Top Headlines: State adds more than 44,000 jobs, Lockheed Martin predicts lower profits

State added more than 44,000 jobs in 2018
Alabama added more than 44,000 jobs across all industries in 2018 and ended the year by posting in December the highest average weekly earnings ever recorded in the state’s history. Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield shared the state’s 2018 economic development successes with fellow economic developers in Hoover Monday while sharing the Alabama Commerce Department’s plans for the new year ahead. The Economic Development Association of Alabama is holding its winter conference this week. – Alabama NewsCenter

Lockheed Martin predicts lower profits for 2019
Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon’s top weapons supplier, on Tuesday forecast 2019 profit below estimates and reported that quarterly margins slipped at the unit that makes the radar-evading F-35 fighter jet and C-130 transport plane. Operating margins at the aeronautics division, Lockheed’s biggest, fell to 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter from 11.6 percent a year earlier. – Reuters

Harbert International wins $42.5M courthouse contract in Anniston
A Birmingham firm has been awarded the contract for a new $42.5 million federal courthouse in Anniston. The U.S. General Services Administration announced it has tapped BL Harbert International for the design and construction of the project. Work on the 63,000-square-foot building is set to begin this fall. The project is expected to take about two years to completed. – AL.com

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SouthFresh Aquaculture files for bankruptcy, cites imports
Tuscaloosa-based SouthFresh Aquaculture has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, becoming the latest chapter in the saga of the struggling U.S. catfish sector. In a January court filing, the company listed $10 million to $50 million in assets and the same in liabilities. SouthFresh CFO Justin Funk, who authored the filing on behalf of SouthFresh, wrote that the company’s processing plant, built in the early 2000s in Eutaw, had lost nearly $12 million over the past seven years. – Seafood Source

Austal USA ‘supporting the process’ of investigation, carrying on with work
In keeping with their promise of “business as usual” following a raid last week by federal agents, Austal USA officials held a keel-authentication ceremony Tuesday for a fast transport the company is building for the U.S. Navy. Such ceremonies have become more or less routine at the shipyard on the Mobile River. – AL.com

Gaston to chair Alabama Iron and Steel Council
Maury D. Gaston, manager of marketing services for American Ductile Iron Pipe and American SpiralWeld Pipe, the sales divisions of American Cast Iron Pipe Company headquartered in Birmingham, has been selected chairman of the Alabama Iron and Steel Council (AISC). The council, an advisory group of Manufacture Alabama, represents the interests of iron and steel producers and their supplier-vendor partners throughout the state. – News release

Black Belt tourism continues to expand
For almost a decade, the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association has worked to share the good news about outdoor tourism — the most profitable and attractive industry in a historically economically challenged region of our state. ALBBAA was formed in 2009 to promote outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing, as well as its rich history and many culinary experiences. The mission: to bring tourists in to the Black Belt from all over the country. – Montgomery Advertiser

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