From the May Issue


Time Machines

By shortening timelines, certified sites extend opportunities.

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Map courtesy of CBRE

CBRE research released last month seeks to identify the U.S. metro areas that are benefiting the most from rising manufacturing employment by examining changes in area manufacturing employment since 2010. Among the areas benefiting the most are the I-85 corridor from Atlanta to Raleigh and the I-75/I-65 corridors from Atlanta up through Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati to Detroit.

The snapshot also highlights the wealth of manufacturing that still operates in California with the exception of the Los Angeles area. And the map shows a decided surge in manufacturing jobs across most of Florida — a topic explored in more depth in the forthcoming Florida spotlight in the May issue of Site Selection.

But any manufacturing that wants to survive today has to be advanced manufacturing, right? That means Industry 4.0, automation and digitalization. So it can be a compelling exercise to cross-reference the CBRE findings with the February report by Brookings Metro’s Senior Fellow Mark Muro and former senior research analyst Sifan Liu that looks at where the digitalization of work has progressed the most and least. Among their observations: Higher digitalization means higher pay. “Accordingly, the places with the highest shares of high-digitalization-level jobs in 2020 — such as Boulder, Colorado; San Jose, California; and Washington, D.C. — are also the ones with the highest mean annual wages, in the range of $70,000 to $100,000,” they write. “By contrast, places with low digital scores — such as Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, and Twin Falls, Idaho — deliver much lower annual wages for their residents, along the lines of $50,000.”

Muro shared his thoughts on Site Selection’s Top Metros of 2022 as well. Meanwhile, you can put the Brookings digitalization tracking tool to use yourself as you evaluate and compare locations. — Adam Bruns

Map courtesy of Brookings Metro




Infrastructure Is the Foundation for Kentucky’s Logistics Success

A major new bridge and new company projects continue to fortify the commonwealth’s national leadership role.

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If you haven’t already bookmarked it, choose today to add to your favorites the home page of the Conference Board’s Committee for Economic Development. There you’ll find a full library of up-to-date policy briefs and resources across such top-of-mind subjects as the impact of the war in Ukraine; implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; how to navigate trade tensions with China; regulation; and the increasingly hot topic of paid child care.




Colorado in Color

Take in the views from Garden of the Gods to Coors Field and from Royal Gorge to Red Rocks.

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Autoliv last week announced this investment in a new airbag cushion and fabric plant in Amata City Ha Long Industrial Park in northern Vietnam. The project is the company’s first investment in Vietnam. “We continuously look for ways to improve our footprint and reduce our costs structurally, and the new plant will complement our existing footprint in Southeast Asia.” said Colin Naughton, president of Autoliv Asia. “With the significant growth in demand for our restraint system products in Asia, Autoliv Vietnam will play an increasingly important role in meeting our customer demands.” The facility is expected to begin production of airbag cushions for Autoliv’s airbag module assembly facilities in Asia by late 2025. When fully operational, the facility can employ up to 2,000 people, the company says. This project is one of several to recently be awarded investment registration certificates by Quang Ninh province in the Red River Delta. According to Vietnamese business publication The Investor, so far this year, “Quang Ninh province has attracted FDI of $494 million into industrial parks and economic zones, fulfilling 40.9% of the 2023 target of over $1 billion.”

Source: Conway Projects Report


Two years after announcing it would shut down a particleboard plant at this site in Dillard, located along the South Umpqua River south of Roseburg, Roseburg Forest Products announced this month it planned to invest $700 million over the next four years to upgrade and expand its manufacturing operations in Southern Oregon, where the company was founded nearly 90 years ago. The investment includes the creation of two new manufacturing plants and technological improvements and upgrades at existing plants in rural Douglas and Coos counties. The total project represents the largest ever known investment in manufacturing in rural Oregon, and one of the largest private capital investments of any kind in the state’s history. The new $450 million Dillard MDF plant will use wood residuals from Roseburg’s local mills as well as other regional mill suppliers to manufacture standard medium density fiberboard (MDF) panels, as well as thin high density fiberboard (HDF), often used in cabinetry, doors, and other applications. The $50 million Dillard Components plant will convert specialty MDF panels manufactured at Roseburg’s MDF plant in Medford, Oregon, into Armorite™ Trim, a finished exterior trim product for residential and shed use. The two plants combined will employ around 120 people. The balance of the investment will go toward improvements at Roseburg plants in Riddle and Coquille, Oregon. The company began the search across its Western U.S. operating footprint in June 2022, ultimately choosing the region where it was founded in 1936. “Not only are we proud of our long history in this region, but our focus on advanced manufacturing and innovative technology makes us an excellent fit for the future of Oregon’s manufacturing sector as well,” said Roseburg Forest Products President and CEO Grady Mulbery. “Our use of robotics, computer programming, and other advanced manufacturing tools aligns Roseburg with the high-tech evolution of manufacturing in this state.”

Source: Conway Projects Report



Photo by Hexashots_Olivier Groot courtesy of Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions

Today is the national holiday of King’s Day in the Netherlands, when everyone — dressed in orange, of course — celebrates King Willem-Alexander’s birthday by going to fairs, visiting impromptu flea markets, playing music and dancing, and, say tourism folks, indulging in “silly traditional Dutch games” such as bite-the-cake, “nail pooping” and throwing toilet bowls.”Wait, what?

This photo depicts Pythonbrug, an award-winning and very orange footbridge crossing over the Railroad Basin in Amsterdam’s regenerated Eastern Docklands. Constructed in 2001, the bridge links the former docks now named Sporenburg and Borneo Island.