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Research center aims to give Virginia a manufacturing edge
In a quiet, wooded setting just off West Quaker Road in Prince George County, a new research facility has opened where scientists and engineers will collaborate on the future of cutting-edge manufacturing technology. Named the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, or CCAM, the not-for-profit center is bringing together researchers from the public and private sectors to work on projects that include making jet engines operate more efficiently and developing better techniques for building precision machinery with calibrations less than the width of a human hair. Standing in the 16,000-square-foot “high bay” area of the research center, CCAM’s executive director, Dave Lohr, pointed out that the cavernous space was designed to function like a typical modern factory floor. It is equipped to house and test the latest high-tech manufacturing equipment. Richmond Times-Dispatch
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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GDP comes in strong. But will 'fiscal cliff' slow growth?
The US economy grew at a 2.7 percent pace in this year's third quarter, a stronger showing than had originally been estimated. The new tally, released Thursday, came after the Commerce Department had reported a month ago that the third-quarter growth rate was just 2 percent. Although stronger growth is better than deceleration, the latest report on gross domestic product (GDP) comes with two big caveats. First, the upward revision came because of a spike in inventories – goods that were produced but not sold during the quarter. Yes, that stocking-up may have helped companies when those Black Friday shoppers rolled in, but that kind of gain can't be repeated quarter after quarter unless the production is matched by a rise in consumer demand. Christian Science Monitor
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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Kia to invest $1.6 billion in West Point vehicle assembly plant
(AP) Kia Motors sent yet another major signal Wednesday that its fast-paced growth at its mammoth auto assembly plant in West Point, Ga., is here for the long term. The company, along with several agencies in Troup County and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, said it will be investing $1.6 billion in machinery and other equipment over the next 16 years to “satisfy demand” for Kia’s vehicles in the U.S. “Kia has an exceptional track record of growth in our state,” Deal said in a statement. “The wave of economic impact created by Kia’s presence in Georgia goes far beyond the 10,000-plus jobs the company and its suppliers have created and will underpin the region’s economy for generations to come.” AJC.com
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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U.S. May Blast Mississippi River Rocks to Aid Shipping
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is open to expedited dynamiting of Mississippi River rock formations and increasing the flow from a tributary to prevent barge traffic from being curtailed, Senator Tom Harkin said. “They’re hopeful they can start on this in December,” Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, told reporters today after a meeting in Washington with Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works and the head of the Corps. Darcy didn’t speak with reporters after meeting with lawmakers, and Corps officials didn’t immediately comment on Harkin’s comment. Mississippi River barge traffic is slowing as the worst drought in five decades and a seasonal dry period are pushing water levels to a near-record low, prompting shippers, including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM), to seek alternatives. Bloomberg
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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Auto parts company adding 190 jobs in Chesterfield County, S.C.
CHERAW, S.C. — An automotive parts maker is expanding its South Carolina operations and creating 190 new jobs. Officials with Schaeffler Group USA said Thursday the Fort Mill company is planning to invest $40 million at two plants in Chesterfield County. The company says the expansions will be finished by next year. Gov. Nikki Haley says she met with Schaeffler officials in Germany last year after the Paris Air Show. The plant’s products include bearings and engine parts for auto manufacturers. In 2008, Schaeffler announced its plans to ship nearly 120 jobs from its INA ball bearings plant in Spartanburg to Mexico.
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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Florida metros record some of the biggest unemployment drops nationwide
Tampa Bay and a dozen other Florida metros have posted among the biggest drops in unemployment nationwide over the past year. The vast majority of the country's 372 metropolitan areas saw unemployment fall from October 2011 to last month, according to a U.S. Department of Labor analysis Wednesday. Only 29 metros, however, recorded a decrease of 2 percentage points or more. Almost half of those were in Florida. Among them: Tampa Bay, whose jobless rate in October fell to 8.2 percent (down from 10.5 percent a year ago) and Orlando, with a rate of 7.9 percent (down from 10.1 percent). Miami-Fort Lauderdale wasn't far behind with its jobless rate reaching 8.2 percent (down from 10 percent). Ocala's unemployment rate fell 2.8 percentage points, the third-largest percentage drop nationwide, to reach 9.1 percent. Tampa Bay Times
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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Citrus County, Fla. faces budget crisis as Progress Energy pays only part of its tax bill
Progress Energy Florida plunged Citrus County into a budget crisis Wednesday after the utility refused to pay almost half of its $35 million property tax bill. The County Commission and School Board scheduled emergency meetings for Friday to cope with millions in missing revenue. Progress, which merged with North Carolina-based Duke Energy in July, submitted a payment of about $19 million. The utility — by far the largest taxpayer in this rural county of 140,000 people — argues that the appraiser has overvalued its Crystal River power complex and other local assets. "Progress Energy/Duke Energy has submitted a tax payment that is approximately $15 million less than what the Citrus County Property Appraiser says is their responsibility, based upon the certified tax rolls," Commission Chairman Joe Meek wrote in a statement. Tampa Bay Times
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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Gov. Rick Scott, Enterprise Florida, embark on Colombia trade mission
Gov. Rick Scott and Enterprise Florida will lead a delegation of roughly 200 people to Colombia on Sunday for a trade mission that will include prearranged meetings with business and government leaders there. A reporter from the Tallahassee Democrat also will join the delegation for a first-hand account of how the missions help Florida businesses and the state. The trip is the seventh Scott has since he took office in January 2011 and is similar to one he took last year to Brazil. Enterprise Florida Vice President Manny Mencia said like Brazil, business members in the Colombian delegation were paired with Colombian organizations offering import and export opportunities. Scott said his plans include meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and officials from the U.S. Embassy. Tallahassee Democrat
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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Sen. Mark Warner tells Va. business leaders Congress will avoid sequestration
WILLIAMSBURG -- Sen. Mark R. Warner says he thinks Congress will avoid the massive cuts in defense spending set to automatically take effect next year. Yet there will be some additional cuts beyond the $480 billion over 10 years in the Budget Control Act, Warner told Virginia business leaders today. “We will not do sequestration,” Warner said in a videoconference speech to the 2012 Virginia Economic Summit in Williamsburg. Richmond Times-Dispatch
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

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'Underwater' homes now a minority in Metro Orlando
For the first time in years, the majority of Metro Orlando's mortgaged houses are not "underwater." Housing prices started collapsing about five years ago, and just two years ago, about 55 percent of Orlando-area homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their houses were worth. Unable to sell these financially submerged properties, many homeowners have been trapped in them. But a third-quarter report by the real-estate-research company Zillow Inc. shows that the proportion of negative-equity homes in the four-county metropolitan area has now dwindled to fewer than 48 percent — still high but continuing to decline. Orlando Sentinel
Submitted 2 years 21 days ago

 

 

 

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Features & Opinion

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 Randle Report - Business News in the South

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 Business News in the South - Randle Report

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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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