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:


U.S. Adds 223,000 Jobs in April; Jobless Rate Falls to 5.4%


WASHINGTON-U.S. employers resumed steady hiring last month and the jobless rate fell, a sign of the economy snapping back from a brutal winter.


Nonfarm payrolls grew a seasonally adjusted 223,000 in April, the Labor Department saidFriday. Hiring had slowed sharply in March, to a gain of 85,000, revised from an initial report of 126,000. The economy added 266,000 jobs in February.


The unemployment rate, drawn from a separate survey of households, fell a 10th of a point in April to 5.4%, the lowest level in almost seven years and closer to the Federal Reserve's expectation of "full" employment, which it pegs between 5% and 5.2%. The decline in joblessness reflected positive developments: The labor force grew as more Americans entered the job market and found work.




[Wall Street Journal]



Bentley names board members to oversee 2-year college system
on May 07, 2015 

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday appointed members to a new board to oversee the two-year college system.


Bentley named the appointments a day after the bill creating the board won final approval in the Alabama Legislature. The legislation removed the college system from the oversight of the state Board of Education.


Proponents of the bill said the two-year college system would be better served by a board focused exclusively on its needs, including workforce development. Bentley's appointments included engineers and business owners and executives.






Ralph Hargrove honored for leadership, philanthropy as Mobile's 2015 'Outstanding Entrepreneur'
on May 07, 2015

Ralph Hargrove has transformed the Mobile-grown Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, founded in 1995 as a home-based business, into an industry juggernaut with 11 offices across the United States and more than 950 employees.


"Ralph's mission is to ensure that leadership is developed and encouraged at every level of the company," Frank Lott III, Mobile Area Chamber Board Chairman Frank Lott  and president of Heritage Homes, said of Hargrove's May 7 recognition as Outstanding Entrepreneur during the chamber's Mobile Area Small Business Week Luncheon.


Lott said Hargrove's push to cultivate excellence in leadership, coupled with the company's philanthropic efforts, "played a big part in the committee's decision to honor him."



BBVA Compass opens new center at Innovation Depot
Reporter -Birmingham Business Journal
May 8, 2015

BBVA Compass has opened a new center at Innovation Depot, where it will work on technology projects for the bank in collaboration with other companies at the business incubator.


At full capacity, BBVA Compass' Cross Industry Development Center is expected to house up to 10 employees from the bank's technology and digital units.


The bank's addition of space at the 140,000-square-foot Innovation Depot comes weeks after BBVA Compassdebuted its newly renovated $13.5 millionDevelopment Center on 32nd Street South, a workspace inspired by Silicon Valley and its agile, collaborative environments. That center will lead technology development efforts for the bank.



Samford student startups take home $20K in funding
Ty West Managing editor-Birmingham Business Journal
May 7, 2015

A landscaping business and an on-campus ridesharing company took home the top prizes in the Regions New Venture Challenge for students at Samford University's Brock School of Business.


The annual competition, sponsored by Regions Financial Corp. since 2008, allows business students at Samford to develop business plans and ultimately pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance at sharing $20,000 in funding.


I was fortunate to be a judge in the competition finals and can confidently say Birmingham's entrepreneurial future is in good hands.



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