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That's The Randle Report for September 27, 2016
Join us again tomorrow morning for all of the American South's business, economic development and political news in real time and in one place. Use the sort buttons or the search window to find any story you need to find from last week, last month, last year or several years ago. Click on the headline above to access Southern Business & Development's website, the economic development magazine of the American South; the fourth largest economy in the world.
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Millions in U.S. Climb Out of Poverty, at Long Last
Not that long ago, Alex Caicedo was stuck working a series of odd jobs and watching his 1984 Chevy Nova cough its last breaths. He could make $21 an hour at the Johnny Rockets food stand at FedEx Field when the Washington Redskins were playing, but the work was spotty. Today, Mr. Caicedo is an assistant manager at a pizzeria in Gaithersburg, Md., with an annual salary of $40,000 and health benefits. And he is getting ready to move his wife and children out of his mother-in-law’s house and into their own place. Doubling up has been a lifesaver, Mr. Caicedo said, “but nobody just wants to move in with their in-laws.” The New York Times
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Actually, Income in Rural America Is Growing, Too
On Tuesday, when the Census Bureau released one of the country’s most important reports on income and poverty, dozens of facts were revealed. We found out that real middle-class incomes in America grew a phenomenal 5.2 percent, and that the poverty rate fell by the largest percentage in nearly 50 years. That got the headlines. But after the initial buzz, a few reporters across the country, me included, were intrigued by two lines in the first table: While incomes in metropolitan areas grew 6 percent, those in nonmetro areas fell 2 percent. That detail prompted articles on how the recovery was unevenly shared. One problem, though: The number is wrong. Median household incomes in rural America actually grew 3.4 percent in 2015, according to policy experts who study the census numbers closely. The New York Times
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Trade Protectionism Risks Deeper Global-Growth Funk, IMF Warns
In an election year when politicians are fighting over trade policy, including at the first presidential debate, the economists at the International Monetary Fund are offering a solution to a burning question that’s perplexed trade experts for more than a year. Where have all the exports and imports gone? That’s what policy makers and pundits have been asking themselves since it became clear trade volumes haven’t been growing like they did before the 2008 financial crisis. The volume of goods and services has grown by just 3% a year since the end of 2011, compared with about 9% a year from 2003 to 2007, the IMF said. Merchandise trade hasn’t grown much at all since the end of 2014. The Wall Street Journal
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Ford Fights Back Against Trump Debate Claims
Ford Motor Co. went on the defensive following the latest attacks from Donald Trump aimed at the auto maker’s big-dollar Mexico investments and production plans. Employees of the Dearborn, Mich., company, including high-ranking engineers, took to social media platforms—including Facebook and Twitter—with statistics that defend the company’s reputation as an American company during and after Monday’s presidential debate. A graphic that some employees sent out claims Ford invested $12 billion in U.S. plants and “created nearly” 28,000 jobs in the past five years. Others circulated stories written by Detroit media outlets highlighting Ford’s contributions to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The Wall Street Journal
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Two Years Into Oil Slump, U.S. Shale Firms Are Ready to Pump More
When oil prices began to plunge two years ago due to a global glut of crude, experts predicted U.S. shale producers would be the losers of the resulting shakeout. But the American companies that revolutionized the oil and gas business with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are surviving the carnage largely unbowed. Though the collapse in prices caused a wave of bankruptcies, total U.S. oil production has only fallen by about 535,000 barrels a day so far this year compared with 2015, when it averaged 9.4 million barrels, according to the latest federal data. The Wall Street Journal
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Why Mercedes-Benz is moving to Atlanta
For Mercedes-Benz, the hassle of uprooting about 1,000 corporate jobs and trucking them 900 miles south to Atlanta is an investment in the next 50 years. On Jan. 6, the German luxury automaker confirmed two weeks of speculation that it would relocate its U.S. headquarters from Montvale, N.J., over the summer. Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported Mercedes-Benz USA's (MBUSA) plans to move to the city on Dec. 16. Atlanta Business Chronicle
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FIRST LOOK: Mercedes-Benz Atlanta area headquarters key business recruiting tool for Atlanta (SLIDESHOW) (Video)
Luring Mercedes-Benz USA’s $93 million headquarters to metro Atlanta is more than about bringing one of the world’s best known brands and 500 high-paying jobs to the city. The headquarters win is a critical economic development tool for the metro region, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said at the headquarters groundbreaking event Monday morning. When businesses choose to locate their headquarters, they can choose anywhere along the eastern seaboard, or in the United States, Reed said. "The decision by Mercedes was an intentional one, it was a deliberate one,” he said. “The (Mercedes) decision allows us to market our region to other companies, and to say that one of the leading brands on the planet — when it had a variety of choices — chose the metropolitan Atlanta region.” Atlanta Business Chronicle
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Travis County, Texas is nation's most attractive place for skilled workers — but are troubles ahead?
Travis County is tops in the U.S. for attracting young, talented workers, but will it last? A new ranking from economic consultancy Emsi says Travis County, which encompasses Austin and a handful of smaller suburban and rural communities, is still the most-attractive large county in the U.S. for those with college degrees or who possess valuable work skills. But Travis County rates much lower — No. 281 — when examining "young talent" indicators for the next generation of workers currently entering college. Austin Business Journal
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Concerns for Alabama port as global shipping industry starts to sink
The average lifespan of a well-manufactured steel shipping container is thought to be about 12 to 15 years, during which time it will be transported to ports all across the world and loaded on to trains that will carry it the length and breadth of continents. However, the industry that uses these sturdy and well-traveled boxes, which are the foundation of the international import and export business, has recently found itself in financial turmoil, causing a ripple effect to international ports and raising questions about the health of the shipping business. AL.com
Submitted 6 hours 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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