Economics, employment, jobs, real estate, taxes, economic development and incentives, workforce development, IPOs, investment and anything related to business in Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

The Justice Department just confirmed that it has "filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T Inc.'s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc."

Being a good looking person will help your business and make you wealthier, according to a new book by University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh.

"Most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking salespeople, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors," Hamermesh wrote this weekend in an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times.

In his new book, Beauty Pays, Hamermesh examines his own research and other studies from around the world to conclude that an individual's physical appearance can have a direct impact on his or her economic success.  Check out the video above, produced by UT Austin, for a sampling of his argument.

Facebook is killing its daily deals business in Austin and other pilot cities, according to a statement emailed to the Reuters news agency.

"We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses," Facebook added in the statement. "We've learned a lot from our test and we'll continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses."

The world’s largest social network chose Austin and four other cities in April to launch its own version of daily deals coupon sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Localiter.

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

It won't quite a full-blown grocery store, but the University of Texas Co-Op is about to start selling some grocery items, ranging from milk and eggs, to frozen dinners and canned food, to beer and wine.

“We’ve actually got one of the largest coolers that money can buy,” Co-Op Market Manager Zack Voelker told KUT News. “We’ve got a twenty door reach-in/walk-in vault.”

Photo by kandyjaxx

Texas has received its first monthly unemployment report since Governor Rick Perry announced he was running for President on his record of job creation. The numbers from Texas Workforce Solutions show the state added 29,300 jobs last month.

But the state unemployment rate still ticked higher, from 8.2 percent in June to 8.4 percent in July. That’s because more people started looking for jobs in Texas.

The Texas unemployment rate is now edging closer to the national average of 9.1 percent.

Photo courtesy of Dell, Inc.

Hewlett-Packard is going to sell its PC business, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. HP is currently the world’s largest PC maker. Round Rock-based Dell is the second largest.

So what would it mean for Dell, which employs about 16,000 people in Central Texas?  We asked John Doggett, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

Photo by popculturegeek

Texas is hoping to attract more video game companies to the state by increasing incentives for them to relocate here. Garry Gaber helps run Austin Community College’s Game Development Institute. He thinks it's a good decision.

 "It is hopefully going to bring a lot of business, even more business into Austin," says Gaber. "I think it's a very good thing for the gaming industry, and it would be very good for our students because it would give them more places to find employment."

For the past sixteen months, a project to beautify East 7th Street has plagued local businesses.  Construction to improve safety and utilities limited access to restaurants, tax consultants, and convenience stores.  Now that the streets look nicer with fresh paint and new plants, some business owners are wondering if it was all worth it.

Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel for KUT News

Austin-based Whole Foods Market blew away analyst expectations yesterday with a 35 percent increase in third quarter profit. After the news broke, investors grabbed up Whole Foods stock. That sent shares in the company surging to their highest level since 2006.

But it was only two years ago, in the middle of the recession, that people were asking if Whole Foods could survive. Sales for its expensive, gourmet foods were plummeting and the stock dropped 75 percent in year.

So what happened between now and then, besides the country’s slow economic recovery? Two things, according to equities researcher Karen Short with BMO Capital Markets: value and organic health food.

Photo by KUT News

Earlier this week,  The National Employment Law Project (NELP),  a non-profit organization that advocates for stronger labor standards, issued a call for an increase in the federal minimum wage. They argue an increase  would boost consumer demand and promote hiring.

A web short highlighting Wurstfest, a New Braunfels attraction that reels in 120,000 tourists a year. Video by Axel Gerdau.

In a city perhaps best known for its summer recreation and once-a-year “ten day salute to sausage”, New Braunfels is trying to capitalize on its German heritage to bring in tourists year round.

“We are a destination in the summer for Schlitterbahn and the river, and people know about Wurstfest,” New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil told KUT News. “But we have a great deal of German heritage here, and one of the things we’ve been working on is trying to spread our tourism over the entire year.”

Photo by QuesterMark

While Borders Bookstores could begin liquidation across the country as soon as Friday, Austin’s three locations are already long gone. Their evaporation was followed by a slight bump in sales at Austin’s largest independent book retailer, but that doesn’t mean BookPeople’s  owner is excited to see Borders disappear.

“I actually feel kind of bad about it because I think it’s bad not to have more showrooms,” BookPeople CEO Steve Bercu told KUT News, who worries about the implications for publishers to lose hundreds of thousands of square feet of display space.

Photo by KUT News

Small businesses that offer wireless connections to their customers could be on the hook for illegal downloads that happen on their networks, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

Record labels, movie studios and other industry groups recently struck a deal where participating internet service providers (ISPs) will issue warnings to customers whose accounts are allegedly used to steal content. The NFIB says small business owners could be charged, fined or worse.

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Has an Austin grocery store ever received this much hype before it has enough money to open a single location? Perhaps it’s the packaging-free premise explained in this catchy video, or maybe it’s the lack of healthy grocery options in East Austin, but in.gredients has attracted a lot of media attention.

Now here’s some more: in.gredients has announced a location for its yet-to-exist store. It's going to be at 2610 Manor Road.

Photo courtesy of Southern Foodways Alliance

When a shrimper goes out on the Gulf of Mexico for a day's work they are supposed to bring a laminated "Mayday" card in case of emergency. The card has instructions on how to call in an emergency from the sea by radio. It also includes a conversation guide printed in English and Vietnamese.

Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

Planners for the proposed Formula One race track in Southeast Travis County are a step closer to starting construction on some of the buildings at the track.

Officials met with several Travis County agencies last night, including the Transportation and Natural Resources and Sheriff's Departments and Fire Marshal’s Office, to discuss transportation and safety planning. County authorities are issuing building permits for more structures at the track today.

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The company behind those “We Buy Ugly Houses” billboards just released a study on the best cities to invest in rental properties, and Austin made 24th on the list.

Round Rock-based Dell Inc., one of the largest employers in Central Texas, may be on the verge of launching a new tablet computer. PC World reports on a leaked video that appears to reveal the Dell Peju, a new 10-inch tablet due to be launched in October.

Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

The Space Shuttle Atlantis will lift off Friday - the last shuttle mission for NASA.

Contractors who work on the shuttle program have been getting pink slips for the past year and a half, as the program winds down. But thousands more in Florida, Alabama and Texas will be out of a job after the final mission. 

USA Today reports on how Florida's Space Coast economy will be impacted by the end of the program.

Pepper Vs. Pepper

Jul 1, 2011
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

The Doctor is in.... court.

If you're a fan of "Dublin Dr. Pepper," that variety of the soda made from pure cane sugar, you may want to stock up. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. is suing the Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin, Texas for breaking the terms of their contract.