East South Central Regional Forecast
Alabama • Kentucky • Mississippi • Tennessee
In most years, the big construction projects in this region are related to the automobile industry, but 2010 saw a diverse mix of construction break ground. The Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., secured some huge military contracts, and nearby at least $1 billion in commercial development is expected. The Huntsville Times said plans call for 52 large office buildings holding as many as 15,000 government workers and defense contractors, and other retail and commercial development. Other large projects in the area include Nissan’s billiondollar battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn., for its LEAF electric vehicle; the Tennessee Valley Authority’s $820 million gas-fired power plant; and a $275 million Kentucky hospital. More than 700 construction workers at Nashville’s Opryland Resort are just finishing up $172 million in flood damage repairs this month. Unemployment in the region is right around the national average of 9.6% in many markets and building is still soft with the exception of Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn., where permits are riding at a double-digit rate through August.