Fall 2022 News

After some thought, Toyota joins big in the EV manufacturing craze.

Toyota adds $2.5 billion on top of the $1.3 billion initial investment announced for its first U.S. battery factory in Liberty, N.C., near Greensboro. Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina is expected to produce batteries for its electric vehicle at the site in 2025.

Automakers, both foreign and domestic, have begun a land grab of tens of thousands of acres in the South to product electric vehicles and their primary parts, such as batteries.

Toyota officials have been slow to announce EV deals until now. In late August, Toyota’s Executive Vice President, Jack Hollis, said in multiple media reports that “the consumer isn’t demanding (EVs) at that level,” referring to the growing movement towards electric vehicles in the U.S.


Boeing captures $5 billion contract to defend the entire United States against long-range ballistic missiles

The giant project will be built and developed in Huntsville, Ala. Long-range ballistic missiles can house and deliver nuclear weapons and can fly as far as 10,000 miles.


Everyone knows about San Francisco, Palo Alto and New York’s startup prowess. It’s off the charts. But, Birmingham?

According to New Hampshire-based early-stage investment firm York IE, the fastest-growing startup city (per capita we assume) in the U.S. is Kirkland, Wash., which saw $298 million in funding for the second quarter, an increase of 1,724 percent. It was followed by Stanford, Calif., and Madison, Wisc. Birmingham followed at fourth, with $47 million in the second quarter, according to an article on AL.com.


$1 billion solar panel manufacturing facility to be built in the South

First Solar announced in the fall quarter it will build a new solar panel manufacturing facility in the U.S. on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act, whichincentivizes domestic manufacturing. The company said the plant will be located in the Southeast.


Offshore wind farms in Louisiana and Texas’ Gulf coasts could power 3 million homes

The Gulf of Mexico’s first offshore wind farms will be developed off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Biden administration announced. When completed years from now, together they are expected to power more than 3 million homes. Offshore wind energy has lagged behind other countries in Europe and in China.


The Midwest leads all regions in chicken eggs; South dominates chicken meat

Chicken production in America’s vast agriculture industry continues unabated as the product is the preferred source of protein worldwide. The U.S. contributes greatly to the world’s chicken production with over 8 billion chickens consumed each year out of the 65 billion worldwide. According to The Economist, the amount of chickens being eaten has increase 70 percent since 1990.States in the Midwest like Iowa, Ohio and Indiana lead all regions in overall chicken production, including eggs. Yet, in the growing of chickens for their meat, the South reigns supreme with Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi making up the top five.



Mercedes begins assembling electric vehicles at Alabama plant

Twenty-five years after rolling out SUV job No. 1 at its plant in Vance, Ala., German automaker Mercedes-Benz assembled its first electric SUV at its only U.S. OEM facility. Five years of development and $1 billion in investments for battery-making and a new assembly line has created 1,000 new jobs in West Alabama. During that time, Mercedes has faced all kinds of hurdles to start EV production, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the semi-conductor shortage, staffing challenges and global supply chain issues. The automaker houses nearly 5,000 workers at its plants in Tuscaloosa and Bibb counties.


Two-million-square-foot industrial park planned near Mazda Toyota in North Alabama

Fairway Investments and Triad Properties have purchased land to build a two-million-square foot industrial park off Greenbriar Parkway in the fast-growing Limestone County part of Huntsville. The property is located a short distance from the $2.3 billion Mazda and Toyota’s joint venture automotive assembly plant in Limestone County, Ala. The name of the park will be the Huntsville West Industrial Park.


Huntsville, Ala., named No. 1 place to live in U.S., again

Huntsville was named the No. 1 place to live in the U.S. for 2022-2023 by U.S. News & World Report. Huntsville’s economy, which is as technically advanced as any in the country with NASA and other space-based companies, the military (namely Redstone Arsenal and other high tech firms, employs tens of thousands in the North Alabama city.


United Launch Alliance to expand rocket factory in Alabama

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the companies Beyond Gravity and M&J Industries are expanding facilities in Decatur, Ala. ULA will build new Vulcan rockets in Decatur to lift commercial communications satellites. The project will bring 250 jobs to the North Alabama market.


Rural Alabama boosted by high-tech manufacturing

Rural Alabama is capturing some of its most important job generators in decades, particularly from the big industry hitters. From Lockheed Martin’s plan to boost production of its in-demand Javelin missile in Troy to a pioneering project involving remote air traffic control in Selma, the work happening in Alabama’s rural counties is being felt around the world. “Aerospace and aviation are key industries for Alabama’s economy, and the contributions of our rural counties are vital to their success,” said Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Global defense contractors and other manufacturers have deep roots in these counties, where they have invested heavily in facilities, equipment and cutting-edge technology to serve markets around the world with strategic products and services,” Tuck said in an article published on madeinalabama.com.


Cabinet maker adding over 400 jobs in Alabama

Wellborn Cabinets, whose cabinets are distributed nationwide, will build a manufacturing facility in Oxford, Ala., that will produce new kitchen and bath cabinetry. The $17 million project will create 415 jobs.


Huntsville-based HudsonAlpha to team with the city of Dothan, Ala., for biotech innovation center

The city of Dothan and Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will team to develop an education and innovation center in Southeast Alabama. The center will also focus on agricultural research.


Defense contractor adding jobs in Birmingham, Ala.

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. announced recently it will expand its operations in Birmingham. Kratos acquired the engineering division of Birmingham-based Southern Research in an $80 million asset transaction in May. The $8 million deal will create 76 jobs for the company that support rocket development.


Company invests $25 million in Southeast Alabama

Ecore International plans to invest $25.5 million to open a state-of-the-art manufacturing and recycling facility in the city of Ozark, Ala. The Pennsylvania-based company specializes in transforming reclaimed materials into high-performance flooring and surface products.



Arkansas gets go ahead for federal funds for broadband

Arkansas plans to invest $47.5 million of federal funds to serve an estimated 5,500 homes and businesses through its Arkansas Rural Connect broadband grant program, the U.S. Treasury said in a news release.


Northwest Arkansas suffering from major success

Northwest Arkansas, home of the worldwide headquarters of Walmart, America’s largest employer, has seen home prices rise in the region nearly 50 percent in the last five years. Some essential workers such as teachers, EMTs, and police officers have moved away because of factors like cost of living and availability. The issue is not unprecedented in the South, where even small regions are suffering from economic development success.


Textbook distributor to expand Arkansas facilities

GoTextbooks is establishing a second distribution center in the Little Rock metro. The project calls for more than 200 new workers.

Tractor Supply to build new distribution center in Maumelle, Ark.

Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, is investing more than $120 million in a new distribution center in Maumelle. The 1.2-million-square-foot facility will house almost 500 employees.



Over 11,000 solar industry jobs created in Florida last year

According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 11,700 jobs were created in the solar energy industry last year in Florida. The job growth took place in a year of record solar installations driven by increased demand for renewable energy among residential customers, municipalities, businesses and electric utilities.



Massive industrial park proposed near massive Hyundai EV plant in Southeast Georgia

Haiseal Timber, a Dublin, Ga.-based company that owns swaths of undeveloped forests across the Southeast and specifically in Southeast Georgia where Korean automaker Hyundai is building one of the largest economic development projects in the South’s history, is planning to develop a large industrial park there in Bryan County. The park could accommodate up to 5 million square feet of industrial space.


Georgia continues film and television surge

Georgia saw $4.4 billion in spending from film and TV productions in the fiscal year that ended in June. Shooting in Georgia continues to surge thanks to its generous tax incentive program.


Monster electric vehicle plant’s construction has first job fair

Barnett Southern hosted a job fair in the Savannah, Ga., area to attract laborers to help begin excavation ahead of construction at the Bryan County megasite that will house the incoming Hyundai EV plant.  Over 1,000 jobseekers attended the job fair.


Japanese electric vehicle parts maker to shift location of $150 million plant from South Carolina to Georgia

Nippon Denkai will build a $150 million plant in Augusta, Ga., instead of its original site in Camden, S.C. The plant will make copper foil for electric vehicle batteries. The company will hire 100 in the deal.


Consulting firm nearly doubling staff in Atlanta

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting company, recently announced plans to nearly double its Atlanta workforce, hiring more than 700 people by 2025. The company plans to create a hub specializing in technology and innovation, and will put the center in Atlanta largely to maximize the amount of diversity in the expanded workforce, company officials said.



Electric vehicle parts maker making major investment in Kentucky

In late August, Envision AESC broke ground on a $2 billion electric vehicle battery gigafactory in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The deal, a further testament that the EV industry is positively affecting just about every Southern state, is expected to generate 2,000 jobs.


EV battery parts maker to invest over $300 million in Western Kentucky

Massachusetts-based Ascend Elements picks Hopkinsville for a plant that will produce materials for electric vehicle batteries, Gov. Andy Beshear announced in August. The plant will house up to 400 employees.


Kentucky distillery company to invest $400 million in Kentucky

Spirits maker Beam Suntory is investing $400 million to expand a bourbon distillery in Nelson County, Ky. The deal will create 50 jobs.


Another big deal in Bowling Green

O-I Glass will build a new glass bottle manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Ky. The company will invest $239 million, pay $43 an hour and create 140 jobs at the plant that will produce glass bottles for the Kentucky premium spirits market.


Automotive supplier Purem by Eberspaecher to add 250 workers in Louisville, Ky.

Purem by Eberspaecher, a German automotive supplier, celebrated the opening of its Louisville operation in August. The deal will create 250 jobs.


Atlas Machine to locate new facility in Kentucky

Atlas Machine and Supply Inc. announced it is investing $3.47 million to construct a new facility in Hardinsburg, Ky. The company will serve as the company’s Field Machining Division, which performs on-site industrial repairs for manufacturers throughout the United States. The deal will create 78 new jobs.



Louisiana to see energy cash windfall

Louisiana could receive $1.9 billion in revenue from Gulf of Mexico oil and gas and a separate share of revenue from Gulf wind energy operations, according to the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resource Committee. The windfall will come based on the bipartisan Reinvesting In Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems Act, authored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and Bill Cassidy, R-La. That bill would lift the existing $500 million annual cap on oil and gas revenue shared with other Gulf states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.


Louisiana has more employed than ever before

This summer, Louisiana had more workers and the lowest unemployment rate (3.8 percent) in state history, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Louisiana now has more than 2 million employed workers.


Shell to convert old Louisiana refinery to sustainable fuel plant

London-based Shell plans to build a sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel production facility at its shuttered refinery in Convent, La., according to documents filed with Louisiana Economic Development. The alternative fuels complex will represent an investment of about $1.4 billion.


Rural Louisiana paying to recruit individuals and families

Ruston, La., is a college town of just over 20,000 residents located near Shreveport. Fueled by the explosion in remote working, Ruston has joined a cohort of small cities and rural areas around the country offering incentives to lure new residents. In Ruston’s case, the city government has awarded 25 grants worth $10,000 apiece to applicants who meet certain qualifications, including earning a certain income, working remotely and agreeing to stay for three years. Former students at Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University, the area’s two institutions of higher learning, get preferential treatment.


New Orleans approves huge downtown riverfront development project

A new riverfront development next to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center known as the River District was approved by the convention center’s board members. The value of the land, which is directly on the Mississippi River, is estimated at $250 million.


Louisiana governor announces millions in grants for affordable housing and internet services

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced $130 million in grants to create affordable housing and internet services to more than 66,000 households in Louisiana. The grants are funded through the American Rescue Plan and coordinated by the state’s Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities program.


Unique manufacturer to expand in Louisiana

ASH Industries, a custom molding manufacturer that produces specialized products ranging from surgical devices to laser light show components, will invest $5 million to expand its Lafayette Parish facility. The project will create 85 new jobs.


New sawmill to invest $110 million in Louisiana

The Teal-Jones Group, a company based in British Columbia, Canada, is building the Southern yellow pine lumber plant. It also has U.S. operations in Mississippi and Virginia.


Cargill to upgrade, add jobs in Louisiana

Cargill, a major international supplier of food, agricultural and industrial products, is upgrading its facility in St. Martin Parish, La., that produces food, water conditioning and salt products for a variety of industries. The $34 million deal calls for 70 new jobs.


Rubber manufacturer investing $22 million in Louisiana

Lion Elastomers, a synthetic rubber manufacturer, is investing $22 million on a new production facility at its Geismar plant. The expansion will increase output at the plant, which provides rubber products for tire manufacturers and other industries. It is not expected to lead to any new hiring, though it should help retain 176 jobs.



Maryland unemployment rate stays at 4 percent

The state of Maryland is adding jobs, even though labor availability is at a premium. The average unemployment rate during the summer in Maryland was 4 percent, the lowest since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maryland jobs are up by 86,900, an over-the-year change of 3.3 percent. The education and health services sector experienced the most growth with an increase of 4,000 jobs.


Rural Maryland to receive economic development grants

The Washington County Office of Grant Management is accepting eligible projects to consider for funding through the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund. The grant program is funded by the Maryland Department of Commerce through a partnership with the State’s five tri-county councils serving the rural regions of Maryland.



Mississippi celebrates 30 years of the “Mississippi Miracle”

The first casino in Biloxi, Miss., debuted 30 years ago. The casino craze in Mississippi began on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has employed tens of thousands of Mississippians throughout the state since then.


Tractor plant to bring jobs to Lowndes County, Miss.

Terberg Taylor Americas Group will manufacture terminal tractors near Columbus, Miss., in Lowndes County. The $16 million deal will create 90 jobs.



Vietnamese electric carmaker to receive largest incentive package in North Carolina history

VinFast, a Vietnam-based EV manufacturer, will receive an incentive package from the state of North Carolina that will top $1 billion. VinFast is quickly entering the North American and European markets and will employ thousands at its plant in Chatham County, N.C.


North Carolina increases giant incentives package for Toyota

The Tar Heel State is adding millions to Toyota’s incentive package to assist in building an 1,800-acre megasite in Randolph County, N.C., for the Japanese automaker’s electric car battery plant, the first in North America. A regulatory bill passed into law in the summer quarter reserves another $225 million for the plant’s potential further growth. Between state and local incentives, North Carolina had already dedicated around $439 million to the project, with Toyota in turn pledging to invest $1.27 billion and create 1,750 jobs by 2029.


Biotech manufacturer chooses Eastern North Carolina for facility

ABEC, Inc., a global leader providing engineered process solutions and services for biotech manufacturing, is establishing another ISO-7 cleanroom to increase manufacturing capacity at its Wilson County, N.C., facility. The project will create over 250 jobs.


Homebuilder to bring 189 jobs to North Carolina

NVR, a Fortune 500 company that builds single-family site-built homes, will build a new factory in Fayetteville and expand operations in Cleveland and Cumberland County, N.C., to manufacture parts for its homes. The company is investing $30 million to add over 200 jobs at its two facilities in West North Carolina.


Hickory, N.C., captures long-standing employer’s expansion

Merchants Distributors (MDI), a wholesale grocery distributor founded in Hickory in 1931, will invest $35 million in a new expansion of its services and operations, creating 125 jobs. The company anticipates adding approximately 250,000 square feet to its perishable-foods capacity at its Caldwell County facilities.



Bosch will invest $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina

German auto supplier Bosch said it will invest more than $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina. Bosch plans to expand an existing factory in Anderson, S.C., to build the fuel cell “stacks” starting in 2026. The investment is expected to create at least 350 new jobs at the factory, the company said.


Drug delivery device manufacturer picks Charleston County, S.C.

Switzerland-based SHL Medical announced recently it is establishing a new manufacturing site in Charleston County. SHL Medical designs and manufactures drug delivery devices for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. The company announced the investment of $90 million, which will create 165 jobs.


Pet retailer to build new center in South Carolina

Pet Supplies Plus, a leading pet retail company, is investing $53 million in a new distribution center in Orangeburg County, S.C. The company will hire 272 with the project.


Modular housing manufacturer to hire 215 in South Carolina

Impact Housing Group, a manufacturer of modular design housing, is investing $30 million in a new assembly plant in Oconee County, S.C. The company is a fully integrated, volumetric modular housing manufacturer that provides solutions for more affordable homes. The project will create 215 jobs.



Foreign-based tire makers grow to invest more than $5 billion in Tennessee

The world's biggest tire manufacturers are boosting their investments and tire output in Tennessee with nearly $1.2 billion of additional investments announced in just the past week. The South Korean-based Hankook Tire & Technology Company said it will invest another $612 million in its Clarksville, Tenn., plant and add 397 more jobs over the next five years.


Germany-based WACKER to expand its facilities in Southeast Tennessee

WACKER will expand its silicone production plant in Charleston, Tenn. The phased investment of more than $200 million over several years will add 200 new jobs to the workforce of 700 that is currently housed there.


One thousand construction workers at Ford’s BlueOval City plant site in Western Tennessee

There has been no groundbreaking for Ford’s massive new electric vehicle plant just north of Memphis, but that does not mean activity has not begun. Over 1,000 workers are preparing the site as of September in Haywood County, Tenn., with over 2,000 expected by the end of October. The $5.6 billion (that’s with a “B”) electric truck and battery plant will see over 5,000 construction workers by next summer.


Thermo Fisher opens its newest manufacturing facility near Nashville

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, has opened its largest single-use technology manufacturing site in Lebanon, Tenn. The Massachusetts-based manufacturer of vaccines and therapies for cancer and other diseases is investing $105 million to meet growing demand for its bioprocessing materials.


South Korean company to locate first North American in Tennessee

Duksan Electera America will locate a new manufacturing facility in Shelbyville, Tenn. The EV-based parts maker will invest $95 million and hire over 100 in the deal.



Idaho-based Micron Technology  considers multibillion-dollar chip factory near Austin

Micron Technology is the latest high-tech giant to consider the Austin area for a multibillion-dollar manufacturing operation. According to the Austin American Statesman, the company is checking out sites near Lockhart, Texas, according to its applications for tax breaks filed with the state comptroller's office. The investment would total at least $20 billion, but could grow much higher from 2030 to 2040.


Korean chipmaker considering colossal Austin area expansion

Samsung, which already operates a computer chip plant in Austin and is currently building another nearby in Taylor, Texas, is considering 11 new fabrication plants in Central Texas. The projects could top out at $200 billion. The potential plans are described in 11 applications Samsung has filed with the Taylor and Manor school districts seeking tax breaks for building the facilities.


Dallas-Fort Worth leads all in office space starts

Dallas-Fort Worth led all U.S. markets in office building starts in 2022. Nearly 5 million square feet of space has been proposed according to the Yardi Systems Inc.’s Commercial Edge report. Austin is currently ranked second in office building starts so far in 2022.


Rumor: California-based Wells Fargo to locate regional campus in D-FW

San Francisco banking giant Wells Fargo is in the running to receive up to $31 million as part of economic incentive agreements with the city of Irving tied to a large-scale office development that could house as many as 4,000 workers. The development is expected to consist of 800,000 square feet of new office space, retail, restaurants and housing.


Tyson investing $200 million in Amarillo

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is spending $200 million to upgrade its beef processing plant in Amarillo, Texas. The Amarillo plant is one of the largest of the company’s six beef facilities. 


New battery distribution center opens in Temple

Another company is expanding its manufacturing operations in Texas. . .this time, it’s East Penn Manufacturing Company in Temple, Texas. The new facility is expected to bring more than $106 million in capital investment and over 260 new jobs to Temple and its surrounding area.



Virginia ranks third in CNBC’s top states for business

After two consecutive years at the top, Virginia slipped to third place in CNBC’s 2022 America’s Top States for Business rankings. In 2021, Virginia took the top spot in the annual rankings of business-friendly states for a second, consecutive time. Virginia also won in 2019, 2011, 2009 and 2007.


The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to open $650 million casino in rural Virginia

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will become a joint venture partner with Caesars Entertainment in a $650 million casino development in Danville, Va. The gambling venture will create thousands of jobs and transform rural South Virginia into a tourist mecca.


Advanced coal mining operation expands in rural Virginia

Coronado Global Resources, an Australian producer of metallurgical coal, will invest $169 million to expand coal mining operations at its Buchanan Mine Complex, located about 10 miles southeast of Grundy in Buchanan County, Va. Metallurgical coal is used in steel production. The expansion will generate 181 new jobs.


Innovation in farming adding jobs in Virginia

New Jersey-based leafy greens producer AeroFarms plans to invest $42 million at its vertical farm production facility in Pittsylvania County, Va. The investment will earn the company the title of world’s largest indoor vertical farm. The deal will create 66 jobs in addition to the 92 that were announced last year.

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