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VOL. 46 | NO. 43 | Friday, October 28, 2022

State unemployment rate holds steady

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Unemployment in Tennessee remained unchanged between August and September, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September came in at 3.4% and is just 0.2 of a percentage point away from Tennessee’s all-time low rate of 3.2%.

One year ago, unemployment across the state stood at 3.8%, which is 0.4 of a percentage point higher than the current rate.

Tennessee employers created 13,700 new nonfarm jobs between August and September. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector had the largest number of new jobs, followed by the leisure and hospitality sector, and then the education and health services sector.

In a year-to-year comparison, the number of nonfarm jobs across the state increased by 140,200. The leisure and hospitality sector created the most jobs while the trade, transportation and utilities sector, and the education and health services sector came next on the list.

REED Public Relations, Squeaky Wheel merge

REED Public Relations is merging with Nashville-based Squeaky Wheel Public Relations, expanding its work with food and beverage brands.

Led by Amanda Virgillito, Squeaky Wheel Public Relations was founded in 2014 and has since planned and implemented full-service PR campaigns for longtime clients and some of Nashville’s most notable brands, including 8th & Roast Coffee Co., Christie Cookie Co., M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers, Sinema Restaurant & Bar and Von Elrod’s Beer Hall & Kitchen.

Virgillito will join REED as vice president and lead strategy and account management for multiple national brands.

REED was founded by Lauren Reed, APR, in 2012. Its clients include Loveless Cafe, Jim ’N Nick’s, White Bison Coffee, Nashville Shores and Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge in Pigeon Forge.

TEMA director named to nationwide post

The head of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has been named to a national post.

TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan is the new president of the National Emergency Management Association for a term of one year.

The organization is the professional association for emergency management directors from all U.S. states, eight U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, TEMA said.

Sheehan has led TEMA since 2016, directing response and recovery efforts. He is chair of Tennessee’s State Emergency Response Council. He served in various roles with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency from 2003 to 2016.

Nashville Biosciences adds imaging to resources

Nashville Biosciences, a wholly-owned Vanderbilt University Medical Center subsidiary that leverages BioVU, the Medical Center’s de-identified biobank, to support life sciences research and development, announced expanding its offerings to include radiologic imaging data as a new product offering.

De-identified medical images and corresponding radiologic reports can now be used by Nashville Biosciences to develop deeper, more complex clinical phenotypes and in subsequent analyses of the resulting cohorts.

Medical imaging is commonly used in the clinical setting to diagnose and monitor a wide range of health disorders. Recently, there has been an increase in the development of new technologies designed to identify and detect diseases through artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze imaging data.

However, developing these technologies and applying them to other R & D activities, such as identifying imaging biomarkers, requires existing, well-curated imaging data sets. Nashville Biosciences is uniquely positioned to offer a comprehensive solution for this by assembling medical images linked to contextual clinical data derived from VUMC’s electronic medical record and genomic data from BioVU.

Initially, clinically relevant MRI, CT and PET-CT images will be available to Nashville Biosciences’ biopharma and life sciences clients for analysis with additional modalities (e.g., ultrasound, echocardiograms, mammography) in the coming months.

Home affordability 25% above recent norms

Housing affordability is the worst it has been in several years, and many buyers are pulling back, hoping relief is around the corner.

A new analysis by Zillow shows home values are 24.7% above where they would need to be for affordability to return to recent norms. A shock of this size is extremely unlikely, so buyers may need to reset their expectations.

The monthly mortgage payment on a typical U.S. home is about $1,850 – that is 75.5%, or about $800, higher than it was a year ago. Home values have fallen a bit since the peak in June, but rising mortgage rates have overwhelmed those small affordability gains.

Mortgage affordability – the share of income a median household would need to spend on a typical mortgage payment – has risen to 30.2% nationally, even before including the cost of taxes and insurance. That is above the 30% threshold for households to be considered cost burdened, and much higher than the 2005–2021 average of 22.8%.

For mortgage affordability to return to the 22.8% norm nationally, U.S. home values would need to fall 24.7%.

Kings of Leon’s Kiamichi Whiskey now available

Kings of Leon’s new Kiamichi Whiskey is officially available for purchase.

Named for the river where the Followills grew up gathering for extended family reunions, the limited, three-expression collection is a collaboration between the Grammy-winning family band and the family behind Willett, makers of some of the most well-known and respected Kentucky bourbons and rye whiskeys.

The Kiamichi Whiskey Collection includes:

• A 5 Year rye that is a 12-barrel blend of both Willett rye mash bills aged in char 5, 24-month cured oak from Hoffmeister Cooperage

• An 8 Year Rye that is a 6-barrel blend of Willett’s low rye mash bill aged in char 4, nine-month cured oak from ISC

• A 19-Year bourbon that is a single barrel proprietary mash bill bottled at cask strength. This extremely rare and high-end release celebrates the anniversary of Kings of Leon’s debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, which debuted 19 years ago.

Silicon Ranch, First Solar expand partnership

Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers, and First Solar, Inc., America’s largest solar manufacturer, have expanded the 4 gigawatt master supply agreement that the partners announced in April.

To support its growing portfolio of contracted solar projects, Silicon Ranch has secured an additional 700 megawatts of advanced, responsibly produced, thin film photovoltaic solar modules, designed and developed in the United States.

The growing partnership between Silicon Ranch and First Solar dates back to 2015, when Silicon Ranch became the first owner-operator of PV plants to utilize First Solar technology on projects in the southeastern US.

The expanded agreement reinforces a shared commitment by both best-in-class solar businesses to increase domestic supply and promote lower-carbon production processes. The emphasis on securing American solar technology enables Silicon Ranch to support US innovation, manufacturing expansion and job creation; improve the carbon footprint of its supply chain; and reduce volatility and logistics risks.

Notably, this expansion represents the latest partnership development for Silicon Ranch that supports domestic infrastructure.

In addition to its significant long-term agreements with First Solar, the company has recently announced new agreements with strategic US partners, including one with Nextracker to improve the carbon footprint of its tracker supply, while supporting additional investments in US manufacturing capabilities.

TSU, Titans team for ONE Community

As the Tennessee Titans continue their long-standing partnership with Tennessee State University, the team officially announced the launch of their Impact Program, ‘ONE Community.’

The ONE Community platform includes multifaceted programs that reach many of Nashville’s most underserved communities with a focus on three areas – opportunity, neighborhoods and education.

TSU is one of 16 local and regional organizations that is a part of the community benefits platform.

“TSU is excited about the expansion of our partnership with the Titans and the opportunities students will gain to be successful through internships and employment with the team,” said TSU President Glenda Glover during a news conference held at the university.

“Our historic relationship, an HBCU and NFL franchise, spans over 25-years and centers around both organizations’ commitment to serve communities in the city we proudly call home, Nashville.”

With ONE Community, TSU and the Titans will be expanding their long-standing relationship by launching a new partnership that will establish several initiatives including athletics, academics, students and university support through scholarship and job shadowing programs, professional development opportunities and employment opportunities.

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