That’s The Randle Report for July 26, 2017

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.

Trump Says Apple CEO Has Promised to Build Three Manufacturing Plants in U.S.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said in an interview that Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., a surprising statement that would help fulfill his administration’s economic goal of reviving American manufacturing. Mr. Trump, in a 45-minute interview with The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Cook promised him Apple would build “three big plants, beautiful plants.” Mr. Trump didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built. “I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Mr. Trump said as part of a discussion about business-tax reform and business investment. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.” The Wall Street Journal

White House to announce Apple-supplier Foxconn manufacturing plant in Wisconsin on Wednesday: Source

Apple-supplier Foxconn will announce a plant in Wisconsin on Wednesday evening, accompanied by President Donald Trumpand Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a source with knowledge of the announcement told CNBC. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will also be present at the announcement in Washington, a source said. No exact location for the plant has been chosen — but the area of southeast Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Chicago is under consideration, according to a source. A source said that seven states were considered for the expansion, but Wisconsin appears to be a preliminary winner, and Ohio is a contender. About 10,000 jobs could be created. CNBC

Apple Supplier Foxconn Looks at Producing Display Panels in Wisconsin

Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles Apple Inc.’s iPhones, is nearing a decision to invest in Wisconsin and could hold an event in Washington, D.C., as soon as this week to discuss U.S. investment plans, people familiar with the matter said. In Wisconsin, Foxconn is looking at producing display panels that can be used in large-screen television sets, three people briefed on the plans said. The investment, if confirmed, would be the latest by Asian manufacturers in the U.S. as President Donald Trump seeks to revive manufacturing there. The Wall Street Journal

Foxconn nearing decision to invest in Wisconsin

Foxconn Technology Group will make a midweek announcement in Milwaukee that Wisconsin is the company’s choice, or at least its leading choice, for a huge new electronics factory, a source told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday. The announcement probably will not name a specific site for the Wisconsin operation, the source said. Sites in Racine County and Kenosha County have been thought to be under consideration. A second source separately told the Journal Sentinel that Foxconn would announce its plans for Wisconsin this week, but didn’t know where the announcement would be made. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

NC still in running for Foxconn site and 5,000+ jobs, says NC commerce director

Foxconn Technology Group is still considering North Carolina as a possible location for its new manufacturing facility, N.C. Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland said in a TV interview recorded last Thursday, July 20. Copeland, who’s been leading the state’s economic development efforts since January, told the UNC-TV program “Bottom Line” that he’s had talks with the company. News reports have mentioned a number of states in the running for the facility, with the Wall Street Journal reporting Monday that Wisconsin is the leading candidate. Reports say the company plans to employ more than 5,000 people. Raleigh News & Observer

Tennessee unemployment hits record low

Unemployment has never been lower in the Volunteer State. Tennessee’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 3.6 percent. In a news conference Thursday, Gov. Bill Haslam said that is the lowest rate in the state’s history, The Tennessean reports. According to The Tennessean, the last time unemployment dipped below 4 percent was in February 2001. Nashville Business Journal

Nashville International Airport shatters another record

For the fourth consecutive year, Nashville International Airport has beaten its own record for passengers in fiscal year 2017, officials announced this week. According to the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, 13.56 million passengers traveled into and out of BNA in fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. That represents a 10.3 percent increase over the the previous fiscal year. This is the first time the airport has exceeded 13 million passengers in a year. Nashville Business Journal

Tennessee manufacturers need skilled workers

If you’re interested in finding a job in a growing industry in a place where employers and state government are eager to help you get the skills you need, look no further than the manufacturing industry in Tennessee. There has been strong growth in manufacturing in the state for several years with thousands of jobs added, and companies are eager to find qualified employees for their operations. In a recent national survey, 60 percent of Nashville manufacturers, ranging from 50 to 500 employees, cited a lack of qualified labor as a barrier to growth. That compares with 47 percent of similar employers nationwide. The Tennessean

Foreign Trade Zones: What they mean to North Texas

MIDLOTHIAN — We were asked a simple question. Why were so many cars coming and going, arriving by train, leaving on trucks from a 600-acre former wheat field on the north side of Midlothian? Why so many and why here? “Those are all Nissans there. And those are all Kias over there,” L. Randall Denton said on a tour of the 20,000-plus cars parked on the grounds of his MidTexas International Center, Inc., a Midlothian car distribution site since the early 1980’s. Dallas Business Journal