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Texas economic activity improved in June
The Texas Economic Activity Index grew 1.1 percentage points in June, according to Comerica Bank. The index’s June reading of 111.9 is 40 points, or 56 percent, above the index cyclical low of 71.7. The index averaged 105 points for all of 2013, three points above the average for 2012. “Our Texas Index improved again in June, up 9 out of the last 10 months,” says Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica Bank. “Steady gains in our Texas Index highlight the remarkable period of economic expansion that Texas is now enjoying. Payroll employment in Texas has increased for 46 consecutive months through this July. Austin Business Journal
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Interactions Corp. plans to hire 1,000 in major Austin expansion
Interactions Corp. plans to add 1,000 new workers in Austin by the end of 2015 to support its growing customer base, according to company officials. The Franklin, Massachusetts-based company provides services intended to ease frustration with automated voice and text customer service systems. Interactions Corp. claims clients that include Hyatt Hotels Corp., Humana Inc., and TXU Energy. Here in Austin, the company works out of the same office building near East Rundberg Lane and I-35 that Rackspace Inc. plans to vacate when it shifts operations to the redeveloping Highland Mall. Austin Business Journal
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PNC: Raleigh on the cusp of becoming music festival destination
This fall, a number of large and small music festivals will take over Raleigh, and PNC Bank - a main sponsor for some of these events - is feeling the momentum. Last year, when the International Bluegrass Music Association announced Raleigh as the new destination for the World of Bluegrass festival, PNC jumped at the chance to sponsor the event. “I didn’t wait for the proposal to come across my desk,” says Rebecca Quinn Wolf, foundation management and sponsorship executive at PNC. “We knew that it was something new and original to the city of Raleigh.” Triangle Business Journal
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New Atlanta airport master plan eyes new gates, sixth runway
New gates, a doubling of parking capacity and a sixth runway highlight a new master plan for Atlanta’s airport unveiled by airport officials Wednesday. Miguel Southwell, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the airport’s chief planner outlined a series of short- and long-term improvements recommended in the new 20-year master plan during a presentation to the Atlanta City Council’s Transportation Committee. Short-term projects, to be undertaken during the next two to three years, include replacing the north and south parking garages at the airport, built in the 1970s, with new garages. Increasing the number of floors in the new garages from the current four to eight or nine will allow the airport to double its on-site parking capacity, said Tom Nissalke, the airport’s planning director. Atlanta Business Chronicle
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Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe forms ‘new economy’ strategic plan
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday the creation of a steering committee to help diversify the commonwealth’s economy. McAuliffe’s executive order creates the New Virginia Economy Strategic Plan and Steering Committee, which will outline McAuliffe’s economic development plan for Virginia over his gubernatorial term. The committee, which will be led by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, will be charged with developing a proposal by Dec. 1. The committee will be made up of most of McAuliffe’s Cabinet. The order instructs the group collect input from economic development organizations, chambers of commerce and business leaders in the commonwealth. Virginia Business
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Changes can help WV embrace gas boom, speaker says
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — The president of the nation’s largest holder of natural gas reserves said Wednesday that if West Virginia wants to take full advantage of the Marcellus shale, it needs to enact sound policies and invest in its people. Randy Cleveland, president of ExxonMobil Corp. subsidiary XTO Energy, was the keynote speaker Wednesday at the opening of the state Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Business Summit at The Greenbrier. Cleveland opened his talk by saying it was fitting that the popular PBS series Antiques Roadshow visited The Greenbrier earlier this year. Cleveland said the state is just like the people on that show who learn they’ve had an object of great value sitting right in their home. Charleston Daily Mail
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It's official: United Furniture to add 200 jobs in Winston-Salem
It's official. As previously reported by the Triad Business Journal, United Furniture Industries has selected the historic Weeks plant in Winston-Salem for a manufacturing and distribution facility, with plans to create 200 jobs and invest $5.2 million over three years. Gov. Pat McCrory's office officially announced the company's plans Wednesday morning. Forsyth County and Winston-Salem officials had already approved a total of $300,000 worth of incentives for the project. The project also is eligible to receive a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $300,000. Triad Business Journal
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At College Football Games, Student Sections Likely to Have Empty Seats
Football stadiums will be packed this weekend for the kickoff of the college season. But many of the student sections are likely to have empty seats. Average student attendance at college football games is down 7.1% since 2009, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of stadium turnstile records from about 50 public colleges with top-division football teams. The decline was 5.6% at colleges in the five richest conferences. The decrease even at schools with entrenched football traditions and national championships stands in contrast to college football's overall popularity. Total turnout at home games of top-tier teams hit a record in 2013, while average attendance has slipped just 0.8% since 2009. The Wall Street Journal
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NLRB Case Tests Who Employs Contract Workers
WASHINGTON—Just a month after a controversial decision involving employees of McDonald's Corp. franchisees, businesses are bracing for a new action by federal labor regulators that could lower the barriers between companies and the contract workers they use. The National Labor Relations Board is re-evaluating its decades-old standard for deciding when contractual business arrangements render one business a "joint employer" of workers employed by another. It is using a case in which a union wants a company at the table in collective bargaining involving subcontracted workers. These joint-employer cases are the latest battle over the application of labor laws at a time when businesses are increasingly turning to contract workers. U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3 million temporary and contract workers a week in 2013, up 4% from 2012, according to a quarterly survey by the American Staffing Association. The Wall Street Journal
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The Federal Debt: All You Need to Know in Three Minutes


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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

The America South is home to almost as many residents as the Northeast and the Midwest combined, but even that statistical record is about to be broken. According to a new Census Bureau study that came out in April, 51 percent of the nation's population jump occurred in the South from 2010 to 2013.
 

 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     
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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