April 2020

IMF predicts major rebound in 2021

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), COVID-19 will create the worst worldwide economic depression since the Great Depression. Gita Gopinath, Director of the IMF’s Research Department, wrote in April that the virus is "unlike anything experienced in our lifetimes." However, the IMF doesn't think the recessionary conditions will last long, stating that if the virus subsides in the second half of this year, global growth will rebound to 5.8 percent in 2021.


Goldman Sachs officials see highest unemployment rate since World War II

In a report published in the spring, Goldman Sachs said that the second quarter GDP decline will be 11 percent from a year ago and 35 percent from the previous quarter. In the meantime, the unemployment rate should rise to 15 percent in the second quarter. However, the recovery in the second half of the year could be stronger than anything the U.S. has seen.


Coronavirus job loss wipes out a decade of job gains

In the last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment. The job losses in just four weeks are more than the job gains over the last 10 years. At no time in U.S. history since the Great Depression has the nation seen this many jobs lost.


Fed says manufacturing decline largest since 1946

Data released by the Federal Reserve in April showed that manufacturing in the U.S. has dropped to levels not seen since 1946, one year after the end of World War II. The low levels are due to so many manufacturers closing plants, including almost all automotive plants in April.


U.S. home-building activity collapses

The home-building industry fell by 22.3 percent in March. Construction of single-family housing fell 17.5 percent according to the Commerce Department. Apartment and condo starts dropped by 32.1 percent from February.


Airplane travel sinks to levels not seen in six decades

U.S. air travel has sunk to levels not seen in 60 years. The Transportation Security Administration screened just 90,000 passengers one day in April, a drop of 96 percent from a year ago. And it gets worse. . .TSA checkpoint inflates the number of travelers as it also includes pilots and airline crew members. The record drop in air travel has seen revenues for airlines drop by 90 percent compared to the same months last year. American, Delta, Southwest and other airlines agreed to share $25 billion in federal grants and low interest loans in April. Airlines in the U.S. saw a decade-long rise in traffic, hiring thousands of workers and making billions.


Former fed bank president to chair Dallas economic recovery

Former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president Richard Fisher will chair Dallas' newly formed economic recovery task force. Fisher led the Dallas Federal Reserve for 10 years. Until the COVID-19 outbreak started, Dallas led the nation in several key factors, including job creation.


Missouri market puts together $1 billion package for Tesla Cybertruck factory

Joplin, Mo., has put together a package of incentives and savings to lure Elon Musk's plant to build Cybertruck electric vehicles. The package includes a discount on a 1,042-acre site as well as a combination of state and local tax credits.


Dallas airport to revisit $3 billion expansion

The DFW International Airport was scheduled to construct a new $3 billion terminal this year but the coronavirus now has airport officials reevaluating the project. Some airlines have seen traffic drop as much as 90 percent in the first month of the virus. The new terminal would have served American Airlines.


Air Force makes it official; Montgomery will be home to F-35s

The Secretary of the Air Force officially selected the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery as the Air National Guard's sixth location for the F-35s. The decision to make Montgomery a home for an F-35 fighter wing will means thousands of new jobs for Central Alabama.


Protective clothing manufacturer expanding in Alabama

Kappler Inc., a maker of protective clothing for first responders and healthcare workers, is adding space at its plant in Guntersville, Ala. The expansion will result in 60 new jobs.


Charter Communications to hire 350 in El Paso

Charter Communications announced in the spring it will house 350 workers at a new sales operations center in El Paso, Texas. The company is looking for sales professionals to assist customers when choosing internet, mobile, video and voice services.


Japanese company opens plant in Laurens County, S.C.

Japan-based Meidensha Corporation has opened a new manufacturing plant in Laurens County, S.C. The company makes vacuum circuit breakers. The $8 million project will create 41 new jobs.


Cabinet manufacturer investing $86 million near Charlotte

GoldenHome International, a subsidiary of a Chinese company, is investing $86 million to establish a factory in the old Philip Morris site in Concord, N.C. The company manufactures kitchen cabinets and other furnishings. The deal will create 257 jobs.


Carolina Panthers owner nets large incentive package for the team's new headquarters in South Carolina

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has secured $160 million in incentives from the state of South Carolina for the team's new headquarters in Rock Hill, S.C. Along with the state, York County is now set to include a local package of $225 million to the team, which will essentially build the Panthers facility in Rock Hill.


Large solar farm being built in rural Mississippi

Recurrent Energy announced in the spring it will build the largest utility-owned solar farm in the state of Mississippi. The company is building the facility for Entergy Mississippi on 1,000 acres in Sunflower County. The project will be complete in 2022.


Gastonia, N.C., lands deal in midst of pandemic

Dymax will invest over $21 million for a new manufacturing plant in Gaston County, N.C. The company is a maker of chemicals used in a variety of industry sectors. The project will create 59 jobs.


Fed official predicts shutdowns for 18 months

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said in the spring quarter that the U.S. economy could see "rolling shutdowns" as the coronavirus outbreak flares and subsides based on opening the economy. Kashkari said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that flare-ups of the virus will continue until there is a vaccine. He used the example of other countries that have opened their economies followed by a second wave of the virus.


JPMorgan sees contraction of 40 percent in second quarter

JPMorgan issued a report in the early spring predicting that U.S. gross domestic product will contract by 40 percent in the second quarter. Economists for the company also predict a second-half recovery based on the fact that the pandemic will fade in the second half of the year. They also predicted that the unemployment rate could rise in the second quarter to 20 percent.


Lockheed Martin hiring in Texas

One of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro's largest employers has hired 166 people for its plant in April and plans to hire 700 more this summer. Lockheed Martin fully assembles the F-35 fighter jet at its facilities in Fort Worth.


Trade through ports in Georgia falls in March

Trade through Georgia's ports dropped by 18.5 percent in March compared to March 2019. The drop was mostly due to a collapse in imports from Asia.


Airbus pauses production at Mobile, Ala., plant

Netherlands-based aerospace corporation Airbus is halting production at its only U.S. plant in Mobile, Ala. The decision to suspend production of the A220 and A320 model planes is due to the coronavirus and high inventory levels as airlines see revenue drop as much as 90 percent in the spring quarter.


New CEO named for Alabama State Port Authority

John Driscoll, the maritime director at the Port of Oakland, has been named the new CEO of the Alabama State Port Authority. Driscoll replaces Jimmy Lyons, who has been the CEO for the port for more than two decades.


More Texans filed for unemployment than in all of 2019

In the last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April, more than 760,000 people in Texas applied for unemployment insurance. That's more than the 700,000 people who filed for unemployment in all of 2019.


One third in the U.S. did not pay their rent in April

Only 69 percent of households paid their rent in April as unemployment rose to unprecedented levels as a result of the coronavirus. Eighty-one percent paid their rent in March.


Farmers leave fruits and vegetables to rot

Farmers in all 15 Southern states plowed under or left fruits and vegetables to rot in their fields. The farmer's produce is not selling because restaurants, theme parks and schools closed because of the virus.


Japanese automakers furloughing workers in the Southern Automotive Corridor by the tens of thousands

Nissan and Honda are furloughing workers without pay at their plants in the South because of the coronavirus. In April, Nissan said it would furlough about 10,000 workers at its plants in Mississippi and Tennessee calling the move a temporary shutdown. Honda will furlough about 14,400 workers at its plants in the U.S. The furloughed workers will keep their benefits such as health care.


Boeing closes plants in Washington and South Carolina

Chicago-based Boeing has suspended all production of airliners at its plants in Washington State and South Carolina. The company announced it would buy out employee contracts to avoid typical layoffs. The closures affect tens of thousands of workers and will remain until further notice. In April, Boeing officials said it will reopen its 787 facilities in Washington State by May 1.


Raleigh company to create more than 1,000 jobs

Raleigh, N.C.-based Bandwidth announced in the spring it will invest $100 million in a major expansion of its Research Triangle facilities. The project includes a new headquarters and more than 1,000 jobs created. Bandwidth sells software to technology firms for message and voice applications.


Kentucky governor cited by U.S. News and World Report

New Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was named by U.S. News and World Report as the top governor in the country in governing through the coronavirus pandemic. Beshear earned a score of 4.44 percent out of 5 percent. In the publication's poll, 86 percent said Beshear was doing a good or excellent job at governing during the crisis.


Virus devastates U.S. economy and here is one reason why

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, two thirds of workers such as those in retail, lodging and restaurant services cannot work from home. In fact, the research showed that only 37 out of every 100 jobs can be performed remotely.


UN Labor Agency said virus to wipe out 195 million jobs globally in the second quarter of 2020

The United Nations' International Labor Organization reported in the spring quarter that the coronavirus pandemic will snuff out 6.7 percent of working hours worldwide in the second quarter. That is equivalent of 195 million full-time workers with a standard 48-hour work week.


South Carolina automakers shut plants down

Volvo and BMW closed their plants in South Carolina in March until further notice. Volvo, which employs about 1,500 workers currently in Berkeley County and is in the midst of a major expansion to add a SUV line, saw its sales drop 31.2 percent in March worldwide. BMW, which houses about 11,000 workers at its plant in Spartanburg County, saw sales drop by 15.3 percent in the first quarter in the U.S.


Texas' economy gets slammed

Texas, which has one of the largest state economies in the country, is being challenged economically like never before. Home to American and Southwest Airlines, the airline industry has seen tens of thousands of layoffs and as much as a 90 percent drop in revenue. The state's ports are struggling and its oil industry, one of the largest in the world has collapsed.


Longest stretch of job growth ends in March

The longest job-creating recovery in American history ended in March 2020 after nearly 11 years. In three weeks in March and April, nearly 18 million people lost their jobs.


Truist buys Charlotte headquarters tower

Truist, the new bank formed by the mergers of Winston-Salem-based BB&T and Atlanta-based SunTrust banks, purchased its headquarters in Charlotte in the spring quarter. The new bank is relocating to the 966,000-square-foot tower formerly named the Hearst Tower. The bank will rename the building the Truist Center.


Boat manufacturer to add jobs in North Carolina

Correct Craft, a Florida-based company that recently purchased Beaufort, N.C.-based Parker Boats, announced in the spring it will create 38 new jobs in an expansion of the Carteret County plant. The company will invest $1.7 million in the expansion.


Norfolk Southern officially announces the relocation of its headquarters to Atlanta

Norfolk Southern, a Fortune 500 company, officially announced what everyone already knew in the spring quarter — that it is relocating its headquarters from Virginia to downtown Atlanta. The railroad is relocating hundreds of jobs over the course of a couple of years.


Financial services firm hiring 300 in Dallas-Fort Worth

Fidelity Investments is hiring 300 workers at its six offices in Dallas-Fort Worth as the company's clients are trying to navigate the coronavirus financial disaster. Fidelity employs over 5,000 workers in Dallas-Fort Worth, including at its 332-acre campus in Westlake.


Austin remains fastest growing U.S. city

Austin's metro population jumped to 2.3 million in 2019. That was an increase of 2.8 percent from the prior year. The growth rate makes Austin the fastest growing city in the U.S. for the ninth consecutive year.


Fed says job losses could hit 47 million

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs since the nation was hit with the coronavirus. Economists at the St. Louis Federal Reserve estimated in the spring that the worst is yet to come with up to 47 million losing their jobs. If that happens, the unemployment rate would rise to 32.1 percent.


Manufacturer to open distribution center in Virginia

Navien, a manufacturer and distributor of tankless water heaters, is opening a distribution center in James City County, Va. The 300,000-square-foot facility will act as a distribution center for the first two years and then phase into a manufacturing plant. The project will create 180 jobs.


Fastest sell-off ever in stocks

The S&P took only 22 days to fall 30 percent from its record highs on February 19, 2020. It was the fastest drop in S&P history according to Bank of America Securities. The second, third and fourth fastest drops in U.S. history happened during the Great Depression in 1934, 1931 and 1929.


Automotive supplier expanding in Alabama

Hayashi Telempu North America (HTNA), a Michigan-based supplier of automotive interior components, is expanding its plant in Walker County, Ala. The $7 million project will create 19 jobs.


As the coronavirus spreads, Amazon to hire 100,000 nationwide

Amazon.com announced in the spring it will hire an additional 100,000 workers in the U.S. Over 6,000 of those will be in North Texas and 2,000 in North Carolina.


Italian company to establish manufacturing facility in New Orleans

Iriapak, a packaging film manufacturer, announced in the spring it will invest $7 million in a new facility in Eastern New Orleans. The company makes packaging for home paper products. The project will create 25 full-time jobs.


Google to invest $10 billion in U.S. offices and data centers this year

Google said in February it will invest $10 billion in offices and data centers this year. In the South, the investments will be made in Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas.


Collins Aerospace expands in Texas

A subsidiary of United Technologies, Collins Aerospace, is expanding its plant in Haltom City, Texas. The company is closing a Fort Worth facility to move into a larger one. The deal will create 40 jobs.


Allegiant to establish a base of operations at Concord Airport in Concord, N.C.

Allegiant will invest $50 million to establish a new aircraft base in Concord. It will be the airline's 21st aircraft base. The deal will create 66 jobs.


New manufacturing plant slated for Hickory, N.C.

ITM Isotopen, a joint venture, will build a new plant in Hickory, N.C. The company will produce a new generation of radiopharmaceuticals to treat cancer patients. The $12 million facility, when built, will house 137 workers.

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