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S.C. Ports Authority to build operations center at BMW
The South Carolina Ports Authority has authorized the construction of a site operations center on the campus of BMW in Greer. The project is scheduled to be completed by early next year. The center, on property owned by the SCPA but leased by BMW, will help facilitate BMW's shipping. And that shipping is substantial. With $9.2 billion of value shipped overseas in 2014, as BMW has announced, the Germany-based automaker's Greer plant is the nation's leading exporter of passenger vehicles. A $1 billion investment to expand its facility and add a fifth vehicle platform was announced last year. An X7, a large sport-utility vehicle with three rows of seats, is set to join the 3, 4, 5 and 6 series vehicles produced in Greer. Greenville News
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Florida's surging construction industry faces worker shortage
Since joining his father's construction crew when he was 16, Casey Ellison has ridden 21 years of Florida building booms and busts. This time, though, the recovery is playing out a different way. As both commercial and residential development picks up, construction managers are having a hard time filling their crews, particularly subcontractors like electricians, plumbers, drywallers and carpenters. "We don't seem to be bringing the workforce back in the market like we've typically seen in the past," Ellison said. The shortage "is a little more profound now." Tampa Bay Times
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Duke Energy to pay $102M to settle federal charges in coal ash spill
RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal prosecutors Friday filed criminal charges against Duke Energy for illegal discharges from ash ponds across North Carolina, including near Charlotte and Raleigh and in Rockingham County, N.C., where a massive spill a year ago triggered intense scrutiny of the company's environmental management. Duke, the largest U.S. utility and the dominant power company in west-central Florida, said it has reached a settlement agreement with the federal government over nine misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement would end an investigation of its ash handling that began with a Feb. 2, 2014, spill into the Dan River. Tampa Bay Times
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Governors expect Atlantic coast seismic testing for oil and gas in about 18 months
Seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean could begin in a year and a half, and plans already are underway about whether coastal states will need more roads, refineries and other infrastructure for offshore oil and gas production, Gov. Pat McCrory, chairman of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, said on Friday. The coalition met Friday during the National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Its agenda included discussion of how to get a regional revenue-sharing bill through Congress, McCrory said. The legislation would determine how money from fossil fuels from U.S. waters would be divided between the federal government and the states. Raleigh News & Observer
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Pipeline companies hold steady amid crude volatility
Enlink Midstream, the Dallas pipeline company formed in a deal between Devon Energy and the former Crosstex Energy, said Wednesday that it plans “to take advantage of a variety of growth opportunities” and spend $700 million this year buying up other companies’ pipelines. And Energy Transfer Partners, Dallas billionaire Kelcy Warren’s pipeline company, just raised dividends for shareholders for the sixth straight quarter. Even as commodity prices have plummeted the past six months, the companies that move oil and natural gas across the country’s pipelines are not only holding steady financially but also are holding off on the large cuts in capital spending that exploration companies have announced. Dallas Morning News
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Oil collapse woes move into the midstream
Companies that transport and process oil are starting to sweat crude’s collapse, after dodging its early effects because their revenue typically comes from fees rather than volatile commodity prices. Most midstream companies operate like toll roads: Producers pay for transportation or processing of their products. Those fees typically are fixed in contracts well in advance and don’t vary with the price of the cargo. Some contracts require fees even if a shipper decides not to transport its product. But just as toll revenue drops if traffic does, midstream business slumps if commodity prices fall sharply and stay low long enough to reduce production of the goods being shipped. Fees may be set for now, but prospects for growth can take a hit if there’s less oil and gas to move. San Antonio Express News
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Gulf Coast lawmakers fighting plan to redirect offshore oil revenue
WASHINGTON – Gulf Coast lawmakers are vowing to fight President Barack Obama’s proposal to “redirect” millions of dollars in oil and gas revenue the region is expecting to receive under a 2006 law. Under that law, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), 37 cents of every dollar earned from offshore oil and gas drilling goes to the four states — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and certain counties in those states — whose coastlines are closest to the rigs. In the fiscal 2016 budget President Barack Obama released Feb. 2, he proposes to “work with the Congress on legislation to redirect” that money to programs the White House says benefit taxpayers nationwide. Gulf Coast lawmakers aren’t having it. The Town Talk
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Plant to bring 1,450 jobs to Pineville, La.
A new, $2.4 billion aluminum manufacturing complex will bring nearly 1,500 jobs to Pineville. American Specialty Alloys will build its first production facility manufacturing aluminum alloy for the automotive and aerospace industries on the former site of an International Paper mill off La. Highway 107. ASA expects to break ground later this year, with a targeted completion date of all facilities in 2020. The facility, as well as facilities for corporate partners to support the mill's operations, are expected to employ a total of 1,450 people at an average salary of about $70,000. The Town Talk
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Workers at Largest U.S. Refinery in Texas Walk Off Job
A nearly monthlong strike at U.S. refineries escalated early Saturday morning when workers at the nation’s largest refinery in Texas walked off the job after another round of negotiations failed. Union leaders warned that workers at other large refineries in Louisiana would also strike by Sunday if the dispute doesn’t end. Refineries have largely continued operating amid the labor strife, but plants accounting for roughly 16.5% of U.S. capacity are now affected, up from 13% before. If workers walk off at the additional plants on Sunday, the strike will affect refineries representing 19% of U.S. capacity. The Wall Street Journal
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

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Obama calls on Congress to grant him ‘fast track’ trade authority
With congressional negotiators nearing a deal to speed approval of trade agreements, President Obama called on lawmakers Saturday to complete the legislation that is opposed by many Democrats and labor groups. “This is bipartisan legislation that would protect American workers, and promote American businesses, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but are fair,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “It would level the playing field for American workers.” The Washington Times
Submitted 1 years 334 days ago

 

 

 

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Features & Opinion

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

For those who still languish over "losing to China" or believe that the economy is still in recession, wake up and smell the data. Economic development in the South was about as good as it gets in calendar year 2015 according to the data. And as for China, borrowing a quote from the late football coach Bear Bryant that he made in the half-time locker room down 15-0 to Georgia Tech in 1960, "We got 'em right where we want 'em." For those of you who don't know the rich history of Alabama Crimson Tide football, Bama scored all of its 16 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a field goal on the last play of the game to beat Tech 16-15.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Mike Randle
Today, factories in the U.S. make twice as much product as they did in 1984. And they are doing it with one-third of the manufacturing workforce. In fact, the output of durable goods in 2015 was the highest in the nation's history. So, we do have a strong manufacturing base, at least in the South, much of the Midwest and parts of the West, and it is getting stronger because on a cost-basis, we can compete with any major manufacturing nation in the world.  
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

FEATURE     
The argument for or against a minimum wage hike continues between the reds and the blues, as well as within the economic development community in the South. Should we stay the course with a minimum wage under $8 an hour to better compete with Mexico, the South's biggest competitor for jobs, or set a minimum wage just over $10 an hour, a wage floor most centrists support? That $10 per hour is, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, about right in most states in the South for one adult to be able to cover basic expenses plus all relevant taxes.
 
 Randle Report - Business News in the South
Recent data from the Computing Technology Industry Association (Comp TIA) showed that the technology industry is one of the fastest growing job generators in the South and the nation. The report also indicated that technology job compensation is growing faster than any other sector.
 


 

 

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