News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Nucor is a partner any city would want

Nucor's $167 million expansion and groundbreaking last week is the best economic news any area could receive.

Start with the Decatur numbers, which are incredible.

Upon completion, Nucor will add 100 employees to the 630 it already has. The employees will make $75,000 a year, plus benefits. Nucor will hire the same number of contractors at about $40,000 per year. During the two-year construction period, there will be up to 300 construction jobs with a total payroll of $33 million.

The company estimated the expansion will add $436,600 a year in taxes to Decatur City Schools and $58,776 a year to Morgan County Schools.

Hidden in the $75,000 a year wages is a clue, though, about how unique Nucor is. That is more than it needs to pay its employees — Nucor calls them team members — especially in Decatur. Make no mistake, the employees work hard for it. But the thousands who rush to file applications every time Nucor hires means the company is getting some of the best workers in the area.

The company is financially solid. It had a record year in 2004, topped by its record year in 2005. It just announced it will open a 200-employee steel bar mill in Memphis. Last month it announced it would construct a building systems plant in Utah and that it had purchased the assets of a California steel company.

No. 63 in Fortune Magazine's list of fastest growing companies last year, it hit No. 10 this year. Fortune ranks it at 177 in its list of the top 500 U.S. companies.

In the last three years, profits at Nucor have risen 172 percent. Revenue has increased 44 percent, and the company has had an average stock return of 68 percent per year during the three-year period.

In short, Nucor is an excellent employer and a rising star. Decatur is fortunate to have it as a partner.

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