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10 years of Hyundai: Montgomery plant fuels automaker's rise
The pieces for Hyundai's $1.7 billion Alabama assembly plant started coming together years before the first car rolled off the assembly line in 2005. The challenge was making those pieces fit together so that they fit the Korean automaker's vision of its future. "We all come from different (companies) throughout the country," said Chris Susock, vice president of production at the Montgomery plant. "We all come from different business cultures. Some of those first meetings we had, it was, 'No, this is the way it's got to be done because this is how we do it at Ford,' or, 'This is how we do it at GM.' "One of the pieces was Craig Stapley, who got here two years before the plant opened. He knew the goal: to turn a green field into a well-oiled machine by uniting under one vision. But he also knew that it's easier said than done. Mtontgomery Advertiser
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Moody’s: Volvo plant shifts South Carolina auto industry into higher gear
South Carolina already more than doubles the national average when it comes to the impact automobile manufacturing has on the state’s economy. But last week’s decision by Volvo Cars to build its first U.S. plant in Berkeley County will further boost the state’s standing to $4.8 billion in annual economic output, according to credit-rating firm Moody’s Investors Service. The $500 million plant will anchor the Camp Hall Industrial Campus near Ridgeville, with construction starting later this year. The Volvo plant — along with Daimler AG’s announcement in March that it will build a $500 million facility in North Charleston to build Sprinter vans — “further strengthens South Carolina’s already healthy auto manufacturing sector,” which accounts for 3.1 percent of the state’s gross domestic product compared to the national average of 1.5 percent, according to Moody’s. Post and Courier
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Volvo won’t move U.S. headquarters to S.C.
Volvo will not move its U.S. headquarters to South Carolina, a high-ranking executive says. That executive added Volvo will hold down its costs for its $500 million S.C. plant — expected eventually to employ 4,000 — by omitting an expensive metal-stamping operation from the Berkeley County facility. Instead, Volvo will assemble parts, made overseas, for a vehicle to be built on a new platform, which will accommodate several different models. The S.C. vehicle could be a sports-utility vehicle. Contrary to speculation since the plant announcement earlier this month, Volvo has no plans to move its U.S. headquarters to South Carolina, said Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president of Volvo Americas. In fact, he added, Volvo Cars of North America is “upgrading our (headquarters) facilities” in Rockleigh, N.J. The State
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Raleigh ranked No. 1 city for jobs
Raleigh has been ranked as the nation’s No. 1 city for jobs in a new survey. The inaugural “25 Best Cities for Jobs” report issued Tuesday by employer review site Glassdoor ranked Raleigh tops based on three factors: how easy it is to get a job, the cost of living and the satisfaction of employees who work here. Raleigh was the only North Carolina city to make the list. Raleigh ranked No. 3 for how easy it is to get a job, determined by comparing the ratio of job openings to the city’s population. Raleigh News & Observer
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W.Va. unemployment rate jumps to 7 percent
West Virginia’s unemployment rate jumped to 7 percent in April as workers came back into the state’s labor force. The April rate was up four-tenths of a percentage point from the 6.6 percent rate recorded in March, according to data from Workforce West Virginia. The national unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in April. Total West Virginia employment was 722,400 in April, the same as March. The number of unemployed persons rose by 3,600 to 54,400 during the month, as 3,600 entered the labor force. Charleston Daily Mail
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Jindal, company announce $135M expansion in Southwest Louisiana
LAKE CHARLES — W.R. Grace & Co. and Chevron Products Co. will build a $135 million residue hydro-processing catalyst production plant and additional alumina capacity at the existing Grace manufacturing facility near Lake Charles. The announcement was made Monday in a news release from Gov. Bobby Jindal and W.R. Grace & Co. Chairman and CEO Fred Festa. The companies' joint venture is called Advanced Refining Technologies. Grace will retain 295 direct jobs at the site. ART will create 30 new direct jobs. American Press
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Business slowdown: Traffic jams up South Florida’s economy
Fix it! That’s the cry from South Florida business owners as backed-up roads take their toll on companies from Palm Beach County to the Keys. A Miami Herald survey distributed through local chambers of commerce found that businesspeople overwhelmingly rate traffic here as “very bad,” saying it has gotten significantly worse in the last three years. More than half said employees at their company are “always or often” late because of traffic. Though Miami’s traffic isn’t the nation’s worst — that dubious distinction goes to cities including Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin — the complaints aren’t the usual, idle grumbling. Miami Herald
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Tampa Bay will be part of Humana's hiring spree
TAMPA — Humana said that it's about to go on a hiring spree and start adding 500 jobs a year nationally — and many of those jobs will end up in the bay area. The Louisville, Ky., insurance company announced its new hiring goal Tuesday and said it wants to fill those new jobs by hiring military veterans and their spouses. "Tampa Bay will be a focus," Humana spokesman Jeff Blunt said, "and the area has a heavy military family presence." The company could not say what share of that goal — an open-ended commitment to add 500 jobs a year for the foreseeable future — will come from the Tampa Bay region. Tampa Bay Times
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Surge in home construction is lifting hopes for U.S. economy
The U.S. housing market has given a sudden jolt to what appeared to be a slumping economy. Builders broke ground on homes last month at the fastest pace in more than seven years. The stepped-up construction is helping boost sales at stores like Home Depot and Lowe's and improving the likelihood that the U.S. economy will accelerate after likely shrinking early this year. In part, the surge in housing starts in April reflected a rebound from a dismal winter that shut down construction sites and hampered growth across the economy. Builders may struggle to maintain their robust April pace. But there is reason for optimism. Orlando Sentinel
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Alabama is 'obvious choice' for Aston Martin plant, CEO tells trade journal
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told Automotive News Europe that Alabama is the "obvious choice" for a new U.S. plant. AL.com
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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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