center adding hundreds of jobs

Alorica will add 675 jobs at its call center in Tulsa, Okla. The Irvine, Calif.-based company currently employs 900 employees at the call center. 


Macy's to hire 6,000 seasonal positions in West Virginia

Cincinnati-based Macy's is adding 6,000 jobs at its fulfillment center in Martinsburg, W.Va. The company said the new hires will be sorting, ticketing and packaging shipments for customers who ordered online and through the Macy’s mobile app.


FedEx adding new package sorting facility at world hub in Memphis

FedEx is investing $212 million in a new package sorting facility at its hub in Memphis. The permit calls for a four-level building with offices, maintenance shops and a cafeteria.


Raymond James is relocating its headquarters from downtown Memphis to East Memphis

Financial services giant Raymond James announced in the fall it will relocate its headquarters to East Memphis. The company will relocate about 860 employees and hire 100 more in the move. 


Plastics company to locate facility in Alabama

Germany-based ID Plastics, a manufacturer of a variety of technical plastic products, is opening its first U.S. plant in Auburn, Ala. The company is investing $9.8 million in the deal. 


Dublin-based CameraMatics opens headquarters in Richmond, Va.

CameraMatics, a firm that produces equipment for data gathering and fleet tracking, is opening its North American headquarters in Richmond. The $25 million project will create 100 jobs. 


Atlanta-based Delta to hire 12,000 through 2020

Delta Airlines announced in the fall it will hire 12,000 new employees in all categories through 2020. The company is hiring pilots, attendants and ground staff. 


Manufacturer breaks ground on new facility in rural Virginia

Stik-Pak Solutions, a contract food packaging manufacturer, is building a new 50,000-square-foot facility at Franklin County, Va.'s Summit View Business Park in Rocky Mount. The $14 million facility will house about 100 employees. 


Poland-based skin care manufacturer to locate in West Virginia

Poland-based skin care manufacturer BANDI Laboratories is establishing its first U.S. facility in Martinsburg, W.Va. The company also plans to open its manufacturing facility within five years. 


Computer designer adding jobs in Charlotte, N.C.

A company that designs and makes computer systems for medical and industrial uses is expanding its presence in Charlotte. Teguar plans to build a new 20,000-square-foot facility representing a $5.5 million investment. The project will retain 29 existing jobs and add 26 new positions.


Continental Tire grand opening in Mississippi

Continental celebrated a major milestone for its new tire plant near Clinton, Miss., with a grand opening event in October. The celebration marks the completion of the construction process, which began in 2016. Continental has committed nearly $1.4 billion and expects to employ 2,500 people when the plant reaches full capacity in the next decade. The project represents the largest economic development announcement for the area in a generation.


Video game developer moving to Orlando 

Orlando’s Creative Village Project continues to develop, and now a leader in the video game industry has announced it is joining the list of future tenants. EA Tiburon, a division of Electronic Arts, will be moving its video game development studio from its Maitland location. EA is expected to bring approximately 700 jobs to Creative Village, with a potential for 1,000 total jobs or more in the area by 2025. 


Hyundai Motor Group plans to invest $34.6 billion in mobility tech by 2025

Hyundai Motor Group said it plans to invest $34.6 billion in mobility and other auto technologies by 2025. The plan, which encompasses autonomous, connected and electric vehicles as well as technology for ride-sharing, comes after the automaker and two of its affiliates announced an investment of $1.6 billion in a venture with U.S. self-driving tech firm Aptiv.


Stihl cuts the ribbon on $30 million project in Virginia

Stihl held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October to celebrate the opening of a new 80,000-square-foot administration building at the global power equipment manufacturer’s U.S. operations.


Sherwin Williams heading south for HQ relocation
Early favorites appear to be Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte as Cleveland-based Sherwin Williams’ searches for a relocation destination for its headquarters and research and development operations. The move could add up to 2,000 new jobs to the lucky metro selected.


Jobs coming to Kyle, Texas, as SmileDirectClub opens plant

Gov. Greg Abbott announced recently that SmileDirectClub‘s Access Dental Lab will create a new high-tech manufacturing lab in Kyle, Texas. The company will create 440 new jobs, and more than $36 million in capital investment.


One hundred new jobs for Pascagoula, Miss. 

One hundred new shipbuilding jobs are coming to Pascagoula to support the construction of U.S. Coast Guard polar ships. Jamestown Metal will expand its operations in Jackson County to fulfill contracts with VT Halter Marine. Mississippi Development Authority will contribute funds for the partial demolition of the company’s current facility and construction of its new warehouse and fabrication facility. 


Boehringer Ingelheim completes $76 million expansion in Georgia

Boehringer Ingelheim, a provider of health products for pets and livestock, marked the completion of work after a $76 million investment in its facility in Athens, Ga., which now employs 440. The investment doubled the company’s capacity to produce vaccines for pets.


Volkswagen to hire 350 in Tennessee to produce new model

Volkswagen is looking to hire 350 people at its Chattanooga plant after unveiling its new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport, set for production in Chattanooga. A VP for VW said the jobs are directly connected to the Cross Sport. “We now have more models in the plant,” he said.


Zeus investing $11.25 million to expand in Chattanooga

Zeus Industrial Products will invest $11.25 million to expand its Chattanooga operations. The manufacturing company has acquired a 140,000-square-foot facility that it plans to renovate in order to relocate its Hamilton County operations. Zeus also plans to bring 54 jobs to the area.


Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing expands North Carolina facility

Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing, a global aerospace company that produces parts for Honeywell and GE Aviation to name a few, will invest $2.7 million to expand its facility in Butner, N.C. The company plans to create 126 jobs in Granville County.


Henderson Stamping and Production expands Tennessee plant

Henderson Stamping and Production, a metal stamping manufacturer for the appliance and automotive industries, will invest $13.5 million to expand its operations center in Henderson, Tenn. The company plans to create 52 jobs in Chester County.


Call center opens in Hancock County, Tenn.

Gov. Bill Lee recently made the trip to Sneedville to celebrate the grand opening of a call center and the addition of 100 jobs for the community. Allied Dispatch Solutions also employs hundreds of people in Johnson City, Tenn.


UPS speeds up in Nashville 

UPS has completed a multi-phased expansion of its Whitescreek, Tenn., ground sortation and distribution facility. The project, which doubled the hub’s size, has brought more than 300 new full- and part-time jobs to the area. 


Wood pellet plant locating on the Tenn-Tom

Bethesda, Md.-based Enviva plans to build a $175 million wood pellet production plant in rural Livingston, Ala., the county seat of Sumter County. The proposed facility would be located at the Port of Epes Industrial Park, which is located on the west bank of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway above Demopolis Lock and Dam. The plant is expected to create at least 85 full-time jobs, along with 180 additional regional jobs in the fields of logging, transportation and support services.


Slalom expands to Florida

Slalom, a $1 billion consulting firm focused on strategy, technology and business transformation, has opened its Miami office with plans to debut several more offices across the state over the next 24 months. Slalom’s Florida offices will employ more than 600 people statewide.


Clark & Son bringing new jobs to Panama City

A leading distribution company for custom kitchen cabinets is coming to Panama City, Fla., and bringing 50 logistics and distribution jobs to the area. “We were able to partner with Port Panama City and announce that Clark & Son Inc. is locating their U.S. distribution center here,” said Bay EDA President Becca Hardin.


CardWorks Servicing expands Orlando operations

CardWorks Servicing, a provider of support services for credit card and installment loan products, is increasing its footprint in Orlando. The company will build a new, 60,000-square-foot facility that is intended to provide more than 500 new jobs over the next three years. CardWorks’ first Florida location in Lake Mary opened in 2017 and now employs 300.


New York manufacturer bringing 300 jobs to North Texas

New York-based Schluter-Systems, the largest supplier of tile installation systems in the world, plans to open a 500,000-square-foot regional distribution center north of Fort Worth. The facility is expected to create 300 jobs. 


UPS makes $450 million commitment to expand natural gas fleet

UPS has announced plans to purchase more than 6,000 natural gas-powered trucks between 2020 and 2022. The three-year commitment represents a $450 million investment in expanding the company’s alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle fleet, as well as supporting infrastructure. 


Medical device maker creating 100 distribution jobs in Olive Branch, Miss.

Medical device manufacturer and supplier Zimmer Biomet is growing its distribution operations by establishing a facility in Olive Branch. The project will create 100 jobs.


Saf-T-Cart expands manufacturing in Clarksdale, Miss.

Saf-T-Cart, a manufacturer of steel carts and storage products for various commercial and industrial applications, will invest $1.5 million to expand its operations in Clarksdale.The company is constructing an 18,000-square-foot addition to its current 150,000-square-foot facility, and plans to add 25 more associates. 


A&R Logistics investing $60 million in South Carolina

A&R Logistics will establish a new state-of-the-art export facility in Berkeley County, S.C. The company, which services the chemical and plastics industries, will invest $60 million in the project, which is expected to create more than 60 new jobs.


Aerospace company breaks ground on major Alabama project

An applied science and information technology company based in Huntsville has expanded to Decatur. Dynetics has broken ground on the Dynetics Aerospace Structures Complex, a three-building complex to develop and test large rocket components. 


MM Technics expands factory in Newberry County, S.C.

MM Technics, an American subsidiary of automotive supplier Muhr Metalltechnik, will invest $6 million to expand its production plant in Newberry County. MM Technics has added another metal stamping press and high-speed robotic welding systems to supply automotive companies throughout the United States and Europe.


Pallet Consultants chooses Harnett County, N.C.

Pallet Consultants of North Carolina, a manufacturer and distributor of wooden pallets, will invest $3.1 million to establish a new plant in Dunn. The Florida-based company plans to create 50 jobs in Harnett County.


100 new jobs coming to Norcross, Ga.

A food processing company with operations in Norcross plans to hire up to 100 new employees before it opens a new plant in January. Birchwood Foods has invested $33 million in an 80,000-square-foot facility in Norcross, and is looking to hire workers for a range of positions.


One hundred tech jobs announced in West Virginia

Maryland-based IT firm Sparksoft officially opened its new location in Marion County, W.Va., with a ribbon cutting and the announcement of 100 new jobs. Sparksoft’s CEO Michael Finkel said, “. . .we figured there’s a talent pool here; a lot of people graduating from universities, a lot of IT folks we can get our hands on.”


Virginia shoe company gets $60 million military contract

A $60 million contract with the military means the Lynchburg-based Capps Shoe Company will need to add 50 more employees to the 125 currently working there. “We make half of the men’s dress shoes for the Army and all of the women’s,” said Tom Capps, owner of the company.


South Korea-based Shinhwa Group plans manufacturing complex in Auburn, Ala.

The Shinhwa Group, a South Korean-based automotive parts manufacturer, plans to invest $42 million to establish its first manufacturing operation in the U.S in Auburn, Ala. The project is expected to create 95 jobs. Initially, Shinhwa will produce drive shafts for vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery and Kia Motor Manufacturing Georgia, just across the state line in West Point. Looking to the future, Shinhwa plans to expand its production in Auburn to also provide parts for other car manufacturers.


Cross-laminated timber operation expands Into Texas

Texas Cross Laminated Timber will expand its operations into a long vacant former Texas plywood mill, adding 60 jobs and the possibility of 250 more in the future. Based in Magnolia, Ark., the company also makes wooden mats and building panels from yellow pine.


New Medline facility bringing 250 jobs to Orange County, N.C.

A new distribution center for Medline, the largest private medical supplies manufacturer in the U.S., is coming to Orange County. The facility will hire 250.


Enviva Partners planning $175 million investment in West Alabama, 

The world's biggest producer of wood pellets for energy generation, Enviva Partners, is gearing up to invest $175 million in a new wood pellet manufacturing plant in Sumter County, Ala. The facility should create at least 85 full-time jobs and generate an estimated 180 additional jobs in logging, transportation and local services for the region.


T&S Brass and Bronze Works investing $10 million in South Carolina

T&S Brass and Bronze Works, a manufacturer of faucets, fittings and specialty products, will invest $10.4 million to expand its headquarters operations in Greenville County, S.C. The  project is expected to create 22 new jobs.


Ireland-based Smiley Monroe eyes manufacturing plant in Kentucky

Ireland-based conveyor belt producer Smiley Monroe plans to create 30 full-time jobs at a new manufacturing facility in Franklin, Ky. The company will invest $2 million in its first North American operation.


First phase of Arkansas casino resort opens

The largest tourism investment project in Arkansas has partially opened nearly a year after voters approved casino legalization, bringing thousands of jobs to Pine Bluff. The Saracen Casino Annex officially opened October 1. It’s part of the $350 million Saracen Casino Resort project owned and operated by the Oklahoma-based Quapaw Nation. The casino resort portion is expected to open in June.


American Airlines to build $100 million parts facility at DFW Airport

American Airlines plans to build a $100 million parts distribution center near Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The Fort Worth-based carrier is asking the airport to execute a 40-year lease on a 30-acre property next to its existing air freight facility. The new facility is expected to be the central distribution location for the airline’s domestic airports. 


TAS announces expansion of manufacturing operations in Texas

TAS is expanding its manufacturing operations with the introduction of a third facility located in Houston. Along with the new facility, TAS is making significant investments in expanding its manufacturing capabilities to serve customer’s growing data center infrastructure needs. With this expansion, TAS plans to add approximately 150 additional staff in fabrication, assembly and operations support positions.


Johnson City, Tenn.’s largest manufacturer planning multimillion-dollar expansion

In October, officials from Johnson City and Washington County gathered for a tour of A.O. Smith’s facility there. Although the project hasn’t been finalized, the company is planning to make a $15 million investment to expand its operations, adding an 85,000-square-foot building to its existing manufacturing facility. The investment includes a $2 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation that will be used specifically to bring rail service to the new building. The facility in Johnson City employs about 850 people and manufacturers 5,500 water heaters every day, most of which are purchased by Lowe’s.


Maag to expand Virginia plant

Maag Group Americas is making a multimillion-dollar investment to significantly expand its manufacturing capabilities in Eagle Rock, Va., for the Gala product line. Gala makes underwater pelletizers, centrigual dryers and other machines for the plastics and chemical industry. Gala employs more than 180 people at its Eagle Rock site, and is one of Botetourt County’s anchor employers and manufacturers. 


Nokian Tyres opens $360 million plant in Dayton, Tenn.

Finland-based Nokian Tyres’ $360 million factory was unveiled before several hundred people during a ceremony in October. By year’s end, the 830,000-square-foot plant — its first plant in the United States — aims to have as many as 150 employees, and 400 workers when the plant is at full production, making 4 million tires annually.


BWXT hiring 60 to expand nuclear fuel production in Virginia

Headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., BWX Technologies is in the process of restarting its existing TRISO nuclear fuel production line and is planning to expand capacity. The expansion of BWXT’s TRISO fuel production will position the company to meet client interests in Department of Defense microreactors, space reactors and civil advanced reactors. TRISO refers to a specific design of uranium nuclear reactor fuel that can withstand extreme heat and has very low environmental risks.


Goodyear expands tire testing facility in Texas

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has plans for two new expansion projects at its vehicle dynamics proving ground in San Angelo, Texas. The San Angelo facility covers 7,250 acres and includes 58 miles of roads and track, 14 miles of fence and more than 200 test vehicles. 


Future Foundation opens in Henrico County, Va.

Future Foundation, an advanced manufacturing software company based in Delhi, India, has opened a service and sales operations center in Henrico County. “The U.S. site will be grown into a future tool/application development center and will also offer prospective customers the opportunity to work directly with our engineering team for more intricate testing requirements,” said Abeer Singhal of Future Foundation (India).


Pursuit Boats will expand plant in St. Lucie County, Fla.

Pursuit Boats broke ground last month on a $17 million expansion of its manufacturing plant in Fort Pierce. The three-phase expansion is expected to be completed by 2024 and will triple the luxury boat builder’s size and production capacity. The expansion will also increase local employment from 400 to 600 people


Largest economic development project in Richmond, Va.’s history unveiled

Documents, which outline a $1.5 billion redevelopment proposal to build a new arena to replace the circa-1971 Richmond Coliseum and reinvent a 10-block area of downtown, landed on the desks of City Council members in August. The unveiling of the largest economic development project in Richmond’s history followed 17 months of negotiations between city officials and the nonprofit NH District Corp. (NHDC), headed by Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell. NHDC was the only entity to respond to Mayor Levar Stoney’s 2017 request for proposals to redevelop the area around the Coliseum. 


Lowe’s hiring 500 across the Triangle and Fayetteville, N.C.

Lowe’s Home Improvement is hiring more than 500 workers for stores across the Triangle and Fayetteville. Lowe’s is filling permanent, year-round openings along with part-time positions. 


Construction begins on Baton Rouge ExxonMobil expansion

Foundation work has begun on the much-anticipated new polypropylene production unit at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant. The expansion is worth an estimated $500 million to $1 billion and is predicted to create up to 600 jobs during construction and 65 permanent jobs once completed.


Wacker expands silica production in Tennessee

The biggest plant investment in Tennessee history marked its latest addition recently when production began for the first time in America of a new pyrogenic silica product. The Wacker Group, the Germany-based chemical giant that opened a $2.5 billion polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tenn., in 2016, added an adjacent $150 million facility in October that will use some of the byproducts from the adjacent polysilicon plant to expand its U.S. sales and add another 50 jobs.


$11 million skills training center In Houston’s East End moves forward

A plan to build a 20,000-square-foot workforce training center in Houston’s East End will move forward after clinching a majority of its funding from federal disaster relief and recovery funds allocated after Hurricane Harvey


Radial hiring 1,829 in Melbourne, Fla., for holidays

Radial is hiring 1,829 seasonal workers in Melbourne to handle increased e-commerce demand during the holidays. Radial staffs inbound customer call centers that work with major retailers. Last week, Radial announced plans to hire more than 21,000 seasonal workers across North America.


Canadian company cooking up $129 million investment in San Antonio, Texas

FGF Brands, a Toronto-based maker of muffins, croissants and breads, first set up shop in central San Antonio in 2018, and is now planning to establish a multimillion-dollar manufacturing plant on the West Side. FGF Brands will invest over $129 million to establish its U.S. headquarters in San Antonio and add 600 new jobs. The plant will be built on a 100-acre parcel of land.


Moody’s opens tech office in Charlotte, N.C.

A technology office for financial services company Moody’s Corp. has quietly opened in Charlotte. The company has about 40 technologists in its uptown office today, but expects to hire an additional 100 employees in Charlotte over the next three to six months.


$8.5 billion natural gas liquefaction facility coming to Plaquemines Parish

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has now authorized Venture Global’s plans to invest $8.5 billion to build a natural gas liquefaction facility and LNG export terminal along the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. The plant will be the second LNG facility in Louisiana.


Equifax hiring 1,000 in Georgia to combat data threats

Equifax has hired 1,000 more technology, security workers in Georgia to staff its new Global Fusion Center. There, the credit reporting company has brought its anti-fraud, cybersecurity, physical security and crisis response operations under one roof as it seeks to prevent data breaches like the one that exposed the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans two years ago.


U.S. Steel pumps $700 million into Big River

Arkansas-based Big River Steel has agreed to form a joint venture with United States Steel Corp., in which Big River will own a 51.1 percent stake and U.S. Steel a 49.9 percent stake. U.S. Steel is paying $700 million for its minority stake and for an option to purchase Big River’s stake within the next four years. 


Continental Industries hiring 130 in Oklahoma

After just completing a $9 million expansion, manufacturer Continental Industries announced it will add 130 jobs in Broken Arrow by the end of the year. Continental Industries manufactures connector fittings for the gas and water distribution industries.

latest magazine issue
randle report
auto corridor

Southern Business & Development
8086 Westchester Place
Montgomery AL 36117