Photo by Dave Flessner / Plans for a 300-unit apartment complex on this 7.2-acre vacant site on Manufacturers Road on Moccasin Bend next to a fuel storage farm have been dropped by the developer.

Manufacturers Road rezoning bid dropped

A proposal by an Atlanta group for a new 300-unit apartment complex on a vacant waterfront tract off Manufacturers Road in Chattanooga was withdrawn on Monday.

NGI Acquisitions LLC had sought a zoning change on the 7.2-acre parcel at 702 Manufacturers Road from manufacturing to Urban General Commercial from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

The Regional Planning Agency staff, however, had expressed reservations about the zoning change, saying it would introduce new multi-family uses in an established industrial area and recommended the planning panel deny the request.

A representative for the project withdrew the zoning request before the planning panel could hear the case.

Producer prices rise by record amounts

Wholesale prices, driven by rising food costs, increased 0.8% in May and by a unprecedented amount over the past year as the U.S. economy emerges from pandemic lockdowns and pushes inflation higher.

The monthly gain in the producer price index, which measures inflation pressure before it reaches consumers, followed a 0.6% increase in April and a 1% jump in March, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Food prices jumped a sizable 2.6% with the cost of beef and veal rising, though the cost of fresh fruits declined. Energy costs rose 2.2%, reversing a 2.4% drop in April.

Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 6.6%, the largest 12-month increase on records going back to 2010.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile categories such as food and energy, rose 0.7% in May, the same as April, while core inflation rose 5.3% over the past 12 months, the largest gain on records going back to 2014.


Retail sales drop 1.3% during May

Retail sales fell in May, dragged down by a decline in auto sales and a shift by Americans to spend more on vacations and other services instead of goods.

Total sales dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in May from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday. Wall Street analysts expected a smaller decline of 0.5%.

Economists predicted retail sales to drop in May because of the lack of cars available for sale due to a worldwide shortage of chips, which are needed to power in-car screens and other features. Sales at auto dealerships fell 3.7% last month, the government said.

Another reason for the decrease: As more Americans are vaccinated and want to head out more, they are spending more of their money on haircuts, trips and other services that are not included in Tuesday's report. Last month, sales fell at furniture, electronics and home building stores.

"Consumer spending growth through the rest of the year will shift to services from goods," wrote PNC chief economist Gus Faucher in a research note.


Hyundai work stalls over chip shortages

A production line in Alabama that makes many of Hyundai's North American vehicles will be halted this week due to a parts shortage. The shutdown will leave about 1,000 regular workers temporarily unemployed for seven days.

The problem is that Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama hasn't been able to get enough parts because of a semiconductor shortage. As a result, production at the Montgomery plant will be suspended until June 21.

"No other downtime for this reason is expected," said Robert Burns, vice president of human resources and administration.

The company "will continue to work with Hyundai Motor Group's global purchasing team to allocate microchips to its U.S. manufacturing plant to optimize production in the coming weeks and months," Burns said.

In Chattanooga, Volkswagen has suspended most production at its only North American assembly plant for the weeks of June 7 and June 14 due to the computer chip shortage.