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Something New for U.S. Manufacturing: Stability
Has the number of American factories finally stopped its long, painful decline? One economist thinks so. Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, a research group in Arlington, Va., regularly does his own calculation of the number of plants based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that tracks factory openings and closings. Even in the darkest days of manufacturing’s long slide, there were factories being built—but their number was far outweighed by the rush to shutter operations. Millions of jobs were lost in the process. But Mr. Meckstroth says he thinks we’re at an inflection point. “After a steady decline that continued for over ten years, we’ve finally flattened out,” he says. From the peak in 1998—when there were 376,000 factories sprinkled across the U.S.—the number fell steadily until about two years ago. However, since late 2012, the number has hovered around 304,000. That’s by far the longest period of stability since before the sector fell on hard times. The Wall Street Journal
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Texas’ oil and gas industry expands to near-record levels
All signs pointed to a slowdown in the state’s oil and gas industry last year, but Texas production instead intensified to near-record levels, spurred by higher-than-expected oil prices driven by overseas turmoil, a new industry report shows. Statewide crude oil production is now poised to surpass its 1972 all-time high within two years, said Karr Ingham, an economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. “It looks to me you’d have to have a fairly dramatic set of circumstances to prevent that from happening,” he said in a presentation at the Petroleum Club in downtown Houston. Houston Chronicle
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East Tennessee auto supplier creates 1,000 jobs
Auto parts supplier SL Tennessee LLC officials said today the company will invest $80.5 million in Clinton, Tenn., outside Knoxville and create 1,000 new jobs. Located in Clinton since 2001, this will be the company’s fifth expansion. SL Tennessee was an early supplier to Chattanooga’s Volkswagen assembly plant. SL Tennessee will begin construction in August 2014 with a goal of being fully operational by April 2015. “I want to congratulate SL Tennessee on its latest expansion and thank the company for the 1,000 new jobs created in Clinton,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “SL Tennessee has been an outstanding corporate citizen in Anderson County for nearly 15 years, and we are grateful to the company for bringing us one step closer to our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.” Chattanooga Times Free Press
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AP: State funded startups outside Texas
One of the businesses that received money from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund operates in California while others list out-of-state employees and short-term hires as being among the jobs they created, the Associated Press reported Friday. The controversial fund designed to bolster private-sector startups and research at public universities that was created by Gov. Rick Perry has backed startups that have forfeited their right to do business in Texas by not filing tax reports, according to the AP article. Targazyme Inc. is one example of a problematic startup that is chronicled. On paper, the San Antonio-based startup is developing stem-cell breakthroughs with 14 employees and the help of $1.25 million in state funds. But the rural address listed for its Texas headquarters is actually a weedy horse pasture. During a recent visit by a reporter, the ex-husband of the CEO was warning his guest to watch for rattlesnakes, according to the AP. Austin Business Journal
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Bridging skills gap, job training key to Texas' economic success, report shows
Greater investment in education and training along with bridging the skills gap are key to Texas' economic success and to keep pace with its rapidly changing employment landscape, The Texas Tribune reported based on a workforce study released Wednesday. The study, released by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, highlighted the demographic challenges Texas faces as well as the significant steps lawmakers need to take to meet employer demands. In Texas, the under-18 population grew 17 percent from 2000 to 2010, 6.5 times the national rate, and its workforce is slated to grow much faster than the rest of the country between 2011 and 2040. This could prove to be an economic asset or a liability – it means education programs and job training are critical for the young workforce looking to replace retiring baby boomers. Austin Business Journal
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Growing job demand in Gulf of Mexico to be met with new partnership between LMOGA, LED, and several Louisiana colleges
With an estimated 30,000 offshore jobs coming to the Gulf of Mexico over the next few years, Louisiana is jumping ahead of the curve and organizing a singular program to meet the demand. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association; Louisiana Economic Development; Louisiana Workforce Commission; University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System are partnering to create a curriculum and certification program aimed at deep-water exploration and production. Representatives from each entity signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday, agreeing to provide support in recruitment, curriculum development, general advisory, status reports and financial sources for training. NOLA.com
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NC senators push for new incentives to encourage relocating businesses
RALEIGH Three years ago, Republican lawmakers balked at a deal put forward by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue to offer a company cash incentives to lure 1,300 jobs to North Carolina. Now, with a Republican governor at the helm, some GOP lawmakers want to expand state incentives and create a so-called “closing fund” that will allow cash grants to seal a deal with large corporations that promise to add jobs. The job development measures were tucked at the end of a bill to limit local governments’ authority to levy sales taxes and received little debate Thursday before passing the state Senate by a 32-16 vote that crossed party lines. But the new direction is clear. Charlotte Observer
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Poll: Do you favor using Alabama tax dollars set aside for education to pay cost for recruiting industry into state?
Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday kicked up a storm when he said he wanted to call a special session of the Legislature to have it approve a raid (my word) on tax dollars collected for schools and colleges. Bentley said he wanted to take school dollars and use them instead to help pay the cost of recruiting industry into the state. Bentley's reasons for doing this is that the kitty that is usually used to pay those costs is essentially broke. Bentley said the additional tax benefits that new businesses bring to Alabama mostly flow to the Education Trust Fund, the source of dollars for schools and colleges. "Who pays for the incentives? It's not education, but they benefit from it totally. ... You ought to eat what you kill," the governor said. AL.com
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Till named Alabama's deputy secretary of commerce, replacing economic development veteran Swann
MONTGOMERY, Alabama – The Alabama Department of Commerce has named Angela Till, a veteran of the Alabama Department of Revenue, as its new deputy secretary of commerce, replacing Linda Swann, who is retiring after 11 years with the agency. Till has worked at the revenue department for two dozen years in various roles. Now she will bring her knowledge of finances and incentives to the state's lead economic development agency. "We have become more strategic and collaborative in our approach to our mission at commerce and to be able to call on a skilled and knowledgeable expert like Angela Till to take over in this role is critical to our success," Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said in a statement. "Angela's expertise in the financial and tax-related aspects of incentives packages and her deep experience in working with economic developers across the state will be valuable to us as we continue to pursue our job-creation strategies." AL.com
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August start set for Three Alliance; first spec office building in Atlanta in three years
Tishman Speyer plans to break ground next month on Three Alliance Center, a 30-story office tower in Buckhead that will be Atlanta’s first speculative office building in almost seven years. The privately held New York developer has construction financing for the $175 million project. It wants to finish the tower by September 2016. Three Alliance is one of several projects that reflect renewed confidence and investment in Buckhead since the recession, including the redevelopment of Streets of Buckhead (now the mixed-use Buckhead Atlanta); the renovation of Lenox Square mall; and several new apartment towers along Peachtree Street and Lenox Road. Atlanta Business Chronicle
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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

In growth, companies find themselves in the dilemma of identifying capital to increase capacity and managing opportunity cost where capital may be deferred. This dilemma is amplified as capacity constraints drive a company to complete the site selection process for an expanding or new facility. 
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Dr. Glen Fenter
Desperation sometimes masks itself in acceptance. Such was the case for Takelia Carter of Marion, Ark. For Carter, the mother of six school-age children in a low paying job, desperation was normative existence. This was her life in Crittenden County, Ark., deep in the Delta where unfortunately one in four families lives well below the poverty level.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
By Mike Randle
There are numerous factors driving the new industrial revolution in the South. And it is a revolution, as this manufacturing surge that began in 2007 continues to break records year after year in the total number of large, capital intensive projects. One factor, of course, is that reshoring of facilities back to the U.S. continues to grow each year.
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean

We try to change up the categories in our annual Ten Top 10s section, but we always include the "Ten People Who Made a Difference" category. This year though, we are honoring 12 and you will learn why by reading about this group of folks who have made a difference in the South. Here is our annual list that includes executives, economic developers and politicians who have made a difference in the South's economy.


 


 

 

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