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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
 
in this issue:
Boeing wins Air Force tanker contract; EADS won't build planes in Mobile - Press Register
Boeing's air tanker contract win leaves officials shocked, disappointed - Press Register
Memorandum: Statewide Career Centers available for those still looking for jobs - Birmingham News
Alabama's surge in exports driven by Mercedes, Hyundai and Honda - Birmingham News
ALABAMAGERMANY PARTNERSHIP TO HOST ANNUAL DINNER IN MOBILE - Release

       

Boeing wins Air Force tanker contract; EADS won't build planes in Mobile

 

Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:08 PM Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:28 PM
By George Talbot

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force today selected Boeing Co. over the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., or EADS, to build a new fleet of refueling tanker jets, according to lawmakers briefed on the decision.

Top Air Force officials are announcing the decision at a Pentagon news conference. The contract has been estimated at a value of more $35 billion.

The award also must be funded by Congress, where Boeing has shown it has clout. EADS said last week it was not likely to challenge the award unless it saw "egregious" errors in the selection process.

The decision marks a reversal for the Air Force, which previously selected the larger KC-45 tanker offered by EADS over Boeing's KC-767 tanker. Analysts had believed EADS would again win and Mobile-area officials were gathered at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center for what was expected to be a victory party.

View full sizeMobile Mayor Sam Jones speaks at the podium, right, as Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, left, looks on grimly as officials speak after learning that Boeing Co., not EADS, won the lucrative U.S. Air Force contract for aerial refueling tankers. Officials gathered today at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center for what they had hoped would be a victory party given that numerous analysts had predicted an EADS win, which could have meant thousands of jobs for Alabama. (Press-Register/John David Mercer)

In selecting Boeing, the Air Force reversed a 2008 decision that unraveled under protest by Boeing and fierce political pressure from its allies in Congress.
  
more...

       

Boeing's air tanker contract win leaves officials shocked, disappointed

 

Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:27 PM Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:31 PM
By From the Press-Register

MOBILE, Ala. - The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce said the Pentagon's decision to award an air tanker contract to Boeing was an "egregious error" in a statement released this afternoon.

"The U.S. Department of Defense, in not awarding the aerial refueling tanker contract to EADS North America today, has made a egregious error and America's military men and women are ultimately the biggest losers," the statement said.

The U.S. Air Force today selected Boeing Co. over the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., or EADS, to build a new fleet of refueling tanker jets, according to lawmakers briefed on the decision.

Should EADS have won, the proposed plant at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex was to have been expanded to include production of Airbus A330 freighters for the commercial market, drawing suppliers to the Gulf Coast and creating a new, Southern center of aerospace.

Officials quoted by the Chamber were equally disappointed. Below, a collection of early reactions:

"Frankly, we're shocked.EADS has been an unfailing partner throughout this long and drawn out process." -- Bill Sissons, executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority and Brookley Aeroplex.
  
more...

       

Memorandum: Statewide Career Centers available for those still looking for jobs

 

Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 9:30 AM

By Special to The Birmingham News
By Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations

We hear a lot these days about how our country and our state are slowly but surely recovering from the "Great Recession." We're seeing more and more announcements of companies hiring, consumer confidence in up, holiday spending was up, and our unemployment rates are better than they were a year ago.

These are all positive signs that indicate we are possibly, finally, on the way to better economic times.

At the Department of Industrial Relations, one of our major responsibilities is to gauge the state of Alabama's labor market. We've seen a lot of good indicators over the past year. We had a net job gain over the past 12 months, we've seen initial unemployment compensation claims at their lowest levels in three years, and we've seen the average length of time someone receives unemployment compensation benefits fall below 20 weeks.

You can find a listing of Career Center locations at either www.joblink.alabama.gov or at www.dir.alabama.gov

All of these things tell us that more and more people are going back to work. I don't think anyone will argue with the statement that this is most definitely a good thing.

But even though these are all positive signs and indicators, we can't forget that there are still nearly 195,000 Alabamians who are not working. While a 9.1 percent unemployment rate is certainly better than the 10.9 percent rate we saw a year ago, that's not a lot of consolation to those 195,000 Alabamians who want to work, but haven't yet found a job.

That's why I'd like to take this opportunity to make sure that everyone is aware of the wealth of services available through the Alabama Career Center System and on our statewide online jobs database, www.joblink.alabama.gov.
  
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Alabama's surge in exports driven by Mercedes, Hyundai and Honda

 

Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 7:15 AM
By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News

News file/Michelle CampbellWorkers build the M-Class hybrid SUV at the Mercedes-Benz auto assembly plant in Vance. Many are exported around the world.

Alabama's exports bounced back in 2010, as the value of state-made goods shipped around the world rose 25.5 percent from the previous year to $15.5 billion.

As usual, vehicles led the way, according to new data from the Alabama Development Office. Auto exports accounted for more than a quarter of all exports last year, rising 29 percent to $4 billion.

Other categories also showed significant growth over 2009, including chemicals, up 30 percent; minerals, up 72 percent; machinery, up 29 percent; and paper, up 16 percent.

It's a notable turnaround from 2009, when Alabama's exports plunged to $12.4 billion amid the recession and a global sales slump for the auto industry. That was a 22 percent drop from 2008, when exports totaled $15.9 billion.

The rebound in exports is a boost for the state's overall economy, said ADO Director Seth Hammett, because more than 294,000 jobs were required to produce and ship them.
  
more...

       

ALABAMAGERMANY PARTNERSHIP TO HOST ANNUAL DINNER IN MOBILE

 

The AlabamaGermany Partnership (AGP) will host its 13 th Annual Dinner and Business Forum at The Battle House Hotel in downtown Mobile on March 3 and 4. This is the first time that the AGP is bringing the annual event to Mobile.


"We are excited to host our event in Mobile this year. The location of The Battle House is stunning and the recent openings of the ThyssenKrupp Stainless and ThyssenKrupp Steel Facilities are just some of the good reasons to come to Mobile," said Arndt Siepmann, Chair of the AGP. "The Port of Mobile is a traditional gateway for trade to and from Alabama. And with Germany being one of Alabama's most important trading partners we hope that many will join us to celebrate the friendships between individuals and organizations in Alabama and Germany." The Annual Dinner last year in Auburn drew 250 guests from industry, academia, and government.

This year's key note speaker form Germany is Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich, Chair of the CSU Group and First Deputy Chair of the CDU/CSU Group in the German Bundestag. "Our records show no higher ranking German official visiting Alabama before. This is a great opportunity for our guests to get first-hand information on recent developments in Germany and the European Union," explained Siepmann.

The program in Mobile on March 3 will include remarks by Seth Hammett, Director Alabama Development Office. Mr. Hammett will recognize German companies with recent investments and expansions in Alabama including but not limited to BLG Logistics, Borbet, Brose, Glaeser, ThyssenKrupp Stainless, ThyssenKrupp Steel, and Tube Technology Systems. German companies employ an estimated 12,000 Alabamians directly.

The AGP will recognize the German Teacher of the Year during the dinner event. The Award will be presented by Dr. Joseph Morton, State Superintendent for Education. This year's winner comes from a school in Mobile. The German language is taught within the primary and secondary education system throughout Alabama.

The Business Forum on March 4 will start with comments by Dr. David Bronner, Retirement System of Alabama. This year's forum title is "Hiring and Retaining Talent in Alabama". The attendees will then have the opportunity to discuss best practices in workforce development with officials from Austal, ThyssenKrupp, and other statewide organizations. A tour of the ThyssenKrupp facilities completes the program that day.

For details of the program and to register for the Annual Dinner on March 3 or the Business Forum on March 4 please go to www.alabamagermany.org
  




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