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That's The Randle Report for February 27, 2015
Join us again on Monday morning for all of the American South's business, economic development and political news in real time and in one place. Use the sort buttons or the search window above to find your favorite stories from yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Click on the headline to access Southern Business & Development magazine.
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VW's pledge to stay neutral on UAW dealings at Chattanooga plant wins support for incentives
NASHVILLE -- Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said today that Volkswagen officials told him this week the German manufacturer will remain "neutral" in its dealings with the United Auto Workers at its Chattanooga plant. "I think I was assured yesterday that they told me they want to stay neutral. I said, 'OK, that's all I'm going to ask for," Ramsey told reporters. Company officials were at the state Capitol on Wednesday, visiting legislators, including several from Chattanooga who have been highly critical of the UAW's effort to unionize the plant and Volkswagen's reaction. Chattanooga Times Free Press
Submitted 16 hours ago

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Volkswagen moves ahead on expansion at Chattanooga plant
Volkswagen's proposed Chattanooga engineering and planning center has found a temporary home as officials finalize a permanent site and prepare to start hiring more than 200 engineers. The center, a first for the German carmaker in the United States, is designed to bring VW closer to the tastes of American motorists and is part of the plant's $900 million expansion project. The center will be located temporarily in the former Eastside Utility District building off Discovery Drive near the VW plant. Chattanooga Times Free Press
Submitted 16 hours ago

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Sempra Energy asking approval to expand Cameron Parish, La., export terminal, Bloomberg reports
Sempra Energy has asked federal regulators for approval to expand its planned liquefied natural gas export hub in Cameron Parish, Bloomberg reports. The report says Sempra and its partners in the Cameron LNG project, France's GDF Suez and Japan's Mitsui & Co., are seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to increase the number of liquefaction trains at the site from three to five. The group also wants to add an LNG storage tank, increasing its production capacity to 24.92 million metric tons per year, the report says. NOLA.com
Submitted 17 hours ago

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Tulane program to bring bio-innovation to the marketplace
The National Science Foundation has chosen Tulane University as an Innovation Corps Site, an effort to broaden the effect of Tulane's technology-based research in the commercial marketplace. A Tulane news release said the project, titled Tulane I-Corps Site for a Resurgent New Orleans, will be funded with a $163,000 grant from the foundation. Lars Gilbertson, a professor of practice in biomedical engineering, will lead the project with Anne-Marie Job, program director of Tulane's interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in bioinnovation. "The Tulane I-Corps Site will enable us to strengthen Tulane's commitment to STEM education, women and underrepresented minorities, global health initiatives, and service to persons with disabilities," Gilbertson said. NOLA.com
Submitted 17 hours ago

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Louisiana reaches export record of $65.1 billion
Merchandise exports from Louisiana climbed 2.8 percent to a record $65.1 billion in 2014, and new trade agreements could boost those totals in the coming years, the U.S. Department of Commerce said Wednesday. The 2014 gain marked the sixth consecutive year of export growth for the state, up from $63.3 billion in 2013, the World Trade Center in New Orleans said. Louisiana’s principal export markets for 2014 were China, $8.7 billion, up 8.9 percent; Mexico, $7.3 billion, up 14.5 percent; and Canada, $3.3 billion, up 5.6 percent, followed by the Netherlands, Japan, Colombia, France, Brazil, Egypt and Panama. The Advocate
Submitted 17 hours ago

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Tennessee exports hit record $33 billion in 2014
Exports from Tennessee companies set a record in 2014 for the fifth consecutive year, hitting $33 billion statewide. According to information released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Tennessee exports in 2014 increased 2.2 percent over the previous year and 61 percent over 2009. The state helped the U.S. hit an all-time record for goods and services exports in 2014: $2.35 trillion. That compares with $2.3 trillion in 2013 and $2.2 trillion in 2012. The leading export category in Tennessee last year was transportation equipment, which accounted for $7.4 billion of the $33 billion. Other leading sectors were computer and electronic products ($5.3 billion) and chemicals ($5 billion). The Tennessean
Submitted 17 hours ago

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Mississippi exports hit $11.4B in 2014
WASHINGTON – Merchandise exports from Mississippi hit $11.4 billion in 2014, new data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows. The United States as a whole achieved a record high of $2.35 trillion for goods and services exports, according to the data released Thursday. Goods exports supported an estimated 51,000 U.S. jobs in 2013, according to the Commerce Department, contributing to the 11.3 million jobs nationwide that were supported by both goods and services exports that year. On average, jobs in these export-related industries pay up to 18 percent more than nonexport-related industries, the department said. Clarion-Ledger
Submitted 17 hours ago

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Charleston, S.C.'s area’s aerospace cluster lifting wages, quality of life across the board
The Charleston area’s growing aerospace cluster, led by Dreamliner maker Boeing Co., is creating a “knowledge economy” that’s boosting employment and wages across the board at a level much higher than the rest of South Carolina, according to economists and employment numbers. “Regions of the country that are high-tech knowledge hubs have the highest wages and employment growth, and Charleston is a case study of that,” said Joey Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina whose “Uncovering the Stealth Cluster” report examines the aerospace industry’s impact on the area. Post and Courier
Submitted 17 hours ago

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VF Corp. to open jeanswear innovation center in Greensboro, N.C.
GREENSBORO − VF Corp. will open its Global Jeanswear Innovation Center in the Gateway University Research Center Park later this year. The center will focus on innovation in VF Corp.'s jeanswear brands, which include Wrangler and Lee. The Greensboro-based company plans to hire about 30 people, including chemists and engineers, to work at the center. VF Corp. announced last year that it had hired Sudhakar Puvvada as a vice president to lead the center. The company's space within the Gateway research park is about 8,000 square feet, said Craig Hodges, VF's spokesman. Greensboro News & Record
Submitted 17 hours ago

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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Just look around at what's happening in the aerospace industry in the American South. Aerospace is really making a move to become one of the region's top two industry sectors. It’s not there yet, but if large project counts are any indication, aerospace may soon challenge the petrochemicals sector as the second largest industry in the region. Never before has the aerospace industry been so important to the South's economy. Oh, what's the No. 1 industry sector in the South? Automotive is, of course. That industry hasn't been challenged much for 25 years in this region, or since we’ve been counting.

 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Stacy Randle
Demographer Wendell Cox recently analyzed the largest gains in holders of bachelor's and post-graduate degrees between 2007 and 2012 in the 51 metro regions in the U.S. of 1 million residents or more. The results were published in Forbes magazine and the South dominated the ranking.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
This is our annual "Made in the South" issue and it's timely because there is a new player in the South's manufacturing universe. For almost two decades, economic developers and politicos in the South and the U.S. have been chasing Chinese projects with little or nothing to show. Want proof we've been chasing ghosts in China for years? Okay, go ahead and name a Chinese brand that's made in the South? Tick. . .tick. . .tick. Give up?
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean
If you have ever seen one of my presentations, then you know about the word "reshoring" and how that phenomenon has lifted the spirits of even the most skeptical Southerners regarding the future of the region's economy. After all, in the last four decades, manufacturing has suffered a bloodletting never before seen in U.S. history. The biggest factor behind the slow and long meltdown that began in the 1990s was the herd mentality to offshore manufacturing capacity to cheaper locales, primarily by U.S.-owned companies.
 


 

 

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