Business

Economy
7:53 am
Tue December 11, 2012

What Happens If We Fall Off the 'Fiscal Cliff'?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

Lines of communication remain open in an effort to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff," according to the White House and House Speaker John Boehner.

If no deal is reached between now and the end of the year, would the consequences be that drastic?

To answer that question, let's imagine it's January and the nation has gone off the "fiscal cliff." You don't really feel any different and things don't look different, either. That's because, according to former congressional budget staffer Stan Collender, the cliff isn't really a cliff.

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Business
3:09 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Time to Make the Doughnuts: Colt McCoy Opening Two Dozen Dunkin’ Stores in Austin

The selection on display at one Dunkin' Donuts - coming soon to Austin.
flickr.com/dasqfamily

The Austin Yellow Pages lists 39 doughnut shops in the Capital City.

Now former Longhorn Colt McCoy, known better for passing the pigskin than passing the crullers, is set to increase that number by more than half: An investment crew lead by the former UT quarterback is planning on bringing two dozen Dunkin’ Donuts stores to Austin.

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Mexico
7:50 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Why Mexico is the World's Biggest Exporter of Flat-Screen TVs

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 10:04 am

Most of the news we hear about Mexico these days is about drug-related violence. But it turns out there's another, brighter story there: The country's economy has been growing at a solid pace for the past couple years, driven in large part by solid exports.

Among other things, Mexico is the world's largest exporter of flat-screen TVs. There are a lot of factories just south of the U.S. border, filled with workers putting together televisions. The individual parts come from Asia, but the final assembly is done in Mexico.

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Business
11:37 am
Wed November 28, 2012

EPA Temporarily Halts New Federal Contracts For BP

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Citing a "lack of business integrity," the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was temporarily suspending the oil giant BP from entering into new contracts with the federal government.

In a press release, the EPA said BP demonstrated the lack of integrity during the Deepwater Horizon "blowout, explosion, oil spill and response." This kind of suspension, the EPA explained, is "standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case."

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Economy
11:14 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Consumer Confidence Edges Up Again; Reaches Highest Point Since Early 2008

If they're confident, they will shop: Two women carry shopping bags down Manhattan's 34th St. last week.
Andrew Kelly Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 9:13 am

There was a "moderate increase" in American consumers' confidence this month, the private Conference Board just reported.

Its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 from 73.1 in October. The index is the highest it has been since February 2008, when the economy had just fallen into recession and was headed down.

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Business
11:26 am
Thu November 22, 2012

On Thanksgiving, Stores Serve Up A Side Of Shopping

Walmart associate Angel Campos stocks Christmas decorations Wednesday ahead of the pre-Black Friday event at the Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Rosemead, Calif.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 6:11 am

Gray Thursday may become the new Black Friday. Many big retailers have moved up the beginning of their shopping season, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Thursday evening.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling pressure from online retailers, which have given consumers an earlier shopping option.

"In the past, online retailers have had Thanksgiving Day all to themselves," says Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with the NPD Group. "And what that means is by the time Black Friday comes around, a lot of consumers have already spent a bunch of money."

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Business
3:17 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Maybe Twinkies Do Last Forever: Union, Hostess Headed To Mediation

The big name in the Hostess lineup.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 7:43 am

"Twinkies Saved! Hostess, Bakers Union Agree to Mediation, Avoiding Shutdown."

That's the "alert" this hour at CNBC.com.

Reuters has issued this "bulletin":

"US BANKRUPTCY JUDGE SAYS PARTIES AGREE TO MEDIATION ON TUESDAY IN HOSTESS CASE."

And according to The Associated Press:

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Formula 1
2:15 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Can You Break a Euro? Group Urges Local Businesses to Accept Foreign Currency During F1

The Better Business Bureau notes foreign tourists may not have converted their currency to greenbacks.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Tens of thousands of Formula 1 fans are making their way to Austin for this weekend’s Grand Prix. Many are from foreign countries.

The Austin Better Business Bureau says business owners should be prepared to accept foreign currency or else they may lose out on some customers.

The BBB says business owners should be aware of ever-changing exchange rates and should talk to their banks about whether they’ll charge extra for depositing foreign currency.

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Austin
8:33 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Austin Playing Catch Up in International Air Travel

A plane waits for passengers to load at ABIA.
Ihwa Cheng for KUT News

As metropolitan economies, like Austin, expand their global reach, international aviation plays a pivotal role—moving passengers from there to here.

But, for the most part, international travel coming into the United States, takes place in many of the same metropolitan gateways. Despite Austin's growing role in technology and other business industries, the city isn't playing a big role in international travel. One major challenge may be the competition provided by bigger Texas cities.

According to a report by The Brookings Institution, 17 areas account for almost three-quarters of all international travel either starting or ending in the U.S. Atop the list of gateway cities is Atlanta, which accounted for more than 6 million international travelers last year.

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Texas
7:08 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Midsize Companies Power Texas Job Creation

Midsized Texas companies are adding jobs.
Teresa Vieira for KUT News

Midsize companies — firms with annual revenues of $10 million to $1 billion dollars — are now adding jobs at almost double the national average.

Middle market companies account for just 0.5% of all Texas businesses. But they employ 30% of the state’s workforce. Anil Makhija teaches finance at Ohio State University. He says midsized businesses are more reliable job creators than small ones.

“If you think about small firms, they do deserve our attention, because they are frequently the centers of innovation. But they have a very high failure rate.”

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Business
1:46 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Apple Announces Smaller, Cheaper Version of iPad

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPad Mini during an Apple special event at the historic California Theater on Tuesday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 1:35 pm

Update at 1:52 p.m. ET. Introducing iPad Mini:

Philip W. Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, announced a new, smaller and cheaper version of its popular tablet, just minutes ago in San Jose, Calif.

"So, what can you do with an iPad mini that can't do with an iPad?" Schiller asked. "You can hold it in one hand."

The iPad mini is as thin as a pencil, weighs 0.68 pounds and has a 7.9 inch screen, Schiller said. The iPad has a 9.7 inch screen.

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Economy
2:22 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Texas Drops to 6.8 Percent Unemployment; Austin at 5.3 Percent

Unemployment rates in Austin and Texas alike continue to fall.
flickr.com/sarahbelle1

The unemployment rate in Texas saw its biggest one-month drop in nearly two decades in September.

Statewide, the jobless rate fell from 7.1 percent in August to 6.8 percent in September. That was the result of an additional 21,000 jobs.

Here in Austin, the unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent. That rate doesn’t account for seasonal changes in employment. Still, Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Lisa Givens says the Austin area added 3,000 jobs last month, largely in fields including education, health services and government jobs.

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Business
4:29 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

AMD Confirms Plans to Lay Off 15 Percent of Workforce

The southwest Austin campus of AMD. The chipmaker said today they plan to lay off 15 percent of its workforce worldwide.
http://bit.ly/Qv3vtb

Computer chipmaker AMD announced this afternoon that it’s laying off 15 percent of its workforce. 

AMD is based in Silicon Valley, but employs about 25,000 people at its southwest Austin campus. The company says poor earnings and falling sales have forced cost-cutting measures.  

Analysts say AMD has suffered from an overall slowdown in computer sales as consumers have switched to tablets and smartphones—the same trend that has hurt Austin-based Dell.  Hans Mosesmann is an investment analyst specializing in semiconductors. He says that while AMD is slimming down today to be smaller and more flexible, the company may soon be hiring again.

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Media
8:48 am
Thu October 18, 2012

'Newsweek' Kills Its Print Edition

Say goodbye.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 7:40 am

Saying that "we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format," editor Tina Brown announced this morning that Newsweek's Dec. 31 issue will be its last print edition.

Going forward, she said:

"Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

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Economy
9:47 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Risks Of Global Economic Slowdown Are 'Alarmingly High,' IMF Warns

In China's Anhui province, a worker unloads steel bars at a factory. A slowdown in China and other major nations threatens to pull the global economy into recession, the International Monetary Fund warns.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:10 am

Saying that the global economic recovery "has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook," the International Monetary Fund today warned that the probability of "recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies" next year have gone up.

The fund said its research indicates the risk of those things occurring in 2013 "has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012."

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Austin
8:21 am
Tue October 9, 2012

What's in a Name? How Money Could Change Austin Park Names

Could the names of city parks be for sale? Pease Park was named for the family that donated the land.
KUT News

The Austin City Council is considering changing a city code that relates to the naming or renaming of parks and park facilities this week.

Right now, the code states that parks can only be named after a person or a group that has made 'exceptional contributions' to the park system. In fact, the process is pretty simple: a person submits an application asking for a park facility to named or renamed and, after 90 days, the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Board and the city council review all of the suggested names.

The proposed amendment would make it more difficult to change a park name based on community significance. It would require signatures from up to 75 percent of residents in the area of a park or park facility.

The amendment would also add a 'financial contribution component' to the process. No signatures would be required, but name changes could be awarded based on money or land donated to the city.

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Business
10:08 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Labor Secretary Says Talk Of Fudged Jobless Numbers Is Insulting

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:19 am

The news that the nation's jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August immediately led some of President Obama's critics to charge the the books had been cooked to help his reelection campaign.

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Economy
8:24 am
Fri October 5, 2012

National Unemployment Rate Drops, Austin's Employed May Be Seeing Raises

Austin may be getting some raises soon.
http://www.flickr.com/niwru/

The national unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent in September. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 114,00 jobs last month. This means the number of unemployed in the U.S. is now 12.1 million. It's the first time this year that unemployment has fallen below 8 percent.

So what does this mean for Austin? As KUT News reported last month, Austin added 5,900 jobs in August, and local unemployment dropped to 5.9 percent, well below the national average.

But what about the already employed in Austin? According to staffing agency Robert Half International, technology professionals are expected to salary increases of about 5.3 percent. Administrative staff may see salaries rise by 3.5 percent. And accounting and finance salaries could jump 3.3 percent.

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Economy
3:42 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Friday's Jobs Report Is Campaign's Next Key Moment, Here's What To Expect

The welcome sign at a job fair earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:16 pm

With the first presidential debate now behind us, what's the next big item on the campaign calendar?

It's Friday's 8:30 a.m. ET release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the September unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to payrolls last month.

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Business
8:52 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Gaming Studio Bethesda Issues an Austin Battlecry

“Dishonored,” pictured above, is one of Bethesda’s newest titles.
Bethesda Softworks

Bethesda Softworks has announced plans to open a second gaming development studio in Austin – Battlecry Studios.

Battlecry will be headed up by long-time producer Rich Vogel, who best known for his work with gaming developer BioWare. Vogel left Bioware in July during BioWare’s second round of layoffs at the company.

During Vogel’s tenure at BioWare he worked on hits like “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” “Ultima Online”and “Star Wars Galaxies,” but it is unclear what he will be working on first with Battlecry.

President of Bethesda  Softworks Vlatko Andonov said in a statement that he is looking “forward to working with [Vogel] on a new exciting project.”

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