Louisville tops the nation for fastest job growth in September

It’s a good time to be job hunting in Derby City.

The Louisville Metro area was the fastest-growing city in the U.S. for job growth in September, according to a report from payroll and HR platform Gusto, with a 2.5% increase.

That mark was a full percentage point higher than the second second-fastest growing city, Virginia Beach, Virginia, which saw 1.5% job growth, according to the report. The top five was rounded out by Indianapolis (1.1%), Richmond, Virginia (1.1%) and Cincinnati (1%). Louisville Business First

Kentucky 2023 tourism development projects break all-time record 9 New Projects, $301.2 Million Invested

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Following a banner year for Kentucky tourism in 2022. The state broke an all-time record in 2023, with nine new tourism development projects set to generate an estimated $301.2 million in economic investment. These projects are also expected to create 628 jobs once operational.

This year marks the most projects granted final approval in a single year by the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority since the tourism incentive was created in 1996. Today’s news furthers recent tourism growth as last year. The state saw the best year on record for tourism, with nearly $13 million in economic impact and 91,668 jobs. In 2022, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail also surpassed 2 million visitors for the first time ever, setting a new record. The Lane Report

LG&E and KU receive approval for massive project

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. are moving forward on a multibillion dollar plan to become more energy efficient.

The utilities received approval this week from the Kentucky Public Service Commission to retire two aging coal generation units and build a new natural gas combined-cycle generation unit at its Mill Creek Generation Station, located on 544 acres in southwest Jefferson County, according to a news release. The commission also approved 1,000 megawatts of solar energy and battery storage.

LG&E and KU are expected to invest $2.1 billion in the project, Vice President of Communications and Corporate Responsibility Chris Whelan told Business First. The utilities have yet to receive approval from the commission for the investment, she said, and there is no timetable to make the request. Louisville Business First

Could Toyota build cars at massive Randolph County, N.C. battery plant?

The megasite that Toyota picked for its first U.S. battery plant originated from hopes to lure an auto manufacturer for what would be at the time North Carolina’s first vehicle assembly plant. That didn’t happen, though at an total investment the company now says will come to nearly $14 billion and employing 5,000 people, the battery plant rivals the scale of some vehicle assembly plants.

But could Toyota build vehicles at the Greensboro-Randolph site?

Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina President Sean Suggs was asked at last week’s press event announcing the latest expansion if that could be possible.

It’s likely not Suggs’ immediate concern, as he has his hands full getting battery production going and ramped up. And it isn’t likely his call, as Toyota just in the United States has a corps of executives tasked with major long-term decisions, not to mention the world’s largest car maker’s C-suite in Japan.

But he didn’t precisely say no. Triad Business Journal

Global maker of instant ramen to establish $228M Greenville County (SC) 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.

“Nissin Foods has seen sustained sales growth year-over-year, especially over the last five years, driven by unprecedented demand for our products,” Nissin Foods President and CEO Michael Price said in the news release. “As we developed the company’s expansion plans, we determined early on that Greenville, S.C., was the ideal location for our newest manufacturing facility.” SC Biz

Massive Calcasieu Parish, La. direct air capture project could break ground in 2024

Ahead of a public meeting Tuesday, officials behind Project Cypress say the $1 billion direct air capture complex could break ground as early as 2024, assuming they can get all of their legal and financial ducks in a row.

The logistical hurdles include finalizing how much Project Cypress will receive in funding from the Department of Energy, said Shawn Bennett, energy and resilience division manager for Battelle, the Ohio company that is leading the project.

Direct air capture aims to remove carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere via chemical reactions. Large fans circulate ambient air into a filtration system where solid adsorbents “grab” the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is later “driven off” the adsorbents using either a vacuum or heat before it is either sequestered deep underground or siphoned for other industrial purposes.

Climeworks Corp. and Heirloom Carbon Technologies Inc. are helping Battelle to develop the project’s air capture technology, while Gulf Coast Sequestration will sequester the anticipated 1 million tons of carbon dioxide the project will pull annually from the atmosphere. The site will be powered by renewable energy.

The Department of Energy announced in August that Project Cypress — which will be located in west Calcasieu Parish — was one of two direct air capture projects picked to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government. Project Cypress could get up to $603 million, while the South Texas DAC Hub in Kleberg County, Texas, could get $597 million. NOLA.com

Baton Rouge area breaks record for jobs again; see how many, what industries are growing

Led by a spike in the construction sector, the Baton Rouge region has hit a record for total jobs for the second time in 2023, according to data from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

The metro region posted 426,200 jobs in September, a 13,300-job climb from the same month last year, according to the latest available BRAC statistics. That’s a 3,800-job jump from the 422,400 jobs the area boasted in March, a record at the time.

As was the case in March, the construction sector drove much of the growth in September, BRAC said. That sector skyrocketed by 9,000 jobs in a year, a 19.4% growth rate from 2022 to 2023. Private education and health services also posted a year-over-year again of 2,500 jobs. Baton Rouge Advocate

Report: Georgia big winner in clean energy jobs

Georgia is a leading beneficiary of new clean energy projects that have promised to bring more than 19,000 jobs to the state and create more than 200,000 jobs across the country, according to a report released last week by Climate Power, an advocacy organization.

The report found Georgia was second only to Michigan with the number of new or expanded clean energy projects announced since August, 2022, when President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Democrats’ sprawling health care and climate law included billions of dollars in tax credits for the private sector to transition away from fossil fuels. It was passed at a time when Georgia was already starting to establish itself as a major manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and batteries.

Since then, even more investments have been announced. Hyundai Motor Group and its suppliers are planning to spend more than $14 billion in the state, while solar manufacturer Qcells announced a $2.5 billion expansion of its facilities in northwest Georgia. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Rivian closes 1,800-acre Georgia land deal for $5B EV factory

Electric vehicle startup Rivian officially closed on a complicated land agreement Thursday to gain access to a 1,800-acre megasite an hour east of Atlanta, allowing the automaker to soon begin vertical construction on its planned $5 billion factory.

The Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties (JDA) approved multiple resolutions earlier this week to finalize the lease agreement, issue bonds related to the project’s property tax financing and prepare to turn over the site to the California-based upstart. The authority owns the site within the Stanton Springs industrial park but will rent it to Rivian for 50 years for its 16 million-square-foot EV plant.

The closing is a milestone for Georgia’s second-largest economic development project, which is poised to cement the Peach State as a national leader for EV manufacturing and battery production.

“It’s a great day in Georgia as we close and issue the bonds for the Rivian project,” the JDA and Georgia Department of Economic Development said in a joint statement. “Rivian is the next step in delivering this generational opportunity, and Georgians in Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton counties and beyond look forward to $5 billion in investment and 7,500 good-paying jobs that this innovative, American manufacturing company will bring.” Atlanta Journal Constitution

Georgia scores new legal victory over Alabama in ‘water wars’ challenge

A federal judge handed the state of Georgia and Metro Atlanta another legal victory on Thursday when it ruled against Alabama in one of several long-running disputes over management of the states’ shared water supplies.

The decision by a Washington, D.C., district judge in this installment of the so-called “water wars” marks the latest in a string of victories Georgia has notched in recent years.

In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered the most significant ruling to date in the saga when it ruled against Florida, which had argued water use from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers by Georgia residents during a 2012 drought killed its iconic oyster industry in the Apalachicola Bay.

The case decided Thursday concerns a different river basin and does not involve Florida, but is a significant twist in the ongoing legal jostling, which has spanned three decades and has often pit Georgia against its neighbors downstream. Atlanta Journal Constitution