August 2023

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GDP: Country/U.S. Region/Selected U.S. States      GDP 2022*

United States                                                                   $24.7 trillion

China                                                                                 $17.3 trillion

U.S. South (13 states + D.C.)                                             $8.2 trillion

U.S. West (12 states)                                                          $6.5 trillion

U.S. Northeast (12 states)                                                 $5.5 trillion

U.S. Midwest (13 states)                                                    $4.5 trillion

Japan                                                                                  $4.2 trillion

Germany                                                                           $4.1 trillion

California                                                                         $3.7 trillion

India                                                                                    $3.4 trillion

United Kingdom                                                                $3.1 trillion

France                                                                                 $2.8 trillion

Texas                                                                                  $2.3 trillion

Russia                                                                                  $2.2 trillion

Canada                                                                                $2.1 trillion

Italy                                                                                      $2.0 trillion

Source: Statista (2022 totals); U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, *Southern Business & Development using three percent gain in U.S. states from 2021 to 2022 based on BEA totals that are incomplete for 2023.


Available workers per 100 jobs openings in the South

State              Workers

Texas                         89

Kentucky                   66

Louisiana                  60

Florida                       59

Georgia                     57

Tennessee                56

D.C.                            55

Mississippi                55

North Carolina         55

South Carolina         53

Virginia                      51

Oklahoma                 50

Alabama                    45

Arkansas                   44

Source: SB&D and Visual Capitalist


U.S. Regional Populations 2022

Region                                  Population

South                                     128,000,0000

West                                       74,000,000

Midwest                                 69,000,000

Northeast                              57,000,000

Source: Census


Age Demographics 2021

10,800 people per day are born in the U.S. = 3.94 million a year

10,700 people per day turn age 65 = 3.90 million per year

2,800 migrants per day enter the U.S. legally and illegally = 1.02 million a year

9,607 deaths per day in the U.S. = 3.50 million

Total: Net loss in the workforce of minus 6,707 per day = 201,000 lost workers per month = 2.40 million lost workers per year

Source: Census


Ranking: States with the “Best & Worst Jobs Markets”

Louisiana was named the country’s strongest labor market, boosted by “its diverse economy and range of industries, from energy to aerospace to advanced manufacturing. Louisiana’s labor productivity, increases in job openings and low quit rate led all states according to the Peak Sales Recruiting Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Eight of the top 10 states with the strongest labor markets are located in the South.


South Carolina









Source: Peak Sales Recruiting        


Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act: It’s a gusher of an 80 percent increase in industrial construction in the last year

The White House celebrated the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act in late August calling the projects that result an “economic miracle.” It is a gusher of trillions of dollars of taxpayer incentives (subsidies to others) that have resulted in an increase in spending on factories – primarily built for next-generation energy, such as electric vehicles, carbon capture and the like.

Public works spending has increased by almost 14 percent in the last year; conservation and development (30 percent); electric power projects (37 percent); and highway infrastructure (over 20 percent), according to the Census and Treasury.

Clean energy projects represent 200 new projects totaling over $120 billion. The 2021 infrastructure bill increased spending by $550 billion and the Chips Act handed over $280 billion in investment, which includes $40 billion and a 25 percent investment in tax credits for computer chip factories. These incentives have perked up foreign direct investment as well.


Chinese ownership of American South farmlands being challenged

Across the South, the third largest economy in the world, new laws are preventing foreign ownership of farmlands. In an effort to protect national and food security, Southern states are restricting foreign land ownership after Chinese companies made inroads into buying farmland in the region. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Carolina are all a part of a wave of legislation in the South that restricts foreign land ownership. In almost every case, those restrictions center on farmland.


Three hundred people a day move from California to Texas

The “Texodus” migration continues as it has for three decades, yet, we have never seen it like this before. According to Census and StorageCafe data, residents moving from California to Texas has increased by 80 percent when compared to a decade ago. And why not? The average home price in, say, Santa Clara County, Calif. is $1.46 million. That same home can be purchased in Dallas County for $410,000. If all the residents moving to Texas from California were to create their own city, it would have a population of 111,000 people.


Atlanta, Dallas … office vacancies everywhere in major markets in the South

About one-quarter of Atlanta’s office space is vacant. It is worse than that. When factoring in space that companies are renting but no longer want for sublease, it is over 30 percent of all office square footage in metro Atlanta. That is a record high. All total, subleased space accounts for some 44 million square feet.


CBRE: Large industrial and distribution leases down dramatically

In a report published this summer, real estate firm CBRE Group found a 36 percent year-over-year drop in lease signings that measured 1 million square feet of less. Many companies during the pandemic felt the need to protect their inventory levels as global supply-chain disruptions made during Covid-19 made it difficult to obtain products from overseas. 


TVA will invest $15 billion to meet the region’s growth over the next three years

Tennessee-based Tennessee Valley Authority’s Board of Directors announced in late summer the utility will approve $15 billion in investments over the next three years to build additional generation and upgrade systems “to ensure the region continues to benefit from affordable, reliable power.” TVA CEO Jeff Lyash said,”It took us 90 years to build our current power system which positively changed the life of millions. In the next 30 years, we will have to double or triple the current systems at a speed unlike any other time in TVA history."


Texas breaks all-time record for oil and gas production

The largest producer of the U.S. energy sector – the Texas oil and natural gas industry – set a new record production in June and July, surpassing highs set in 40 years ago, according to the Texas Oil & Gas Association.


Feds to spend $1.2 billion on carbon capture projects in Louisiana and Texas

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to spend $1.2 billion in Louisiana and Texas to create “Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs” to remove more than 1 million metric tons of existing CO2 from the atmosphere each year. The two major projects in the two states are expected to create thousands of jobs.


Central Florida tourism industry had an $87 billion economic impact in 2022

The largest region in the South for tourism saw it hit an all-time high in investments in 2022, generating $87.6 billion. U.K.-based Oxford Economics released a study in the summer that looked at Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties’ tourism industries’ visitor spending, jobs and state and local taxes. Of course, that part of the South is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, among many others, encompassing over 40,000 acres in Central Florida.


Where are manufacturing jobs being added?

Texas has added the most manufacturing jobs in the U.S. between January 2021 and May 2023 with 86,000. California came in second with 79,000 and surprisingly, Florida placed third with 37,000 manufacturing jobs. Of course, those are the top three populated states in the country, so the figures are not per capita. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Electric vehicles are reinventing the automotive supply chain

The 2023 Deloitte Automotive Supply Study expected that revenues for internal combustion engines, as we as fuel and exhaust systems are expected to decline 44 percent through 2027. Meanwhile, revenues for electric drivetrains, batteries and fuel cells are expected to rise to 245 percent. An internal combustion powertrain has about 2,000 parts. Battery electric vehicle powertrains have about 20 parts. For more information on the South’s automotive industry, go to


Arkansas funding “Boot Camp” to train 500 steel workers in Northeast Arkansas

Arkansas Northeastern College has received a $1.2 million grant from the Arkansas Office of Skills Development to help create a program to train 500 steel workers in the program’s first year.


Kia to invest $200 million to make EV SUV in Georgia; adds to Korean Automotive Corridor that started in Montgomery, Ala.

South Korean automaker Kia is investing $200 million in its West Georgia (West Point) factory to begin production of an electric-powered SUV, the EV9 large, three-row SUV. The company made the announcement in the summer quarter. Over 40 percent of Kia vehicles sold in the U.S. are assembled at the plant near LaGrange, Ga., which is just over 80 miles from its mother ship company, Hyundai, and its plant in Montgomery, Ala. Hyundai’s multi-billion-dollar plant being built near Savannah means the Korean automakers have established a $50 billion (or thereabouts) beachhead for manufacturing their vehicles in North America, as well as their suppliers, over a 320-mile span from Montgomery, through West Georgia to Savannah. Hyundai has already begun production and assembly of the first-ever Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV. It is the first Genesis model to be assembled in the United States at the Montgomery manufacturing facility.


CNBC’s top states for business in 2023; North Carolina takes No. 1 for the second straight year

The South is slouching. For years, the CNBC “Top States for Business had 10-out-of-10 Southern states in the top 10. Not this year. North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia made up the top four best states for business. But Minnesota, Washington, Michigan and Utah also were named in the top 10 from outside the South. Texas and Florida also made the top 10 list for CNBC.


Texas may be losing some of its attraction to business

For the first time, CNBC did not place the state of Texas in its top five best places for business. The state remains a juggernaut economy simply based on its major markets and population. It fell to No. 6 on the CNBC scale. North Carolina was named No. 1, followed by Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Minnesota. 


Texas to invest in community colleges

The Texas Senate has approved a bill to allocated almost $430 million in funding for the state’s 50 community colleges. The workforce development deal aims to incentivize and award colleges based on students’ performance.


Italian solar manufacturer selects Oklahoma site for $1 billion factory

Enel will invest in solar manufacturing in Inola, Okla., creating 1,000 jobs with a 3 gigawatt annual production capacity by 2025. As part of U.S. President Joe Biden’s landmark climate change law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the company’s domestically- made panels will make facilities built with the panels eligible for a lucrative tax credit.


Amazon’s Arlington, Va. HQ2 East Coast headquarters welcomes 2,000 employees

The tech giant will continue to welcome an additional 1,000 to 2,000 employees in phases until September or October of this year. The company has hired 8,000 people in the area so far.


Space Force selects Florida’s Space Coast for new training HQ

The new Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM, will bring hundreds of employees to the Space Coast to train Space Force members in wargaming and tactics. The Air Force-based command will be located at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida.


Clemson University, South Carolina to invest in rural internet

With a $185.8 million federal grant and $400 million from the South Carolina General Assembly, a plan to invest in South Carolina’s broadband infrastructure will begin this year. 



First Solar will build a $1.1 billion factory with 700 workers in Lawrence County, Ala.

The facility at the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex is part of First Solar’s investment in its push to have more than 10 gigawatts of manufacturing capacity by 2025. The project is one of the biggest announced in a Northwest Alabama in recent years.


Alabama is all-in on finding 11,000 auto industry workers

There are more than 11,000 jobs in Alabama among its hundreds of auto industry suppliers and OEMs, like Toyota’s engine factory in Huntsville, down in Montgomery at Hyundai, in Tuscaloosa at the Mercedes plant and out east with Honda. Alabama has implemented what they call the “Shift” campaign to recruit those workers. “Shift” is a campaign crafted by Birmingham-based Big Communications to reach beyond Alabama to potential workers around the South who may be seeking their first jobs, or better ones.


Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. plans $232 million micro-reactor manufacturing plant in Alabama

The highly automated MMR Assembly Plant will manufacture non-radiological modules needed to construct its advanced microreactors. Once operational, the facility will employ 250 workers.


Kronospan announces expansion in Oxford, Ala.

The wood panel manufacturer will invest $350 million into its plant in Oxford, creating 150 new jobs. Kronospan will have invested over $1 billion and will employ about 600 people upon completion of its expansion.



Big River Steel’s new $3 billion mill in Osceola, Ark. to source 230 megawatts of electricity from $327 million solar generation field

Entergy Arkansas is planning to meet the demand on 2,100 acres with 650,000 solar panels. The project, named Driver Solar, will supply 40% of the electricity demand for the plant.


Aerojet Rocketdyne grows in Camden, Ark.

The defense industry contractor will add 200 new jobs at its rocket systems manufacturing facility at the Highland Industrial Park, where it produces 75,000 solid rocket motors annually. The U.S. Department of Defense agreed to a $215 million investment to expand its facilities in Camden, Huntsville, Ala. and Orange County, Va.



Cosentino Group to build manufacturing plant in Northeast Florida

The Spanish manufacturer of natural stone and architectural surfaces will build its first North American plant in Jacksonville with a $270 million investment, creating 180 jobs with an average salary of $56,600.


Space Force selects Florida’s Space Coast for STARCOM Training HQ

The command chose Patrick Space Force Base in Florida to place one of its major operations for the Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM. The move will bring hundreds of personnel to the Space Coast to help develop training for Space Force members.


Amazon invests $120 million in satellite processing facility on Florida’s Space Coast

The project will create 50 new, high paying jobs. The project is part of Project Kuiper, Amazon’s satellite broadband network comprised of 3,236 low Earth satellites.



Finland-based Admares to build $750 million manufacturing facility in Ga.

The building materials manufacturer will employ approximately 1,400 workers in its South Georgia manufacturing plant in Waycross.


Startup EV maker Rivian gets go ahead in Georgia to build its $5 billion plant

The Georgia Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal contesting the legitimacy of Rivian’s expected property tax breaks for its new $5 billion EV facility in the state. Rivian first announced plans for a massive 2,000-acre, $5 billion electric vehicle plant in Georgia in December 2021. At fully operational, the complex east of Atlanta will be capable of assembling 400,000 vehicles annually.


Hyundai, LG to build $4.3 billion EV battery plant in Georgia

The electric vehicle battery plant near Savannah in Bryan County will become the second battery plant Hyundai is building in the state. The project is a part of its previously announced, $5.5 billion complex in Bryan County, which will bring 8,100 jobs.


Pratt & Whitney plans $200 million Georgia expansion

The aircraft engine maker will add 400 new jobs in Columbus, Ga. The aerospace company first opened in Columbus in 1984 and has since grown from a small operation to employing 2,000 workers.


First new Vogtle nuclear reactor becomes operational in Georgia

The first of the two new units at Plant Vogtle has officially entered commercial service. The Georgia Power owned reactors will be in service for the next 60 to 80 years. Finished years behind schedule and billions over budget, the project was initially pitched as part of a nuclear revival that would bring vast amounts of carbon-free energy.


Financial services giant Morgan Stanley expands in Alpharetta, Ga.

The company has expanded its lease by 100,000-square-foot and hopes to add 1,800 jobs to its Georgia workforce.



Gov. Andy Beshear tours BlueOval SK plant in Glendale, Ky.

In August the second electric vehicle battery plant broke ground at Ford and SK’s BlueOval’s battery facility in Hardin County, Ky. The $5.8 billion complex will house 5,000 workers who will produce advanced batteries for Ford and Lincoln brand electric vehicles. The megasite in Glendale had been available for more than two decades, with Hyundai checking it out among other large users more than 20 years ago. Hyundai eventually took its plant to Montgomery, Ala. The two battery plants in Kentucky will go online in 2025. 


$240 million investment starts at MAGMA tech facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

O-I Glass has begun construction on a revolutionary greenfield glass facility, utilizing MAGMA technology. The technology is used for manufacturing flexible, modular glass production.


Aerospace Composites Solutions announces Kentucky expansion

The $16.8 million project in Morgantown, Ky. will create 72 new full-time jobs. The composite design and manufacturing company focuses on improving aircraft performance.


Eastern Light Distilling is constructing a $143.7 facility in Rowan County, Ky.

The craft bourbon producer will introduce 50 new jobs.



$850 million rare-Earth recycling plant in Louisiana moves on to next phase

ElementUS is trying to capture a $400 million loan from the energy department’s Clean Energy Financing Program in order to recycle iron and rate earth elements from the waste at a St. James Parish, La., alumina plant. Several things must come into place before the massive project becomes a reality.


SunGas Renewables to invest $1.8 billion in Rapides Parish, La.

The company expects to create 109 new jobs by establishing a renewable low-carbon methanol production facility.


Louisiana to receive $156 million from the Department of Defense

Besides pay raises, $112 million will go to funding a weapons generation facility at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier Parish.



Hush Aerospace brings operations to Tupelo, Miss.

The unmanned aerial systems designer and manufacturer will invest $13.9 million and will create 80 jobs in its new state-of-the-art facility. The company plans to provide the domestic drone market with cutting edge UAS platforms that meet the rigorous standards of NASA and the military.


APEX Ammunition LLC expands in Columbus, Miss.

The shotgun ammunition manufacturer will spend $4.45 million and will create 64 direct jobs.


Point Eight Power, Inc. opens operations in Hancock County, Miss.

The manufacturer of power distribution systems invested $7.75 million and created 78 new jobs.



VinFast breaks ground in North Carolina

What is expected to be the largest economic development project in North Carolina history broke ground officially on in the summer. Last year, the Vietnamese automaker announced plans to build a 7,500-job facility at the Triangle Innovation Point megasite near Moncure as part of a $4 billion investment. The company filed site plans with Chatham County that revealed the factory will be more than 2.8 million square feet with eight buildings


Toyota invests an additional $2.1 billion in North Carolina

The automaker’s latest investment in its EV battery plant near Greensboro brings the total investment there to nearly $6 billion. The company has yet to announce employment numbers, but expects to hire a similar number to the expansion last year, which grew job numbers by about 350.

Ameriprise Financial opens new corporate office in uptown Charlotte, N.C.

The Minnesota-based financial services firm will lease 53,000-square-feet at 300 South Tyron. The new corporate office will bring about 400 new jobs.


Bosch to expand in Lincolnton, N.C.

Robert Bosch Tool Corp. will invest $130 million in a major expansion of its manufacturing operations in Lincoln County, creating 404 jobs. The new positions will have minimum average wages of $53,204.


CommScope adds hundreds of jobs in Catawba County, N.C.

The fiber-optic manufacturer will expand its operations in the Charlotte region with a $60.3 million investment that will lead to the creation of 250 jobs.



The first Cobalt and Nickel refinery broke ground in Lawton, Okla. during the summer quarter. Westwin Elements is opening the plant that will house 85 workers in 2024.


Sam’s Club to locating distribution center in Oklahoma City

Walmart division Sam’s Club is opening a 300,000-square-foot distribution center. The project at the OKC Logistics Park will create 130 jobs.



Largest project in Northeast South Carolina breaks ground

In the summer quarter, a groundbreaking ceremony was performed for AESC in Florence, S.C. The Japanese battery facility will employ over 1,000 workers at an average salary of $65,000 a year. The project, according to Florence County Economic Development CEO Gregg Robinson, AESC’s deal is one of the largest economic development deals in the county’s history. AESC will supply battery cells used in next generation electric vehicles produced by BMW near Greenville.


BMW breaks ground on new S.C. battery plant

German automaker BMW broke ground on its new high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff, S.C. in the summer. The 1-milion-square-foot facility, with an investment of $700 million, will support the company’s $1 billion in investment to supply and build fully electric BMW X models at its plant in Spartanburg.


E. & J. Gallo Winery to open new production line in Chester County, S.C.

The nation’s largest winemaker employs about 230 full-time employees at its Fort Lawn hub. The first phase of the expansion will include a total investment of $423 million and the creation of nearly 500 jobs.


“Project Cobra” to bring $1 billion project to York County, S.C.

The code-named project is slated to bring 12 new jobs to the Lake Wylie area. As of this writing the company remains unnamed.



6K Energy to invest $166 million in battery material manufacturing plant in Jackson, Tenn.

Governor Lee announced the company will invest in a full-scale PlusCAM™ battery material manufacturing plant. With its initial investment, 6K Energy plans on expanding to $250 million in future phases. The company will also be using its $50 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for the factory.


Napster to move HQ to Nashville

The global music company and music streaming service Napster has selected Nashville for its new corporate headquarters.


Magna International plans $790 million, 1,300-job facility in West Tennessee

The automotive supplier will build three facilities to supply Ford’s BlueOval City. Magna International is the fourth-largest auto parts supplier in the world and the biggest in North America.



Telsa breaks ground on its in-house lithium refinery near Robstown, Texas

A major investment by Tesla, the plant will produce battery-grade lithium and manufacture battery materials. The first of its kind in North America, the facility will adopt an industrial refining method using acid-free lithium routes.


Plant Agricultural Systems growing in West Texas

PLANT-AS is going ahead with a projected $510 million investment of more than 1,100 acres of advanced Controlled Environment Agriculture production in Amarillo and Lubbock. The project is estimated to create 700 full-time employees with a total payroll of $35 million.


Houston-based NextDecade secured $5.9 billion in financing to build massive LNG export terminal

The company will begin work on a massive new gas liquefaction plant and export terminal in the Rio Grande delta. When complete, the facility will become one of the largest gas export terminals in the world.


Microsoft plans $230 million data center north of Castroville, Texas

The company plans to build a 106,000-square-foot campus with an administrative building and two co-location centers.



2,000 Amazon employees move into HQ2 in Arlington, Va.

Amazon’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters has hired over 8,000 employees so far for the Virginia headquarters.


Poland-based Press Glass Inc. expands in Henry County, Va.

The glass manufacturer for the commercial construction industry will invest $155 million and hire 335 people, becoming the largest expansion ever announced in the county’s history.

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