February 2020

The U.S. economy grew at 2.3 percent in 2019

Final numbers came out about growth in GDP for calendar year 2019 — 2.3 percent, which falls short of the 3 percent growth that was the goal of the current administration. Many economists have speculated that Trump's tariffs have slowed company expansions, especially for manufacturers. The economy grew at a pace of 2.9 percent in 2018 when President Trump and Congress passed the tax cuts.


U.S. population growth in 2019 was the lowest in a century

The annual population growth in the U.S. in 2019 was the lowest in 100 years. Population growth in 2019 was one half of one percent, lower growth than during the Great Depression in the 1930s, according to the Census. The U.S. population only grew by 1.5 million in 2019.


U.S. employers announced the highest number of job cuts in 2019 in four years

Even though unemployment sits in the middle 3s, employers in 2019 eliminated 592,556 jobs, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's a 10 percent rise in job cuts from 2018. Trade concerns with manufacturers — an industry that is essentially in recession — caused many of the cuts. Emerging technologies like robots and shifts in consumer behavior were the main reasons for the job losses.


Florida beats Texas in annual U-Haul growth states for 2019

Texas ceded its No. 1 spot to Florida in the annual U-Haul growth states for 2019. North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington made up the rest of the top five. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan and California made up part of the bottom five with Illinois landing in the last spot for people moving one way using U-Haul vehicles and trailers.


Dallas-Fort Worth tops all U.S. markets in office job growth

According to CBRE, the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA was the No. 1 market for office jobs in 2019. Office jobs in the Dallas area grew 5.7 percent in 2019, more than in tech markets San Francisco, Austin and Seattle, CBRE found.


The overall automotive industry is in flux, but not in Alabama

Nashville-based Nissan is cutting production worldwide. GM closed several plants last year in North America. But in Alabama, all four of the state's automakers are expanding. Alabama is fifth largest in the nation in production of cars and light trucks. It is the third largest state in vehicle exports. Here is what is going on as of the winter quarter at Alabama's automotive plants:


Mercedes-Benz - Tuscaloosa, Ala.

In 2018, Mercedes announced a $1 billion expansion, including a 1 million-square-foot electric battery plant in nearby Bibb County. The expansion also called for a Consolidation Center that houses vehicle kits to ship overseas. Also, the company has built a 1.3 million-square-foot after sales hub.


Honda - Lincoln, Ala.

Honda has been involved in an $85 million expansion at its plant that houses 4,500 workers. Honda also operates an engine plant onsite. Since 2001, Honda has invested more than $2.6 billion in its East Alabama assembly plant.


Hyundai - Montgomery, Ala.

Hyundai is finishing up a $388 million engine shop. In November, the South Korean automaker announced a $410 million expansion for stamping and welding. The company is also adding 200 jobs and suppliers in and around Montgomery and is expected to create 1,000 jobs with this latest expansion. The company is also adding a new line for its Santa Cruz model.


Mazda Toyota - Huntsville, Ala.

Mazda Toyota’s joint Huntsville facility is currently under construction and the first production line will open in early 2021. The $1.6 billion facility has attracted several suppliers to Limestone and Madison counties. Mazda Toyota will employ 4,000 workers and both lines will make Mazda and Toyota models. Annual capacity will be 300,000 vehicles.


Major changes at San Antonio Toyota plant

Toyota officials announced in the winter quarter model changes at their plant in San Antonio, Texas. The plant will stop assembling its best-selling Tacoma pickup truck and move all of that production to a plant in Mexico. To fill the gap of Tacoma truck production, the Japanese automaker will move assembly of its lowest-selling vehicle, the Sequoia SUV, from its plant in Indiana to San Antonio in 2021. Toyota officials said that the San Antonio plant has been at maximum capacity since 2016 and that the move will "make room for market growth and achieve long-term sustainability of future production in San Antonio.” Some auto industry officials speculated that the move will give Toyota the ability to produce more SUVs at the Texas plant in the future. The plant has been open since 2006, and to date, has only produced pickup trucks. Toyota will continue to produce the full-size Tundra pickup in San Antonio.


Toyota to shift production of small pickup to Mexico

Plano, Texas-based Toyota is moving production of its Tacoma small pickup truck from San Antonio to Mexico. . .however, no jobs will be lost in Texas. The San Antonio plant, which houses about 3,200 workers, will begin assembly of the Sequoia large SUV. It also builds the full-size Tundra pickup.


Louisville airport sets passenger records for 2019

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport set records for passenger traffic in calendar year 2019. Airport officials said that more than 4.2 million arriving and departing passengers used the facility last year. That figure is 300,000 more passengers than the previous record set in 2000.


Report: California has lost more jobs to China than any U.S. state

According to a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, since 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization, California has lost 654,000 jobs to the Asian nation. During that time, California also lost 334,000 jobs to Texas. Most of the jobs lost were in the computer and electronics sector from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley in San Jose.


Arthrex to add 560 jobs in Florida

Collier County, Fla.’s largest private-sector employer, a manufacturer of orthopedic devices, is expected to expand its payroll even further after it begins occupying a new headquarters building in Naples later this year. The new 300,000-square-foot headquarters includes a wellness medical center, a hotel and a fitness center. Arthrex, which has added 1,000 workers since 2015, is adding 560 jobs when it moves into the headquarters.


Financial services firm adding 200 workers in Nashville

AllianceBernstein, the financial services firm that relocated its headquarters to Nashville from New York in 2018, is adding 200 workers. The company plans to move into the new Fifth + Broadway campus by year end, and also plans to increase its overall investment in Nashville by more than $11 million. AllianceBernstein now employs over 1,200 in Nashville.


Brewery to invest $49 million in Memphis

Blues City Brewery in Memphis has announced it is undergoing a $49 million upgrade. The project will create 155 jobs.


Mazda Toyota accepting applications for Huntsville plant

Mazda Toyota has started accepting applications for production line positions at its new plant in Limestone County, Ala. As of January, the company announced it is accepting applications for 3,000 positions.


USDA to invest over $55 million in high-speed broadband in rural Kentucky

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in the winter quarter it will invest $55.3 million in four high-speed broadband infrastructure projects in rural Kentucky. The project is part of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program. The investments will connect more than 12,000 rural households and nearly 100 businesses and farms.


USDA announces $60 million in rural broadband investments in Missouri

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in the winter quarter it is investing $60.9 million in broadband in rural Missouri. The investments will improve e-Connectivity for more than 11,000 rural households, 81 farms, 73 businesses, 16 educational facilities, 12 critical community facilities and two healthcare facilities in rural Missouri.


The American South was the only U.S. region to see positive existing home sales in 2019

The South saw a 2.2 percent increase in 2019 in existing home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. The West saw a decrease of 1.8 percent, the Midwest a decline of 1.6 percent and the Northeast saw a flat rate in 2019.


Call center adding jobs in West Virginia

Ibex is adding new customer service agents at its call center in Charleston, W.Va. The deal will create 100 jobs.


Florida unemployment rate sets record low

In December, Florida's unemployment rate dropped to 3 percent, the lowest mark since the current estimating process started in 1976, according to numbers released in January by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. Only about 300,000 workers are unemployed in the state out of a workforce of 10.5 million.


In 2019, Texas almost created 1,000 jobs a day

Texas saw job growth in 2019 slow from the previous year. In 2019, Texas employers created 342,800 jobs, or almost 1,000 jobs a day. In 2018, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the state created 391,800 jobs.


Huntsville, Ala., airport named nation's best small airport

Huntsville International Airport has been chosen by voters as North America’s best small airport for USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards. The airport serves Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee. Delta, American, Frontier, United and Silver Airways provide nonstop service to 10 destinations from the Huntsville International Airport.


Amazon to open second Atlanta area warehouse

Amazon announced in the winter it will build a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Newnan, Ga., which is in the Atlanta metro. It's the second major Amazon project for metro Atlanta. The project will create 500 jobs. Amazon currently operates almost 80 such fulfillment centers in North America.


Auto supplier setting up shop in Alabama

CCI Manufacturing USA Corp., a Tier 1 auto supplier, is investing $21.5 million to build a new facility in Lawrence County, Ala. The deal will create 28 jobs. The company makes brake fluid and engine coolant.


Armor steel manufacturer to establish operations in South Carolina

Optimized Armor will invest $3.7 million to establish operations in Rock Hill, S.C. The project will create 100 jobs.


Auto supplier to expand in Tennessee

Michigan-based Adient is investing over $23 million in its automotive seating plant in Lexington, Tenn. The expansion project will create 330 jobs.


New cybersecurity facility slated for Aiken, S.C.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster included $15 million in this year's budget for the South Carolina National Guard to build the DreamPort Cybersecurity Collaborative facility at USC Aiken. The purpose of the DreamPort facility will be to increase the state’s cyber response capabilities through partnerships to keep pace with increasing cyber threats and technology initiatives.


MRO sets up shop in Northwest Louisiana

Advanced Aero Services will establish an aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the Shreveport Regional Airport. The project will create 60 new jobs.


Sara Lee Frozen Bakery to expand in North Carolina

Sara Lee Frozen Bakery is expanding its facility in Tarboro, N.C. The nearly $20 million investment in the bakery will create 108 jobs.


DFW passes Chicago O’Hare for most nonstop flights to U.S. destinations

In the winter quarter, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport passed Chicago O’Hare International Airport for the most nonstop flights to domestic destinations, according to the Airports Council International. Passengers at DFW can fly directly to 193 destinations in the U.S., one more than O'Hare. Denver has 189 nonstop destinations and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport had 171.


2019 was a great year for Georgia

Georgia created more businesses in 2019 than at any other time in the state’s history, according to Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Clark. New business formations totaled 165,000 in calendar year 2019 in the Peach State. The figure was a 14 percent increase from the 145,000 business formations in 2018.


Frito-Lay expanding Texas plant

Snack-food manufacturer Frito-Lay announced in the winter it will invest $128 million in its plant in Rosenberg, Texas. The project will allow for increased production and warehousing at the 575-worker facility. At the Rosenberg plant, the company makes Lay’s potato chips, Tostitos, Doritos, Cheetos and Fritos.


Clorox to build large plant in West Virginia

In the winter quarter, Clorox announced it will build a manufacturing facility in the southern part of Berkeley County in West Virginia. The $190 million plant will house 100 workers.


Oil industry in Texas sets record for state taxes

The Texas Oil and Gas Association reported in January that the oil and gas industry in the state paid a record $16.2 billion in taxes to the state. Allocations include schools, teachers, roads, infrastructure and healthcare.


Wind, coal essentially tied as Texas power source

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), wind for the first time has essentially tied with coal as a power source for Texas homes and businesses. In 2019, wind (19.97 percent) and coal (20.27 percent) were tied for the No. 2 energy source in the state. Natural gas ranked first with 40.2 percent.


Walmart partnership to bring 600 jobs to Georgia

The FPL meat processing plant in Thomas County, Ga., is partnering with Walmart to create 600 jobs. The project is Walmart's first meat processing plant.


Airbus to increase production at Mobile, Ala. facility

Airbus announced it will increase production of its A320 aircraft at the company’s manufacturing facility in Mobile. The company is also in the midst of building a new line for the A220 aircraft at the site in South Alabama. The $40 million investment in a new hangar will push total investment at the site to over $1 billion. The expansion will create 275 jobs.


Accenture adding jobs in Nashville

Professional services firm Accenture is expanding in Nashville. The company is taking space at the Sylvan Supply project there to house another 165 jobs.


Wayne Farms adding jobs in Mississippi

Wayne Farms is adding 200 jobs at its facility in Laurel, Miss. The $16.9 project will upgrade the Wayne Farms Fresh Production plant in Laurel.


Anheuser-Busch to expand Georgia operations

Anheuser-Busch will expand operations at its facility in Cartersville, Ga. The company will invest $85 million and add 12 new jobs. The expansion will increase capacity at the longtime brewery.


Port of Virginia sets record

The Port of Virginia set a new annual record for container cargo volume, having handled more than 2.93 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. The increase of 3 percent set a port record.


Manufacturer to relocate to Texas from California

Plastic consumer products manufacturer Merrick Engineering announced in the winter it would relocate its headquarters from California to Waco, Texas. The company will invest $33 million that will include a 400,000-square-foot facility. Merrick will retain 150 jobs from its California operation and add 20 more.


Spirit Airlines breaks ground on $250 million HQ in South Florida

Spirit Airlines broke ground on a new $250 million corporate headquarters in Dania Beach, Fla., in January. The new campus will move 1,000 employees from its current headquarters in Miramar, Fla., to Dania Beach, and the company will add 225 more workers.


DuPont to expand Virginia plant

DuPont de Nemours, one of the largest employers in Chesterfield County, Va., is expanding its plant there. The chemicals company is investing $75 million and adding 60 new jobs.


Tech company layoffs surged 351 percent from 2018

Tech company layoffs skyrocketed in 2019, up 351 percent from 2018, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Emerging technologies and trade issues are the reasons. Over 64,000 tech company job cuts were reported in 2019 compared to just over 14,000 in 2018.


Kentucky company opening plant in North Carolina

A manufacturer of packaging and laminates is opening a plant in High Point, N.C. f LLFlex will invest over $7 million and create 46 jobs in Guilford County. The company is based in Louisville, Ky.


German grocery retailer Lidl to build distribution center in Georgia

Lidl US, a grocery retailer, announced in the winter it will invest $100 million in a 925,000-square-foot distribution center in Covington, Ga. The project will create 270 new jobs.


Office leasing in Dallas-Fort Worth surged in 2019

Office leasing in the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA surged in 2019 to 3.5 million square feet. The total was up 75 percent from leasing in 2018.


Louisiana captures 80 projects in 2019

In the winter quarter, Louisiana Economic Development announced that is landed 80 economic development projects in calendar year 2019. The 80 projects represented $8 billion in capital investment with the creation of 12,300 jobs.


Ashley Furniture breaks ground on largest expansion ever in Mississippi

Ashley Furniture has broken ground on its 14th expansion — the largest yet at its facility in Ecru, Miss. The 437,000-square-foot facility will feature Ashley's e-commerce fulfillment center. Ashley now employs over 3,000 workers at the facility.


Florida bases included in new U.S. Space Force

Two Central Florida military installations in Brevard County are now part of the U.S. Space Force. Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base are part of the U.S. Air Force Space Command. Under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act signed by Trump, Space Command is designated as part of the Space Force.


Hyundai made more vehicles at Alabama plant in 2019

South Korea-based Hyundai announced in the winter it produced 336,000 vehicles in 2019 at its plant in Montgomery, Ala. The total was about 4 percent higher than in 2018. The Santa Fe SUV led all vehicles made at the plant last year. The facility also assembles the Sonata and Elantra sedans.


Financial services firm to build new headquarters in downtown Jacksonville

Fidelity National Information Services, a Jacksonville-based financial technologies firm, is building a new $145 million riverfront headquarters in downtown Jacksonville. The 12-story headquarters will house 1,200 of the current FIS workforce in Jacksonville and the company will hire 500 more in the deal.


Kraft Heinz is expanding in Texas

Kraft Heinz is investing $25 million in its Garland, Texas facility. The company will make renovations and improvements in the plant, which is its largest producers of Lunchables and Velveeta Skillets. The deal will increase job count by 250.


U.S. manufacturing contracts for fifth straight month

U.S. manufacturing contracted in December for the fifth consecutive month. The Institute for Supply Management reported in January that its factory index fell to 47.2 in December from 48.1 in November. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while any figure below 50 indicates contraction.


Tennessee exports fall by $500 million

Exports from the state of Tennessee fell by $500 million in the third quarter of 2018, according to Middle Tennessee State University’s Business and Economic Research Center. The declines were driven by less demand for Tennessee-made vehicles, aircraft and whiskey. Tennessee exports have declined in three of the past four quarters.


Manufacturer expanding near Montgomery, Ala.

St. Louis-based Hager Companies is planning a $25 million expansion of its facility near Montgomery. The project will generate 51 new jobs. The company makes door hinges and closures, locks and security systems.


SpaceX preparing Texas rocket factory and launch facilities

SpaceX has successfully delivered Starship hardware and manufacturing parts and tools to the company’s rocket factory and launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. SpaceX is transferring its Cocoa, Fla., Starship production hub to Texas along with its employees.


Manufacturer to invest $175 million in North Alabama

Houston-based Ascend Performance Materials announced in January that it will spend $175 million to increase production capacity at its Decatur, Ala., plant. Ascend produces adiponitrile, or ADN, on a large scale and is one of only four plants in the world that does.


Aerospace manufacturer expanding in Florida

Collins Aerospace is hiring more for its Engineered Polymer Products plant in North Jacksonville. The company makes composites for the aerospace and marine industries. One hundred jobs will be created.


Metal fabricator to invest $35 million in a new factory outside San Antonio

Wisconsin-based United Alloy announced it will invest $35 million in a new factory in Seguin, Texas. The company makes fuel tanks, reservoirs, skids, frames, chassis, trailers and other fabricated metal equipment. The company will hire 100 in the deal.


Arkansas minimum wage increases to $10

On January 1, 2020, Arkansas' minimum wage rose to $10 an hour. The increase is from $9.25 an hour. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour.


Panama City, Fla., led the state in job growth in 2019

The Panama City MSA, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael in October 2018, led the state of Florida in 2019 with a 5.5 percent jump in job gains in trade, transportation and utilities. The Panama City metro includes Bay and Gulf counties.


CGS Machine & Tool expands in Bowling Green, Ky.

CGS Machine & Tool, a parts producer for manufacturers, expects to create up to 15 full-time jobs with a $2.75 million investment at its Bowling Green facility.


Eli Lilly investing $470 million in North Carolina expansion

Indiana-based Eli Lilly and Company will invest over $470 million and create more than 460 new jobs in Durham, N.C. The global healthcare and biopharmaceutical company’s project will bring a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing facility to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.


Animatronic dinosaur manufacturer expanding HQ in Texas

Billings Productions, North America’s leading provider of life-size animatronic dinosaurs, will open a new 50,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing center in Allen, Texas. The facility is also expected to become a leading attraction in the Dallas metro area. The company will move its team of 40 expert craftspeople and 350 life-size dinosaur and giant bug animatronics to the new location, slated to open by late 2020.


GMAX Industries selects Franklin, Va., for complex

GMAX Industries, a New-York-based manufacturer of disposable medical products for the healthcare industry, will invest $10.5 million to establish a manufacturing and distribution operation in Franklin, Va. The facility will centralize the company’s operations in-house, creating 40 new jobs.


Blue Ridge Designs expands Virginia plant

Blue Ridge Designs, a fast-growing manufacturer of screen-printed apparel established in January 2019, will invest $2.28 million to expand its operation in Carroll County, Va. The company plans to create 118 jobs.


Sage Bird Ciderworks plans cidery in Harrisonburg, Va.

Sage Bird Ciderworks will open a new production facility and tasting room in the Culinary District of Harrisonburg. The project, which represents $155,000 in new investment, will create six new jobs and lead to the purchase of more than $53,000 of Virginia-grown products over the next three years.


GreenCore Materials selects Georgetown, S.C., for manufacturing plant

GreenCore Materials, a new manufacturer of composite materials used to strengthen plastic, plans to invest $10 million to establish operations in Georgetown, S.C. The company is projected to create 74 jobs.


StoneWorks plans expansion in South Carolina

StoneWorks plans to expand its operations by relocating to a new 37,000-square-foot facility in Port Royal, S.C. The $3.2 million investment will create 21 jobs in Beaufort County. StoneWorks is a leading source for marble, granite, stone, quartz and tile products.


Georgia-Pacific plans $145 million expansion in Darlington, S.C.

Georgia-Pacific plans to make an investment of more than $145 million at its Darlington, S.C., plant to expand plate and bowl making operations under its Dixie brand.


Gorman Woodyard expands in McEwen, Tenn.

Gorman Woodyard, a wood chipping company that provides material for several paper mills, will expand operations and add equipment at its home base in McEwen. The company expects to create 46 new jobs and invest $1.5 million in Humphreys County over the next five years.


Tokai Carbon GE expanding in Kentucky

Tokai Carbon GE, a manufacturer of graphite electrodes for the U.S. steel industry, plans to create up to 15 full-time jobs with a $25 million investment in an expansion of its facility in Fulton County, Ky.


Cybersecurity firm creating 164 jobs in Virginia

Cybersecurity firm Expel has announced a $1.4 million investment to expand its operations in Fairfax County, Va. The investment will increase the size of the company’s Herndon headquarters and create 164 new jobs.


New distribution center bringing 100 jobs to Montgomery County, Ky.

Wastequip, a manufacturer of waste handling equipment, will locate a new distribution center in Mt. Sterling. The $7.28 million investment is expected to create 100 jobs.


New trucking plant will create 250 jobs in Roanoke, Va.

Mack Trucks recently unveiled its brand-new Roanoke County facility. The $13 million Roanoke Valley Operation will provide 250 jobs.


Amazon bringing 1,000 more jobs to Tennessee

Amazon is adding to its Tennessee investments by establishing a new, state-of-the art fulfillment center in Memphis. The online retailer will create 1,000 full-time jobs at its new Shelby County fulfillment center. Employees will pick, pack and ship smaller items, such as books, electronics and consumer goods.


Innocor expands production at two facilities in Baldwyn, Miss.

Polyurethane foam manufacturer Innocor will invest $4.1 million to increase production at its two facilities in Baldwyn. The company plans to create 90 jobs to produce the popular “mattress in a box” products.


Webco Industries to invest millions in Oklahoma

Webco Industries plans to invest at least $10 million into a leadership campus expansion adjacent to the company’s two manufacturing facilities in Sand Springs, Okla. The 48-acre site will become Webco’s corporate headquarters and house its technical development and testing facilities.


Moving company expands into Prince William County, Va.

JK Moving Services, the nation’s largest independently owned and operated moving company, is planning an expansion into the Manassas area that brings with it about 300 new jobs.


New flooring manufacturer headed for Dalton, Ga.

Hong Kong-based Novalis Innovative Flooring will build its first U.S. production facility in Whitfield County to produce vinyl flooring materials. Novalis is investing $30 million dollars in the project and expects to create at least 120 new jobs.


Conagra announces investment, new jobs in Jackson, Tenn.

Conagra Brands has announced it will invest $106 million and add over 400 jobs to its existing facility in Jackson. Conagra produces brands such as Healthy Choice and Hunt’s.


Danish company blowing into South Texas with $361 million

Denmark’s largest energy company has proposed a $361 million wind farm in Zapata and Jim Hogg counties. Danish company Orsted could begin construction on a 100-turbine farm by the end of this year. The project, known as the Vaquero Wind Project, has received abatements from both counties.


Automobile terminal at Alabama State Docks will create jobs

An automobile terminal is being constructed at the Alabama State Docks in Mobile. The $60 million, 57-acre terminal will handle shipments of finished automobiles. . .up to 150,000 vehicles annually. The project is a joint venture between Terminal Zarate, based in Argentina, and Neltume Ports, based in Chile.


Lowe’s brings 150 jobs to Spartanburg County with new distribution center

Lowe’s has announced the opening of a new distribution center in Duncan, S.C., which will bring more than 150 new jobs. The 1.3 million-square-foot facility will distribute appliances and other large items to Lowe’s cross-dock facility for last-mile delivery to customers. The center will also resupply more than 100 Lowe’s stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.


Logistics company investing $12 million in Virginia

The Patton Logistics Group is making a $12 million investment to establish a new logistics and warehousing operation in Pulaski County, Va. The investment will also create 33 new jobs.


Manufacturer opens new facility in Tulsa, Okla.

Conner Industries, a provider of wood crates and pallets, will open a new manufacturing facility in Tulsa. Conner expects to hire 50 employees over the next year.


Johns Manville expands into Central Texas

Johns Manville, a building products manufacturer, announced plans to build a production plant for polyiso (used in insulation) in Hillsboro, Texas. When complete, more than 50 people will work there. According to the company’s CEO, locating in the area south of Dallas/Fort Worth makes sense because it’s “an area where construction is surging.”


Columbia, Mo.-based rental company creating hundreds of jobs

EquipmentShare, a high-tech rental company based in Columbia, plans to hire hundreds of employees across the state. William Schlacks and his brother Jabbok started the company in San Francisco, but moved the headquarters to Missouri, and recently announced plans to double their headcount this year, with 800 new jobs in Missouri.


Georgia lands first Korean supplier to car battery plant

Georgia has landed the first Korean suppler to the electric vehicle battery plant that will serve as the single largest foreign investment in the state’s history. EnChem, which makes electrolytes that go into rechargeable lithium batteries, will build two separate facilities next to the nearly $1.7 billion SK Innovation plant in Jackson County. Combined, the two locations will create 300 jobs with an investment of $61.35 million.


Defense company announces Mississippi expansion

Global aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman Corp. is expanding in the northeast Mississippi city of Iuka, investing $8.3 million and creating 40 jobs.


Italian tissue manufacturer plans June opening for Oklahoma plant

Italian tissue manufacturer Sofidel Group anticipates an early June grand opening for its $360 million plant in Inola. A total of 350 people will be employed at the 1.8 million-square-foot facility in Rogers County, which is expected to be fully operational this summer.


Macedon Technologies expands Virginia headquarters

Macedon Technologies will invest $1.65 million to expand its corporate headquarters in the Reston community of Fairfax County, Va. The company plans to create 147 new jobs. Macedon is a provider of Appian solutions for businesses. (Appian is a cloud computing company currently headquartered in Tysons, Va.)


Coca-Cola bottler building $60 million warehouse in rural Georgia

A Coca-Cola bottler is making a $60 million investment in Tifton, Ga., that the company says will create about 200 new jobs. Coca-Cola UNITED is one of North America’s largest privately held Coca-Cola bottlers, and is based in Birmingham, Ala.


Shuttered latex plant to reopen on Alabama-Georgia line

A company plans to create as many as 400 jobs as it reopens a closed latex factory in southeast Alabama. Medical Industries of the Americas intends to reopen a shuttered factory in Eufaula, Ala., in coming months to produce products including latex gloves.


Peace River Citrus expansion in Bartow, Fla., promises 175 jobs

Peace River Citrus Products will build a $98 million expansion of its Bartow juice processing plant that will bring 175 new high-paying jobs to the city.

“We’ve had many smaller home runs, but this is a grand slam,” said Rob Clancey, president of the Bartow Economic Development Council.


Traditional Medicinals plans hub in Rocky Mount, Va.

Traditional Medicinals, the leading seller of wellness teas in the United States, will invest $29.7 million to establish an East Coast herbal tea manufacturing and processing operation in Rocky Mount. The project is expected to create 56 new jobs in Franklin County.


Germany-based flow forming operation expands in Auburn, Ala.

Winkelmann Flowform Technology is expanding its operations with a $2.2 million project that is expected to create 12 new jobs over the next two years. The high-precision flow forming company opened its first U.S. location in Auburn in 2017, and has seen continued growth in the aerospace and defense segments of its business.


Gaming software developer plans Virginia HQ

Castle Hill Gaming has recently signed a lease for its new headquarters in Albemarle County, Va. In June, the company announced it would invest $1.3 million and add 106 jobs at its corporate headquarters there.


Thousand-job business park coming to DFW

A massive $71 million dollar industrial park project recently broke ground in Mesquite, Texas. The five-building park is expected to draw a variety of companies, resulting in about 1,000 jobs for North Texas.  The project named “Urban District 30” is nearly 1 million square feet.


Bottler expanding in South Carolina

A global independent bottler for retailers and A-brands in Europe and North America, Refresco plans to expand operations in Greer, S.C. The company’s plans to create 25 new jobs in Greenville County.


Ajinomoto Foods expands in Mississippi

Ajinomoto Foods North America, a manufacturer of Asian and ethnic frozen foods, is increasing capacity in Oakland, Miss. The project is a $27.3 million corporate investment, raising the number of employees to 450.


Made In Space relocates to Jacksonville, Fla.

Made In Space will relocate its corporate headquarters and satellite manufacturing operations from California to Jacksonville. NASA awarded the company a $73.7 million contract to develop Archinaut One, the world’s first self-assembling satellite, which will help NASA with long-term goals for missions from the Moon to Mars. The headquarters relocation and expansion will involve more than $3 million in new capital investment.


Chinese auto supplier expands in Tennessee

China-based Minth Group, a designer and manufacturer of structural body, trim and decorative parts for the automotive industry, will invest $87 million to expand operations in Lewisburg, Tenn. The automotive supplier will create 254 new jobs in Marshall County.


Work begins on $45 million chemical plant in Texas

ENF Technology has broken ground in the small city of Kyle between Austin and San Marcos. The South Korea-based chemical company will supply materials for electronics to high-tech companies. The $45 million-plus facility will initially hire 45 to 50 people.


Syngenta offered $3.6 million to stay in North Carolina

Elected officials from the city of Greensboro and Guilford County have approved an incentives package worth $3.6 million for Syngenta Crop Protection, the latest effort to retain another of the area’s economic engines. The company must retain its local workforce of 650 employees and invest at least $68 million in its Greensboro operation, which serves as its North American headquarters.


UPS to expand in Memphis

The Economic Development Growth Engine board approved $38 million in incentives for UPS, which will invest more than $216 million at its location at the Memphis airport. UPS, which employs more than 1,337 people there, plans a new automated parcel handling facility that would also create 25 new supervisory jobs.


Massachusetts manufacturer chooses Louisville, Ky.

Massachusetts-based Packaging Technology Group has chosen a Louisville location where it plans to create up to 40 new jobs. The company will spend $2 million to launch the plant, where they will make thermal shipping and packaging products for the biopharmaceutical and life sciences sector.


Topgolf in Northwest Arkansas to offer 350 new jobs

Three hundred and fifty full- and part-time jobs are coming to Northwest Arkansas this spring, thanks to the opening of TopGolf in Rogers.


LeanCor expands in Boone County, Ky.

Logistics company LeanCor Supply Chain Group plans to add 53 full-time jobs in Northern Kentucky and invest $4.4 million in moving its headquarters into a larger office building within Boone County.


WABCO expands distribution at its Kentucky plant

WABCO USA plans to triple its employment as it reinvests over $3 million in the distribution portion of its heavy duty truck parts manufacturing and warehousing facility in Hebron, Ky. WABCO currently employs 77 there.


General Motors plans major expansion in Tennessee

General Motors plans to invest $40 million at its Global Propulsion Systems plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The project will increase capacity of the 5.3L V8 engines for GM’s full-size truck and SUV programs.


Amazon recruiting for Bessemer, Ala., facility

Hiring is heating up for Amazon’s $325 million Bessemer fulfillment center. Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said many of the 1,500 available jobs, which are expected to start at $15 an hour, will be hired within the next eight weeks for the March opening. Amazon broke ground on its fulfillment center in fall 2018. The project is the largest economic development project for Birmingham in decades.


Hemp processor bringing jobs to Marion County, S.C.

South Carolina’s fast-growing hemp industry is bringing new jobs to Marion County. Pee Dee Extractors, a hemp processing company, announced it will establish operations in the county with a $2.9 million investment  that is expected to create 25 new jobs.


GM Arlington moving 300 temps to full-time

Close to 300 temporary workers at General Motors’ largest assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, are being moved up to full-time status, the automaker announced recently. Nationwide, more than 1,350 hourly GM employees at 14 manufacturing plants and other sites in eight states will be elevated to full-time status.


FedEx to hire 500 in its second job fair In 2020

A few weeks into 2020, and FedEx has already hosted its second job fair. The shipping and logistics giant held a hiring event Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Memphis World Hub. The goal is to fill 500 permanent part-time positions within FedEx Express.


Texas-based Toyota invests $394 million into flying taxis

Toyota Motor Co. is making a $394 million investment in California-based Joby Aviation, one of the handful of companies with the goal of making electric air taxis that shuttle people over gridlocked highways and city streets. Toyota is the lead investor, and makes Joby the best-funded “eVTOL” (electric vertical take-off and landing) startup in a booming category that must still overcome regulatory hurdles and concerns about passenger safety and noise. Joby has raised a total of $720 million.


Volvo building U.S. battery assembly plant in South Carolina

In preparation for bringing a new line of electric vehicles to the U.S. market, Volvo announced it will build a battery assembly plant at its existing facility in Ridgeville, S.C. The plant is part of a $600 million expansion project in Ridgeville, which began rolling out the Swedish automaker’s luxury sport sedan, the S60, in late 2018. The current expansion also includes a second production line for an electrified version of its flagship XC90 crossover. Approximately 1,000 jobs will be created for the XC90 production line, but no word yet on how many jobs might be created for the battery assembly plant.


Leonardo becomes first client for Santa Rosa, Fla.’s aviation park

Last September, Italian-based Leonardo announced it would become the first tenant with a helicopter maintenance facility at the new Whiting Aviation Park in Santa Rosa County, Fla. In January, the Navy announced that Leonardo had been selected for a $176 million contract to build 32 training helicopters for Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The new facility at the park will allow helicopter technicians to work on the helicopters immediately instead of having to ship them to facilities in other parts of the country. The maintenance facility will provide up to 50 high-paying civilian aviation maintenance jobs and is expected to grow even larger once it ramps up.


LNG export facility to be constructed in Florida

A new LNG export facility has been announced for Jacksonville, Fla. Eagle LNG has partnered with Matrix Service Company to build a $500 million facility that could provide up to 26,000 jobs in Northeast Florida.


Big win for Richmond, Va.

CoStar Group announced that it has concluded a national search for its research operations headquarters, selecting Richmond, Va. CoStar expects to create approximately 730 jobs and invest a quarter billion dollars there. The IT company curates and certifies information on the vast majority of commercial real estate transactions in the United States.


Bakery investing $25 million to expand in Lynchburg, Va.

Flowers Foods, one of the nation’s largest producers of packaged baked foods, will spend $25 million to transform its Lynchburg bakery into an organic facility. The project will create 15 new jobs.


NearShore Technology plans Atlanta hub

NearShore Technology, a software outsourcing company, will open a new software and innovation hub in midtown Atlanta, Ga. The project is expected to create more than 30 new jobs.


Gulf Coast Ammonia plans world-scale plant in Galveston County, Texas

Gulf Coast Ammonia (GCA) is building a $1 billion facility for nitrogen-based fertilizers that will be located within an industrial chemical site in Texas City, Texas. The facility and infrastructure will generate more than 1,000 construction jobs and more than 40 permanent operations jobs in Galveston County. GCA is a joint venture of Mabanaft and Starwood Energy.


Toshiba plans distribution hub in Horn Lake, Miss.

Toshiba America Business Solutions is opening distribution operations in Horn Lake. The $14 million project will create 40 jobs. The company provides printers, document services and digital signage for businesses.


Building products company coming to Dillon County, S.C.

Huber Engineered Woods announced recently it will bring its operations to Dillon County, along with 30 new jobs. The manufacturer plans to invest $30 million in the facility that will treat paper materials and supply a critical component of its panel manufacturing process.


Parker Boats expanding in North Carolina

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Carteret County in January to celebrate 30 jobs heading to the area. North Carolina-based Parker Boats is adding a new 10,000-square-foot facility next to its fishing boat manufacturing plant in Beaufort.


Ficosa to add 100 jobs in Tennessee

Michigan-based manufacturer of vehicle mirrors and other parts, Ficosa, will discontinue operations at its facility in Shelbyville, Ky., and move the plant’s manufacturing activity to its facility in Cookeville, Tenn. The consolidation will result in 100 new hires at the Shelbyville location.


Massive $450 million Lake Nona, Fla., training center completed

One of Central Florida’s most expensive construction projects is preparing to open its doors. New York-based auditing firm KPMG’s project marks the largest capital investment ever for the company. The 55-acre site will bring thousands of KPMG employees into the market, creating at least 80 new jobs at the facility and more than 250 third-party contract operator positions.


NCS Technologies expands HQ To Prince William County, Va

NCS Technologies is investing $15 million to expand into a 109,000-square-foot headquarters building at Innovation Park in Prince William County. The computer designer and manufacturer currently employs 120 people in Prince William County, and the new building will provide space for 30 to 60 more employees.


McKinney, Texas, manufacturer plans major expansion

Encore Wire, one of the largest businesses in McKinney for three decades, plans to construct a $52 million distribution center there. Encore currently employs more than 1,300 workers in its McKinney headquarters and plants to manufacture electrical wire and cable used in commercial and residential buildings.

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