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Chip Boom, Booming BMW, and Missing the Shuttle

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    Robert Holmes

Sunny Sunnyvale Jobs

The California area is tops in jobs.

1The jobs outlook for those who live and want to work in Sunnyvale, Calif., is, well, sunny. The same goes for its Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) partners, San Jose and Santa Clara.

The MSA has the best hiring outlook in the country for the fourth quarter of 2012, says the quarterly ManpowerGroup employment survey, which asks employers around the country about their hiring plans. The area scored a Net Employment Outlook score of 20 percent, a number derived from the 26 percent of employers who said they planned to increase staffing minus the 6 percent who planned to cut jobs. Last year its employment outlook score was 5 percent.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., Greensboro, N.C., and Phoenix also topped the survey list as the best MSAs for jobs.

War Games

A fighter pilot trainer moves.

2Air USA, a company that provides sparring partners for military pilots, is moving its headquarters from Quincy, Ill., to Albuquerque, N.M.

Air USA provides Soviet-made MIG jets, German-made Alpha Jets, or Czech Republic–built Super Albatross fighter planes and pilots for realistic military training exercises.

Moving the company to Albuquerque will not only bring 200 new jobs over the next five years, but also economic benefits from the pilots who come to town to train, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says in an announcement.

“New Mexico has a significant veteran population and a local, skilled workforce in Albuquerque that understands fighter aircraft operations,” Don Kirlin, Air USA’s founder and president says.

Back to Space

Florida hopes to replace the shuttle’s lost jobs.

3Left economically bereft by the end of the shuttle program, Florida’s Brevard County has some reason to hope that it will continue to live up to its Space Coast nickname. The Air Force said in late September that it is considering moving its secretive X-37B (mini shuttle) operations to either the Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida Today reports.

That move would add dozens, if not hundreds, of jobs to the area, helping to spark the local economy that has been subject to the ebb and flow of the space program for decades. NASA has been working to convert its Apollo and shuttle launch site into a 21st-century space port where government and commercial space companies can make and launch space vehicles. Boeing Co. has signed a deal to assemble its commercial space taxis at an excess shuttle hangar.

American Motor Works

BMW grows its South Carolina plant again.

4Unless someone from Bavaria orders one, the tires of most BMW sport utility vehicles never touch the autobahn of the homeland for which it is named. Rather, since 1994, more than 2 million of the vehicles have been manufactured in Spartanburg, S.C., and shipped all over the world.

Already the nation’s largest automotive exporter to global markets, BMW is spending $900 million to expand the plant to produce a new version of its sport “activity” vehicle that is expected to create 700 more jobs and boost capacity to 350,000 a year.

Forging Silicon

Upstate New York grows a chip plant.

5The same way forging iron into steel for bridges, ships, and cars brought Rust Belt jobs, GlobalFoundries is creating jobs in upstate New York by finding novel ways to forge silicon into tiny powerhouses for electronic devices.

Construction on GlobalFoundries’ computer chip fabrication plant in Malta, N.Y., has been creating jobs since 2009 and continues with a 556,000 square foot new expansion. When fully operational, it’s expected to employ 1,800, transforming the local economy, the Business Review reports. The first commercial grade chips are expected to roll off the lines late this year.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Albuquerque, NM, Palm Bay, FL.