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That's The Randle Report for February 26, 2015
Join us again on 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 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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U.S. can rejuvenate manufacturing -- and here's how, federal official says
Exporting goods made in the United States may be the saving grace for U.S. manufacturers, says Jay Williams, the country's assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. So the Obama administration still has some work to do to create a level playing field for U.S. exporters, Williams said Wednesday in Concord. "The president realizes that previous trade agreements didn't live up to the hype," Williams says. "They left too much wiggle room." Charlotte Business Journal
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Oil Bust Empties Out Private-Jet Parking Lot in Texas
(Bloomberg) -- The oil boom last year was easy to see at the airport in Midland, Texas, the gateway to the biggest crude-producing region in the U.S. The 30 or so spaces for private planes were often filled. On one day in early February, a lone corporate jet sat on the tarmac, the empty spots a harbinger of the slowdown looming in a city that is 85 percent dependent on the oil and gas industry. In petroleum capitals such as Midland, a place long known for swaggering wildcatters who made and lost fortunes, corporate and personal jet travel has been a bellwether for the health of the energy business. That indicator took a turn down in January, when private-aircraft flights to Midland dropped about 9 percent, amid the global rout in crude prices. Bloomberg
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Jaguar looking to US for new production site; Is SC on list of locations?
GREENVILLE, SC — The former leader of the company that owns Jaguar Land Rover said during a visit to Greenville that the luxury carmaker is considering North America as the possible location for a new plant. But Ratan Tata, former chairman of India’s Tata Sons, didn’t mention any sites in particular, and he said the decision was in the hand of executives with the car company. Tata was special guest at the South Carolina Automotive Summit, which concludes today at the downtown Hyatt. The State
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Jaguar Land Rover 'is indeed looking' at N.A. plant, Tata says
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- British luxury maker Jaguar Land Rover Group is considering a North American auto plant to keep up with growing world demand for luxury vehicles. News of the possible expansion -- confirmed here Tuesday by Tata Motors Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata -- comes seven years after the British brands were shed by Ford Motor Co. Tata led his Indian company’s 2008 acquisition of the luxury marques from the U.S. automaker. “The company is indeed looking at North America as a location for another plant,” Tata told the South Carolina Automotive Summit. “Where they locate that plant, in which country or which state they locate, is something they will need to decide.” Automotive News
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U.S. auto sales roar toward strongest February since 2002
DETROIT -- U.S. auto sales are on pace for the best February since 2002, forecasters say, even as relentless snow slowed demand in the Northeast. February is expected to mark the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year gains for the industry. Analysts said sales have been minimally affected by rising gasoline prices and a work stoppage at West Coast ports that could reduce March inventories of some vehicles imported from Asia. TrueCar, LMC Automotive and Kelley Blue Book are forecasting this month’s sales to be between 8 and 9 percent higher than in February 2014. That would translate to a seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate of 16.6 million to 16.7 million, which is roughly the same as January’s SAAR. Automotive News
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Why Mercedes wants to export more vehicles to the U.S.
Weak currencies in Europe and Japan are creating repercussions for automakers, forcing them to adjust to new fiscal realities created by a stronger dollar. Autoworkers are restive, as are forecasters and planners. Since the auto industry requires long lead times, the forecasts for currency values represent a dangerous wild card – which can abruptly alter scenarios when they deviate too far from assumptions. Michael Brecht, Daimler AG’s labor chief who sits on the automaker’s supervisory board, is questioning publicly whether his company should be expanding production in the U.S. instead of exporting more vehicles. Last year Daimler said it will move some production of Sprinter vans from Dusseldorf, Germany to a new plant to be located in North America. The U.S. is Sprinter’s No. 2 market after Germany. Fortune
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Daimler should rethink expanding U.S. output if euro stays weak, labor chief says
STUTTGART (Reuters) -- Daimler's plans to expand production in the United States should be recalibrated if the euro remains weak against the dollar, the automaker's top labor chief, Michael Brecht, said. In October last year, Daimler announced it will shift some production of its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans from its factory in Duesseldorf, Germany, to a new plant somewhere in the United States, Mexico or Canada. But the weakening of the euro relative to the dollar in recent months has made factories in Europe more competitive, compared to a year ago, when strategic decisions were made on the basis of a dollar euro exchange rate of $1.35, Brecht said. Automotive News
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Ford's $1.1B investment in Kansas City assembly plant nears the finish line
It was October 2011 when Ford Motor Co. announced that it would invest $1.1 billion in upgrades at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, and today it's nearly completed with that investment. The investment brought production of the Ford Transit van to the area, replacing the Ford Escape, which was lost to Louisville. It also was used to retool for production of the newly redesigned Ford F-150. The latest milestone was Ford (NYSE: F) announcing that 3,800 workers who will build the all-new F-150 at the Kansas City Assembly Plant finished an intensive training program. Kansas City Business Journal
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Some advice for small towns from a noted site consultant
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 well-maintained 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 there are a larger array of quality of life options to choose from, such as the cultural assets found in metropolitan areas. Southern Business & Development
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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Just look around at what's happening in the aerospace industry in the American South. Aerospace is really making a move to become one of the region's top two industry sectors. It’s not there yet, but if large project counts are any indication, aerospace may soon challenge the petrochemicals sector as the second largest industry in the region. Never before has the aerospace industry been so important to the South's economy. Oh, what's the No. 1 industry sector in the South? Automotive is, of course. That industry hasn't been challenged much for 25 years in this region, or since we’ve been counting.

 

 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     
This is our annual "Made in the South" issue and it's timely because there is a new player in the South's manufacturing universe. For almost two decades, economic developers and politicos in the South and the U.S. have been chasing Chinese projects with little or nothing to show. Want proof we've been chasing ghosts in China for years? Okay, go ahead and name a Chinese brand that's made in the South? Tick. . .tick. . .tick. Give up?
 
 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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