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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:
It's official: Alabama automakers set production record in 2012
Russell Brands to cut 190 jobs
PNC Bank's 2013 economic outlook indicates 'moderate' recovery for Mobile, brighter future
Ensley's Holy Family celebrates its recent graduates




It's official: Alabama automakers set production record in 2012
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 
on January 07, 2013 


Alabama's three automakers combined to produce more than 880,000 vehicles last year, a 17 percent increase from 2011 and a record high level for the industry that kicked off nearly 20 years ago.


The plants operated byMercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa County, Honda in Talladega County andHyundai in Montgomeryeach set their own output records last year, for a combined 880,114 vehicles statewide.


The automakers have been operating at a high level all year, and had actually surpassed last year's total output of nearly 750,000 vehicles -- the previous record -- well before the end of 2012. 


But in the closing days of the year, they announced their official totals. Hyundai led the pack with 361,348 Sonata sedans and Elantra compacts, while Honda followed with 336,766 Odyssey minivans, Pilot SUVs and Ridgeline pickups, a total revised late last week.







Russell Brands to cut 190 jobs 
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013
By Austin Nelson

Russell Brands, LLC. will soon be cutting 190 of the 390 employees working in its Alexander City decoration facility.


No other Russell operations in Alexander City will be impacted by the workforce reduction.


Tony Greeson, vice president of manufacturing, said the reduction was necessary for the company to keep up with its competition.


"The competitiveness of the apparel market makes for a very difficult business environment and requires that we constantly seek the most cost-effective production available," Greeson said in a press release. "Unfortunately, the Alexander City decoration operation is no longer cost competitive relative to other production we have around the world."


Greeson said the decoration facility will not be closed completely.




[The Outlook]






PNC Bank's 2013 economic outlook indicates 'moderate' recovery for Mobile, brighter future
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
January 05, 2013 

MOBILE, Alabama - One analysis indicates Mobile economic interests would be wise to maintain conservative recovery hopes in 2013, despite the recent flurry of positive national and statewide outlook and jobs reports.


The Mobile Market Outlook for the first quarter of 2013, released by Pittsburg-based PNC Financial Services Group, contends although the metropolitan area's manufacturing sector is set to receive a "jumpstart" this year and Mobile's economic growth will accelerate to be more in line with the U.S. average, only a moderate recovery should be expected this year.


"The longer-term view for Mobile is getting brighter, but in the year ahead I still think we can only expect a modest recovery," said PNC assistant vice president Mekael Teshome, an economist for the southeastern region.


Several factors contribute to his conservative assessment, Teshome said, but the most notable is that Mobile's economic recovery has been "subpar for the past few years in terms of job growth," meaning the area has a "lot of ground to make up."







Ensley's Holy Family celebrates its recent graduates
By Jesse Chambers | jchambers@al.com 
on January 04, 2013 

Holy Family Catholic High School in Ensley, founded in 1943, offered a good education to generations of students, most of whom were African-American.


But Holy Family faced difficult times in the 21st century.


A grim economy made it nearly impossible for the school to survive on tuition alone and also made it tough for parents to pay that tuition.


The school almost closed, but it was reborn in 2007 as Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, part of the national Cristo Rey network.


The 25 Cristo Rey Catholic high schools across the country not only maintain tough academic standards but offered Holy Family an economic model that would help it survive.


As part of an innovative work-study plan, Holy Family students each work five days a month in corporate offices in Birmingham. The students earn 70 percent of their tuition, as well as making contacts and building self-esteem.

And the model seems to work.





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Val Walton
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