Florida population growth continues

Florida continues to grow as it attracts people from other parts of the U.S., but that growth is projected to slow in the coming years as groups that have been moving to Florida in droves get older, according to state economists.

The Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research released a report this week that showed the state’s estimated population in April was 22,634,867, an increase of nearly 359,000 people, or 1.61%, from a year earlier.

The increase was bolstered by the number of people moving to Florida from elsewhere in the U.S. being “the highest number it’s ever been,” according to Stefan Rayer, population program director with the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.

“Population growth is still growing strong in the state. Slightly more than the year before, but still, if you compare long-term averages which have been just under 300,000, it’s been really remarkably strong,” Rayer said during a Nov. 28 meeting that led to this week’s report. Tampa Bay Business Journal

Feds take big step to develop Memphis-Nashville-Atlanta passenger rail line

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted the State of Tennessee $500,000 to join the Corridor ID program to develop a passenger rail from Memphis to Atlanta, according to an announcement from Rep. Steve Cohen’s office. The proposed line would connect Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, with additional stops along the way.

It’s the first step toward making a long-sought rail line between Tennessee’s biggest cities a reality. The Corridor ID program — created by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and run by the U.S. Department of Transportation — was designed to create more intercity rail nationwide.

The grant will allow a study to be undertaken to understand the scope, schedule, and cost estimate of a potential rail line. The study would include stops, frequencies, financial plans, and more. The feds will foot the entire bill of the first step. Memphis Business Journal

Kevin Fincher named CEO of Austin Regional Manufacturers Association

One of the region’s most-powerful advocacy groups for the growing manufacturing economy in Central Texas has gone within for its new leader.

Kevin Fincher, who for nearly three decades has worked with companies in the sphere as a public accountant, will take over as the CEO of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association on Jan. 2. Fincher, who is a founding ARMA board member and its current treasurer, succeeds Ed Latson, who left ARMA to take over Opportunity Austin in late October.

Fincher also spent the last seven years as a partner at international firm RSM US LLP.

Tom Hibbs, director of operations at TECO-Westinghouse in Georgetown and the chair-elect of the ARMA board, said it was clear in the interview process that Fincher had “a more comprehensive and strategic view” of where they needed to go and where he wanted to take it. That included topics like how artificial intelligence is going to impact manufacturers and engaging with more educational institutions to build up the workforce. Austin Business Journal

Axle Logistics Invests $37.9M To Expand Headquarters In Knoxville

Shawn McLeod, Axle Logistics President, said the company is committed to creating jobs and retaining “the country’s best and brightest” in East Tennessee.

Axle Logistics, according to Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, has done an “outstanding” job in breathing new life into an abandoned car dealership that had been vacant for decades. Business Facilities

Global maker of instant ramen to establish $228M Greenville County plant

Nissin Foods, a global company that produces instant ramen products, plans to expand its U.S. footprint by spending $228 million on new operations in Greenville County.

The company said in a news release from the Greenville Area Development Corp. and the state Commerce Department, that it will create more than 300 new jobs to meet growing demand for its product. SC Biz News

Wells Fargo CEO says bank has to be ‘more aggressive’ in cutting jobs

Wells Fargo & Co. CEO Charlie Scharf said the bank has slashed tens of thousands of people from its payroll in recent years — but more employees will have to go. As a result, the bank’s severance costs could approach $1 billion in the current quarter.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), which is cutting costs aggressively to boost profitability, saw its workforce peak at around 275,000 employees. Charlotte Business Journal

Boom Supersonic lands backing from Saudi investment fund

Boom Supersonic has landed financial backing from a fund connected to Saudi Arabia’s royal family in a deal the experimental jet company says takes it over $700 million in funding for the business.

Denver-based Boom Supersonic aims to make faster-than-sound passenger jets at the factory it’s building at PTI Airport in Greensboro. Founder and CEO Blake Scholl predicts the aircraft will revolutionize international travel by cutting transoceanic flight times in half.

Last week Boom Supersonic confirmed closing a financing round that included a strategic investment from the NEOM Investment Fund. NIF is a funding offshoot of a Saudi Arabian royal family’s effort to foster economic development, technology innovation and ecological preservation in a swath of northwest Saudi Arabia touching the Red Sea coast. Triangle Business Journal

North Carolina wins 350-job manufacturing plant linked to EV industry

A Japanese company that makes pouches for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles has selected Davidson County to invest $233 million in its first U.S. advanced manufacturing facility, a project slated to create 352 jobs.

Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd expects to set up shop in the city of Linwood. The state estimates the investment will include $3 million in real property acquisition, $65.4 million in real property construction and/or improvements and $164.6 million in tangible personal property. Triangle Business News

North Carolina goes all in on EV batteries. Will it pay off or flop?

Recruiters called it Project Puma: a Japanese company considering North Carolina to locate a 350-job subsidiary to produce lithium-ion battery pouches for use in electric vehicles.

The project – revealed this week as Dai Nippon Printing’s proposed factory in Davidson County – is one in a growing number of battery plants the state has won in recent months on the heels of Toyota (NYSE: TM) in late 2021 announcing plans for a huge plant that will make EV batteries outside Greensboro. Triangle Business Journal