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Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant names Brent Christensen as new Mississippi Development Authority leader
Gov. Phil Bryant has named Brent Christensen as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. Christensen will replace interim director Jim Barksdale, the former Netscape CEO, who has served as the state's chief economic developer since January. Christensen began his career in Mississippi at the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg. For the past 10 years, he has served as president and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce in Gainesville, Fla. Bryant made the announcement Tuesday at a conference in Jackson. Clarion-Ledger
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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US builder confidence at highest level in 5 years
(AP) WASHINGTON Confidence among U.S. builders rose to the highest level in five years in May, a hopeful sign that modest improvement in the housing market will pick up. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 29 in May. That's the highest reading since May 2007 and up from a downwardly revised reading of 24 in April. The index rose for five straight months before leveling off in March and falling in April. Charlotte Observer
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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Agero call center means 500 jobs for Clarksville, Tenn.
Agero, a Massachusetts-based company, plans to spend $8 million to create a call center in Clarksville that will employ more than 500 people to handle vehicle roadside assistance calls and insurance claims management. The 53,000-square-foot center, scheduled to open in October, plans to have 250 employees by year’s end and add the rest in 2013, company officials said. It will be Agero’s sixth driver-assistance call and data-response center in North America. Others are in Medford, Mass.; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada; Irving, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; and Sebring, Fla. The Tennessean
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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ThyssenKrupp considers sale of steel mills in Mobile, Ala. and Brazil (Update)
MOBILE, Alabama -- ThyssenKrupp AG will consider selling its steel mills in Mobile and Brazil in the midst of rising production costs and a slump in demand, company officials announced today. Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger said in a statement that the company’s Steel Americas division — which includes a carbon steel plant in Rio de Janeiro and a carbon steel processing facility in north Mobile County — is the company’s “biggest challenge.” “We continue to believe that both plants will hold leading positions in their respective markets in terms of technology and conversion costs,” Hiesinger said. “But since the plans for the project were made, the economic parameters both in Brazil and in the USA have changed from our original assumptions.” Mobile Press-Register
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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New Orleans Hornets tax break package on its way to Gov. Jindal
BATON ROUGE -- The New Orleans Hornets should get a tax break of $36.5 million over a 10-year period as part of a new deal with the state, senators said Monday. On a 28-7 vote, senators approved House Bill 1072 by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jefferson, sending it to Gov. Bobby Jindal who is expected to sign it. The bill is part of the package of concessions the state made in negotiations to keep the National Basketball Association franchise playing at the Arena through at least 2024, and possibly 2029. Times-Picayune
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream
Williamsport, Pa., used to be celebrated for its past — as the 1938 birthplace of Little League Baseball and host of its annual World Series. Then the city found natural gas. Now this once-sleepy chunk of north-central Pennsylvania is a big star on the map of an emerging national energy rush. Six hotels are new or being built, and about 100 companies have moved to town, sometimes so fast that the head of the local Chamber of Commerce has told executives wanting guided tours to wait. "I've said, 'Look sir, get in line,' " says Vince Matteo, chief executive of the Williamsport/Lycoming chamber. "Now I know people in their 20s with high school (diplomas) making $120,000 a year." USA Today
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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Report: Oil industry sitting idle on 46 million undeveloped acres
The White House today is pushing back against the oil and gas industry’s claims that the Obama administration is blocking domestic energy development by releasing a new analysis showing that roughly 46 million acres of federal lands and waters leased for drilling are sitting idle. According to the Department of Interior report, set to be unveiled later today, oil and gas companies are actively drilling or have launched development on less than a third of the 36 million acres they have leased offshore. Oil and gas companies have yet to begin developing 56 percent of offshore federal lands that have been leased for drilling, according to the assessment. Those tracts are either not producing or are not subject to exploration or development plans that have been submitted to the federal government, the report says. Houston Chronicle
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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Can Mexico’s Presidential Hopefuls Stop the Bodies Piling Up?
Drug thugs dumped 49 bloodied and dismembered corpses on a northern Mexican highway on Sunday, May 13. We journalists are finding little new to say, few fresh insights to offer, about these all too frequent narco-massacres in Mexico and the 50,000 people murdered so far in the country’s endless drug war. That’s troubling, because one of the worst things that could happen is that the world becomes inured to the ghastly violence. But at this point, what worries us more is that the leading candidates in Mexico’s July 1 presidential election really don’t seem to have anything new to say about this crisis either. Time
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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Gulf Shores, Ala. Hangout Music Fest announces complete sellout, including VIP passes
GULF SHORES, Ala. -- Organizers of the 2012 Hangout Music Fest have announced that the festival is completely sold out. The festival had announced in late February that all general admission weekend passes were gone. Since then, VIP, Super VIP and “Big Kahuna” tickets had remained available, with prices starting at $849. “Once again we thank the fans for their support of the Hangout Music Fest,” festival founder and owner Shaul Zislin said as the VIP sellout was announced late Monday. “We’re in the home stretch for getting the site ready, and you will be amazed at the entertainment, amenities and activities in store this year. There’s truly something for everyone.” al.com
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

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Boeing demand falls thanks to slow construction
Boeing Co. says a wait of more than three years to deliver new 777 jets is crimping sales of the wide-body aircraft, which has become airlines' top choice for international flights. To meet demand, Boeing plans to boost production of the twin-engine jet to 8.3 per month by the first quarter of next year from seven now. The output increase can't come soon enough for John Wojick, chief of Boeing's North American sales, who called the wait "frustrating" in an interview. "That's probably our biggest challenge in the sales department right now," he said. "To be honest with you, if we could build more today, we could sell more today." Bloomberg via Tulsa World
Submitted 1 years 340 days ago

 

 

 

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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Reshoring manufacturing capacity from primarily Asia to the South and Mexico is now a common thing to do and it's all about money. When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the average manufacturing wage in China's Pearl River Delta (PRD) was about 58 cents an hour.

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Dr. Glen Fenter
Desperation sometimes masks itself in acceptance. Such was the case for Takelia Carter of Marion, Ark. For Carter, the mother of six school-age children in a low paying job, desperation was normative existence. This was her life in Crittenden County, Ark., deep in the Delta where unfortunately one in four families lives well below the poverty level.
 

 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.
 
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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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