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A company that aims to manufacture steel tubes for the energy industry is expanding its operations and employment in Hopkinsville.

PTC Seemless Tube Corporation announced Thursday that it plans to create nearly 300 jobs and invest over $100 million  in a new manufacturing facility. It’s a return to the Hopkinsville area for the company, which previously closed its Christian County facility in order to move closer to its customer base.

PTC Seemless now says it wants to return to the region by retrofitting and expanding its former facility. The new manufacturing operation will involve 256,000 square feet of building area.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has given preliminary approval for $12 million in tax incentives for the project.

Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems

A German-based auto parts manufacturer is investing $29 million dollars in Russell County – meaning more than 150 jobs are coming to the Russell Springs area. Representatives for  Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems took part in a special welcoming ceremony in Russell Springs. 

The event was attended by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.

Russell County Judge-Executive Gary Robertson says the company will be moving into the Hitachi Cable plant that closed down in 2007.

“That plant is pretty much work-ready,” said Robertson.  They are having to do a few renovations to some flooring, but [the plant] was already available.”

Robertson says the new operation will provide jobs for those already in Russell County and bring in new residents.

Two Republican Congressmen from Kentucky will host a field hearing in Lexington Tuesday titled "Health Care Challenges Facing Kentucky's Workers and Job Creators. 

"This is an official Congressional hearing where witnesses will offer testimony that will become part of the Congressional record," says U.S. Representative Andy Barr of Lexington.

Representative Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green is also hosting the hearing that will focus on the Affordable Care Act.  The federal health care overhaul requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health insurance or pay penalties.  Last month, the Obama administration pushed back implementation of the employer mandate until January of 2015.

Kentucky's two largest children's hospitals are partnering to provide better pediatric care across the state.  Kosair Children's Hospital and U-K Children's Hospital have signed a letter intent to join forces and will spend the next few months working out the details. 

"Bottom line is, we can do more together than separately," says Stephens Williams, CEO of Norton Healthcare, which owns and operates Kosair.  "Our goal is to continue to expand services, certainly allowing us to better compete with children's hospitals in our border states." 

Williams says the collaboration will allow the hospitals to recruit more specialty pediatricians to handle some of the chronic diseases that plague Kentucky children such as obesity and diabetes. 

The partnership will also build upon collaborations the two hospitals already have with their cancer and transplant programs. 

Beshear Bashes Florida Governor's Recruitment Effort

Aug 21, 2013

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is ripping into Florida Gov. Rick Scott over what he calls a "crude" effort to lure businesses to the Sunshine State.
 
Beshear on Monday sent a letter to Scott criticizing the Republican governor's attempt to get companies to relocate. He called the effort in "poor taste" and also said some of the information Scott sent to Kentucky businesses was misleading and false.
 
Scott has sent letters to business leaders in several states contending that they should book a "one way" ticket to Florida. He has argued that companies should take advantage of the state's tax structure.

Beshear in his letter says "my advice to you, as a fellow governor, is to focus on your state and its people, and I'll focus on my mine."

An aluminum smelter in Hancock County will be supplied with electric power purchased on the open market under a plan announced Wednesday by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

Century Aluminum of Hawesville says it needed the arrangement in order to remain open. The smelter employs 700 workers and has traditionally purchased power generated by Big Rivers Electric Corporation in Henderson. But Century officials say using electric power purchased on the open market by Kenergy Corporation will be much cheaper.

The PSC said in a statement that the plan tries to achieve a “delicate balance” between keeping the Hawesville smelter open and not imposing high costs on Big Rivers customers beyond those that would occur if Century Aluminum closed.

The new agreement will go into effect Aug. 20.

Kentucky manufacturers are exporting goods at a lightning pace through the first six months of 2013. The governor’s office says exports grew by over 12 ½ percent during that time. That’s the second-fastest pace in the nation, right behind New Hampshire.  

Exports to Great Britain saw one of the strongest increases through the first half of the year. 

Cars and chemicals are traditionally among the biggest exports for Kentucky as are aircraft engines and parts like those made by General Electric in Madisonville.

 

Number of Kentucky Coal Jobs Lowest Since 1927

Aug 8, 2013

The state says Kentucky's coal jobs have dropped to the lowest level in the more than 85 years that the state has kept records of the number.

The Energy and Environment Cabinet says eastern Kentucky mines cut 916 jobs from April through June, while western Kentucky mines added 65 jobs, an increase of 1.5 percent. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the jobs lost in eastern Kentucky followed steep declines in 2012.

The cabinet said the number of people working at coal mines and facilities statewide dropped to 12,342 as of July, the lowest number since 1927.

The report also said eastern Kentucky coal production has dropped more than 41 percent in two years.

thesupercars.org

General Motors says it is investing $350 million and will create and retain at least 1,800 jobs at its plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  

While the automaker isn’t saying what new vehicles will be made at the plant, GM announced Tuesday that it will add two midsize vehicle programs to the facility, making good on a promise to the United Auto Workers union during negotiations in 2011.

The Tennessean reports that some analysts have suggested the vehicles might be the Cadillac SRX, which is currently made in Mexico, and the Buick Anthem, which GM has in development. The Spring Hill plant served as the headquarters and main assembly facility for GM’s now-defunct Saturn brand before production was halted in 2009.

The UAW says the jobs generated by the new auto production will be filled mainly by local hires, as opposed to the union’s normal practice of transferring displaced workers from other areas.

The news comes on the heels of a recent report showing Tennessee is, for a fourth consecutive year, ranked No. 1 in automotive manufacturing strength in the nation.

Just in time for the start of a new school year, Tennessee is giving shoppers a tax break this weekend.  During the three-day tax holiday, shoppers can save almost 10 percent on tax free clothing, school and art supplies and computer purchases. 

Shoppers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing and school supplies with a price of $100 or less per item and computers with a price of $1,500 or less. 

The three-day holiday runs until 11:59pm on Sunday. 

The tax-free weekend was started in 2006. According to the state department of revenue, the annual event each August saves Tennesseans between $8 and $10 million in taxes.

For more information, click here.

A new distribution and manufacturing facility in Franklin plans to add 40 new jobs over the next few years. MultiTech Industries creates springs, wire forms, machined components, and other parts for automotive manufacturers.

MultiTech will occupy a 32,000-square-foot spec building in the Sanders Interstate Industrial Park in Simpson County.

The company will initially employ ten workers, and says it wants to add up to 40 positions over time.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Tennessee is, for a fourth consecutive year, ranked No. 1 in automotive manufacturing strength in the nation.

Economic development publication Business Facilities has released its annual ranking, showing Tennessee the top state.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty called the ranking "an impressive distinction" and said expansions and relocations by automotive manufacturers like General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen, and Magneti Marelli further solidify the state's position globally.

With the auto plants and those of their suppliers, there are more than 900 automotive plants in the state. In fiscal 2012-2013, 44 automotive projects created 6,662 new jobs in Tennessee and investments totaled close to $1.1 billion.

The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Tennessee next week to promote his proposals for boosting U.S. manufacturing and high-wage jobs.

Obama will fly on Tuesday to Chattanooga, where he'll visit an Amazon fulfillment center, which packs and ships products to online purchasers. The White House says Obama will discuss ideas he's presented previously to promote American competitiveness and job growth — and also some new ideas.

It's the first in a series of speeches Obama will be giving on specific policy areas. The speeches build on Obama's visits this week to Illinois, Missouri and Florida, where he's speaking broadly about the state of the economy and the need to build a stronger middle class ahead of fiscal fights in Congress this fall.

Kentucky Unemployment Rate on the Rise

Jul 19, 2013

Huge job losses in manufacturing and several other key sectors pushed Kentucky's unemployment rate to 8.4 percent in June.

The Office of Employment and Training released the latest numbers on Thursday, showing the manufacturing sector lost 3,200 jobs in June.

The education and health services sector, another of several big losers, was down 1,500 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 1,200 jobs. The professional and business services sector shrunk by 900 jobs. And the construction sector was down 700 jobs.

Seasonal hiring bolstered the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 7,700 jobs. The arts, entertainment and recreation sector added another 1,800 jobs. And the government sector grew by 700 jobs.

downtownowensboro.com

The Owensboro City Commission has voted to create a downtown entertainment district. 

The Messenger-Inquirer reports the ordinance that passed Tuesday protects millions of dollars worth of investments in the downtown area, including the convention center, from being affected by a wet-dry election.  The ordinance is allowed under a new state law that protects certain projects in precincts that have been voted dry.

Opponents argue the measure will encourage the sale of more alcohol.

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