Business

Economy
4:40 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Austin’s Economic Incentive Payments: $19 Million & Counting

This graph produced by the city plots city economic incentive agreements against local unemployment.
Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, City of Austin

Austin got a look at the return on its investments Thursday. 

The city currently has 11 active economic incentive agreements in place – deals with companies like Visa and Apple stipulating that as long as a company meets negotiated hiring and spending goals, they’ll receive annual benefits from the city, often in the form of tax breaks.  Total incentives, if honored over the course of their entirety, approach $73 million.

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Business
4:48 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Drought Forces Panhandle Beef Plant to Close

KUT News

Years of drought have wreaked havoc on the cattle industry in Texas. Today a major beef processor in the Panhandle said it is temporarily closing a plant because of dwindling supply.

Cargill says it will idle its facility in Plainview, which employs about 2,000 people.

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Business
4:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Austin No. 2 in Economic Growth

Tech is the main driver of Austin's growth, a report says.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Austin has come out on top, almost, in an economic ranking of U.S. cities.

The Milken Institute said Austin is the second best performing city, based on measures like job growth and wage increases. The study’s author, Ross De Vol, say technology is the region’s big wealth driver.

De Vol says what Austin needs to catch No. 1 city San Jose is more money for growing businesses.

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Economy
11:06 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Jobless Claims at Five-Year Low; Home Building Hits Five-Year High in 2012

Going up in Chicago: Row houses under construction.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 1:53 pm

There were 335,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 37,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That's the lowest total for any one week since January 2008.

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Business
6:53 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Whole Foods Founder John Mackey On Fascism and 'Conscious Capitalism'

Whole Foods has more than 300 stores and continues to expand.
Harry Cabluck AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 2:51 pm

UPDATE at 12:35 p.m., ET, Jan. 17: Many of you wrote in to tell us you were taken aback by Whole Foods top executive John Mackey characterizing the health law as fascism in an NPR interview, and apparently, he's feeling a little sheepish.

About three minutes into his otherwise amiable chat with CBS This Morning hosts on on Thursday, Mackey walked back his comments in response to a direct question from Norah O'Donnell:

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Technology
7:16 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Facebook Unveils Graph Search, Adding A New 'Pillar' To Services

A sample search of Facebook's new Graph Search feature shows users' photographs. The company says users can also look for music.
Facebook

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 5:48 am

Users of Facebook will soon have a new search tool at their disposal, the leaders of the company announced Tuesday during a live event. The new Graph Search feature will let those on Facebook sift through photos, people, places, and business pages.

The new search ability will join Facebook users' newsfeed and timeline as "pillars" of their experience, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who predicted Graph Search would become an "amazing resource."

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Business
4:55 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Austin Energy Issues Record Solar Rebates in 2012

A solar panel installation on a home in Austin. Austin Energy had a record year for rebates in 2012.
flickr.com/coreyp

Rebates for solar panels prompted more people than ever to install them in their homes last year. Austin Energy says it issued 463 rebates in fiscal 2012. That was the highest number ever, breaking the previous record by 40 percent.

The increase came even though Austin Energy decreased the amount of the rebate its lowest ever in June: $2 per watt. 

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Business
12:59 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Survey: Texas an 'Oasis' for Businesses, Austin Shows 'Overall Friendliness'

http://www.flickr.com/photos/schidambara/

Texas has been courting businesses for some time now, attracting job creators and corporations to the state in droves.

State and city officials have lured corporations in with sales tax incentives. That's prompted accusations of corporate welfare and ill-gotten subsidies, but the state’s dance card is full when it comes to reeling in businesses. In fact, the state’s attracted more businesses than most.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Here's the ABCs of P3s (aka Public-Private Partnerships)

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is recommending tighter laws governing some public-private partnerships.
Erik Reyna, KUT News

Interview with author Mary Scott Nabers about her book on public-private partnerships "Collaboration Nation."

Public-private partnerships have been back in the news lately,  after the Sunset Advisory Commission put a halt to some development projects being discussed for the Capitol area. Lawmakers want to tighten up some of the laws governing the Texas Facilities Commission and public-private partnerships, or P3's.

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Business
7:34 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Report: Dell Could Go Private

Dell Inc's headquarters in Round Rock. Dell stock surged on word the publicly-traded company could go private.
Dell Inc.

Shares in computer-maker Dell Inc. surged by 13 percent Monday on rumors the Round Rock based company could go private. Bloomberg News cites anonymous sources as saying Dell is in talks with at least two private equity firms.

John Doggett is a lecturer at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. He says the talks come as Dell is shifting its business strategy away from PCs.

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Business
5:15 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Austin-based Bazaarvoice Says It Will Win Anti-Trust Challenge

flickr.com/photos/26481114@N07

Austin-based software company Bazaarvoice Inc. says it is confident it will win a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Thursday.

The Justice Department sued the company over its acquisition of San Francisco-based PowerReviews Inc. last year. The DOJ claims Bazaarvoice “eliminated its most significant rival and effectively insulated itself from meaningful competition.”

In a statement, Bazaarvoice responded that there is “still robust competition for ratings and reviews all over the social commerce landscape.”

Business
5:22 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Documented or Not, Tax Time is Coming

Even undocumented immigrants can file tax returns.
KUT News

Contrary to what you may have heard, people in the country illegally can file a return. They use a special IRS-issued number called an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). But new IRS rules effective this month mean some changes for people using ITINs.

In 2010, the latest available data from the IRS, nearly 18 million people paid their taxes with ITINs.

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Business
2:53 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Dell Loses Senior Executive

The 2011 Dell World conference, during Dave Johnson's tenure at the company.
flickr.com/dellphotos

Until yesterday, Dave Johnson was a part of computer company Dell’s strategy to turn the once-dominant company around. But Dell declared yesterday that Johnson is ditching the tech industry altogether to take a senior position with an investment company.

In 2009 Johnson jumped ship from IBM to Dell as senior vice president for corporate strategy. The company’s intention was to catapult from personal computers into the tech service market, alongside giants like IBM and Hewlett-Packard. 

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real estate
6:15 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Forecast: Almost 10,000 New Home Starts Expected in 2013

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Interview with Eldon Rude

Construction could begin on 8,800 to 9,600 new single-family homes in 2013, according to an annual forecast by Eldon Rude, the Austin analyst with the real estate tracking firm MetroStudy. Rude delivered his forecast this morning before a group of realtors and home builders. The growth would represent an increase of 10 to 20 percent. 

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Economy
3:30 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

As 2013 Begins, A 'Pretty Positive' Job Outlook

The health care sector added 45,000 jobs in December and is expected to see continued growth this year, economists say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 1:40 pm

If you're searching for work in this new year, the Labor Department's final jobs report for 2012 suggests: The trend is your friend in 2013.

The jobs outlook is actually "pretty positive," said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment consulting firm.

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Economy
8:09 am
Fri January 4, 2013

155,000 Jobs Added in December, Jobless Rate at 7.8 Percent

Looking for work: The scene at a "diversity job fair" in Manhattan last month.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 11:00 am

There were 155,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

That's right in line with economists' expectations and is another sign of steady, though modest, growth in employment. In November, employers added an estimated 161,000 jobs. The average monthly gain in 2012 was 153,000 jobs, BLS says. That's the same average as in 2011.

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Economy
8:16 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Layoffs Have Slowed, Hiring Has Picked Up, But Jobless Claims Are Higher

The scene at a career fair in New York City last fall.
Mike Segar Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 7:46 am

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. Jobless Claims Went Up; So Two Out Of Three Reports Were Positive:

There were 372,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 10,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. What's more, that previous week's total was revised up from the previous estimate of 350,000.

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Economy
2:41 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Economists See (OK-ish) Growth In 2013

Farmer Randy Dreher unloads corn from his combine during harvest north of Audubon, Iowa. Farm exports are booming and high global prices are helping growers despite the U.S. drought.
Gary Fandel/Iowa Farm Bureau AP

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 8:07 am

Suddenly, the new year is looking a bit brighter — at least in the eyes of most economists and investors.

On Day 1 of 2013, Congress voted to veer away from the "fiscal cliff" by passing a package of provisions that avoided broad tax hikes and big spending cuts. And on Day 2, stock prices shot up.

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Economy
9:33 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell by 12,000 Last Week

The line at a job fair earlier this month in Manhattan.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:45 am

There were 350,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, down 12,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports. That's the lowest level since early March 2008.

The agency adds that "the 4-week moving average," which tends to smooth out some of the volatility that comes with the weekly figures, "was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000."

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real estate
2:39 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Central Texas Home Sales Hit 5 Year High

An Austin home listed for sale in November 2011
Flickr user fabfemme http://www.flickr.com/photos/fabfemme/6312897308/

It’s probably the last measure of the Austin housing market we’ll get this year. And the Austin Board of Realtors' newest report suggests home sales are ending 2012 on a high note.

Austin-area home sales hit a five year high in November, according to the report, the 18th straight month of increased sales. Last month, 1,671 single-family homes were sold. That’s  23 percent more than in November of 2011.  Condominium sales increased slightly more, by 26 percent.  

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