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That's The Randle Report for July 28, 2016
Join us again tomorrow 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 to find any story you need to find from last week, last month, last year or several years ago. Click on the headline above to access Southern Business & Development's website, the economic development magazine of the American South; the fourth largest economy in the world.
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U.S. Shale Gas Shaking Up Global Markets as LNG Supply Surges
Shale drillers from Pennsylvania to Texas flooded the U.S. with so much natural gas over the past decade that prices slid to a 17-year low. Now they’re going global, with the potential to upset markets from London to Tokyo. The U.S. began shale gas exports by sea this year and is projected by the International Energy Agency to become the world’s third-largest liquefied natural gas supplier in five years. Gas will challenge coal at European power plants and become affordable in emerging markets, where prices have been high and supplies limited, according to the IEA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Bloomberg
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Mercedes-Benz Vans breaks ground on new South Carolina plant
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Prompted by growing North American demand for its vans, Mercedes-Benz Vans broke ground Wednesday on a new $500 million U.S. manufacturing plant in South Carolina. The site is next to an existing plant where, for the past decade, the company has put Sprinter vans made in Germany back together after being disassembled and shipped to this country because of the high duties on importing finished vehicles. "The logistics process is a nightmare," Volker Mornhinweg, the head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, told reporters. The State
Submitted 6 hours ago

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Florida GDP outpacing U.S. economic output thanks to strong real estate, construction sectors
Florida's GDP growth of 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016 not only outpaced the country as a whole, but all of the other top population states and every state in the Southeast but one. Not a bad economic scorecard for the Sunshine State. A key measure of economic vitality, gross domestic product (GDP) by state is the market value of goods and services produced by the labor and property located in a state. In the first quarter, the value of Florida's GDP stood at more than $911 billion, up more than $48 billion from a year earlier. Florida ranked 10th for GDP growth among all states in the first quarter, according to the latest U.S. Commerce Department numbers out Wednesday. Tampa Bay Times
Submitted 6 hours ago

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IT’S OFFICIAL: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley urges legislature to approve lottery to fund Medicaid growth
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has thrown in the towel on pushing for tax increases to fund the growth of the state’s Medicaid program, announcing Wednesday that he is instead calling a Special Session of the legislature for the specific task of approving a lottery to fund “essential services.” “In order for our state to be the best that it can be, we must once and for all solve problems that have held our state back for decades,” said Gov. Bentley, alluding to Alabama’s perpetual General Fund Budget crisis. The state’s Medicaid program, which has almost doubled in size over the past decade, is the primary driver of the funding shortfall. Yellowhammernews.com
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Oklahoma economy slides again in first quarter
Oklahoma's economy slipped again in the first quarter, marking the fourth straight quarter of declines for the state, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis said Wednesday. Led by losses in the energy and manufacturing sectors, Oklahoma's gross domestic product contracted by 0.5 percent in the first quarter. The state joined 13 others with GDP contractions in the first three months of the year. Oklahoma's economy contracted by 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 and slipped 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 2015. NewsOK.com
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Oklahoma wind farm construction continues
Oklahoma didn't complete any wind farms in the second quarter, but the state has more than 1,100 megawatts under construction so far this year, a national wind trade group said Tuesday in its latest market report. The American Wind Energy Association said just 310 megawatts of wind capacity was installed across the country in the second quarter. That came after 520 megawatts were added in the first three months of 2016. Oklahoma has 5,453 megawatts of wind capacity installed, after adding 270 megawatts in the first quarter. NewsOK.com
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Governor, Boeing leaders celebrate opening of OKC facility
OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin and leaders at Boeing celebrated the dedication of the aerospace giant’s new facility in southeast Oklahoma City on Friday morning, with Fallin touting tax credits she said helped make the expansion possible. Boeing will begin moving labs and equipment into the new building in the next couple of weeks, said Michael Emmelhainz, Boeing’s vice president of Large Aircraft and Engineering Sustainment and the Oklahoma City senior site executive. Emmelhainz said everything should be moved in by the middle of next year. Tulsa World
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Ticked off at Nashville development? In love with it? Real estate survey wants answers
Whether you're agitated beyond belief with the blitz of construction in Nashville, totally enamored with it, or somewhere in-between, a group that exists to promote higher-quality urban development wants to know. The survey from the Nashville Civic Design Center aims to take the latest gauge of public perceptions of all the projects smothering the city ( as seen on our Crane Watch map). More importantly, the survey wants to measure the level of influence citizens believe they have, at a time when Nashville is obliterating construction records. Nashville Business Journal
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Volkswagen supplier Gestamp gears up for Chattanooga-made SUV
The biggest single investment by a Volkswagen supplier in Hamilton County is now shifting into one of the largest hiring efforts by an automotive company here. "We'll be hiring a ton of people," said Madalyn Roberts, a human resources recruiter for Spanish supplier Gestamp, on Tuesday. Gestamp's new plant next to VW's factory at Enterprise South industrial park expects to employ up to 115 workers by year's end, making parts for VW's new sport utility vehicle, Roberts said at a job fair at Brainerd Crossroads. Chattanooga Times Free Press
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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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