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That's The Randle Report for April 17, 2015
Join us again on Monday 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 above to find your favorite stories from yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Click on the headline to access Southern Business & Development magazine.
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Large manufacturer eyes Berkeley County, S.C. site for up to 4,000 jobs
A large manufacturing facility that would employ up to 4,000 people over the next decade is being proposed for a 2,800-acre parcel in the Camp Hall Commerce Park in Ridgeville, according to an application for an environmental permit. The permit — filed by Berkeley County on Thursday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston — does not name the manufacturer, but states that it is an “advanced manufacturing and assembly facility” that will require the same type of transportation, distribution and logistics network as the automotive and aerospace industries. It is not clear whether the project is the Volvo automobile manufacturing plant that South Carolina and other states have been trying to lure in recent months. The manufacturer is identified as “Project Soter” on the permit application. Soter is the spirit of safety in Greek mythology. Volvo cars have long been marketed for having a reputation for safety. Post and Courier
Submitted yesterday

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U.S. companies use more of their bank credit lines in sign of confidence
(Reuters) - U.S. banks are reporting that companies are tapping more of their credit lines to fund hiring and expand their businesses, a promising sign for the economy. Commercial borrowers are using two or three percentage points more of their credit lines than they were a year ago, reaching levels not seen since before the financial crisis was at its height in 2009, senior officials at a number of major banks said in interviews and on conference calls this week. Companies are using the funds for a variety of things, from boosting manufacturing capacity to investing in new businesses and building inventory as customer demand increases.
Submitted yesterday

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Machinists cancel union vote at Boeing S.C.
COLUMBIA, SC -- The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Friday withdrew for at least six months their petition for an election scheduled for Wednesday to unionize Boeing Co.’s North Charleston plant. The union cited a “toxic environment and gross violation of workers’s lawful organizing rights.” If the union had pressed ahead with the controversial vote – being waged in a deeply anti-union state – and failed to win, organizers would have had to wait at least a year to schedule another try at passage. The State
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Texas snaps 53-month job gain streak, posts first job loss since Sept. 2010
Texas posted its first monthly decline in total jobs in more than four years. The state lost 25,400 jobs in March, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The last time Texas saw a decline in total employment was in September 2010 when it lost 600 jobs in a month. The worst year for job losses was 2009 when Texas lost 371,300 jobs. The Texas unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent, its lowest level since July 2007 as the labor force and number of unemployed both declined. Dallas Morning News
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Texas exports almost topped $300 billion-mark last year, trade report shows
Texas exported $289 billion worth of goods in 2014, a 146 percent increase over export levels in 2004, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The latest United States of Trade report highlights the economic impact of Texas’ trade relationships. The report also found that 1.1 million jobs were supported by exports in 2014. There were 41,558 companies that exported goods in 2013 and there were 93.2 percent of exporters that were small- or medium-sized businesses in 2013. San Antonio Business Journal
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After billions spent, Lockheed's F-35 fighter jet made in Fort Worth 'has to come through'
What happens after the priciest defense program ever, the F-35, takes a mulligan? Hard questions have to be answered, and they came rapid-fire last week, even for the Air Force officer. What’s the fix, when will it happen, what’s the cost, who’s accountable? “I’m sorry to be all up in your tailpipe on this, but it’s at the point where members of Congress are really concerned,” Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said to Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan at a House hearing. Dallas Morning News
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Alabama's unemployment rate drops to 5.7 percent in March; down from 7.2 the previous year
Alabama's unemployment didn't change much from February, but at 5.7 percent, it's significantly lower than it was this time last year. The seasonally adjusted number was released Friday, down from 5.8 percent in February. The last time the number at 5.7 percent or below was July 2008. In March 2014, the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent. The state's Current Population Survey showed 2,021,806 residents were employed in March, the highest since September 2008. AL.com
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30 states outpace S.C. in assembly line wages
Gov. Nikki Haley and state Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt speak regularly about how South Carolina's manufacturing sector has thrived since they took office, and they did it again this week during a manufacturing conference in Greenville. In separate speeches at the TD Convention Center, Haley and Hitt reminded their audiences of major jobs announcements in manufacturing since the start of 2011, such as the Continental Tire plant in Sumter County, the Giti tire plant in Chester County, the Daimler van plant expansion in North Charleston and the $1 billion carbon fiber plant that Toray Industries is building in Spartanburg County. Greenville News
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Beige Book: U.S. Economy Powers Through Headwinds
WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy continued to expand across most of the country in February and March, though a strong dollar, falling oil prices and harsh winter weather slowed activity in some sectors, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of regional economic conditions. The Fed found modest or moderate growth in eight of its 12 districts, according to the so-called beige book report released Wednesday. Elsewhere, the pace of economic activity was described as steady, slight or continuing to expand. The Wall 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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