12:40 pm
Wed May 11, 2011

People In Central Texas Are Spending More Money

People shopping at the Domain in Austin. New state numbers suggest people are spending more money not just in Central Texas, but also across the state.
Photo by Adam Knight

Even though Central Texas avoided the most severe blows of the national recession, we still experienced our own economic downturn. New data from the state shows we are continuing to bounce back.

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10:33 am
Fri May 6, 2011

AT&T Launching Wi-Fi Along Sixth Street From Congress To I-35

AT&T is launching Wi-Fi along E. 6th St. from Congress Ave. to the Interstate.
Photo by Broken Piggy Bank

AT&T customers trying to upload smartphone video or pictures from E. 6th St. could face much less frustration in the near future. The wireless carrier has announced it is launching a Wi-Fi hotzone that stretches down E. 6th St. from Congress Ave. to Interstate 35.

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4:55 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

Standard & Poor's Bets Texas Economy Will Recover Quickly

Texas has a long road ahead before a complete economic recovery, but Standard & Poor's thinks the state will rebound faster than most.
Photo courtesy

The financial services company Standard & Poor's (S&P) is showing some love for the Texas economy today by granting the state's government bonds an AA+ rating.

In a press release, S&P analyst Horacio Aldrete-Sanchez said it was because the Texas economy is large, diversifying, and growing faster than the country's as a whole.

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2:20 pm
Fri April 29, 2011

Report: Austin Rents Will Rise Four Percent in 2011

The Cambridge Towers, a high-rise apartment building on Lavaca St. An Encino, California based real estate analysis firm says apartment rents will rise 4 percent this year in Austin.
Photo by Matthew Rutledge

Slowing construction and rising employment will push average Austin rent prices four percent higher this year, according to real estate analyst Marcus and Millichap.

In its 2011 annual apartment forecast, the firm says only 1,000 rental units will be constructed across the entire metro area this year, compared to 2,900 units in 2010. At the same time, the company predicts local employers will add 21,000 positions this year, up from the 14,400 jobs created last year.

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2:56 pm
Tue April 26, 2011

Facebook Chooses Austin To Launch Daily Deals Service

Facebook has selected Austin, Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego and San Francisco to launch its own version of daily deals coupon sites like Groupon, Living Social, Localiter, and dozens of others.

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1:20 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Fewer Homes Sold Last Month, But Median Price Was Up

The median price of a home in Austin rose two percent in March.
Photo by KUT News

Ten percent fewer Austin homes were sold in March 2011 compared to March of last year, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report issued today by the Austin Board of Realtors. But the median price was up two percent to $185,260.

An $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers that expired in 2010 is still making it harder to compare numbers now with numbers then, according to Austin Board of Realtors chair Judith Bundschuh.

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Tax Day
1:31 pm
Mon April 18, 2011

Dollars, Taxes

Photo by KUT News.

The extra time is running out.  Your income tax return has to be postmarked or electronically received by the Internal Revenue Service by midnight tonight.

Normally, the deadline is April 15.  This year, however, the normal date coincided with Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.  The IRS announce in January that they were moving things ahead to April 18 for this year.

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11:11 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Grocery Prices on the Rise

The Texas Farm Bureau finds some increase in grocery prices.
Photo by KUT News

A survey by the Texas Farm Bureau's "Grocery Price Watch" found that Texans are paying more for some food staple items.

The report shows an increase in prices for pork chops, lettuce and tomatoes between Q4 2010 and Q1 2011. According to Gene Hall, director of public relations for the Texas Farm Bureau, a hard freeze in Mexico earlier in the year was part of the cause, but only a part.

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4:48 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

Average Austin Gas Prices Up 13 Cents In A Week

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Drivers in the Austin-San Marcos area are paying an average of $3.60 for a gallon of gasoline, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That compares to $3.47 just one week ago. And in those halcyon days of April 2011, we were shelling out a mere $2.69 for a gallon of regular unleaded. Prices have risen 29 percent since then.

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12:14 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

Beanitos Maker To Create 150 Jobs In Austin Later This Year

Bean Brand Foods, the maker of Beanitos, says it is relocating its manufacturing facilty back to Austin.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin-based Bean Brand Foods, the maker of Beanitos bean chips, says it is looking for a 75,000 square foot facility in Central Texas to combine its manufacturing, warehousing, and administrative facilities. The locally based company says it will seek to hire 150 people towards the end of 2011.

Bean Brand Foods moved its manufacturing facility from Austin to San Bernardino, California in late 2010. But rising shipment costs and a desire to keep the plant closer to its Austin headquarters prompted the company to reverse course.

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11:47 am
Thu April 7, 2011

Dell To Spend $1 Billion On Cloud Data Storage

Dell's Round Rock headquarters. The company employs about 16,000 people in Central Texas.
Photo by Dell

One of the largest employers in Central Texas, Round Rock-based Dell, announced this morning that it will spend $1 billion to build 10 data centers around the world as it seeks to expand into the growing cloud computing market.  Bloomberg reports this morning that the data centers would provide a wide range of services. 

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4:39 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Austin Sales Tax Receipts Up 4 Percent Over Last Year

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

People bought more stuff in Austin this year than they did in the first three months of 2010, according to sales tax figures released today by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.  The comptroller reports that Austin is receiving 4.35 percent more in sales tax revenue compared to January-March 2010. However, if you compare March 2010 with March 2011, the increase was a nominal 0.05 percent.

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11:20 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Freescale Semiconductor Closing Japan Plant Early Due to Quake

Austin-based microchip maker Freescale Semiconductor is closing a Japan plant ahead of schedule because of the disaster in March.
Photo by Freescale Semiconductor

One of the largest companies based in Central Texas, Freescale Semiconductor, says it is closing a manufacturing plant in earthquake ravaged Sendai, Japan.

The company made the announcement in a statement posted on its website:

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12:33 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Austin Loses Google's Ultra-Fast Broadband Project To Kansas City

Kansas City, Kansas beat out 1,100 cities to host Google's gigabit internet project.
Photo by Airtuna08

We can still haggle over who has the better barbeque, but Kansas City, Kansas will indisputably have faster internet service in the very near future. Google has chosen KCK for its ultra high-speed broadband project.  From the official Google blog:

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3:55 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Report: Austin Homes Taking Longer To Sell

Single family homes are sitting on the market 27 percent longer in February 2011 than the same time last year, according to a new report.
Ben Philpott

Single family homes are sitting on the market for 27 percent longer than they were in February 2011, according to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report issued today by the Austin Board of Realtors in cooperation with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

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2:46 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

"Too Early To Speculate" How AT&T's T-Mobile Acquisition Would Affect Texas Jobs

AT&T, the first iPhone carrier in the US, wants to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, but it's too soon to say what that means for Texas jobs.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Dallas-based AT&T shocked investors yesterday with its offer to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion.  AT&T employs more than 36,000 people in Texas.  T-Mobile has more than 2,000 employees in Dallas alone, according to the Dallas Morning News.  We asked AT&T how the merger might affect jobs at what could soon be the largest cell phone company in the United States.

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12:46 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Texas Cell Phone Taxes Ranked 10th Highest

Texas ranked as the 10th highest state in the list of cell phone taxes
Image by KUT News

Texas consumers face the 10th highest cell phone rate in U.S., according to a new study from the Tax Foundation.

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11:06 am
Wed February 9, 2011

In Last 6 Months, 253 New Food Trucks Opened In Austin

Cory Nunez has sold pressed sandwiches out of his Austin Daily Press cart for more than a year. Upwards of 250 food truck operators have opened in the last six months in Austin.
Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Today's bone chilling winds are no friend to the city's food trucks, but occasional bad weather is not stopping the rapid growth of mobile food vendors in Austin.

Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services, which runs food permitting and restaurant inspection, says 386 permits were issued since August 2010. Of those, 253 permit holders have actually opened new mobile food establishments.

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Economic Development
3:56 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

Travis County Proposes Own Business Incentive Program

Travis County wants to create a business tax incentive to attract companies that can provide jobs for low-income residents.
KUT News

Travis County wants to become an economic stimulator. At their regular meeting, county commissioners discussed a proposal to amend the county tax code in order to offer an incentive for businesses that want to relocate to Travis County. The City of Austin and the State of Texas have similar programs, but commissioners are proposing something different.

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11:43 am
Fri February 4, 2011

Job Growth Slows in January

More Jobs in January, but not many
Picture by KUT News

The national unemployment rate dropped from 9.4% to 9% in January.  But the country only added 36,000 jobs.  The decrease came in part because of an increase people not looking for work, what the U.S. Department of Labor calls "marginally attached and discouraged" workers.  The manufacturing and retail sectors were added the most jobs.  Construction, transportation and warehousing shed the most jobs.

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