2004 SB&D Job 100
A Cause for Celebration!
Total Jobs Created by the 2004 SB&D 100 Stops Six-Year
By Mike Randle
The year was 1997 and the data came from calendar year 1996.
The 1997 SB&D Job 100, or the 100-largest job-making announcements
from the previous year, created an astounding 136,442 jobs.
That's an average of 1,364 jobs per deal. That year marked
the fifth consecutive year the Job 100 increased its job creation
But the following year -- the 1998 SB&D Job 100 -- saw
a decrease in jobs generated. It was the first decline since
the ranking was first published in 1993. That 1998 crop of
big deals created a total of 125,226 jobs. The next year it
would drop again. We saw another decline in 2000 and another
in 2001. In 2002 (2001 data), the Job 100 dipped below the
100,000 mark for the first time with only 82,826 jobs created.
With such a paltry total we thought the bottom had been reached.
We were wrong.
Last year's SB&D 100, based on calendar year 2002 data,
is one we would like to forget and certainly one that economic
developers in the South would like to forget. As for your
company, 2002 was most likely a forgettable year as well.
The 2003 SB&D Job 100, which represents the top 100 job-making
announcements made by many of the world's most well known
companies, was the weakest in the 12-year history of the SB&D
100. In short, it stunk. Only 68,651 jobs were created by
the top 100 job deals, about half that created by the Job
100 just six years earlier.
Yes, last year's Job 100 set record lows in total jobs created
and saw the lowest threshold of any SB&D 100, including
the 1993 and 1994 rankings, which, we will admit, were incomplete
since Southern Business & Development was a new publication
on the economic development scene. Although incomplete, the
first two years of the SB&D Job 100 ranking beat the 2003
job creation total.
As we wrote in last year's SB&D Job 100 section, one
of the best ways to use our annual ranking in an effort to
judge the performance of the South's economy is to look at
the threshold created by the ranking each year. The 100th-largest
job-generating deal announced in the South in any given year
sets the threshold.
In the early to mid-1990s, that 100th deal generated on average
about 475 jobs. That figure was matched or increased every
year to a record high of 600 jobs in 2001 (2000 data). Yet,
in 2002 (2001 data), the threshold dropped for the first time
from 600 jobs to 483. Then last year saw it drop to a record
low of 320 jobs, meaning the South's premiere job-generating
deals were dropping and dropping fast to a level that was
almost half of the record threshold set just two years earlier.
And if they were dropping that fast in the South, you can
bet the house they were dropping faster in other U.S. regions.
The Slide Ends!
But bad news and even job-generating slides always come to
an end some time. That time is now. Companies announcing large
job-generating deals in the South propelled (if you want to
call it that) the 2004 SB&D Job 100's threshold to 400
jobs, up from 320 last year. While it's great that the Job
100 has ended its two-year threshold dive, it should be noted
that this year's 100th-deal mark is the second-worst in Job
In essence, the 2004 SB&D Job 100 indicates that one
of the longest job-generating dry spells in the South has
come to an end. This year's list of the biggest deals in the
South also clearly indicates that we're a long way off from
the really good times of the mid-to-late 1990s, when major
corporate job deals were announced every time the wind blew.
Regardless, moving up is a lot more refreshing that moving
An Even More Important Slide Has Ended
Total jobs created by this year's SB&D Job 100 totaled
75,418 jobs. That's a respectable, yet unspectacular jump
from last year's clunker of an all-time low of 68,651 jobs.
Regardless of the increase, this year's total is also the
second-worst Job 100 since the ranking was established 12
years ago. If anything, the rebound indicates just how far
the South and the rest of the country, for that matter, fell
in the early 2000s in large job generating deals. But hey,
we're not complaining. At least the ever-downward skid is
Chart No. 1
Total Jobs Created by SB&D Job 100 1997-2004
The Makeup of the 2004 Job 100
Not only is it refreshing to see the arrow pointing up for
the first time in several years, it's especially refreshing
to see what types of deals made this year's SB&D Job 100.
The automotive industry, which has ruled the South's economy
for several years now, landed some impressive deals this year,
led by Toyota's new assembly plant being built in San Antonio
(2,000 jobs) and another Nissan expansion in Tennessee (1,500
jobs). The automotive industry put 11 big deals on this year's
Job 100, about the same as last year's 12 deals.
It is also refreshing to see the semiconductor industry place
three deals on this year's list. Texas Instruments announced
in 2003 that it would build the first new semiconductor plant
in the South in almost eight years. TI's new plant is being
built in Dallas and it will employ 1,000 workers initially.
The surprising category represented very well on this year's
Job 100 is headquarter operations. Our cover story in the
Fall 2003 edition centered on the fact that more large corporations
were relocating their headquarters to the South than ever
before. Some of those that announced they were leaving places
such as New York, California and Illinois to Southern climes
like Richmond, Jacksonville and Atlanta included Philip Morris,
Fidelity National and Newell Rubbermaid. There were a slew
of others. In fact, 12 headquarter relocations or expansions
made this year's Job 100. Prior to that the record was five
headquarters posted on our ranking. Why are so many HQs relocating
to the South? We're not quite sure, but you can bet security,
operating costs and quality of life were factors in the relocation
Another industry sector that performed better than normal
was aerospace and aviation. While only three deals made the
Job 100, 16 smaller ones made it onto our "just missed
deal" list. Just missed deals are those that create 200
jobs up to the Job 100 threshold. So this year, just missed
deals were those with 200 jobs to 399 jobs.
The three other industry sectors that showed well on this
year's Job 100 list include the typical suspects: Call centers,
financial services and distribution/warehousing. Those three
industry sectors, even in the tough years of 2001-2003, have
proven to be stable big job makers in the South. After all,
one thing hasn't slowed in the South and that's the migration
of individuals and families into the region. With almost 109
million people, well over double the total living in the Northeast,
the services sector will continue to grow in the South faster
than any region of the U.S.
Industry Sector Winners
Call centers once again led all other industry sectors or
sub sectors with 19 deals making the Job 100 and 19 making
the just missed deal list, for a total of 38. Coming in second
was the automotive industry with 11 Job 100 deals and 22 just
missed deals. Tied for third place were financial services
and distribution, posting 23 big job deals each. And right
behind those two regular performers was the headquarter category
with 22 large employment announcements. Aerospace and aviation
also had a banner year with 19 big deals.
Also performing well in 2003 were wood products, info tech,
biotech, ship and boat building, pharmaceuticals and computer
products. Performing poorly again in job generation were old-line
Southern industries such as agribusiness, oil, gas, chemicals
and metals. New-line industries also performing poorly were
telecommunications, gaming and health care. Surprisingly,
textiles and apparel posted its best year since the early
Manufacturing vs. Non-Manufacturing
By reading many current business publications or watching
Lou Dobbs on CNN every night, you'd think manufacturing in
the U.S. has gone the way of the buffalo, Pokeman cards and
AOL. After all, there were only 31 manufacturing deals making
this year's Job 100 compared to 72 service deals. But that's
not an abnormally low total of manufacturing deals making
the Job 100. On a per deal basis, the services sector usually
creates more jobs than manufacturing. That's especially true
with many call center and financial services job-making announcements.
You have to go all the way back to the 1996 SB&D Job 100
to find a year when manufacturing deals outnumbered service
But wait. This year's Job 100 represents only those deals
with 400 announced jobs or more. If you go below the Job 100
threshold and look at all deals announced in 2003 with 200
or more jobs, you would find that in the South manufacturing
is far from dead. Of the 305 corporate and industrial announcements
made in the South last year that project the creation of 200
or more jobs, 145 are of the manufacturing variety. Of those
145, leading the way is the automotive industry.
The 145 manufacturing deals represent 48 percent of all deals
announced in the South with 200 jobs or more. In short, manufacturing
remains and we believe always will be a major job generating
force in the South regardless of what you read or hear from
economists and the media. Sure, there are some manufacturing
sectors that are dead, such as those of the low-wage variety.
But high-wage manufacturing, if anything, is on the upswing
in the South. The fact that 48 percent of all deals of 200
jobs or more announced in the South in 2003 came from the
manufacturing sector proves it.
Chart No. 2
SB&D Job 100 Manufacturing vs. Nonmanufacturing
Editor's note: Many years find a tie at the 100th deal; therefore
some Job 100s include more than 100 deals.
The SB&D Job 100: The States
In the early years of the Job 100, Texas, Florida, North
Carolina and Georgia were dominating job generating states.
Virginia made its move in the mid-1990s, as did Tennessee
later on in the decade to join those four top-shelf state
economies. No other Southern states challenged those six states
in big job deals from 1993 to 2000. But things changed dramatically
beginning in 2001.
Just after the turn of the new millennium, smaller Southern
states like Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and South Carolina
saw their Job 100 deals increase, while larger states such
as Texas, Georgia and North Carolina saw their big job deals
decrease. As an extreme example, Texas' Job 100 deals fell
from an average of 38 per year from 1995 to 2000 to a mere
10 Job 100 deals last year.
Today, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Kentucky
can be compared more favorably with Georgia, Tennessee and
North Carolina in big job deals. In terms of deals per capita,
the South's smaller states are dominating the South's larger
states, such as Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
The adjoining chart No. 3 shows each Southern state's 12-year
average performance of deals turned with 200 announced jobs
or more compared to this year's SB&D Job 100. As you can
see, of the South's nine small states (under 5 million in
population), five met or exceeded their 12-year average in
turning job deals of 200 workers or more. On the other hand,
not one of the South's eight large states (over 5 million
in population) reached their 12-year average of deals with
200 jobs or more.
Chart No. 3
2004 SB&D Job 100 State Performance
(deals 200+ jobs vs. 12-year average)
Eight States Increase Big Job Deals
Unlike last year, when only five states improved their big
job deal performances from the year before, this year almost
half of the South's states did better. This year's Job 100
shows that Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Maryland, North Carolina and Texas all improved upon their
2003 SB&D Job 100 performances.
Some notables include Alabama, which ranked fifth among all
Southern states with 27 deals turned with 200 jobs or more.
The fifth overall finish easily catapulted Alabama to the
No. 1 slot in per capita performance. Georgia saw its big
job deals more than double from 10 deals with 200 jobs or
more last year to 24 this year. And Texas, which experienced
a severe meltdown in big job deals in 2003 with 28, increased
its total to 55 this year (see Chart No. 4 for other state
performances in the SB&D Job 100 in 2002, 2003 and 2004).
Chart No. 4
The Recession Years: SB&D Job 100 State Performance
(deals 200+ jobs 2002, 2003 and 2004)