Business

Economy
12:00 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Obama to Lay Down His Markers on Economy & Fiscal Cliff

Vice President Biden looks on as President Obama speaks at the White House.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 1:08 pm

The post-election negotiations over taxes, the economy and the so-called fiscal cliff moved into a new phase this afternoon when President Obama stepped up to a microphone at the White House to lay out his latest thoughts about what needs to be done.

In many ways, this words were echoes from the hard-fought campaign.

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Economy
3:49 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

'Boomerang Kids' Circle Back to Where They Started

Multi-generational families are sharing housing more often, according to a new report.
www.flickr.com/Jellaluna

There used to be a stigma attached to living at home into one’s twenties and thirties – but not so much these days.

Blame it on rising housing prices, or dwindling employment opportunities for grads – but nowadays, young adults between the ages of 25 to 34 are feeling more comfortable about moving back in with their parents.

According to a recent Pew Research Center report on the so-called “boomerang generation,” three out of 10 young adults have moved back home in recent years, thanks to a weak economy. 

The good news concerning multi-generational households is that it looks like all parties are benefiting from the trend. Of the 2,048 adults surveyed nationwide, 48 percent have reported paying rent to their parents and 89 percent say they help with household expenses, like utilities.

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Technology
4:05 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Microsoft Introduces Windows 8, Marking 'New Era'

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during a press conference at Pier 57 to officially launch Windows 8 in New York.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 11:44 am

Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, put the release of the company's new operating system in dramatic terms: "Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC truly is," he said during an introductory event in New York.

Windows 8, Ballmer said, "marks a new era" for Microsoft.

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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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Business
4:51 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Would You Use Your Smartphone Like a Credit Card? This Company Hopes So

The Isis mobile payment system launched today in Austin. Short range radio communication between a phone and the pictured terminal allows for cashless transactions.
Mark Dewey for KUT News

It sounds like the setup to a joke: “AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile walk into a bar …”

But it’s no laughing matter. Despite the fact that each company devotes itself almost entirely to beating the other two in the highly-competitive mobile market, the three companies have created a new “mobile payment” venture – Isis – that launched today in Austin.

Mobile payments, also called  “digital wallets,” allow purchasers to buy products and services using a phone-based app at the point of sale, instead of with credit cards, cash, or checks.

Merchants that accept Isis payments are a mix of big-box retailers, fast food restaurants, department stores, and local merchants.

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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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Business
2:53 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Is Austin a Tech Center or a Tech Colony?

There's gold in them (silicon) hills: Out-of-state companies like Facebook and Apple use Austin as a colony, but we don't seem to mind.

Almost every day we hear about out-of-town tech companies opening branch offices in Austin.  

What does that mean? Could the next Facebook, Google, or Apple start and grow in Austin? Will Austin even be the next Silicon Valley? Or are we a "tech colony," a place where global companies can find a ready supply of highly-trained tech workers who will work for less than workers in California or New York?

Salaries are lower here, even for tech specialist in high demand, and although Austin is often billed as a "lower cost of living" area, it may not seem that way to those facing high (and rising) rent, home prices, and property taxes.

In Silicon Valley, researcher and writer Vivek Wadhwa studies competitiveness as an academic discipline.  He says he’s pessimistic about the tech future of many U.S. cities and regions, but not Austin. He says Austin has done everything right and should continue to grow. More than advantages like Texas' favorable tax climate, the stream of patents spinning out of UT, or ample investment capital, he says it’s the human capital that gives Austin an advantage.  

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Business
8:59 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Austin Social Startup Acquired by California Company

A view of Lithium's current look for online communities.
Lithium Technologies

It's no secret that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way companies interact with their consumers.

Corporations and small businesses alike need to have a plan for handling customer interactions via the internet  – at least that's what one Austin startup believes. And a big technology company is buying into the idea.

Lithium Technologies, a California-based company, announced it acquired Austin startup Social Dynamx this week.

Social Dynamx was founded last year by a group of Austin software industry experts as the “industry’s first purpose-built social customer care platform.” That's a fancy way of saying Social Dynamx’s technology assists companies in monitoring conversations via social media sites in order to respond fittingly to customers' comments or complaints.

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Business
2:31 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Commissioners Approve Tax Break to Lure Company to Austin

Travis County has joined the city and the state in offering economic incentives to HID Global.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Travis County Commissioners voted four to one this morning in favor of providing economic incentives to HID Global. The company makes ID cards and key-card readers.

HID Global is looking at building a manufacturing and distribution center in Northeast Austin. It would create more than 270 jobs over 10 years. In return, the county would give the company at least a 40 percent discount on county taxes over that time.

County Commissioner Ron Davis represents the area including Northeast Austin.

“I just think it’s overall a big deal all across the community and I think it’s a win, win, win, win, win, win-type situation for all of us," said Davis. 

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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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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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