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Greetings!

 

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:
Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decline to Five-Year Low
Alabama-made auto sales rise 10.4 percent as industry heads for best April in six years
Alabama's auto industry producing its first Acura models
AT&T to hire 5,000 veterans in 5 years
Logistics hub at Mercedes-Benz's Alabama plant will create 600 jobs
To Serve Next-Gen Aircraft, GE Opens Two New Plants

 


Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decline to Five-Year Low
By Alex Kowalski and Shobhana Chandra
May 2, 2013

The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than five years, indicating companies are retaining staff even as the economy cools.

 

Applications (INJCJC) for unemployment insurance payments fell 18,000 to 324,000 in the week ended April 27, the fewest since January 2008, a month after the last recession started, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists forecast 345,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the data.

 

Fewer firings show companies are confident their staff levels can adequately meet current demand. Even so, without a pickup in economic growth, the same companies may be reluctant to hire more workers in coming months.


more...

 


 

 

Alabama-made auto sales rise 10.4 percent as industry heads for best April in six years
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 
on May 01, 2013 

U.S. sales of vehicles produced in Alabama rose 10.4 percent last month, a strong showing for the state industry that also was seen nationwide
.

The numbers are still being tallied this afternoon, but total U.S. auto sales are headed toward their best April since 2007. All three Detroit-based automakers reported double-digit increases in their overall sales. Other major automakers also reported increases.

 

Pickups led the way, continuing a trend. Consumers also continued to open their wallets for big-ticket purchases despite high unemployment and other mixed economic news.

 

Combined sales of the eight models made in Alabama totaled 70,285 last month, compared to 63,671 a year ago, according to automakers' reports issued today.



more...

[al.com]

 

 

 


Alabama's auto industry producing its first Acura models
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 
on May 01, 2013 

Honda's Talladega County auto factory is officially kicking off mass production of the Acura MDX SUV this week.
 

This marks the ninth vehicle currently in production on Alabama's assembly lines. It also is the first model produced in the state for Acura, which is Honda's luxury brand.

 

The decision to transfer MDX production to Alabama from a Honda plant in Canada was announced in 2011. Since then, the Lincoln plant has added nearly $400 million in investment and 350 jobs, partly to prepare for the new addition.

 

The 4,000-worker plant, which also produces the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup, has been expanding its annual capacity, too.

 

more....

 

[al.com]


 


AT&T to hire 5,000 veterans in 5 years
Staff/Birmingham Business Journal
May 2, 2013

AT&T Inc. is stepping up its efforts to recruit veterans, aiming to hire 5,000 former service members nationwide during the next five years.

 

The hiring goal is part of the Joining Forces Initiative started by first lady Michelle Obama.

 

"We want veterans to know that we do have opportunities for them," said Josh Gelinas, an AT&T spokesman.

 

AT&T has about 30 positions listed in Alabama, including eight in the Birmingham area. The website allows veterans to enter their military title and an AT&T job title to find an appropriate fit.

 

more....


 



Logistics hub at Mercedes-Benz's Alabama plant will create 600 jobs
 May 1, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama - A new $70 million logistics hub at Mercedes-Benz's Alabama plant will lead to 600 new jobs from the automaker and its contractors and service providers, officials said today.

 

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley joined executives from Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the official name of the automaker's Alabama operations, to break ground on the expansion at the MBUSI campus in Tuscaloosa County.

 

"This latest expansion means several things," Governor Bentley said.  "First, it means more good jobs for the people of Alabama.  Also, it means the automotive industry continues to grow in this state.  It shows the confidence that companies have in our workforce and in the positive business climate we've created in Alabama.  This year marks 20 years since Mercedes-Benz first announced it was coming to Tuscaloosa County.  Our partnership with Mercedes-Benz is stronger today than ever before."

 

Currently, MBUSI employs roughly 3,000 people at its Tuscaloosa County plant.  The facility produces the M-Class and GL-Class sport utility vehicles as well as the R-Class crossover, and it will soon produce the next-generation C-Class sedan.  A fifth model, a new SUV, will join the Alabama production line in 2015.

 

more....

 

[madeinalabama.com]

 

 



To Serve Next-Gen Aircraft, GE Opens Two New Plants
Adrienne Selko
May 1, 2013

This past week was quite a milestone for GE Aviation as it opened two new advanced manufacturing plants.

The company invested $130 million to build a composite factory in Ellisville, Mississippiand a "super-alloy" plant in Auburn Alabama. 

 

By 2017,  GE will hire 550 workers to staff these plants.

 

This new capacity is necessary to serve the growing world aircraft fleet which is estimated to double over the next twenty years reaching 40,000, according to GE.

 

Along with an increase in demand is an increase in the use of  advanced technology, including lasers. "Manufacturing workers will soon be like Jedi Knights, wielding laser tools that cut, weld and scribe advanced metal and ceramic materials into complex parts," says Hongqiang Chen, lead laser processing engineer at GE Global Research.

 

"Advanced manufacturing has arrived and we're beginning to see laser technologies move from specialty applications to common tools used by workers on the plant floor," Chen added.

 

more....

 

[Industry Week]






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