EconSouth (Third Quarter 2007)

The State of the States

Recent events and trends from the six states of the Sixth Federal Reserve District

bullet image Virginia-based General Dynamics Land Systems will assemble the U.S. military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle in Anniston and Oxford. The company already employs 700 people in the state, and the MRAP work will add 270 jobs.
bullet image Vanity Fair Brands, a subsidiary of Fruit of the Loom, recently announced the elimination of 210 jobs at its Monroeville facility as the company moves its cutting facility to Honduras.
bullet image National Industries Inc. announced that its newly formed subsidiary, National Alabama Corp., will spend $350 million to build a new railcar manufacturing facility in northwest Alabama. Startup is expected in early 2009. The plant will produce 8,000 to 10,000 railcars annually and will employ 1,800 people.

bullet image Royal Concrete Concepts Inc. opened a manufacturing plant for modular building components in Okeechobee in August. According to a company spokesperson, the new plant is the largest concrete manufacturing facility in the Southeast and will create more than 1,300 jobs.
bullet image Dura Automotive Systems, an auto parts manufacturer, will begin closing its Jacksonville plant in November, idling more than 233 workers. The company is moving this work to other locations, including Mexico and Missouri, and attributed its decision to close the plant to the auto industry's downturn.
bullet image Increased international airline presence in Orlando is expected to provide a positive economic impact of $171 million and create 2,400 direct and indirect jobs. German carrier Lufthansa, Irish carrier Aer Lingus, and Panamanian carrier Copa will offer new or expanded nonstop service to Orlando beginning this year.

bullet image Range Fuels Inc. has received commercial permits from the state to build a $225 million cellulosic ethanol plant in Soperton. The firm broke ground on the factory this summer. The plant, the first in the United States to manufacture cellulosic ethanol, will have the capacity to produce 100 million gallons annually.
bullet image The Port of Savannah is posting record-breaking numbers for container traffic in 2007. The Georgia Ports Authority reports a 14.5 percent increase in the number of containers in 2007 compared with 2006. The port is the fourth-busiest container terminal in the country.
bullet image Precision Components International of Columbus is expanding. The company will add 100 employees and build an addition to its manufacturing facility following new military and civilian contracts for jet engine blades. The company currently employs 400 workers.

bullet image Tourism experts see Louisiana's tourism industry improving this year. The state anticipates attracting around 22 million visitors in 2007, four million more than last year. However, Louisiana's tourism industry isn't expected to attain its pre-Hurricane Katrina high until 2010, according to research from the University of New Orleans, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Travel Industry Association of America.
bullet image A cruise industry rebound is under way at the Port of New Orleans, with more than 475,000 passengers projected to leave from or arrive at the port in 2007. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, more than 750,000 passengers passed through the port annually.
bullet image Faustina Hydrogen Products announced plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in St. James Parish. The plant will begin production in 2010 and will produce anhydrous ammonia for agriculture and industrial-grade carbon dioxide used for enhanced recovery of oil.

bullet image Gaming revenues for July 2007 hit record levels in the Mississippi Gulf Coast market as well as in the entire state. The Mississippi State Tax Commission reports that revenue rose nearly 8 percent over pre-Katrina levels. With the July opening of the Hard Rock Casino and the recently completed addition to the Island View Casino Resort, most operators expect the gaming market's growth to continue.
bullet image PSL North America will build a steel pipeÐproducing plant in Port Bienville that will employ 275 people by the second quarter of 2008. The pipe will be shipped by barge, rail, and truck to customers for use in natural gas pipelines.
bullet image Mississippi farmers planted 980,000 acres of corn this season, the largest corn crop since 1960 and nearly triple last year's planting, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Interest in ethanol is spurring demand and increasing prices for corn.

bullet image Vought Aircraft Industries will add 120 employees to its Nashville plant as a result of a new contract with the European firm Airbus. The contract could be worth $1 billion over the next five years, according to Vought officials. The plant employs about 1,000 people and makes wing components for airplane manufacturers.
bullet image Toshiba America Consumer Products is closing its television assembly line in Lebanon as of September, eliminating about 190 jobs at the plant. The plant is discontinuing assembly of large-screen televisions. The facility employed 1,188 people in 2006.
bullet image ARC Automotive Inc., which employs 630 people in Knoxville, recently laid off 45 workers. Company officials attributed the layoffs to the weakening of the North American car market.
bullet image Tennessee's seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate of 4.1 percent remained at a seven-year low, according to the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and was unchanged from June. The state's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in July 2006.
This information was compiled by Dave Avery, a senior economic analyst at the Atlanta Fed.
Illustrations by Jay Rogers