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Cheap fuel, solid economy will give Texas a break from rising rates
HOUSTON — Electricity prices are set to rise across the country, as power companies have spent billions to replace aging generation plants despite roughly steady demand for electricity, a panel of power executives told IHS Energy CERAWeek attendees Thursday. But Texas’ hike will be eased thanks to economic growth that has boosted power demand in the state and along the Gulf Coast. The increase will mean there’s a larger base of income to fund the new plants and keep the need to turn to existing ratepayers at a minimum. Fuelfix.com
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Hardee's scouts Nashville for headquarters
Hardee's parent company is considering Nashville for the burger chain's corporate offices. "The lease on our St. Louis regional office expires in 2017, and we are exploring office space options, which include Nashville," said Kathleen Bush, a spokeswoman for CKE Restaurants Holdings, parent of the Hardee's, Carl's Jr., Green Burrito and Red Burrito restaurant chains. Her comments via email came after the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Hardee's was considering moving its headquarters out of downtown St. Louis. The burger chain known for its racy TV ads moved its headquarters there from Rocky Mount, N.C., about 14 years ago. Tennessean.com
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Airbus taps Tier 1 supplier for Mobile's A320 assembly line; 5,000-square-foot lab on tap
With only months remaining until its A320 final assembly line begins production at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, Airbus has awarded ATT Metrology Services Inc. Tier 1 supplier status and the metrology contract for its $600 million facility. The Issaquah, Wa.-based large-volume precision measurement and alignment services company plans to build out an existing aeroplex structure to house a 5,000-square-foot thermally controlled laboratory that should be operational when the aircraft manufacturer begins production this summer. AL.com
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Belk exploring possibility of selling
Charlotte, N.C.-based department store Belk is exploring the possibility of a sale. The retailer, which bought Birmingham-headquartered Parisian in 2006, has hired Goldman Sachs to "Fully explore all options for our future," according to a statement from Belk. "We are coming off a successful fourth quarter, have a strong financial position and are enthusiastic about our future. We also believe, however, that we have an obligation to consider whether there are alternatives to our current plans that would provide a better return for our stockholders," the statement said. AL.com
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Why Apple bought 3,600 acres in eastern N.C.
Computer giant Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) recently purchased 3,600 acres of forest land in Brunswick County, which will be managed by The Conservation Fund, an Arlington,Virginia-based conservation organization. The property is located near Winnabow, adjacent to the 16,176-acre Green Swamp Preserve that is managed by The Nature Conservancy, reports the Star-News. Apple plans to use the timber, which is a mix of loblolly pines and hardwoods, in the production of paper packaging for it products. The timber will be harvested in accordance with a management plan that focuses on sustainability. Triangle Business Journal
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Duke Energy's N.C. solar projects to employ 900 construction workers
Duke Energy Progress expects to have 900 workers on the job during peak construction this summer at three solar farms it is building in North Carolina. Duke (NYSE:DUK) purchased development rights to the three projects from independent power producers as part of the $500 million Duke has said it will spend on developing utility-scale solar in the state. The largest of the three projects is the 65-megawatt Warsaw Solar Facility in Duplin County. That will be the largest solar project in the state when it is completed, although there are already larger projects in the works in North Carolina. Charlotte Business Journal
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Virginia Beach tech company hits the big time
It’s the kind of tale that makes economic development folks smile. Last week, Caterpillar Marine, a unit of Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc., acquired Virginia Beach-based ESRG Technologies Group LLC. “It means quite a bit to us,” said founder Ken Krooner, whose company over the past five years pivoted from primarily defense contract work to the commercial marine market, with the help of city, regional and state business-incubation programs. The company exemplifies “what a lot of organizations in our region are striving to accomplish,” a startup that scratches and claws its way to international recognition, enough to attract a giant such as Caterpillar, said Dave Edwards, president and COO of Fairfax-based WR Systems, a Navy contractor that has partnered with ESRG on engine-optimization projects. Virginian Pilot
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Toyota's Alabama plant honored for commitment to environmental excellence
Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville was among North American manufacturing facilities recently honored for environmental sustainability by the EPA. The automotive company has won its 11th consecutive Energy Star Partner of the Year award, the most by any automaker. Toyota said it has saved nearly $600 million, reduced 14 billion kilowatt hours of energy and cut CO2 emissions by 40 percent per vehicle since benchmarking began in 2002. AL.com
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Louisiana oysters, shrimp, crab catch slightly down, but earnings up since BP oil spill: Updated database
Louisiana oyster, shrimp and crab catch since the BP oil spill in 2010 generally has been down on average statewide when compared to pre-spill averages. But earnings for those fishers at the dock generally has been up, according to an analysis of basin-by-basin catch and value figures from 2002 through 2013 by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. Play with the updated database yourself to see how various water bodies did: NOLA.com
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How Much is the U.S. Worth? Economist Values the Land Alone at $23 Trillion
Americans tend to have a good handle on how much their house is worth. But what about the land it sits on? Or all the land in their state? Or, heck, how much is the continental U.S. really worth? A government economist puts that figure, from sea to shining sea, at $22.98 trillion. That’s William Larson’s estimate for the value of the 1.89 billion acres of land that accounts for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The dollar figure—equal to about 1.4 times last year’s gross domestic product–represents only the value of the land, and not buildings, roads or other improvements, and excludes bodies of water. The Walll Street Journal
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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Urban areas have all kinds of assets that are easy to spot. They have the population, so the labor shed is not usually an issue. Urban areas are also connected by better roads, rail and air service and many have river and deep water ports. Usually Internet access and other forms of communication are more efficient in urban areas. And you have a larger array of quality of life options to choose from, such as the cultural assets found in metropolitan areas.
 

 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     
After I finished the cover story for this issue, I read an interesting article by economist Paul Krugman, the op-ed columnist for the New York Times, titled, "Partying like it’s 1995." Generally I side with Krugman, even though I am a journalist, not an economist. Occasionally, though, I read some of his stuff and ask myself, "What planet did Krugman come from?" Like when he predicted a shift of automotive assembly to Canada after Toyota announced a new plant in Woodstock, Ontario in 2005 because of "free healthcare," among other benefits. That Toyota deal was the last major automotive assembly plant announced in Canada and I predict it will be the very last one for the Canadians.
 
 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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