There's encouraging news on the industrial front in this region, thanks to the growth aspirations of several auto manufacturers. Toyota is planning a $20-million expansion of its Huntsville, Ala., engine plant, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, and Nissan North America plans to spend $250 million and add 800 jobs at its Smyrna and Decherd, Tenn., plants to move assembly of the Pathfinder sports utility vehicles from Japan to Tennessee. Military contractor Northrop Grumman Ship Systems is also expanding its facilities in Gulfport and Pascagoula, Miss., with a $344-million project that could create as many as 2,000 new jobs. On the down side, Mississippi is reeling from plant closures. According to the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the 50 plants that closed in the state since January took 3,867 jobs with them. Last year, 11,036 jobs were lost when 117 plants closed in the state. Memphis and Nashville are among the nation's 50 hottest housing markets, as measured by building permits.

ELECTRICAL WHOLESALERS' SALES
(in millions of dollars)
EW Estimates
Final
1999
Final
2000
Final
2001
Final
2002
Forecast
2003
Forecast
2004
East South Central 3,691.4 3,730.0 3,386.6 3,266.9 3,383.5 3,679.7
Alabama 838.5 847.2 769.2 742.0 768.5 835.8
Kentucky 1,019.8 1,030.5 935.6 902.5 934.7 1,016.5
Mississippi 353.8 357.5 324.6 313.1 324.3 352.7
Tennessee 1,479.4 1,494.9 1,357.2 1,309.3 1,356.0 1,474.7
EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS
Actual in thousands
EC M C G
East South Central 40,899 1,153.1 3,508.6 1,254.1
Alabama 10,084 294.2 847.3 342.3
Birmingham MSA 3,216* 38.9 254.1 69.8
Huntsville MSA 852* 31.9 82.2 40.0
Mobile MSA 1,412* 20.3 118.0 34.8
Montgomery MSA 951* 15.8 77.3 37.2
Tuscaloosa MSA 411* 11.4 30.5 20.6
Kentucky 10,613 268.1 833.3 285.9
Lexington-Fayette MSA 2,759* 41.0 131.8 51.7
Louisville MSA 3,629* 74.5 286.9 69.0
Owensboro MSA 203* 6.1 19.9 8.1
Mississippi 4,937 178.1 502.9 235.6
Jackson MSA 1,431 18.5 115.2 50.7
Tennessee 15,265 412.7 1,325.1 390.3
Chattanooga MSA 1,667 35.6 109.4 32.7
Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol MSA 1,676 39.8 91.0 28.0
Knoxville MSA 1,886* 41.6 187.7 52.2
Memphis MSA 3,710 50.7 294.6 79.7
Nashville MSA 5,440 76.7 374.3 84.2

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THIS DATA?

For step-by-step instructions on crunching the numbers to come up with a sensible business plan, see page 14.

Learn how to take the sales estimates and employment numbers for the region and metropolitan areas that your distributorship serves and tailor them to help you forecast your company's own sales potential.

You can:

  • Determine your company's sales potential for various customer groups.
  • Find new customer markets.
  • Compare markets for potential expansion.
  • Determine if your sales are at the optimum level.
  • Gauge business prospects and conditions in end-user markets.