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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:
Economy added 74,000 jobs in weak December report; jobless rate down to 6.7%
So you're finally going to start that business? Here are the 7 habits of successful entrepreneurs
Alabama auto production sets record in 2013, with more gains expected
Hyundai plant making room for more engine parts
Enhanced Partnership Between National Association of Manufacturers and Business Council of Alabama
Online Registration Open for the 2014 Southeast Community Development Institute(CDI)


 Economy added 74,000 jobs in weak December report; jobless rate down to 6.7%

January 10

The U.S. economy added a meager 74,000 jobs in December, according to government data released Friday morning, the latest stumble in the nation's sputtering recovery from recession.


The Labor Department also reported the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent as the workforce shrunk once again - reversing the previous month's gains. Driving the decline was the number of people who gave up looking for work, possibly deterred by a combination of cold weather, the holiday season and the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits.


"It's disappointing, not a disaster," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. "It doesn't change the picture yet. We need to see more than one month."


Markets appeared to shrug off the tepid employment numbers, with the three major stock indexes opening flat or slightly up on Friday morning.



[Washington Post]




So you're finally going to start that business? Here are the 7 habits of successful entrepreneurs

on January 10, 2014

It's a new year, and maybe your resolution was to get serious about that business idea that's been collecting dust in your desk drawer or hanging around in your head. 


The last few years have been challenging for entrepreneurs, but there are signs that the climate is improving, said Franz Lohrke, an entrepreneurship professor at Samford University's Brock School of Business.


Funding wise, there are more options, he said, particularly when it comes to online tools such as crowdfunding.

"In an improving economy, people seem interested in supporting entrepreneurship," he said.








Alabama auto production sets record in 2013, with more gains expected

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Alabama's three auto assembly plants combined to break a production record in 2013, surpassing the previous year's total by 4 percent and stoking optimism that output can continue to rise.


The Alabama assembly plants of HondaHyundai and Mercedes-Benz produced a total vehicle count of at least 915,000 last year, beating the 880,114 figure set in 2012, the previous production record for the state, according to a report by AL.com.


Honda's Talladega County plant assembled an estimated 333,531 vehicles in 2013, down slightly from 2012 due to the introduction of the Acura MDX to the production line. Hyundai, which added a third shift in September 2012, increased output by 10.6 percent in 2013 to 399,495 vehicles, a plant record. Mercedes, which won't announce its 2013 production total until later, said it surpassed its 2012 record of 182,000 vehicles.


Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and former head of the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa County, told AL.com that the auto industry's growth has created new jobs and opportunities in the state. Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor, in particular, mentioned auto industry growth in the state as a factor in the company's decision to open a passenger jet production center in Mobile.












Hyundai plant making room for more engine parts
By Lindsey Rogers 
Jan. 8, 2014
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -There's a lot of work going on inside Hyundai's engine shop at the Montgomery plant and a lot of work going on outside of the facility where crews are constructing 14,000 square feet of warehouse space.

The catalyst behind the expansion is a redesign of the four-cylinder Theta engines which requires additional parts in the assembly process and more room to store them.


"It's really important that we have this capacity because we do build over 700,000 engines a year at this facility for the Sonatas and for the KIA Optima in West Point, GA. We do have a significant number of engines that we're building for both of those sedans and it really allows us to be even more efficient with the movement of these parts for the engines that we assemble day in and day out," said Robert Burns, Senior Manager of Public Relations for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.


The $800,000 project is sending a message to workers about job security.





Enhanced Partnership Between National Association of Manufacturers and Business Council of Alabama Doubles Down on Manufacturing Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C., 01/09/14 -  The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) enhanced their partnership today by signing an agreement to strengthen manufacturing advocacy, to deliver increased visibility for both organizations and to help grow the manufacturing army. 


The NAM and BCA already enjoy a successful partnership that effectively advocates for manufacturers. This agreement enhances the coordination through an increased presence that will amplify Alabama manufacturers' voice in Washington. In using the national scope of the NAM to create a joint manufacturing network to respond to ever-changing national economic issues, this agreement creates a vehicle to expand the role that manufacturers play in policymaking and to increase training and development opportunities for Alabama manufacturers.


"The NAM's partnership with the BCA is among our strongest alliances," said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. "Together, we are more influential in the pursuit of pro-growth policies that increase manufacturers' ability to compete and create jobs. Growing this important partnership is key to accomplishing our mutual goals and putting our economy on the right track."










Online Registration Open for the 2014 Southeast Community Development Institute (CDI)


The Troy University Center for International Business and Economic Development is hosting its second year of programs for the Southeast Community Development Institute on the Montgomery Campus of Troy University, April 21-25, 2014. 


The Southeast CDI is designed to train those engaged, or wishing to engage, in community development.  Techniques taught are beneficial to all in the community and revolve around management, leadership and basic community development principles. Community officials and volunteers associated with city, county and state government, chambers of commerce, private and public sector economic development organizations, utility companies, main street organizations, workforce development professionals and financial institutions will find CDI a valuable learning tool for the development of individual and community leadership skills.


Become nationally certified close to home! The Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) designation is for professionals who have demonstrated knowledge and experience in the field of community and economic development. CDI helps prepare you for this nationally-recognized certification offered through the Community Development Council (CDC).


Years one and two will be taught this year.  Year three programming will be added in 2015.  More information is available at www.troy.edu/ce or you can contact CIBED at 334-670-3524.




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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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