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Economic developments in the Charleston metro area


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The SKF Group of Sweden and GE Aviation confirmed they are jointly establishing a new facility in the Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston to manufacture and repair bearings for General Electric jet engines. Venture Aerobearings LLC is slated to begin operation by mid-2008 from a newly leased facility. Based on current demand for jet engines, GE and SKF expect the facility to employ up to 100 people when it is fully operational in 2009.

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I understand that several officials from Boeing have been in the area recently...many staying at the extended stay hotel I've been using...this may be related (not sure):

Boeing Co. is stretching its wings in the Lowcountry with an acquisition that puts the Charleston area in line to land a full-scale assembly plant for the 787 aircraft and hundreds of jobs that would come with it. FULL STORY.

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I went over to the Washington State Newpaper sites, and read the comments. Most people are blamming the unions acting like the N. Chas plant is a done deal, but one person pointed out that they could be doing it as a leveraging point for tax breaks, etc in Wash.

I hope they open a plant it N. Chas. It would be huge for the region and the state.

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The Seattle Times is running an article that explains why Charleston could land this plant. One of the biggest reasons is due to SC's status as a right-to-work state. But a downside, and something I was a bit taken aback by, was this blurb:

Without enough trained workers in Charleston, both Boeing and Global still import more experienced — and more expensive — contract workers.

The outside contractors, who make up some 35 percent of the work force in each plant, are experienced airplane mechanics paid about $26 an hour, compared with the $14 an hour for local employees, said a person familiar with the pay rates. (In Everett, Machinists on average earn about $26 an hour plus benefits.)

Wow, only $14 an hour??? That right-to-work status is good for companies, but often sucks for employees.

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As mentioned above, Boeing's comments may be just a lever to use against the machinists union in Washington state. Reminds me a little of when Mercedes was looking at Charleston and Savannah for an assembly plant right at a time they were in talks with their Canadian union members. They eventually "picked" Savannah but never built the plant. I hope this time is not the same deal, and Boeing expands their North Charleston complex. It already employs a combined workforce of over 2000.

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The Seattle Times is running an article that explains why Charleston could land this plant. One of the biggest reasons is due to SC's status as a right-to-work state. But a downside, and something I was a bit taken aback by, was this blurb:

Wow, only $14 an hour??? That right-to-work status is good for companies, but often sucks for employees.

How does it suck for employees? The contract workers are working in a "right to work" state also. I think it speaks more to the lack of qualified applicants locally.

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It sucks for the employees because they only make $14 in SC, a right-to-work state, whereas in Washington, those employees make $26. Even if you adjust for cost of living (which probably isn't dramatic), that's a pretty significant difference. I know there are pros and cons when it comes to unions, but a big con is pay/benefits.

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It sucks for the employees because they only make $14 in SC, a right-to-work state, whereas in Washington, those employees make $26. Even if you adjust for cost of living (which probably isn't dramatic), that's a pretty significant difference. I know there are pros and cons when it comes to unions, but a big con is pay/benefits.

Read it again... that is not what it said. It said the average wage for those hired locally was $14/hour and they were importing higher payed contract workers (such as my next door neighbor) because there are not enough qualified workers in the area. They regularly advertise jobs in the $100-130K dollar range for engineers.

OH and by the way....CHARLESTON WAS SELECTED FOR THE NEW BOEING PLANT!!! http://view.exacttarget.com/?j=fe8a1d7971660d7e74&m=fef0177672620d&ls=fe0d117970620d7a7d1c79&l=fef4137271620c&s=fe60107975620c7c7416&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe621c73726607797714

Edited by Infinite1
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OK, maybe I didn't read it right. I was taking it to mean that the $14 hourly workers were doing the same sort of work as the contract workers, but obviously not.

And this is very, very, VERY good news for Charleston!!!!!! Hopefully this means more training programs will be taking place so that so many contract workers won't need to be imported in the first place.

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Krezee - Of course it's better to make 26/hr instead of 14/hr, even if we assume it's the same job in WA as it is in SC. But, market forces then determine that 26/hr in WA is more than one needs to pay for the job and the next thing you know the employer is putting new jobs in SC. Maybe later, the existing WA jobs will come here too. That's the problem with Unions, they try to defy market forces by monopolizing labor. However, there are other options - as this case demonstrates well.

And, like someone else said, not everyone is making 14/hr. But, I assume the 14/hr is starting pay. That's about 30K/yr, with health benefits I'm sure. For a HS or 2yr degree that's a pretty good wage. I made less than half that with my high GPA BA degree in 1995!

It sucks for the employees because they only make $14 in SC, a right-to-work state, whereas in Washington, those employees make $26. Even if you adjust for cost of living (which probably isn't dramatic), that's a pretty significant difference. I know there are pros and cons when it comes to unions, but a big con is pay/benefits.

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According to an aeronautics spokesman, it is extremely wishful thinking to expect a lot of spin-off jobs to locate in SC to supply Boeing. I guess time will tell. At the end of the day it might just end up being a story about 4,000 sorely needed jobs.

http://www.thestate.com/local/story/1005528.html

Edited by CorgiMatt
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Yes, it has been great to have one that did not "get away". I work at the airport and will enjoy watching the complex go up. It is probably true that it may not spin off as many jobs as BMW but that remains to be seen.

Edited by Amapper
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Another development that has been overshadowed by the Boeing deal is Gildan Activewear Inc. of Montreal buying the former Mikasa Inc. distribution center on Clements Ferry Road. No employment or port volume figures have been released yet but it is more good news for the region.

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The IMO Group, a German company that makes rings used in wind turbines, construction machinery, and ship building, will be opening its first American plant at an industrial park in Dorchester County. The plant will eventually employ 190 workers and represents a $47 million investment. IMO is the first business whose arrival can be credited at least in part to the recent announcement that Clemson University Restoration Institute will build a $98 million state-of-the-art wind turbine drivetrain testing facility on the former Navy base in North Charleston.

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Beginning May 10th, 2010, Carnival Cruise Lines will be launching a year round cruise schedule on the Carnival Fantasy...they will launch 70 departures a year...this is good for the Charleston tourism industry, as they forecast 140K passengers a year to embark from Charleston..

http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseC...96177&EDATE

Carnival launched its home-port designation for Charleston on Tuesday and promises to bring a ship to the passenger terminal at least once a week all year long.

The Fantasy will call as frequently as 70 times per year, which more than doubles the current number of annual cruises and, by some estimates, will inject millions of dollars in direct local economic impact with each visit.

Between this, Southwest, and Boeing, Charleston has had an awesome past couple of months economically speaking.

In other news, Charleston is also set to host the 8th annual BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) Conference, the objective of which is to demonstrate "how the new economy is being shaped at the grassroots level in local communities around North America," from May 21-23. It is expected to attract hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners, BALLE network leaders, economic developers, local government representatives, and community connectors.

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Carnival launched its home-port designation for Charleston on Tuesday and promises to bring a ship to the passenger terminal at least once a week all year long.

The Fantasy will call as frequently as 70 times per year, which more than doubles the current number of annual cruises and, by some estimates, will inject millions of dollars in direct local economic impact with each visit.

Between this, Southwest, and Boeing, Charleston has had an awesome past couple of months economically speaking.

In other news, Charleston is also set to host the 8th annual BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) Conference, the objective of which is to demonstrate "how the new economy is being shaped at the grassroots level in local communities around North America," from May 21-23. It is expected to attract hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners, BALLE network leaders, economic developers, local government representatives, and community connectors.

Also, Gildan Activewear has started operations:

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/business/

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