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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Alabama unemployment down to 8.1 percent in October, as government shrinks
Economic development in region focus of symposium
Task force seeks Pre-K funding boost for Alabama children
Former Gov. Bob Riley talks Airbus, economic development during leadership gala address
Alabama park wins award for urban green space
Louisiana-Pacific to restart Clarke OSB mill



Alabama unemployment down to 8.1 percent in October, as government shrinks
Published: Friday, November 16, 2012
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 

Alabama's unemployment rate in October was 8.1 percent, according to a preliminary estimate released by the state's Department of Labor this morning, down 0.1 percentage points from the prior month. 

"This month, everything worked out the way we wish it would always work out," Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said in a statement. By that, the commissioner meant that Alabama's labor market saw three distinct changes, all in a positive direction.

In October, total employment increased by roughly 9,000 jobs relative to the prior month, the Department of Labor said. The labor force grew by roughly 6,000 individuals, and the number of unemployed persons shrank by roughly 2,600.

However, the state's current employment picture is not as positive compared with total employment in the economy one year ago. 

The number of employed persons in Alabama in October 2012 was 1,985,614, compared to 1,992,528 a year earlier -- a difference of nearly 7,000 employed persons. 











Economic development in region focus of symposium 
Published: November 15, 2012
By Lisa Tindell

Workforce development and partnerships between business/industry and educators were echoed by speakers at the third regional economic symposium Thursday.


Leaders of business, industry, government and education gathered in Brewton for the symposium sponsored by Alabama State University, State Rep. Alan Baker, the Brewton Area Chamber of commerce, Escambia County Industrial Development Authority and Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance.


Dr. Joseph H. Silver Sr., president of Alabama State University, said the economic stresses experienced over the past few years could not exactly be called a recession.


"What we were experiencing was not really a recession," Silver said. "We were experiencing a restructuring of the economy. That restructuring had created a miss-match of talent to jobs."




[Brewton Standard]











Task force seeks Pre-K funding boost for Alabama children

Nov 16, 2012  

Written by Tiffany Nabors

A group of statewide education constituents are tackling issues such as crime, welfare dependence and economic development in an unlikely place - the pre-kindergarten classroom.


Members of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance (ASRA) Pre-K Task Force met Thursday with legislators at pre-kindergarten centers in Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile to discuss how early childhood education yields positive results for the entire community and to request formally more funding for program expansion across the state.


The ASRA task force includes educators, business leaders, philanthropists, children's advocates, and representatives from the military, medical and legal fields. The 38-member statewide group's mission is to identify short- and long-term strategies to increase funding and program access to all Alabamians.


Among other recommendations, the alliance requested that legislators increase state funding by $125 million during a 10-year period, with annual increases of $12.5 million. For fiscal year 2014, that means going from $19,087,050 to $31,587,050.




[Montgomery Advertiser]





Former Gov. Bob Riley talks Airbus, economic development during leadership gala address
By John Sharp | jsharp@al.com 
on November 15, 2012

MOBILE, Alabama - State, city and county officials should have a "strategic effort" to entice Airbus suppliers to relocate to Mobile, former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said today.


Riley said he emphasized with Mobile County Commissioners the need to "concentrate" in the coming year on developing a plan to attract suppliers into the area.


"They have been through this before, this is not their first rodeo," Riley said after delivering the keynote address during Mobile County's bicentennial leadership gala at the Mobile Marriott. "The suppliers who want to come in, they will be there wherever they decide to locate for the next 30 to 40 years."












Alabama park wins award for urban green space

November 15, 2012

By Verna Gates

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov 15 (Reuters) - At a former abandoned railroad bed in Birmingham, Alabama, 
a skateboarder sails above the wispy pink tips of Muhly grass,  a father and son play with
plastic pirate swords by a stream and dancers perform a routine
with the city skyline behind them.

Dubbed Birmingham's living room, Railroad Park has drawn a
diverse blend of people from the city to the suburbs since
opening in 2010. Its evolution from an ugly wasteland into a
beautiful, highly-used space also drew the attention of the
Urban Land Institute, which is presenting its prestigious 2012
Urban Open Space Award to park and city officials on Thursday.

The modest 19-acre park beat out better-known attractions in
bigger cities for the honor, which celebrates urban parks in
North America that engage and revitalize the community. High
Line Park and Pier 25, both in New York City; RiverWalk in
Calgary, Alberta; and Tanner Springs Park in Portland, Oregon,
all were finalists.








Louisiana-Pacific to restart Clarke OSB mill

By Jim Cox


Clarke County Democrat


Louisiana-Pacific is making plans to restart its shuttered Clarke County oriented strand board plant in the second quarter of 2013, L-P Vice President of OSB Jamie Barnes said Tuesday.


In an earnings call to investors Tuesday, L-P CEO Curt Stevens detailed the company's finances, including total sales of $468 million for the third quarter of 2012, 33 percent higher than sales of a year ago.


Barnes said the company has said it would seriously consider restarting the mill when housing starts reached 850,000. They were 872,000 in September. "As a result we are putting plans in place to restart idled capacity," Barnes said. Barnes said while plans are progressing they could still change.

He said Tuesday's presidential election is not so much a factor as the  national "financial cliff" issues that must be resolved by early 2013 by the administration and the Congress. Those serious issues must be positively resolved, he said.

L-P has been advertising 17 salaried positions and has made eight job offers. Hiring for houring positions could start in the fourth quarter of this year, he said.


L-P is looking at a total employment of 135 for the mill, about what employment was before it closed in 2008 because of the economic slump after having only been in operation for a few months.

The OSB milll is rated to produce 750 million feet of OSB and plans are to start off with 250 to 300 million and to slowly ramp up production, Barnes said. 






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