Business

Business
11:01 am
Fri October 31, 2014

How To Get $1 Million From Mark Cuban

Dallas Maverick's owner Mark Cuban.
Giphy Gipyh

Many people dream of being their own boss, but starting a successful business isn't easy. Eight out of ten businesses fail in the first 18 months. Even with a proven concept, it can be hard to find investors to back your product. An Austin boxed wine company is hoping to defy the odds with a one million dollar investment from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. 

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Business
5:17 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Economic Impact: COTA Edition

A Petronas race car at the Formula 1 race last year.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

You might have read or seen one of the many news reports this week on the economic impact of Austin's Circuit of the Americas track.

A report commissioned by the track found that it had a nearly $1 billion impact on the local economy over the last year. That's a big number, nearly three times as much as the estimated economic impact of South By Southwest.

But what does it mean, really? What are we talking about when we talk about economic impact?

I put that question and more to Ben Lofstgaarden of Greyhill Advisors, the firm commissioned by Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to do the report (and the same firm that does annual reports on SXSW's economic impact).

"What's unique about the impact [report] that we did for COTA is that it wasn't just for one single event," he says. "It was for the whole suite of activities that they do over the course of the year." 

So it's not just Formula One, it's also all the other races, concerts and events like the X Games held at COTA throughout the year. (COTA is a separate entity from Formula One – F1 is the race, COTA is the venue.) The actual direct economic impact of all of that – dollars that can be traced directly from the track into the economy? It's $515 million. So how do you go from that to nearly a billion dollars of economic impact? There's some nuance to the numbers.

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Economy
9:02 am
Mon October 13, 2014

French Economist Wins Nobel For Work On Regulating Big Business

French economist Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for research on market power and regulation in industries dominated by a few powerful companies. The undated photo was provided by the Toulouse School of Economics.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 12:15 pm

Saying that he "clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences to Jean Tirole, who teaches at the Toulouse School of Economics. He studies oligopolies, markets that are controlled by a handful of powerful (and interdependent) companies.

"I was very surprised, I was incredibly surprised," Tirole said shortly after he received the phone call informing him of the win. "The honor... it took me half an hour to recoup from the call. I still haven't recouped yet."

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Business
7:03 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Legal Marijuana Businesses Tap Texas Investors

https://flic.kr/p/aQtkzi

Investors who want to buy into the legal marijuana industry are gathering this weekend in Houston. Organizers say it's the first marijuana investor conference in Texas. 

Even though marijuana is illegal in Texas, it's not necessarily against the law to invest in aspects of the business in one of the 23 states that have permitted it for medical or recreational use.

"If you are touching the plant, and you're in Texas, you may have a problem," organizer Doug Leighton says. "If you're doing the ancillary businesses and products, then I think you have a clear pathway to invest."

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Technology
4:47 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Google Fiber Apologizes For Construction Inconvenience, But What Can Austin Expect?

Mayor Lee Leffingwell at the Google Fiber announcement on April 9, 2013.
Nathan Bernier/KUT

  Google offered an update earlier this week on its the impending high-speed, gigabit internet services coming to Austin.

But the announcement also came with an apology.  Google plans to buildout of 3,000 miles of fiber, and warned of impending inconveniences as contractors tinker with utility poles dig tunnels to bury the fiber.

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Business
4:49 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Study: Texas' Income Inequality Could Affect State Revenues

Standard & Poor's says income inequality will tie Texas' hands in future budgeting issues, calling it a "systematic" problem.
Gabriel Cristover Perez/KUT

A new study from Standard & Poor’s suggests that income inequality is leading to lower state tax revenues in Texas. The study also finds inequality weakens overall economic growth, with a stronger effect in states like Texas that depend on sales tax revenues.

Still, the state has seen expanded growth in average tax revenue, the study said – 5.48 percent revenue growth from 2000 to 2009 compared to the 4.07 percent in sales tax-dependent states and 5.25 percent growth in income tax-dependent states.

The credit-rating agency says the growing gap slows potential growth and lowers the growth of the state's overall tax base, which is “stronger and only statistically significant” in sales tax-reliant states. The inequality could prove problematic in future budgeting, as S&P says Texas can’t correct the problem by simply raising taxes.

Texas currently has the sixth highest level of income inequality, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the state’s lowest earners have seen their incomes drop 10 percent in the last decade. 

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Business
3:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

How Much of an Impact will an $18 Billion Judgment Have for BP?

Health, safety and environment (HSE) workers contracted by BP clean up oil on a beach in Port Fourchon, La. after the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill..
US Department of Defense

A federal court in New Orleans found BP the primary culprit in the 2010 gulf oil disaster, ruling the company acted with "gross negligence" – a charge four times that of a simple negligence charge. So, how much will $18 billion ruling on the company?

Maybe not much, says Brad Olsen of Bloomberg news. He's been following the Deepwater Horizon spill and its fallout since 2010. He tells Texas Standard's David Brown that the company's already spent $30 billion on cleanup-related costs and "the tab is very clearly going to go higher.” Currently, the energy giant has about $26 billion dollars on their balance sheet. Olsen says, as the fines currently stand, BP can afford it. 

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Business
2:04 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Whole Foods is Facing a Bunny Meat Backlash

Whole Foods is selling rabbit meat in some stores.
Credit flickr.com/chiotsrun

Whole Foods has come under fire for launching a pilot program to sell rabbit meat in some of its stores. The Austin-based company says it's spent four years developing humane rabbit farming practices in response to consumer demand.

But regardless, some animal rights activists are hopping mad.

change.org petition asking Whole Foods to suspend its sale of bunny meat has garnered more than 13,000 signatures. A group calling itself the House Rabbit Society staged demonstrations at 44 Whole Foods Markets across the country. And PETA has announced it's joining the movement

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Real Estate
8:02 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Low Unemployment, Rising Housing Stock Make Austin the Best Market for Millennials

These are the ten best cities in the U.S. for millennials to buy a home, according to the National Association of Realtors.
National Association of Realtors

Austin is the best city in the United States for aspiring homebuyers between 20 and 34 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It said even though housing prices in Austin have shot up in the last few years, the city's median home value of $252,520 is still about half of what it is in Boston and a third of what it is in San Francisco.

"Which is the reason why we still place Austin as reasonably affordable," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says. "This is where the millennial generations are moving into and [where] the job opportunities are available."

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Space is the Place
4:54 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

SpaceX Getting Millions in Incentives for Brownsville Launch Site

SpaceX

The state of Texas is offering $2.3 million to SpaceX, a commercial spaceflight company with plans to build a spaceport along the Gulf Coast.

The plan to build a rocket-launch facility in South Texas has been years in the making, and while there are still a few finishing touches to put on the plan, it looks like everyone is on board.

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Jobs
8:19 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Unemployment Ticks Up To 6.2 Percent; 209,000 Jobs Added

Construction workers building a commercial complex Thursday in Springfield, Ill., earlier this month. The sector has been on a gradual rebound following a devastating hit during the housing collapse in 2008.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:44 am

The nation's unemployment rate moved up a bit in the month of July, to 6.2 percent, as more Americans who'd been sitting on the sidelines started looking for work, according to the latest monthly report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs, a bit less than economists had expected.

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Business
9:13 am
Tue July 29, 2014

FAA Seeks $12 Million Fine Against Southwest Airlines

A Boeing 737 jetliner operated by Southwest awaits loading at the Little Rock, Ark., airport.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:25 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it intends to fine Southwest Airlines $12 million for flying Boeing 737 airplanes without making proper repairs.

Beginning in 2006, Southwest began "extreme makeover" alterations to address cracking of aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said in a news release.

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Business
3:19 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

What's Next for Austin's Creative Economy?

Rooster Teeth Founders (pictured left to right) Matt Hullum and Bernie Burns
ChinLin Pan/KUT

According to Forbes.com, since 2001 tech firms like Apple, Google, and Facebook have expanded employment by 41 percent. This has lead to Austin resembling a smaller Silicon Valley – and Texas as a whole altering the face of its economy.

In keeping with Austin's renowned music scene, many of the region's exports are less about tangible services and more about entertainment and innovative ideas and applications. Economist and author Richard Florida christened such a move to a arts and knowledge-based economy as "The Rise of the Creative Class."

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Consumer Alert
4:08 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Fruit Recall Hits Trader Joe's, Costco, Wal-Mart Stores

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:40 am

Fears of possible listeria contamination have led to a national recall of whole peaches, nectarines and other fruits packed by a California company. No illnesses have been reported, but the Wawona Packing Co. has told retailers such as Wal-Mart, Costco and Trader Joe's to pull its products.

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Business
7:51 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Meet Two African Women at UT With Ideas for Improving Access to Some Basic Needs

Faith Mangope wants to help young South Africans find employment and create jobs.
Sara Combs, courtesy the UT-Austin International Office

Some young people in Africa are struggling with problems that many Americans take for granted – including serious unemployment and access to basic needs.

A group of 25 young Africans from 18 different countries have been at UT-Austin this summer to bring to life their business plans for addressing some of the challenges in their countries.

It’s part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The national program is in its fourth year but this is the first time participants have spent time at a university prior to a summit in Washington.

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Net Neutrality
3:56 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

1 Million Net Neutrality Comments Filed, But Will They Matter?

Complaints about Janet Jackson's Super Bowl halftime show performance of 2004 led to a record number of public interactions with the Federal Communications Commission. This year's net neutrality comments come in second.
Donald Miralle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 9:02 pm

The Federal Communications Commission received more than 1 million public comments on the issue of net neutrality during a five-month commenting period that ended Friday.

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Business
7:29 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Tobacco Giant Reynolds American To Buy Lorillard In $27B Deal

Cigarette maker Reynolds American, which makes Camel, said it's buying Lorillard Inc. for $27 billion.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 10:41 am

Cigarette giant Reynolds American announced Tuesday that it's buying rival Lorillard in a $27 billion deal that unites two of the country's biggest tobacco companies.

The acquisition creates a giant to rival Philip Morris USA, which is owned by Altria Group Inc., the No. 1 tobacco company in the country. Altria's Marlboro brand dominates the U.S. cigarette market.

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Economy
10:22 am
Thu July 3, 2014

U.S. Added 288,000 Jobs In June, Labor Department Says

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 12:27 pm

Analysts' expectations of continued growth in the jobs report for June were surpassed by federal data issued this morning, as the Labor Department says U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs last month. The government released the numbers one day early because of the July 4 holiday.

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET: 288,000 Jobs Added

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1 percent," the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

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Mexico
4:08 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Tequila Nation: Mexico Reckons With Its Complicated Spirit

Blue agaves grow in a plantation for the production of tequila in Arandas, Jalisco state, Mexico, in December 2010. In the past 20 years, tequila has become fashionable all over the world, demonstrating that producers' international sales strategy has been a great success.
Hector Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 4:54 pm

The Mexican town of Tequila in the western state of Jalisco is the heart of a region that produces the legendary spirit. Any bottle of tequila must be made from the Weber Blue species of agave, grown and distilled in this region.

Field after field of agave gives this land a blue hue, defining an economy and its traditions.

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African-American Business
3:57 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Black-Owned Businesses Grow in Texas, But Still Trail Economically

A report on the state of black-owned businesses in Texas was released today. From left: State Sen. Royce West, TAAACC Chairperson Jim Wyatt, report co-author Bruce Kellison and UT President Bill Powers.
Ryan Kailath/KUT

Black-owned businesses in Texas are growing at a faster rate than Texas businesses as a whole – but they are trailing on several economic indicators, according to a new report.

The number of black-owned businesses in Texas increased 74 percent from 2002 to 2007, while the total number of Texas businesses rose only 25 percent in that period. While the increase seems impressive, the report goes on to say that this is largely because more than 95 percent of black-owned businesses in Texas are owned by single proprietors with no employees.

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