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Alabama unemployment falls to 5.8 percent
Alabama's unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent in February, its lowest level in nearly seven years, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the state. The number remains slightly higher than the national average of 5.5 percent in February. In releasing the numbers, the state repeatedly referenced 2008 as the last time the Alabama job market was this healthy. "Over two million Alabamians are working — the most since 2008," Gov. Robert Bentley said in the release. "Our economy supported more jobs in February than it has during the same period since 2008." Montgomery Advertiser
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Three things Birmingham is doing right
If you're looking for something metro Birmingham is doing right, look downtown. That was the landslide choice of respondents to our recent survey that asked what Birmingham was doing right and what needs to improve. No matter how they feel about Birmingham's myriad challenges or which metro they envy, respondents love what's going on downtown. Whether they are millennials or longtime Birmingham residents near the end of their careers, the downtown revitalization drew heavy praise in our survey. Birmingham Business Journal
Submitted 4 hours ago

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Mississippi lands only Questair Venture manufacturing facility in the nation
The John Bell Williams Airport in Bolton and Raymond is now the home of the country's only manufacturer of the Questair Venture, a small, high-performance kit plane. Meanwhile, a world record was set for the largest number of Questair Ventures in one place as owners of the tiny plane from all over the country gathered for a "fly-in" to celebrate the opening of the facility. In a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the airport on Friday, owners Dan Myers of Madison and Jim Cook of Clinton talked about the history of the planes and the future of the manufacturing facility. Clarion-Ledger
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Richmond's high business taxes blamed for pushing companies to suburbs
Michael C. Hild lives in Church Hill and wanted to keep his growing mortgage lending and servicing business in Richmond. But he considered the business tax too high. The tax liability of operating in Richmond was nearly three times what it would be in Chesterfield and Henrico counties and much greater than it would be in Hanover County, which doesn’t charge any business tax. “I was blown away by the discrepancy,” said Hild, chairman and CEO of Live Well Financial. Richmond Times-Dispatch
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Atlantans have the longest commute in entire U.S.
It’s a well-known fact that Atlanta has some of the worst traffic in the nation. And according to a new report released by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution, Atlantans also have the longest commute in the country. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank's report found in the Atlanta metro area, which spans 29 counties and contains more than 5 million people and 2 million jobs, the typical commute distance is 12.8 miles. Atlanta Business Chronicle
Submitted 4 hours ago

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U.S. Senate bill aims to help rural businesses
Republican-backed legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate aims to help businesses in rural communities have greater access to credit opportunities. Current policies in place with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau permits certain rural lending practices in areas it deems rural or underserved. But many rural communities argue the Bureau’s definition of rural excludes a number of truly rural areas and doesn’t provide members of those communities with any input in the process. Charleston Daily Mail
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Here's More Proof the U.S. Economy Is Beating the Rest of the World
At first glance, the corporate profits data released today by the Commerce Department don't look good. Profits fell by 0.8 percent in 2014 from the prior year, the first decline since the middle of the recession. Below the surface, however, the weakness was concentrated in earnings from abroad. It's the latest embodiment of the surge in the dollar as the U.S. recovery strengthens. Profits originating outside the U.S. dropped by $36.1 billion in the fourth quarter, the biggest decrease since 2008 and the second-biggest since 2002. This would be money earned by big multinational companies, such as Coca-Cola Co. or Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as well as any business that sells goods and services abroad. Bloomberg
Submitted 4 hours ago

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Why Wages Will Rise
Business leaders should start planning now for increasing wages, according to "The Real Economy: Higher Wages," a report targeted to middle market businesses. Published by McGladrey LLP and authored by Joe Brusuelas, the firm's chief economist, the report provides a variety of reasons to believe that conditions are ripe for "modest wage growth in 2015." Noting a strong year in the labor market, with unemployment steadily falling all year to it's current rate of 5.6%, the firm predicts the economy has reached the point "where wages will start rising and the competition for, and retention of, skilled workers will present a challenge as firms seek to boost productivity." Industry Week
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What's destroying middle-class wages?
Perhaps the biggest question in American political economy right now is why middle-class wages have been falling. There are three main hypotheses. Roughly, these are: robots, unions and China. The robots theory gets by far the most play in the news media, since it’s by far the scariest — if automation is replacing big chunks of the human workforce, things are only going to get worse as robots become more capable and efficient. This interpretation has tentatively been embraced by many on the political right, since it doesn’t imply a need for substantial government intervention in the economy (though it might imply a need for redistribution). The unions theory is favored by the political left, since it implies that giving more institutional power to this traditional liberal power bloc would shift the distribution of national income toward workers. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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US economy stalled in first quarter: Economists
The U.S. economy may have stalled in the first quarter. CNBC Rapid Update, which averages tracking forecasts from economists, fell 0.4 percent to 1.4 percent after the government reported weaker-than-expected consumer spending in February. One survey participant, Stephen Stanley of Amherst Pierpont Securities in Stamford, Connecticut, is predicting zero growth in the first quarter. That would be the lowest growth rate since the first quarter last year came in negative mostly as a result of harsh winter weather. CNBC
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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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