Report – New Hampshire Economic Dashboard

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS) has released the NH Economic Dashboard, a report based on data collected about 50 indicators related to the state’s business climate, that is meant to help prioritize decision-making about the state’s economic and quality of life related policies.

NH Economic Dashboard

NH Economic Dashboard (photo – nhpolicy.org)

The report, titled “New Hampshire’s Economic Climate: Key Indicators,” was asked for by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIA) to help them draft a strategic business plan for the state.

For each indicator, the Dashboard ranks New Hampshire against the 49 other states.

It additionally highlights how the state’s ranking matches up against that of three neighboring New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont) and four other “comparison” states (Texas, Virginia, and the Carolinas) that BIA identified as New Hampshire’s competitors for business growth and attraction.

BIA provided NHCPPS with nine domains critical to understanding the state’s economy – business growth, attraction and retention; cultural and natural resources; education and workforce; energy policy; fiscal policy; health and health care; infrastructure; regulatory environment; and workforce housing.

New Hampshire does relatively well in categories such as cultural and natural resources (No. 4); business growth and retention (No. 7); and education and workforce (No. 14). The report gives New Hampshire an overall ranking of 11.

However, New Hampshire’s rankings for several of the 50 indicators for which data was collected, such as industrial electric prices (No. 46), and land use restrictions (No. 47), are close to the bottom.

The report also notes several of the indicators need to be looked at a sub-state level by policy makers focusing on attracting employers to specific regions within New Hampshire.

For example, New Hampshire is among the top ten states for college attainment levels. But the regional percentage varies quite a bit. Only 14.4 percent of adults have a B.A. or higher in the Great North Woods region, while the percentage in the Greater Nashua area is 38 percent.

Regional differences must also be considered when it comes to the importance of a specific industry sector for a region.  Manufacturing makes up 15 percent of wages for the state as a whole, but it’s much higher for Greater Nashua (27.6 percent), and much lower for Greater Concord (8.2 percent).

The report notes that New Hampshire as a state stacks up pretty well in the Dashboard for categories such as business retention and growth against states like Texas and Virginia. However, a more ideal comparison would be between cities such as Manchester and out-of-state cities that are similar in size, demographics or mix of industries.

Such regional parsing of the data, the report says, would help policymakers narrow their focus and enable more efficient targeting of resources.

Read the full NH Economic Dashboard report – Download (pdf)

Oracle Expansion in Austin, TX Will Create 200 Jobs

Enterprise software and computer hardware giant Oracle America is planning to expand its sales and marketing operations in Austin, Texas.

Oracle

Oracle (photo – illuminaut/flickr)

Oracle will invest $5.4 million for the expansion project, which is expected to create 200 new jobs.

The company already has sales and marketing personnel in Austin, along with other tech employees working on software development and data center operations.

Randy Smith, vice president of Real Estate and Facilities, Oracle, said they’re expanding the company’s presence in Texas because they were impressed with the growth opportunities and quality of the workforce.

Smith said that with this new investment, Oracle will be better equipped for meeting customer demand while bringing technology jobs to Texas.

Oracle also considered another site outside the state, but Texas secured the expansion with a healthy package of incentives. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced that the state is providing Oracle $1 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to close the deal.

Gov. Perry said businesses looking at an expansion or relocation of their operations continue to look at Texas thanks to the state’s commitment towards conservative economic policies and track record of success. He said that TEF’s investment in Oracle will bring hundreds of jobs and opportunities for families in Texas, and stimulate the local and state economy.

The finalization of the TEF agreement with the State of Texas is contingent upon Oracle securing local incentives as per the criteria defined in the TEF program.

Oracle had first enquired with the City of Austin for local incentives for this project, but later moved their application to Williamson County.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court is scheduled to take up the matter at a meeting to be held on Nov 5, 2013, during which they are expected to provide the County Judge authorization for executing an economic development agreement with Oracle America.

Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), which has more than 122,800 employees across the globe, is one of the top three largest software companies in the world. Oracle generated worldwide revenues worth $37.18 billion last year through more than 400,000 customers in more than 145 countries.

American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act Could Create 400,000 Jobs

Senator Edward J. Markey, recently elected as the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has introduced new legislation which encourages clean energy generation and energy efficiency, and has the potential to create 400,000 new jobs.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy (photo – epa.gov)

The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act (S.1627), if passed into law, would require utilities to procure 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, etc. by 2025.

S.1627 also requires both electric and natural gas utilities to improve energy efficiency by 2025. Electric utilities would need to improve energy efficiency equivalent to 15 percent of sales, while the natural gas utilities would have to improve their energy efficiency by 10 percent of sales.

Specifically, the bill seeks to amend title VI of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to introduce a federal electricity standard for retail suppliers, and a federal energy efficiency standard for electricity and natural gas suppliers.

Many states have already implemented similar standards. A full 30 U.S. states and D.C. have laws that require utilities to maintain a healthy mix of energy from renewable sources. Energy efficiency requirements are mandatory in 24 states.

The proposed bill, if it became law, would quadruple renewable energy production by 2025. It would reduce CO2 emissions by an annual 480 million metric tons by 2025, equivalent to the combined output of 120 coal-fired power plants.

An economic impact analysis of this bill and a similar bill (H.R.5967) with the same name that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by then Rep. Markey came up with following findings:-

- Number of jobs created if the legislation becomes law – 400,000

- Average annual household savings from improved energy efficiency – $39

- Cumulative consumer savings through 2030 – Nearly $90 billion

- New capital investments in the renewable energy technology – $200 billion

Senator Markey said that it’s past time to scale up the nation’s clean energy deployment and innovation, and to get American workers building and exporting solar panels and wind turbines that say “Made in America,” instead of America importing millions of barrels of “Made in OPEC” oil every day.

The bill is supported by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club and a long list of environmental and renewable energy organizations and companies.

S.1627 was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Oct 31, 2013, and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

U.S. To Expand SelectUSA Through Embassies

In his keynote at the SelectUSA Summit, President Obama announced an expansion of the SelectUSA program to include a coordinated U.S. government effort for recruiting businesses to invest and create jobs in the United States.

President Obama at SelectUSA Summit

President Obama at SelectUSA Summit (photo – whitehouse.gov)

There will be four important changes in federal policy in terms of attracting FDI.

1. Attracting foreign investment will now be a formal part of the portfolios of U.S. ambassadors and their embassy teams around the world. Their trade performance will be judged based not just on exports, but also on how much FDI they help attract to the U.S.

2. Senior officials in Washington D.C. will coordinate with overseas teams and make the case for investing in America.  Officials visiting other countries will likewise do more to promote America as a location for business investments.

3. Foreign companies planning on doing business in America will have a single point of contact at the federal level to help cut through the red tape. Federal assistance will be provided to help companies navigate U.S., state and local regulations and invest faster and open facilities faster.

4. The federal government will provide states, cities and regions more tools, including the latest data and events linking them directly to investors.

Notable quotes from several of the prominent speakers at the SelectUSA Summit:-

“History shows over the last two centuries that when you bet on America, that bet pays off.” – President Obama

“America is open for business” – Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

“We need the world to sustain greater growth, and the world continues to need the United States to be the backbone of a stable global economy.” – Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew

“America produces better than anyone.” – Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew quoting Helmuth Ludwig, CEO of Siemens Industry Sector, North America

“We have the most resilient capital markets in the world.” – BlackRock CEO Larry Fink

“Companies, government officials and industry leaders are working together to increase manufacturing, and these efforts are helping more Americans get into good-paying jobs and more businesses reinvest in the U.S. economy.” – Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon

GE Aviation, UCRI Open Research Center in Evendale, Ohio

GE Aviation and the University of Cincinnati Research Institute (UCRI) announced the establishment of the GE Aviation Research Center at the company’s global headquarters in Evendale, Ohio.

Combustion lab, GE Aviation, Evendale, OH

Rendering of combustion lab at GE Aviation in Evendale, OH (photo – uc.edu)

The Research Center will enable UCRI faculty and students to collaborate with GE Aviation scientists and engineers as they work on innovations that will have applications in GE aviation products in the future.

Projects to be undertaken at the Research Center include work on advanced low-emission combustion; ceramic matrix composites (CMCs); and aircraft energy and thermal management.

Much of the research will take place in a new $100 million combustion lab that GE Aviation is building at the Evendale complex.

There will be six UCRI researchers and 19 students working at the Evendale campus, funded through a $6 million GE commitment over the next three years.

UCRI is additionally chipping in with another $1 million over the same period for purchase of equipment required for technology projects at the Research Center.

William Ball, MD, UC’s vice president for research, said this was not just an economic development partnership, but also an education partnership.

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship because GE benefits from UCRI’s considerable aerospace engineering R&D expertise, while UC students learn on these projects during their education and have jobs waiting for them at GE afterwards. There are hundreds of UC graduates currently working at GE Aviation.

The new Research Center will be an important pipeline to help GE Aviation continue to attract UC’s top engineering talent.

Gary Mercer, vice president of engineering at GE Aviation, said their business was growing significantly, and they have considerable new technologies that have to developed and industrialized.

Mercer said that they want UC’s best minds on this journey as they influence aviation’s future course, and added that it was also an important part of the effort of enhancing Ohio’s aerospace capabilities even further.

David Linger, president and CEO of UCRI, said they support the collaborative process between the university and industry. He said they work closely with GE Aviation to understand their business needs and drive efficient solutions.

In 2009, GE Aviation agreed to revitalize the Evendale plant and invest $100 million into the complex over the next three years. Ohio helped support the project by offering a 15-year Job Retention Tax Credit, with GE Aviation committing to retain a minimum of 5,000 jobs for a period of 18 years.

GE Aviation has around 9,000 employees in southwestern Ohio. The company’s activities and operations support thousands of additional aerospace jobs in the area.

SelectUSA Summit Update – Opening Address, FDI Report, Walmart Jobs

The SelectUSA Summit kicked off in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker telling more than 1,200 attendees that the United States is open for business.

Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker at SelectUSA Summit

Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker (photo – commerce.gov)

Secretary Pritzker said the SelectUSA Summit was all about business, about connecting communities with investors.

This is the first-ever summit organized by the U.S. government to connect both domestic and foreign investors with local, regional and state economic development organizations.

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers released a report at the SelectUSA Summit about the positive economic benefits of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the U.S.

The U.S. has been the world’s largest recipient of FDI since 2006, with an inflow of $166 billion in 2012 alone. As of 2012, foreign affiliates in the U.S. had net U.S. assets totaling $3.9 trillion.

These firms employ 5.6 million people in the U.S., which is 4.1 percent of the private sector workforce. A full one-third of these jobs are in the manufacturing sector.

These foreign affiliates account for 9.6 percent of all U.S. private investment and a full 15.9 percent of private R&D spending.

Employment figures of these foreign affiliates have been more stable than the U.S. average during the recession and subsequent recovery. Compensation offered by these firms is also consistently higher over time than the U.S. average, and this holds true for both manufacturing as well as non-manufacturing jobs.

Also at the SelectUSA Summit, Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon announced that three Walmart suppliers have made new manufacturing commitments that will create 385 jobs.

The suppliers are Elan-Polo, EveryWare Global, Inc., and Louis Hornick & Company.

Footwear manufacturer Elan-Polo, which until now produced its footwear in overseas production facilities, plans to establish a factory in Hazelhurst, Georgia. The project, part of a joint venture with McPherson Manufacturing, will create 250 jobs.

Kitchenware and glassware maker EveryWare Global, Inc. is expanding its facility in Monaca, Pennsylvania with a $1.8 million investment and adding a new made in the USA product line.

Louis Hornick & Company, which imports curtains and other home textiles, is investing $2.5 million to establish a new manufacturing facility in Allendale County, South Carolina. This project is expected to create 125 jobs.

You can follow happenings at the SelectUSA Summit live on livestream.com.

Rain CII Returns Home to Greater New Orleans

Industrial carbon producer Rain CII announced a relocation of their corporate headquarters to the Northpark Office Park near Covington, Louisiana

The Road Home

Photo – louisiana.gov

The location is on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore close to New Orleans.

Rain CII had been headquartered in the New Orleans area prior to incurring damage in 2005 caused by Hurricane Katrina, after which they moved the company’s corporate headquarters to Kingwood, Texas.

Calcined petroleum coke (CPC) is one of the essential raw materials used for making aluminum, and Rain CII is among the largest producers of CPC in the world.

The company is shifting and creating 71 new jobs to Louisiana. Out of this, 56 existing jobs are being moved from Texas to the new headquarters in St. Tammany’s Parish, and Rain CII will additionally hire 15 new employees to add to the 156 workers at their four plants in Louisiana.

The 56 corporate jobs are high-paying positions with average annual wages of $102,700 per year, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates that the project will support the creation of another 70 indirect jobs.

Rain CII has also committed to investing $65 million into their manufacturing plants, logistics and research facilities in Louisiana.

Louisiana secured the relocation by offering a generous package of incentives, including a $3.6 million performance-based grant to help Rain CII offset the relocation costs. The company is also getting a $2 million Modernization Tax Credit, which will be available after five years when they have fulfilled the commitment to invest $65 million.

Rain CII will additionally get LED FastStart support for recruitment and workforce training. The project is also eligible for the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Rain CII CEO Gerry Sweeney said Greater New Orleans was the company’s historic home and a natural location for their headquarters. He added that since they have four plants in the state, the new headquarters location provides the best blend of proximity to their operations, the cultural events of a large city, and quality of life for their employees.

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., said Rain CII’s return to Greater New Orleans was a double win for Louisiana. The project is creating 70 high-quality job, and Rain CII’s return also heralds a broader and deeply important trend of the best companies and people returning home to Greater New Orleans.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that few projects demonstrate the state’s extraordinary resilience and progress after Hurricane Katrina like Rain CII’s relocation.

This, said the Governor, was a company headquartered in the New Orleans area and now returning home not just because its roots were here, but because Louisiana offers a great workforce, an outstanding business climate, and world-class infrastructure for business investments.

Google Donates 17,000 Tablets to Assist NY Recovery

Exactly one year ago, Sandy blew away Google’s plans to unveil new Nexus tablets and smartphones at an event in New York. Now it’s the other way round, with Google announcing a donation of 17,000 Nexus tablets to assist NY businesses and communities in Sandy-affected areas.

Google Nexus Tablet

Google Nexus Tablet (photo – google.com)

On the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Google will provided the 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets, valued at $2.7 million.

The tablets will be placed at locations such as business and community centers, senior centers and libraries.

Susan Molinari, former New York Congresswoman and currently the vice president for Government Relations at Google, said they believe technology can and does play a compelling role in helping rebuild communities to make them stronger and more resilient.

Molinari said that more and more people are increasingly using the internet and technology for educating themselves or providing for their families, and they were hoping that these tablets would e a resource for doing just that.

The tablets were actually donated to the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA), a non-profit that provides services to help improve the lives of New Yorkers. The state helped store and distribute the tablets with assistance from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

The programs the tablets will be used for include:-

- Libraries will use them to provide job training and work skills, along with language lessons for non-English speakers. In areas where libraries are still closed, the tablets will be used as e-reader loaners;

- Small business development organizations will integrate the tablets into their training and business assistance classes being conducted onsite. New York State SBDCs will use them to provide assistance for a high school entrepreneurship program in 30 underserved schools;

- Community centers will use the tablets in communities with high poverty rates to help young people try for STEM and high-skill careers, while helping their parents gain tech job skills.

Gov. Cuomo said private donations like these are critical for aiding communities in the ongoing recovery. He thanked Google for helping New York build back better than before.

Empire Specialty Cheese Facility Opening in AFA Foods Plant

Empire Specialty Cheese Co., LLC is taking over the idled AFA Foods plant in the Town of Harmony, New York as their new and expanded cheese production facility.

Cheese made in New York

Cheese made in New York (photo – ny.gov)

The company will spend $6.37 million to renovate the building, install existing equipment, and purchase new equipment and machinery.

The expansion will enable them to provide processing and packaging for private labels, and also expand their product line to include a variety of shredded and cubed cheese.

They currently make fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese at their existing facility in the Conewango Valley.

The project will help Empire Specialty Cheese and New York retain the company’s existing 46 full-time employees, and will create another 204 new jobs in Chautauqua County in the five years after the facility becomes operational next year.

These jobs, along with the indirect local jobs created by the company’s requirement for milk, will more than make up for the 100 jobs lost when the AFA ground beef processing plant was shut down in Oct 2012 following AFA Foods’ bankruptcy filing after it was embroiled in what became famous as the “pink slime” scandal.

Empire Specialty Cheese had been looking around for a new facility in southwestern New York because they have outgrown their existing Conewango facility.

The vacant AFA Foods building was slated to be purchased by German company Saturn Pet Care Inc., which planned to invest $20 million and create 100 new jobs. That deal fell through partly because Saturn wasn’t able to find ground water on the property.

Empire Specialty Cheese then brought in another driller, and they struck water, which led to the company agreeing to buy the property. It was easier this time around because the Chautauqua County IDA had already coordinated with ESD’s Western NY regional office to put together a package of local and state incentives to help Saturn Pet Care purchase and occupy the AFA facility.

Empire Specialty Cheese Co. Owner Antimo Caparco said they were grateful for the Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits they are receiving from New York State. He said the support allows them to create jobs and expand their product line.

Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, is providing $650,000 in Excelsior Job Program tax credits to Empire Specialty Cheese.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the Empire Specialty Cheese Co’s success is providing jobs opportunities for hundreds of new employees, and “new jobs” are the two words that they love to hear at ESD.

Embraer Announces Aircraft Assembly Facility in Melbourne, FL

Embraer S.A. has selected Melbourne International Airport in Brevard County, Florida as the location for a new aircraft assembly plant for their twin-engine Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 executive jets.

Embraer Legacy 500 assembly

Embraer Legacy 500 assembly (photo – embraer.com)

The project will add 250,000 square feet to the company’s operations in the Space Coast, adding to two existing assembly plants, a paint facility and a customer care center.

The new facility will create 600 new jobs, in addition to the company’s existing 260 jobs at the airport.

Embraer is also in the process of opening a previously announced Engineering and Technology Center at the airport. It is scheduled to open next year, and will employ another 200 engineers.

Embraer president and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado said the expansion came about as a result of strong U.S. demand for their executive jets, and an outstanding partnership of local and state stakeholders.

He said both Embraer and their customers were satisfied with the existing Phenom assembly plant and the customer care center at Melbourne Airport.

Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Florida Space Coast EDC, said that more than five years after the EDC and Embraer began working together on the company’s first North American assembly plant, she was delighted to congratulate the Embraer team on yet another endeavor that will further deepen the company’s connection to the Space Coast.

Harry Goode, chairman of the Melbourne Airport Authority Board, likewise noted that the airport first partnered with Embraer in 2008, and the company doubling of its investment after just five years reflects the confidence they have in the bright future for the region and the airport.

Andy Anderson, chairman of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, said Brevard County’s competitive advantages have been consistently recognized by Embraer. Anderson noted that from the quality of life to the talented workforce, the Space Coast has it all, and they were thrilled that Embraer will now be using these and other assets the county offers.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said he was proud to announce that even more Floridians would be able to find great jobs and live the American Dream in the Sunshine State.

Embraer worked on the project in partnership with the Governor’s Office, Enterprise Florida, the Melbourne Airport Authority, the Florida Space Coast EDC, Brevard County, Brevard Workforce, Space Florida, and the City of Melbourne.

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