Northrop Grumman to establish $200M Waynesboro, Va. Facility

Falls Church-based Fortune 500 defense contractor Northrop Grumman will invest more than $200 million to establish an advanced electronics manufacturing and testing facility in Waynesboro, creating an estimated 300 jobs over the next five years, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Tuesday.

“Northrop Grumman’s expanding Virginia footprint sends a powerful message that the commonwealth is a magnet for investment underpinned by a next-generation workforce,” Youngkin said in a statement. “This global leader’s cutting-edge facility in Waynesboro will provide job opportunities that attract and retain high-quality talent and create a transformational ripple effect for the entire region.”

The 315,000-square-foot building will be on Shenandoah Village Drive, and Pennsylvania-based Equus Capital Partners will be the project’s developer, according to the governor’s office. Construction will “begin soon,” according to a Northrop Grumman spokesperson. The company anticipates the building will open in 2025 and be ready for production in 2026. The facility jobs will be varied engineering and manufacturing roles, according to the spokesperson.

Northrop Grumman employs roughly 95,000 employees — 6,800 in Virginia — and reported $36.6 billion in 2022 revenue. The company ranked No. 413 on Fortune magazine’s Global 500 list for 2023, and No. 113 on its annual 1000 list of U.S. corporations for the year. Virginia Business

ZF Group expands automotive transmission plant in Laurens County, S.C.

ZF Group, an original equipment supplier for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology, today announced it is expanding ZF Transmissions Gray Court, its manufacturing facility in Laurens County. The $500 million investment will create 400 new jobs.

Since opening in 2013, the facility has produced eight- and nine-speed transmissions for passenger vehicles. As mobility transforms and shifts toward electrification, ZF Transmissions Gray Court continues to evolve and invest in advanced equipment and technologies that will meet the changing needs of the industries it serves.

By investing in the existing facility, located at 2846 N. Old Laurens Road in Gray Court, ZF Transmissions Gray Court will be able to build next generation propulsion systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Production operations for new products at the plant will start later this year. South Carolina Department of Commerce

How does Huntsville fill the need for more workforce housing? By getting creative

Build it and they will come.

The line from the movie Field of Dreams isn’t entirely the solution to the growing problem of the lack of workforce housing in the Huntsville metropolitan area.

But it is a start, according to city officials and business leaders who attended a meeting hosted about the issue by the Huntsville Committee of 100.

“Supply isn’t the only cure,” said Dennis Madsen, the city of Huntsville’s manager for urban and long-range planning. “But supply is part of it. We need to put units on the ground, plain and simple. To make sure you are getting folks at the lower end of the wage scale, in some cases you’ve got to be more creative about it. But step one is to get more housing on the ground because we have more people moving here.”

Biden-Harris Administration Designates 31 Tech Hubs Across America

WASHINGTON, DC — The Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), today announced the designation of 31 Tech Hubs in regions across the country. This is the first phase of the new Tech Hubs program, which is an economic development initiative designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness.  The program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. Greater Richmond Partnership

Nashville is first stop on CNBC’s new ‘Cities of Success’ hourlong national primetime spotlight

Nashville is used to being on primetime television, but not in the way announced on Wednesday.

CNBC will air an hourlong nationwide special about Nashville to kick off its new “Cities of Success” series, intended to “highlight the entrepreneurial spirit that has attracted capital, companies and employees.” The cable business news network selected Nashville and other cities based on the growth of their population and personal income, low unemployment rate, GDP growth over an 11-year span and the rise in home prices since 2022.

CNBC host Carl Quintanilla will anchor the show, featuring interviews with:

  • Former Tennessee Govs. Bill Haslam and Phil Bredesen, both of whom have major business investments in Nashville.
  • Country music icon Garth Brooks
  • Holly Sullivan, who grew up in the area and led the site search for Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) that resulted in its 5,000-job downtown office hub. Sullivan, whose title is vice president of worldwide economic development, made that historic jobs announcement five years ago this month. Nashville Business Journal

Amazon HQ2 had an early — but waning — impact on Arlington, Va. housing market

The announcement that Inc.’s would build its second headquarters in Arlington County led to an immediate bump in single-family home prices and activity in both the immediate National Landing neighborhood and the county overall.

But the impact in the five years since that announcement is harder to pinpoint.

That’s the synthesis of five years of data collection from economists at North Bethesda real estate data shop Bright MLS Inc., which issued a report Monday on the tech giant’s impact on the housing market. Washington Business Journal

CEO: Battery maker Forge already hiring for new NC factory

After Forge Nano announced Tuesday that its new offshoot wants to create 200 jobs in Morrisville for a new lithium-ion battery plant, the CEO said hiring has already begun.

CEO Paul Lichty said Morrisville came out of a national search – and the clinchers were the local talent pool, the building itself and the region’s livability.

“We want to build a factory in a place where people want to live,” he said. “Morrisville definitely fits that bill. It’s got great culture, great resources – it’s more than just a factory out in the middle of nowhere.” Triangle Business Journal

How population and job growth is impacting Atlanta, as migration continues to favor the Sunbelt

Several trends at play right now in the metro Atlanta are shaping the city’s present and future. Among them? Continued growth, both in population and in jobs.

Population growth has become a competitive advantage for Atlanta, as migration continues to favor the Sunbelt, according to JLL research. The U.S. population grew by 0.4% in 2022, driven mainly by positive net international migration.

Sunbelt markets have become increasingly attractive in recent years, as evidenced by the relative strength of their population growth. In 2022, Georgia was ranked No. 4 for population growth in the country, increasing at a rate that was double the prior year and benefitting from positive in-migration from home and abroad.

As the workforce ages and birth rates slow, competition from an ever-shrinking talent pool will continue to be fierce, and population growth will remain a critical advantage. Georgia’s homegrown talent, nurtured by the state’s extensive higher education network and coupled with strong in-migration, makes for a potent combination. Businesses follow the talent, and the talent is here.

According to JLL research, Atlanta ranks No. 7 across the U.S. when it comes to jobs growth led by office-using occupations. Atlanta added 237,200 jobs in the last two years, an 8.4% gain overall, with all sectors recording growth. Atlanta Business Chronicle

Study: Hyundai plant brings jobs and labor worries for Savannah

SAVANNAH — Every drive past the under-construction Hyundai electric vehicle factory makes Trip Tollison equal parts excited and nervous.

Excited because the Hyundai Metaplant, the largest economic development project in Georgia history, and its suppliers will add an estimated 15,000 jobs to the region.

Nervous because Savannah and the surrounding area don’t have 15,000 workers to spare.

Tollison heads the Savannah Joint Development Authority (JDA), a coalition of four county economic development authorities and the group that partnered with the state to woo Hyundai to the nearly 3,000-acre site along Interstate 16 near Ellabell, about 30 miles west of Savannah. Not long after Hyundai signed on to build the electric vehicle and battery plant in May 2022 did Tollison — along with many other area government, business and educational officials — begin to express concerns about the Metaplant’s impact on the local labor force. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Hyundai to raise wages 25%, hoping to head off union efforts

Hyundai Motor Group said Monday it will hike wages for its U.S. manufacturing workers, the third non-union competitor to raise pay in the wake of last month’s landmark union deal with the “Big Three” Detroit automakers.

The South Korea-based company, which said it is investing $12.6 billion to build vehicle and battery plants in Georgia, announced a new wage structure Monday that will mean a 25% wage hike in the next four years.

The bump in pay will apply in Hyundai’s Bryan County plant, which is scheduled to start production in early 2025, the first of the company’s facilities dedicated to making electric vehicles. The pay hike also applies to Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Alabama, which has been churning out vehicles since 2005.

Hyundai’s Kia subsidiary has been making vehicles in West Point since November 2009. Monday’s announcement did not include that facility, which has about 2,700 employees, according to state officials.

Hyundai follows Toyota and Honda, which also announced wage hikes in the weeks after the United Auto Workers reached historic agreements with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, the parent of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. American workers at Hyundai, like those at Honda and Toyota, are not represented by unions. Atlanta Journal Constitution