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GE in midst of spending $250 million on Louisville's Appliance Park upgrades
Louisville-based GE Appliances has about $250 million in updates in the works at Appliance Park. The investments include a lot of small upgrades that aim to vertically integrate the company by bringing some operations in-house that previously were outsourced to suppliers. New plastic-injection molding and painting operations are examples of this. The company also is spending money on new production lines, including one for a washing machine model that will be released next year and a larger water heater model. Business First
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Despite dip in oil prices, Houston luxury home market still among hottest nationally
Houston is still among the hottest U.S. cities for luxury home sales despite the oil downturn, according to a new national report. The Bayou City ranked No. 5 among major U.S. cities based on the number of closed sales of luxury homes valued at $1 million and higher, according to Coldwell Banker Previews International’s spring 2015 luxury market report. Realtors in the Houston area sold 1,045 luxury homes in 2014, according to the Madison, New Jersey-based real estate company. Houston Business Journal
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Why nothing could stop Exxon Mobil from buying BP, if it wants
If Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) decides to acquire BP PLC (NYSE: BP), there may not be any way for the London-based oil company to stop the Irving, Texas-based juggernaut. That’s according to Scott Cockerham, managing director of Conway MacKenzie’s Houston office. BP could fatten itself up by making its own acquisition, but even that won’t be too big for Exxon, with its $365.2 billion in market capitalization, to swallow, Cockerham said. Houston Business Journal
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Texas Instruments explains weak Q1 results, outlines guidance for Q2
Texas Instruments (Nasdaq: TXN) is expecting a soft second quarter after reporting a weaker-than-expected first quarter. The Dallas-based company took a hit because of currency translation effects for chip sales sold in Euro and Yen terms, as well as its low exposure to the PC market and wireless infrastructure, which weighed on chip demand. Dallas Business Journal
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Charlotte-based Nucor Q1 earnings plummet but not as much as expected
Nucor Corp. (NYSE:NUE) reported first-quarter earnings almost 40 percent below the year-ago level, but it still handily beat analysts' expectations for the quarter. The Charlotte-based steel manufacturer says it made $67.8 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, in the most recent quarter on revenue totaling $4.4 billion. That 's down from net income of $111 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, a year earlier on revenue totaling $5.1 billion. Nucor says sales and margins were down because of “the exceptionally high level of steel imports flooding the domestic market. It is estimated that imports accounted for 33% of the finished steel market in the first quarter of 2015.” Charlotte Business Journal
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Match Game: Companies Push Training to Close Skills Gap
BAYTOWN, Texas—Heather Betancourth, a representative from Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., told a crowded room of community college students what they wanted to hear: Her employer needs to fill 3,000 positions in the coming years. Starting salaries can top $100,000. But here in the greater Houston region, dangling six-figure jobs is no longer enough to find qualified applicants for many positions. So the company has a scholarship program that covers community-college tuition, Ms. Betancourth elaborated, and pays interns around $18 an hour to work at its chemical facility. The Wall Street Journal
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U.S. Wages Are Historically Great, Or They’re Awful. It Depends on Your Preferred Inflation Measure
Wages for most workers have been rising only slowly since the recession ended, one factor limiting acceleration in consumer spending and faster economic growth. While there have been some signs of a pickup–McDonald’s was the latest company to announce raises for low wage workers–overall figures suggest paltry wage gains for most Americans. So how bad- or well-off are workers? Last week, we posted a series of charts showing inflation-adjusted wages for most workers topped out in 1972. The data, an official Labor Department measure released each month, appeared to underscore soft wage gains during this recovery. The Wall Street Journal
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Infinity closes on purchase of former Birmingham News HQ
Infinity Property & Casualty Corp. has completed the $20 million purchase of the former Birmingham News headquarters in downtown Birmingham. Cushman & Wakefield EGS President Bill Pradat represented Alabama Media Group in the transaction and confirmed this week the sale had closed. Corporate Realty represented Infinity in the purchase. The acquisition will reportedly result in hundreds of jobs being moved from Infinity's Colonnade office on U.S. 280 to the downtown building, but the company hasn't publicly revealed its exact plans. Birmingham Business Journal
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A long time coming: 18 years of headlines from Austin's affordability crisis
Consider it the breaking news story that wasn't. When the Austin Board of Realtors announced Tuesday that t he Austin-area housing market is now the least affordable it has ever been, it wasn't announcing a seismic shift in the local marketplace. Rather, it was confirmation of years and years of home value gains and less-than-ideal inventory gains in a strong local economy with that was largely spared the worst ravages of the Great Recession's housing crunch. Austin Business Journal
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Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate declines to 5.9 percent in March
Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate for March was 5.9 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 6.1 percent in February, the Georgia Department of Labor said early Thursday. The rate in March 2014 was 7.0 percent. The rate declined as employers created more jobs. The number of jobs in Atlanta increased in March by 1,900, or 0.1 percent, to 2,542,200 from 2,540,300 in February, GDoL said. Atlanta Business Chronicle
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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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