Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Made In America,” a round-up of state and global manufacturing news.
NISSAN’S MISSISSIPPI PLANT BEGINS PRODUCTION OF THE TITAN XD PICKUP TRUCK: Nissan officially launched production of its all-new 2016 Nissan TITAN XD full-size pickup during a ceremony in at its Canton, Mississippi assembly plant on Friday. The Canton facility, originally opened in May 2003, has more than 6,000 employees and has produced more than three million vehicles to date. The facility covers 4.2 million square feet. Along with the TITAN XD, models produced include Altima, Armada, Frontier, NV Cargo Van, NV Passenger Van and Murano. Nissan sales in the United States have increased by 6.2% in 2015 (through October), led by sales of Rogue and Murano crossover SUVs.
LYONDELL MOVES FORWARD WITH $4 BILLION PLANT IN HOUSTON: Chemical and refining giant LyondellBasell said last week that it is advancing plans to build the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area, first announced in the summer of 2014. This $4 billion project, considered to be the largest of its kind, is expected to create up to 2,500 construction jobs and a 100 permanent positions.
The project is also part of LyondellBasell’s previously announced $3 billion to $4 billion expansion effort that will take place on the U.S. Gulf Coast over the next five years. The company has already completed work on ethylene expansion projects at the company’s La Porte and Channelview sites in Texas. A third ethylene expansion project is currently underway in Corpus Christi.
Annual production capacities are anticipated to be one billion pounds of propylene oxide and two billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol. The plant will sell PO in the global marketplace to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used primarily for the manufacturing of bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats.
NEW CONSTRUCTION STARTS CLIMB 13% IN OCTOBER: New construction starts in October advanced 13% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $591.1 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The increase follows the lackluster performance for construction starts during August and September, when activity fell to the lowest levels reported so far in 2015. Much of October’s gain for total construction was due to a sharp rebound by nonresidential building, with additional support coming from a moderate upturn for housing as the result of further strengthening by multifamily housing. At the same time, the non-building construction sector (public works and electric utilities/gas plants) settled back in October, reflecting a decreased amount of power plant projects.
ARKANSAS JOBLESS RATES DECLINES TO 5.1%: Arkansas’ jobless rate fell in tandem with the rest of the nation in October as government, education, health services and the trade and transportation sectors continued to add workers to state payrolls headed into the heart of the holiday season. Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released Friday (Nov. 20) by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, shows that Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point, from 5.2% in September to 5.1% in October. Read about other industry sectors at this link.