Amazon cancels plans for New York City hub, says Nashville plans unchanged

Amazon.com Inc. will no longer build a hub in New York City, the company announced Thursday. Part of the statement read, “We do not intend to re-open the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.” According to Amazon spokesman Adam Sedo, the jobs that had been earmarked for the New York hub will instead be dispersed across those other 17 offices — a list that does not currently include Nashville. Nashville Business Journal

That’s The Randle Report for February 14, 2019

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 third largest economy in the world.

The $4.8 trillion immigration issue that is being overlooked by Washington

As Congress and President Donald Trump continue to butt heads over a border wall and immigration policy, one of the main issues being overlooked is the contribution refugees and immigrant entrepreneurs have on the U.S. economy. When you pull back the curtain on the issue, the facts are mindblowing. According to the National Immigration Forum, immigrant-owned businesses employ more than 19 million people and generate $4.8 trillion in revenue. They also play a key role in revitalizing neighborhoods, cities and regions that have seen economic decline. The bottom line: Immigrants provide rocket fuel for small business on Main Street and for the Silicon Valley start-up universe. Apart from the supply of skilled labor for the tech industry, and low-cost labor for family farms and retail businesses, immigrants have become key new business creators. A statistical analysis based on American Community Survey and the Survey of Small Business Owners has found that immigrants account for roughly 28 percent of small business owners in the U.S., and they are two times more likely to become entrepreneurs than native-born businessmen. CNBC

Worker wage gains are keeping up with inflation, and then some

Worker paychecks are showing their biggest gains since the recovery began a decade ago, and are more than keeping up with inflation. Labor Department numbers released Wednesday show that real average hourly earnings, which compare the nominal rise in wages with the cost of living, rose 1.7 percent in January on a year-over-year basis. A month ago, the increase was 1.3 percent. A year ago, the gain was just 0.7 percent. In all, the rise in inflation-adjusted hourly pay showed the best increase since July 2016. CNBC

China, US begin high-level trade talks in Beijing — state media

China and the United States began high level trade talks in Beijing on Thursday, state news agency Xinhua said. The talks are being led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and will end on Friday, Xinhua said in a brief report. “Looking forward to discussions today,” Mnuchin told reporters as he left his hotel. He did not elaborate. CNBC

U.S. Tax Revenues Fall, Deficit Widens in Wake of New Tax Law

WASHINGTON—Federal tax revenue declined 0.4% in 2018, the first full calendar year under the new tax law, despite robust economic growth and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly five decades. The Treasury Department said Wednesday federal revenue totaled $3.33 trillion last year, while federal spending totaled $4.2 trillion, a 4.4% increase from the previous year. That pushed the U.S. budget gap up to $873 billion for the 12 months that ended in December, compared with $680.8 billion during the same period a year earlier—a 28.2% increase. Treasury has attributed the weaker revenue collection to the sweeping changes to U.S. tax code that took effect in January 2018, including lower corporate and individual income-tax rates. The Wall Street Journal

Google to Invest $13 Billion in U.S. Data Centers, Offices

Google Inc. is planning to spend $13 billion this year on data centers and offices across the U.S., Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said Wednesday. In a blog post, Mr. Pichai said the investments would give Google the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees and create more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia. The new investments will give Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., real-estate assets in 24 states, including data centers in 13 communities, he said. Mr. Pichai said 2019 will mark the second year in a row that Google will grow faster outside the San Francisco Bay Area than in it. The Wall Street Journal

Virginia’s Economy Weathers the Storm in Its Statehouse

As politicians across the country demand a change in Virginia’s embattled leadership, business leaders are largely sticking to the sidelines. Leading Virginia business groups have stopped short of calling for the resignation of the state’s top three elected officials, all embroiled in personal scandals. Most corporate executives have avoided weighing in at all. And there is no sign that the furor is scaring off investment: Amazon is reportedly wavering in its commitment to open a complex for thousands of workers in New York, where the internet giant has faced opposition, but it has sent no signals about backing out of expansion plans in Northern Virginia. The New York Times

Prince George’s County, Va. pitches its HQ2 site to Amazon — again

Prince George’s County didn’t make the cut last year with its proposal to win Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters. But now that Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) may be reconsidering its HQ2 plans in New York due to extensive opposition, the county has reached out to the online giant once again. David Iannucci, president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp., told me county officials reached out to Amazon, via email, on Friday to convey that the county “stands ready to reengage conversations should there be issues with either the Virginia or New York location.” Amazon announced in November that the company planned to split its second headquarters between Arlington and Long Island City in Queens, each of which are expected to land 25,000 jobs with average salaries of $150,000. But the Seattle-based company has not yet leased office space in New York nor has it signed leases with JBG Smith Properties (NYSE: JBGS) in Arlington — though Virginia has already approved an incentive package. Washington Business Journal

Amazon just killed HQ2 in New York. Here’s what that means for Dallas

New York may have been eliminated as a destination for part of Amazon’s HQ2, but that doesn’t mean Dallas is back in the running. Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) will not move forward with plans to put part of its second headquarters in New York and does “not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time,” according to a statement on the company’s website. The move follows a backlash against the giant’s plans for operations in New York City that would have employed roughly 25,000. The plans for Northern Virginia remain on track, Amazon said. Dallas Business Journal