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How China’s appetite for raw materials is transforming the world
The rise of China was arguably the biggest economic story of the 2000s. And a huge part of that tale was China's seemingly insatiable appetite for natural resources around the world. As China industrialized at a breakneck pace, it bought up staggering quantities of everything from oil to copper to iron ore to wheat. Global commodity prices skyrocketed — with oil famously rising to a record $140 per barrel in 2008. Meanwhile, China's state-owned companies went on an investment spree in Latin America and Africa, in an attempt to secure mines, cropland, and raw materials. The Washington Post
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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'Whole world is watching' Chattanooga VW workers begin historic UAW vote
In what some call the most significant American labor election in decades, Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant employees are slated to start casting ballots today in a vote that could dramatically shift the union playing field in the region. "I know the whole world is watching," said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who helped woo VW and on Tuesday urged plant employees to vote against aligning with the United Auto Workers. "Why would they want this outside force?" Gary Watkins, the Chattanooga Area Labor Council president, likened the election to the civil rights struggles in the South a half-century ago. "It's a huge election coming at a historic time," he said. "This will be looked back in time as either one of the greatest failures or one of the biggest victories for working people." Chattanooga Times Free Press
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Bob Corker defends SUV remark after Volkswagen strikes back
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker today defended his comments on Wednesday that VW will announce in coming weeks that it will make a new vehicle at its Chattanooga plant should workers reject the United Auto Workers. “After all these years and my involvement with Volkswagen, I would not have made the statement I made yesterday without being confident it was true and factual,” he said in a statement. Chattanooga plant chief Frank Fischer said earlier today that there’s no tie between the union vote at the plant and where a new sport utility vehicle will be produced. Chattanooga Times Free Press
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Corker says 'no' vote against UAW will bring new vehicle to VW plant
Sen. Bob Corker said the equation is simple for Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga - a vote against the union this week means hundreds of new jobs and millions in new investment for Tennessee. “I’ve had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga,” said Corker in a statement Wednesday evening. He did not, however, indicate that a "yes" vote would send those jobs elsewhere. The Tennessean
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Volkswagen supplier question cranks up UAW debate
Pro- and anti-union supporters are using the Chattanooga region's prospects of wooing more suppliers as a wedge to gain votes for and against the United Auto Workers in this week's vote by Volkswagen plant employees. Republican politicians in the state, including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam, claim that business already has been hurt by the UAW discussion and they see future harm if the union wins. However, Democrat politicians counter by saying that view goes against the General Motors plant experience in Spring Hill, Tenn., which they say has successfully recruited suppliers. Chattanooga Times Free Press
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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TVA replaces coal with gas at Paradise plant in Kentucky
The Tennessee Valley Authority will replace its two oldest coal-fired units at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky with a combined-cycle natural gas plant expected to cost about $1 billion. TVA President Bill Johnson said today that the new gas-fired plant should be built by the summer of 2017 and will replace units 1 and 2 at Paradise, which the TVA board voted in November to shut down. “We have determined that a combined-cycle gas plant at Paradise will help ensure power system stability and reliability in the northern-most part of our service area while meeting environmental regulations,” Johnson said. Chattanooga Times Free Press
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Energy companies in La. aim to recruit more women amid industry boom
When Debbie Settoon landed her first job as a project engineer at a small New Orleans oil and gas drilling company in 1979 she quickly learned that if she wanted to get anywhere in her industry she needed to learn how to curse like a sailor. Or like an oil and gas man, for that matter. Settoon was one of only a handful of women who worked for the company at the time. Being the only woman in the room wasn't anything new. Settoon was always one of two or three female students in a sea of male students that filled the auditoriums when she studied civil engineering at the University of New Orleans. Even so, she said holding her own in the "macho cowboy" world of oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico was baptism by fire. So she did what the men around her did. She cursed. Times-Picayune
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Paula Deen gets investment from Phoenix Suns part owner
A new business venture by Savannah author and celebrity chef Paula Deen is getting a multimillion-dollar investment from a private equity company that is part owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA team. The investment by an affiliate of Najafi Cos., headed by founder and chief executive Jahm Najafi, is designed “to build and grow” Paula Deen Ventures, according to the Phoenix-based investment firm. The company will invest between $75 million and $100 million in the venture, according to the Wall Street Journal. AJC.com
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Grand jury opens criminal probe into Duke Energy coal ash spill
A federal grand jury has opened a criminal investigation into Duke Energy’s Feb. 2 spill of up to 39,000 tons of coal ash from the Dan River Steam Station into the river, issuing subpoenas to Duke and to the N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Community Development Charlotte Business Journal
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

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Another day, another river ruined by a big coal-industry spill
The coal power industry has dumped a lot of toxic crap into yet another river. This latest incident is not to be confused with the spill of toxic coal-cleaning chemicals that poisoned a West Virginia river last month and left 300,000 people without drinking water. Nor is it to be confused with a huge coal-ash spill from a retired power plant in North Carolina earlier this month. No, this is a whole new spill. Grist
Submitted 3 years 10 days ago

 

 

Features & Opinion

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

For those who still languish over "losing to China" or believe that the economy is still in recession, wake up and smell the data. Economic development in the South was about as good as it gets in calendar year 2015 according to the data. And as for China, borrowing a quote from the late football coach Bear Bryant that he made in the half-time locker room down 15-0 to Georgia Tech in 1960, "We got 'em right where we want 'em." For those of you who don't know the rich history of Alabama Crimson Tide football, Bama scored all of its 16 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a field goal on the last play of the game to beat Tech 16-15.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Mike Randle
Today, factories in the U.S. make twice as much product as they did in 1984. And they are doing it with one-third of the manufacturing workforce. In fact, the output of durable goods in 2015 was the highest in the nation's history. So, we do have a strong manufacturing base, at least in the South, much of the Midwest and parts of the West, and it is getting stronger because on a cost-basis, we can compete with any major manufacturing nation in the world.  
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

FEATURE     
The argument for or against a minimum wage hike continues between the reds and the blues, as well as within the economic development community in the South. Should we stay the course with a minimum wage under $8 an hour to better compete with Mexico, the South's biggest competitor for jobs, or set a minimum wage just over $10 an hour, a wage floor most centrists support? That $10 per hour is, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, about right in most states in the South for one adult to be able to cover basic expenses plus all relevant taxes.
 
 Randle Report - Business News in the South
Recent data from the Computing Technology Industry Association (Comp TIA) showed that the technology industry is one of the fastest growing job generators in the South and the nation. The report also indicated that technology job compensation is growing faster than any other sector.
 


 

 

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