Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
Southeastern manufacturing activity continues to slow
Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, 10:14 AM Updated: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, 10:21 AM
Manufacturing activity shrank again in October, the second month of contraction after 18 months of gains.
The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index, which covers factories in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, fell 2.3 points to 47.1, according to Kennesaw State University. Anything below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.
The national index also fell just less than 1 point, but at 50.8 remains above the break-even level.
The new orders index, the part of the Southeastern survey that best predicts future activity, rose 2.9 points to 50.7. Manufactures continued to reduce inventory, with the measure of finished products on hand down 9.3 points to 34.7.
Kennesaw State's Don Sabbarese wrote that the inventory measure's combined two-month decrease of 27.8 points suggests that companies are "intentionally adjusting inventories based on current new order weakness and anticipated weakness."
Moody, St. Clair County leave Leeds Cooperative District
Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, 8:40 PM Updated: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, 8:42 PM
MOODY, Alabama -- One municipality is left in the Leeds Cooperative District -- Leeds.
Moody and St. Clair County both agreed Tuesday to withdraw from the district, which was formed more than five years ago to spawn development along Interstate 20. The agreement, which underwent several revisions through the years, brought developments such as the Bass Pro Shops.
"I think we've all accomplished our goal," said Leeds Mayor Eric Patterson.
Moody on Tuesday night joined Leeds and St. Clair County in accepting terms of a new agreement. The St. Clair County Commission approved the terms during its meeting Tuesday morning. The Leeds City Council approved the terms during its meeting Monday night.
The new terms include:
* Leeds giving Moody and St. Clair County each about $125,000.
* The release of St. Clair County and Moody from about $2 million each in Bass Pro Shops-related development bond payments.
* Leeds becoming financially responsible for repayment of about $8 million in Bass Pro Shops-related development bonds.
Officials from the county and the two cities said the parting of ways was amicable and in the best interest for all parties involved.
"We all wanted to end our partnership and to move forward on our own," said Moody Mayor Joe Lee. The goal was for Moody and the county to concentrate their efforts more on bolstering development in St. Clair County, he said.
Stan Batemon, chairman of the St. Clair County Commission, said withdrawing from the district makes pursuing bonds easier.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he's ready to call special session to help Jefferson County
Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 5:30 AM Updated: Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 8:21 AM
Gov. Robert Bentley would call a special session of the Alabama Legislature to address Jefferson County's financial woes under a settlement agreement the County Commission discussed Tuesday, and no public hearing for sewer rate increases would be held until that happens.
Commissioners will resume meetings with lawyers today at 1 p.m. and will publicly deliberate finalizing a negotiated settlement with sewer system creditors, which has proved elusive since a conceptual agreement was signed in September, county officials said Tuesday.
Bentley issued a statement late Tuesday saying he is committed to a special session, but did not specify a date. County officials said the session could be called as soon as the end of the month.
"I personally met with House Speaker Mike Hubbard and (Senate) President Pro Tem Del Marsh this afternoon to discuss the Jefferson County sewer crisis," Bentley said in a prepared statement. "All three of us are 100 percent committed to solving this issue in the Legislature.
"I commend the Jefferson County Commission for continuing to work toward a settlement agreement. My administration and the legislative leadership stand ready to work with the rest of the State Legislature in a special session. This is a problem that can and must be solved for the good of both Jefferson County and the entire state."
Bentley previously had said a special session this month was unlikely because local lawmakers had not reached a consensus on solutions to the county's problems.
County officials have hoped a solution to the county's general fund budget woes and sewer debt crisis would result from reaching a final settlement with its creditors, which is contingent on a special legislative session being called to address the problems.
Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County names Donald C. "Chip" Cherry as new president/CEO
Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 10:15 AM
Donald "Chip" Cherry has been named president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison.
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County has named Donald C. "Chip" Cherry Jr., its president and CEO. Cherry has served in the same capacity for the Greater Macon (Ga.) Chamber of Commerce/Macon Economic Development Commission since 2001.
Cherry will assume duties in Huntsville on Dec. 15, according to chamber board Chairman Charlie Kettle. Local accountant Tommy Beason has served as the interim President and CEO since March, when Brian Hilson ended his 15-year career with the Chamber to head the Birmingham Business Alliance.
"There were three criteria the search committee kept in mind as we reviewed the numerous resumes of some very talented applicants: The candidate must be technically competent, have a fire in his belly and be a cultural fit," Kettle said. "Chip Cherry meets all of those requirements and then some."
Cherry has a bachelor's degree in business administration from North Carolina Wesleyan College (1982) and an executive MBA from Mercer University (2006).
He was selected as the 2011 Executive of the Year by the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the 1996 North Carolina Chamber Executive of the Year by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
GM's Global Resurgence to No. 1 Symbolizes New World for Automakers
By David Welch - Nov 9, 2011 8:01 AM CT
It's not just Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)'s recalls last year or Japan's earthquake driving General Motors Co. (GM) back to being the world's largest carmaker. Nor is it completely to GM's credit. What's really happening is a historic shift in the car business.
This year, GM is poised to retake the mantle as No. 1 automaker that it fumbled away to Toyota in 2008 as the Detroit giant careened toward bankruptcy. With 6.79 million sales through September of this year, GM leads Toyota by 1 million vehicles. Germany's Volkswagen AG (VOW) is the surprising second with 6.17 million vehicles sold this year.
GM's revival has cut short what seemed like Toyota's destiny to take the throne from the old, complacent king. That victory lasted three years, giving way to a battle royale that now includes VW. The industry has taken a tectonic shift as GM rebounds and Toyota reflects on whether its race to be No. 1 was wise, said Harvard Business School professor Willy Shih.
"It's a rather remarkable recovery given the shape GM was in two years ago," Shih, who has written on restoring American competitiveness, said in a phone interview. "GM lost a generation of customers. To win some back is an achievement."
GM said global sales have risen 9.2 percent this year and has earned fatter profits than it has in more than 20 years. The Detroit-based carmaker earned $6.17 billion last year and $8.47 billion in the first nine months of this year.
Governor-elect Bryant is ready to get to work (Miss.)
Posted: Nov 09, 2011 3:20 AM CST Updated: Nov 09, 2011 8:09 AM CST
By Danielle Thomas
Governor-elect Phil Bryant will unveil his legislative agenda on Wednesday, just one day after a decisive victory over Johnny DuPree.
Even though he's focused on Mississippi's future, Bryant and his fellow republicans are celebrating a major victory this morning. Bryant received 61 percent of the vote. Before the election night festivities were over, the Governor-elect was already talking about the future.
"We're going to have something very special this next session," Bryant told a crowd during his victory speech. "We're going to do something that hadn't been done in about 100 years. We're going to get a responsible budget system. It's going to be the smart budget act. We're going to redesign our schools so those 17 to 30 percent of children dropping out will have an opportunity to learn a trade so they can get a job in Mississippi and raise their families."
Governor-elect Bryant says job creation will be a top priority during his administration.
Bryant said, "We think we have a really good opportunity to bring some additional businesses here. I'll be going to Washington on Thursday meeting with our congressional delegation, Senator Wicker and Senator Cochran talking about economic development in Mississippi. We're not going to slow down. We're going to go to work on day one."
Ohio Vote Shows Unions Still A Political Force
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. labor unions are celebrating one of their biggest victories in decades after turning back a law in Ohio that curbed collective bargaining rights for the Midwestern state's public workers.
Union leaders say they hope the Tuesday vote brings about a resurgence for a labor movement long in decline and sends a strong message to other states where lawmakers are thinking about restricting union rights.
But they also want to use the outcome as a spark to help re-elect President Barack Obama and put more Democrats in office next year.
"I think the outcome is an absolute momentum-shifting victory for the labor movement," said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters.
Unions also want to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a top target after he pushed through similar legislation limiting union rights in his state. Schaitberger predicted "tremendous impact across the country" if they are successful.
By a nearly 2-1 margin, Ohio voters repealed a new law that would have severely limited the bargaining rights of more than 350,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state employees.
SUSTAINBILITY TRAINING FOR ALABAMA Manufacturers
The Alabama Technology Network (ATN) and the WRATT Foundation have partnered to bring two 4-hour sustainability training classes to Alabama manufacturers.
The first training date is Thursday, November 17th in Huntsville, Alabama. This training is provided at NO COST to manufacturers through a Department of Labor State Energy Sector Partnership grant.
Participants will have to meet eligibility requirements. Participants will receive a certificate of participation for attending either or both training sessions.
Session 1 8 am to Noon - WRATT Foundation
ENERGY EFFICIENCY/ WATER CONSERVATION/ WASTE REDUCTION
This training session is appropriate for anyone in manufacturing interested in implementing sustainability at their facility.
Session 2 1 pm -5 pm - UAH-ATN
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS (AIR QUALITY/NOISE) & EQUIPMENTLIFE CYCLING
This training is targeted for persons in management positions with responsibility for management of air quality and noise as well as procurement personnel and engineers that justify equipment purchases.
Email Shannon Tillman of the WRATT Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org for detailed training information and registration for Nov 17th Huntsville courses.
Other dates & training locations are available. ATN - www.atn.org and WRATT - www.wratt.org
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Wendy Wallace Johnson