State Economic Development Bulletin – November 2023
Treasury Announces Competitive TA Grants. (US Treasury)
Job Growth Slows, Sowing a Mix of Concern and Calm (The New York Times)
“A Tipping Point” in Equal Pay: Scrapping Tiered Wages (The Washington Post)
How to Improve City-State Economic Development Cooperation (Pew Charitable Trusts)
Trade Gap Widens More than Expected (Reuters)
CHIPS: A Progress Report (Duke Today)
Powering Climate & Infrastructure Careers for All (The Families & Workers)
Workforce Hub Convening in Baltimore (The White House)
Worker Voices Explores Views on Job Market (Economy Matters)
Arizona Workforce Program Helps Aerospace Manufacturing (Phoenix Business Journal)
The Use of State Business Incentives to Support Agriculture (University of Illinois)
Ohio Turns Into a Magnet for Chip Fabs (Financial Times)
Creating 2,500 Jobs and Investing $1.5B Under Nebraska Incentive Act (Nebraska Examiner)
SEDE Hosts Meeting for Top Executives. (SEDE) The State Economic Development Executives (SEDE) Network is holding its Winter 2024 meeting for state economic development executives or their deputies in Las Vegas on January 29 and 30. Tom Burns (Executive Director of Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development) and his team will be hosting the meeting. The agenda will include discussions of current issues facing states and many opportunities for networking among the state economic development commissioners, secretaries and executive directors or their top deputy. Registration is available here.
Upcoming Webinar: Bolstering Apprenticeships in the US (SEDE) Please join us on November 29 from 4 pm – 5 pm (ET) to discuss SEDE’s Economic Developers’ Apprenticeship Learning Academy and their recent trip to Germany to learn about different models for vocational education and training. From October 15-21, 2023, nine members from the SEDE network visited Bonn, Cologne, and Stuttgart to learn more about the strengths and shortcomings of Germany’s dual education system and to identify positive elements and potential applications to expanding apprenticeship in the US. During this webinar we will discuss key themes from the trip and how these states are planning to apply what they learned to workforce programs and policies back home. Login to the SEDE website to register here.
Upcoming Webinar: Statewide Planning Grant Workforce Webinar (SEDE) Join fellow EDA $1 million Statewide Planning Grant recipients on December 20 at 4pm ET as they discuss lessons learned related to workforce development. Iowa will share lessons learned through identifying key workforce attraction needs and challenges, specifically in the biosciences industry cluster, and Delaware will share its work in developing multiple workforce-related reports, such as a gap analysis, skills assessment, and an equity-centered workforce development study. Register here.
Treasury Announces Competitive TA Grants. (US Treasury) The U.S. Department of Treasury announced that it is seeking applications through December 23, 2023 from eligible applicants for grant funding under the new SSBCI Investing in America Small Business Opportunity Program (SBOP) that propose innovative and high-impact models for delivering technical assistance (TA) in the areas of legal, accounting, and financial advisory services to very small businesses (VSBs) and businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI‑owned businesses). Any state, territory, the District of Columbia, or tribal government (each a “jurisdiction”) that has been approved as a participating jurisdiction in the SSBCI Capital Program is eligible to apply.
Announcement of the Designation of 31 Tech Hubs (EDA) The EDA announced 31 areas have been designated as Tech Hubs and will receive funds designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness. These Tech Hubs are located across 32 states and Puerto Rico and represent a cross-section of urban and rural regions. Designation is an endorsement of the region’s plans to supercharge their respective technological industries to create jobs, strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and protect national security.
Announcement of Build To Scale Program Recipients (EDA) The U.S. Department of Commerce announced “Build to Scale” grants awarded to 60 organizations across the country — located in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — totaling $53 million for programs that support technology entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation, and fuel economic growth. This is the 10th cohort of grantees for this program. The grants, part of the “Build to Scale” program administered annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), aim to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial assistance and startup capital.
Job Growth Slows, Sowing a Mix of Concern and Calm (The New York Times) Employers added 150,000 jobs in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported, a number that fell short of economists’ forecasts. Hiring figures for August and September were revised downward, subtracting more than 100,000 jobs from earlier reports. And the unemployment rate, based on a survey of households, rose to 3.9% from 3.8% in September. But there were extenuating factors in the data. Some 96,000 people reported being out of work because of a strike or labor dispute, the most since 1997 — largely because of auto industry walkouts that have since ended. Accounting for those quirks, job creation still looks healthy. The three-month average — a frequent reference point for economists — is 204,000, a robust pace by historical standards. The economy has generated job gains for a remarkable 34 straight months.
One Million International Students Contributed $40B to Economy (Forbes) Over one million international students contributed $40.1 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2022-2023 academic year, marking a significant 19% increase compared to the previous academic year, according to data from NAFSA: Association for International Educators in Washington, DC. International students make contributions not only through the tuition they pay to U.S. higher education institutions but also through their spending on accommodations, transportation, food, and consumer goods while they are living in the U.S. The economic activity of international students also supported 368,333 jobs, a 9.8% rise compared to the year before. NAFSA estimates that three international students contribute to the creation or support of one U.S. job.
“A Tipping Point” in Equal Pay: Scrapping Tiered Wages (The Washington Post) The country’s largest automakers — Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis — are poised to become the latest U.S. corporations to do away with tiered wage arrangements, a system that confines newer employees to lower wages. All three auto giants have agreed to sweeping improvements in employee pay, including the elimination of unequal pay scales that made it difficult for new hires to catch up with longtime employees. While the deal still needs to be approved by union workers, it’s a big win for employees and indicative of a recent trend sweeping workplaces.
How to Improve City-State Economic Development Cooperation (Pew Charitable Trusts) Effective urban economic development strategies require close cooperation between state and city governments, especially in the era of unprecedented federal funds for local projects. The interview features Ellen Harpel who discusses the importance of local and state cooperation and communication in economic development, focusing on the relationship between Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, as well as examples in other states. This work is similar to an EDA project being done by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness for EDA to drive alignment between states and economic development districts.
Trade Gap Widens More than Expected (Reuters) The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in September, making it less likely for trade to have contributed to growth in the third quarter. The trade deficit expanded 4.9% to $61.5 billion from a modestly revised $58.7 billion in August, which was the lowest level since September 2020, the Commerce Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade deficit shrinking to $59.9 billion in September. Exports of goods and services increased 2.2% to $261.1 billion. Goods exports shot up 3.1% to $176.7 billion. At $84.4 billion, exports of services were the highest on record.
US and Indonesia to Discuss Deal on Electric Vehicle Minerals (Reuters) The United States and Indonesia will discuss how to advance a potential minerals partnership aimed at stimulating trade of nickel – a key metal for the electric vehicle (EV) battery. Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest nickel ore reserves, asked the United States to begin discussions for a trade deal for critical minerals so that exports from the Southeast Asian country can be covered under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The United States is still concerned about environmental, social and governance standards in Indonesia and is examining how a deal might work.
Has the U.S. Trade Pact Helped Africa? (BBC) The future of what was billed as a game-changing trade agreement between Africa and the U.S. is up for discussion, with calls for it to be turned into a much longer-term pact, despite some criticism of the deal. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) was signed into law by former United States President Bill Clinton in May 2000, in a bid to improve trade and investment ties with sub-Saharan Africa on the basis that the best way to raise living standards on the continent and create badly needed jobs, was through trade, not aid. Detractors are pushing for removing access to Agoa because of human rights concerns. Despite the controversy, Agoa beneficiaries are expected to call for an early extension and renewal of the trade pact by 10 years.
San Francisco Hosting APEC Trade Summit (CBS) The United States is hosting the annual APEC summit of world leaders this week for the first time since 2011. Leaders from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group will gather in San Francisco to talk about how to better spur trade and economic growth across the Pacific region. The annual leaders’ conference brings together heads of nations and other top economic and diplomatic leaders. White House aides say the goal for this year’s summit is to try to make APEC economies more resilient, particularly in the face of growing climate issues and following a global pandemic that killed millions of people and strained supply chains.
CHIPS: A Progress Report (Duke Today) It’s been more than a year since Congress passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which invests $52 billion in federal subsidies and another $24 billion in tax credits to reinvigorate the U.S. computer chip industry. Semiconductors form the brains of electronic devices like cars, smartphones, medical devices, even missile defense systems. Duke University held a forum with leaders in academia, government, and industry to discuss lessons learned thus far and what challenges still lie ahead. Industry representatives at the meeting from Samsung, Wolfspeed and Intel said that while $52 billion is a “drop in the bucket” — companies will also have to invest significantly — it’s a move in the right direction. Since the CHIPS Act was signed into law, U.S. companies have pledged more than $200 billion to new projects such as building semiconductor fabrication plants — investments that are expected to create some 44,000 jobs.
EV Charger Manufacturing Jobs and $41M Investment in North Carolina (WRAL News) North Carolina is becoming a hub for EV and battery manufacturing. Kempower is one of many companies setting down roots in the state, with its North America manufacturing facility currently under construction in Durham. The company is based in Finland, where electric vehicle adoption is widespread. Currently, about 5% of U.S. vehicles are EVs, compared to 30% in Finland. By 2025, projections show 42% of the Finnish fleet will be electric. It is estimated that the facility will be online by the end of the year, with 100 employees on-boarded, with the company hiring 200 more by the end of next year.
Rivian Approved for $5B Manufacturing Plant in Georgia (Teslarati) Electric vehicle (EV) maker Rivian has gained approval to start construction on a new manufacturing plant outside of Atlanta, Georgia. According to the state’s initial announcement, the Rivian location includes “just under 2,000 acres” at a site previously called the East Atlanta Megasite. The facility is expected to bring as many as 7,500 jobs to the area, and Rivian will invest $5 billion into building the facility. In addition to building the manufacturing facility, Rivian is expected to accelerate charging station deployment in the area.
Powering Climate & Infrastructure Careers for All (The Families & Workers) This new initiative is part of the Families and Workers Fund’s recent growth to a more than $110 million pooled fund and platform for collective action. Through $50 million in grants, strategic partnerships, and technical assistance to nonprofits, state and local governments, training and education providers, and private sector employer groups, the new initiative will deploy philanthropic capital to help tackle the serious workforce implementation challenges facing the United States on its path toward a net-zero economy and 21st-century infrastructure. The Fund’s efforts will help connect people in underinvested communities to uplifting careers in energy, construction, and other specialized industries, along with supporting public agencies, employers, community colleges, and nonprofits on the frontlines.
Workforce Hub Convening in Baltimore (The White House) In May, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it will partner with state and local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders to develop Workforce Hubs to ensure a diverse and skilled workforce can meet the demand for labor driven by investments such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act. Baltimore was announced along with Pittsburgh, Augusta, Columbus, and Phoenix, as Workforce Hubs. In Baltimore, the Administration is assisting in preparing a skilled workforce to support transportation projects funded through the Investing in America agenda. Across the state of Maryland, the Administration has announced $9.6 billion in projects to upgrade transportation, deliver clean and reliable energy, expand access to high-speed internet, ensure that residents have clean water, and more. The city held a Workforce Hub convening to announce commitments to ensure students and workers have equitable access to good-paying jobs.
Worker Voices Explores Views on Job Market (Economy Matters) Worker Voices, comprised of representatives of all 12 Reserve Banks, is designed to reach workers who do not have a college degree and the comparative job stability it represents. The Worker Voices project team conducted 20 focus groups between May and September 2022. Of the 1,243 workers and job seekers who responded to a questionnaire, 175 were selected to participate. The main topics involved what workers experienced at the outset of the pandemic and how they weathered the economic recovery. The discussions reinforced how profoundly participants felt the pandemic employment shocks as they navigated an objectively strong labor market with an increased expectation of finding a job with high-quality characteristics.
Oregon Gives $35M to Training Programs in High Demand Industries (OPB) Oregon is sending a total of $35 million in grant funding to 30 projects across the state designed to support workforce training in high-demand industries. It’s the largest round of funding awarded so far under the Future Ready Oregon plan approved by state lawmakers in 2022. The legislation overall steers $200 million from the state’s general fund and federal pandemic relief aid to education and training for Oregonians. The plan focuses on historically underserved communities, such as people of color, veterans and people living in rural areas. The program targets workforce training in three industries key to the state’s economy: health care, manufacturing, and technology.
Arizona Workforce Program Helps Aerospace Manufacturing (Phoenix Business Journal) Arizona is emerging as a prominent hub for the aerospace, defense and manufacturing industry with billion-dollar corporations coming to the state. Maricopa Community Colleges, with 10 colleges and 31 satellite locations, is a member of the Arizona Advanced Technology Network (AATN) and serves as a reliable talent pipeline for the fast-growing aerospace and manufacturing industry in Maricopa County. Programs include an Aircraft Maintenance Technology program, an Aviation Sheetmetal Bootcamp, an Unmanned Aircraft Systems program, and more.
SSBCI Funding the “Gold Rush Outpost” Now in Indigenous Hands (NCJ) Founded during the mid-1800s gold rush, the Salmon River Outpost is situated in Northern California. After nearly two centuries of contentious relationships between historical owners and local Indigenous communities, an Indigenous couple bought the Outpost. That’s due to the $73 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funds received by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation (ATNI-EDC). The ATNI-EDC will operate the State Small Business Credit Initiative programs in partnership with 25 tribal governments spread across California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Arizona.
The Use of State Business Incentives to Support Agriculture (University of Illinois) Given its significant influence on U.S. Agriculture, the uncertainty surrounding the next Farm Bill has garnered great interest. This uncertainty may loom over the U.S. agricultural sector, but the federal government is not the only public sector actor that influences farm operators and agricultural businesses. State governments also create and operate programs that support and grow their agricultural sectors. This brief focuses specifically on how states use business incentives to support their agricultural sector. As a result, it draws on the C2ER Business Incentives Database to examine the wide range of state business incentives that support the agricultural sector. This searchable database includes information on over 2,000 state business incentive programs that states use to promote business attraction, retention, and expansion.
Ohio Turns Into a Magnet for Chip Fabs (Financial Times) In Licking County, Ohio, Intel is building two new chip factories. The $20 billion investment has been touted by local government officials as the single biggest economic development project in the history of Ohio. The mega-site, spanning some 1,000 acres of predominantly former farmland, could accommodate eight chip factories, or fabs, with a total investment of as much as $100 billion over the next decade. That would make it one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world. The investments are expected to deliver tens of thousands of new jobs in Ohio alone. Intel has said that the initial phase of its “Ohio One” project will create 3,000 high-paying jobs with average annual wages of $135,000 across the two factories.
Creating 2,500 Jobs and Investing $1.5B Under Nebraska Incentive Act (Nebraska Examiner) Nebraska’s newest program to spur economic growth, passed in 2020, has so far attracted agreements with 50 companies that pledge to create a total of 2,481 jobs and invest $1.55 billion. The agreements under the ImagiNE Act — the state’s newest business incentive program — were contained in a report issued Oct. 31 by the state Departments of Revenue and Economic Development. Those departments have projected that the state will provide $112 million in state tax refunds and credits to companies in the current fiscal year under all of Nebraska’s economic incentive programs.
The State Economic Development Executives (SEDE) Network engages in regular events throughout the year. State Economic Development.org lists these activities and offers an interactive forum for discussion among peers.
The SEDE Steering Committee includes: Sandra Watson (AZ), Chair; Don Pierson (LA), Vice-Chair; Kurt Foreman (DE); Kevin McKinnon (MN); Christopher Chung (NC); Andrew Deye (OH); Sophorn Cheang (OR); Adriana Cruz (TX); Joan Goldstein (VT); and Mike Graney (WV).
Allison Ulaky of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) led the development of this Bulletin; for questions on the content in this Bulletin or for information on the SEDE Network contact Bob Isaacson, CREC Senior Vice President.