November 2022

U.S. GDP makes major comeback in third quarter

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy posted its first period of positive growth for calendar year 2022 in the third quarter. The quarter’s growth in the economy eased recession projections by economists. The 2.6 percent growth on an annualized basis followed two consecutive quarters in 2022 of negative growth, which normally signals a recession. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research typically determines recessions by policy.


U.S. Secretary of Labor has lots to say about the economy and how to improve it through workforce innovations

In an interview at the CNBC Work Summit in October, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh expressed his opinions on the workforce and how the economy can grow through government legislation. He also addressed demography and how it is affecting the economy as baby boomers retire in droves, population growth is nonexistent and immigration reform is stuck in Washington.


Labor woes and how to solve them

Low unemployment and job openings that more than double those who are eligible to work were addressed by U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in an interview on CNBC. Amid one of the tightest labor markets in history, Walsh said the political parties’ approach to immigration — “getting immigration all tied up” — is among the most consequential mistakes the nation can make in labor policy. “One party is showing pictures of the border and meanwhile if you talk to businesses that support those congressional folks, they’re saying we need immigration reform,” Walsh said. “Every place I’ve gone in the country and talked to every major business, every small business, every single one of them is saying we need immigration reform. We need comprehensive immigration reform. They want to create a pathway for citizenship into our country, and they want to create better pathways for visas in our country.”

“We need a bipartisan fix here,” Walsh said. “I’ll tell you right now if we don’t solve immigration ... we’re talking about worrying about recessions, we’re talking about inflation. I think we’re going to have a bigger catastrophe if we don’t get more workers into our society and we do that by immigration.”

Walsh on the minimum wage

“It shocks me that there are members in the building behind me, if you can’t see the building behind me it’s the Capitol, that think that families can raise their family on $7-plus, on the minimum wage in this country,” he said.

Walsh on the cost of childcare and how it affects the labor shed

“Childcare is a basic necessity to get millions of women back into the workforce on a full-time basis,” he said.

“Child care has not been addressed by this country or by most states in this country for the last 50 years. The cost is too high for the average family and we can’t retain the workers in those industries. We lost a lot of workers in the childcare industry because they’re paying them minimum wage or a little bit above minimum wage,” Walsh said, referring to estimates that 100,000 workers left the sector during the pandemic.

“We have to respect them and pay them better wages. Anyone watching today that has kids in child care, you know, you’re paying 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% of your salary for child care,” he said. “A lot of families have made the decision [that], ‘We don’t want to have two people working, one person will maybe stay home, work part time and make up those costs,’ so that issue has to be resolved. It’s not just an economic issue. It’s a human rights issue in our country to get good child care,” he added.


Johnston County, N.C., is a juggernaut for growth

Located southeast of the capitol of Raleigh, Johnston County has seen amazing growth over the last decade, with a growth rate of about 4 percent on average according to our data. And that growth could continue as about two-thirds of its 100,000 or so workers commute outside the county. The county has a diverse employment base, led by Novo Nordisk, Bayer, Grifols, AAF Flanders and Caterpillar.


BMW to invest $1.7 billion in Upstate South Carolina

Announced in 1992, the German automaker BMW plans to invest $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations to build electric vehicles and batteries, the company announced in October. The investment includes a new line to produce electric vehicles at its plant that employs over 10,000 in Spartanburg County. It also includes $700 million to make battery assemblies in nearby Woodruff, S.C. The automaker expects to build six electric models at the plant by 2030.


John Deere expands Louisiana plant

Deere & Company, the global corporation that manufactures the iconic John Deere brand of agricultural, construction and forestry equipment, is investing $29.8 million to expand operations at its Thibodaux facility. The deal will include a $30 million investment and will generate 70 new jobs.


Mercedes-Benz unveils electric SUV to be built in Alabama

Mercedes-Benz Group AG announced it will build the EQE SUV at the Paris car show in the fall quarter. The German automaker also makes the flagship EQS sedan at its Alabama complex. Mercedes’ goal is to go all electric by the end of the decade.


Ford announces big deal in Louisville

Michigan-based Ford Motor Company will invest $700 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. The facility produces the all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty truck, among other models. Ford is the largest maker of vehicles in Kentucky and its two Louisville plants house over 12,000 workers.


Glove maker picks rural Alabama for manufacturing operation

ISA will locate a plant in Geneva County, Ala., to produce nitrile and latex gloves. The deal will create 80 jobs.


Amazon hiring 1,500 in Northern Kentucky

Amazon announced in the fall it is expanding in the U.S., hiring 150,000. Over 1,500 of those will be hired at its major air distribution hub in Northern Kentucky.


Bobcat cuts ribbon on its largest manufacturing facility in North America

Bobcat opened its Statesville, N.C., facility recently. The 600,000-square-foot expansion increased the footprint to more than 1 million square feet on a more than 150-acre campus. The $70 million project will create hundreds of jobs.


Lockheed Martin opens new facility in South Arkansas

Lockheed Martin opened its new All-Up Round III (AUR III) facility at Camden Operations in Arkansas recently. The Camden, Ark., facility produces all kinds of defense products, including the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), the world’s most advanced air defense missile.


Large-scale solar power coming to Mississippi

Mississippi Power has partnered with the U.S. Navy on four utility-scale solar facilities in the company’s service territory. Combined, they will generate about 160 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power more than 23,000 homes for a full year. The company serves 191,000 customer facilities.


Bosch Rexroth expands in Charlotte metro

Bosch Rexroth, a leading manufacturer of factory automation solutions, will invest $58 million into a new state-of-the-art customizing and research and development facility that will expand its operations for linear motion and assembly technologies. In addition to retaining 326 employees currently employed at their Charlotte operations, the company will hire 24 more people.


BMW makes its 6 millionth vehicle at South Carolina plant

A BMW X6 rolled off the line in October, representing the 6 millionth vehicle made at its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. The plant houses over 10,000 employees and has been in operation for 30 years.


Housing manufacturer announces new facility in Kentucky

Elevate Windows and Doors announced it will invest $16 million in a new facility in Hopkinsville, Ky. The company makes windows and doors. The deal is expected to create over 200 jobs.


Travel firm adding more than 200 jobs in Virginia

Pangiam, a travel and security technology company, will invest $3.1 million to establish its global headquarters in Fairfax County’s Tysons area, creating 201. The company provides facial recognition and data solutions to all kinds of customers, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Air Force, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.


Energy testbed to locate in Southwest Virginia

The Energy DELTA Lab will develop a first-of-its-kind energy technology testbed in Wise County, Va. The project is an initiative is a collaborative effort by the Virginia Department of Energy, the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and InvestSWVA.


Bridgestone announces major Tennessee expansion

Bridgestone announced a major expansion and modernization of its Warren County, Tenn. Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) Tire Plant located in Morrison. The $550 million investment will add 380 new jobs and expand the plant’s existing footprint by 850,000 square feet to support increased capacity and to accelerate the use of advanced technologies that support cleaner, safer and more efficient commercial truck and bus fleets.


Boysen USA establishing operations in Spartanburg County, S.C.

Boysen USA, a subsidiary of the German-based Boysen Group, announced plans to expand its South Carolina presence with a new operation in Spartanburg County. The company’s $4.5 million investment will create 88 new jobs. A specialist in automotive exhaust technology, Boysen USA develops and manufactures exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, particulate traps, silencers and complete exhaust systems for leading original equipment manufacturers.


Minerals company selects Virginia

IperionX Limited, a minerals firm, plans to make a capital investment totaling $82.1 million to establish Virginia’s first titanium demonstration facility in Halifax County. The company intends to source 100% renewable energy to produce 100% recycled titanium to supply advanced industries including automotive, defense, aerospace, electric vehicles, and 3D printing.


GP making major investment in new plant in Jackson, Tenn.

Koch Industries owned paper products manufacturer Georgia-Pacific (GP) is preparing to invest $425 million to build a new production plant for Dixie paper plates in Jackson, TN, a release issued by the office of Gov. Bill Lee announced this week. Slated to become operational by summer 2024, the 900,000-square-foot location will help the company meet increased demand for paper plate products.


Nucor expanding in South Carolina’s Low Country

Nucor Corporation, a leading steel and steel products manufacturer in North America, today announced plans to expand operations in Berkeley County. The company’s $425 million investment will create 50 new jobs. With a history dating back to 1905, Nucor Corporation manufactures a variety of products including carbon and alloy steel, hollow structural tubing, electrical conduit, precision castings and more. The company’s products serve the agriculture, automotive and energy industries along with several others.


Manna Capital Partners plans $600 million Alabama beverage product hub

Manna Capital Partners, a minority-owned business enterprise and investment firm, said its Montgomery “beverage park” will create 280 full-time jobs and will be owned and operated by its affiliate Manna Beverages & Ventures (MB&V). Louisville, Kentucky-based Manna Capital Partners — founded by Ulysses L. “Junior” Bridgeman and Kevin Attkisson — concentrates on investment and acquisition possibilities across multiple industries, with an emphasis on sustainability and creating opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.


Governor Ivey announces Hyundai Mobis plans EV battery plant in Montgomery, Ala.

Governor Kay Ivey recently joined executives of Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, to announce the company’s plans to invest $205 million to open an EV battery module plant in Montgomery that will eventually employ at least 400 people. Once it reaches full production, the 450,000-square-foot facility will be able to supply over 200,000 EV batteries annually to the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) factory in Montgomery and the Kia Georgia plant. “Alabama’s auto manufacturing sector is evolving rapidly to capitalize on the EV revolution that is sweeping the industry, and this new Hyundai Mobis battery plant represents another milestone in that transition,” said Governor Ivey. “We’re excited about the company’s new investment and what it represents for the next chapter of auto making in Alabama.”


Dassault Falcon Jet to build major facility in Melbourne, Fla.

Dassault Falcon Jet announced it will build a new maintenance facility at Melbourne Orlando International Airport as part of the company’s global expansion of its maintenance, repair and overhaul network. Intended to serve customers across North and South America and beyond, the 175,000 square-foot complex will accommodate all current Falcon models, (including the new, ultra-long range Falcon 10X, the largest purpose-built business jet), and will be capable of performing major maintenance and modifications on up to 18 Falcon models simultaneously. Additionally, the site will be home to a 54,000-square-foot paint shop. Construction in Melbourne is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and opening is set for late 2024.


Biotech manufacturer to create over 350 jobs in North Carolina

ABEC, Inc., a global leader providing engineered process solutions and services for biotech manufacturing, will create 251 jobs in Wilson County. The company will invest $11 million in the City of Wilson to establish another ISO-7 cleanroom and increase single-use disposable container manufacturing capacity for its Custom Single Run biomanufacturing solutions. “Biomanufacturers that must operate at the highest levels of precision and quality choose North Carolina time and time again,” said Governor Cooper. “Biotech is a statewide industry, and ABEC will find the technical expertise and outstanding workforce they need in Wilson County.”

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