1 Money for Jobs

Courtesy Ingalls Shipbuilding

In a full-throttle effort to save 3,850 jobs that will be lost in 2013, the state of Louisiana has pledged $214 million in incentives and other perks to anyone who can find a way to keep them.

In July 2010, Northrop Grumman, faced with a major reduction in orders for Navy ships, announced it would stop building ships at Avondale, in New Orleans Jefferson Parish, by 2013. Since that announcement, the state’s economic development office has been working in concert with Huntington Ingalls Industries (a new company spun off from Northrup Grumman to hold its troubled shipbuilding businesses) for a way to save those jobs.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment lent a hand by granting $1.49 million to fund a project to save the local workforce. Then in October Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that Huntington could receive the $214 million in incentives if it can find some other use for the shipyard that will save jobs.

“For generations, folks at Avondale have worked to build the ships that protect our country and keep our soldiers safe, and we will not rest until every option is exhausted to keep jobs in Louisiana,” Jindal says.

2 Desert Dollars

Sometimes government work does pay, especially when it involves weapons engineering and secretive government research. Thanks to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos has the highest concentration of millionaires in the country—11.7 percent, reports Kiplinger.com.

The city of secrets in the desert has 885 millionaire households in its population of 17,950. The median income in town is $91,741. Los Alamos has been home to some of the nation’s top chemists, engineers, and physicists since 1943, the beginning of the Manhattan Project.

3 Go West Young Builder

Courtesy Williston Economic Development

While the rest of the country seems to have houses to spare at rock-bottom prices, some folks in Williston, N.D., are having trouble finding affordable places to sleep, much less live. The state’s oil boom has created a housing shortage in western North Dakota.

Williston, at the center of the oil-fueled boom that has pushed the state’s unemployment rate down to 2 percent, saw 2,000 new homes built in the first 10 months of 2011. Typically, only five new homes a year are built in town, Deborah Dregseth, professor of business at Dickinson State University, wrote in New Geography. In 2012, 4,000 homes, along with apartments, hotels, and dormitory-style housing facilities, are expected to be built, she wrote.

In the meantime, the price of a modest apartment in town has climbed from $300 to $2,000 a month, and hotels are full and booked for months at $170 to $200 a night, according to the Williston Herald.

4&5 The Depot Pulls Into New Stations

Good news for Atlanta and Ogden, Utah, and bad news for St. Louis and Baton Rouge, La. The Home Depot is creating new customer service centers, adding 700 jobs in Kennesaw, Ga., north of Atlanta, and 691 jobs in Ogden. At the same time, it is winding down operations at call centers in St. Louis and Baton Rouge.

Workers in both St. Louis and Baton Rouge were offered relocation assistance for other jobs within the company.

The company says it is expanding its online support operations, but no word from The Home Depot on why the operations are moving.

Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert offers his thoughts on why Utah was a winner. “The productivity, dedication, and friendliness for which our workforce is known make Utah an ideal location,” he says.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Manhattan, KS, Baton Rouge, LA.