Business

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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Business
4:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Listen: Bill Clinton Describes 'The Dumbest Thing' He Ever Heard

Clinton adressed the Dell World 2012 conference today.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Bill Clinton on Texas' Lost Supercollider

Former president Bill Clinton was in Austin today to speak at Dell's annual business and technology conference. He touted Dell’s announcement of a partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative University – and also recalled a forehead-slapping a moment with a former Texas Senator.

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Economy
2:04 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Fed Boosts Economic Efforts

The Federal Reserve's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 12:07 pm

Saying it is concerned that the economy won't be strong enough in coming months to keep adding jobs to the labor market, the Federal Reserve announced this afternoon that is increasing its efforts to give the economy a boost.

And in an unusually specific statement from the central bank, its policymakers said they expect to keep a key short-term interest rate at or near zero percent "as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent."

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Formula 1
1:18 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

F1 Organizers Get $29.3 Million From State Comptroller

How much F1 'fueled' Austin's economy is yet to be determined.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Texas Comptroller has paid the organizers of Austin’s Formula 1 race more than $29 million from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.

The trust fund uses tax revenues generated by an event to cover expenses related to the event.

“We pay them back $29.3 million because we’re saying, basically, that there’s been an incremental tax increase of $29.3 million so we’re going to let you have that money to pay you back for expenses that you had bringing the event here," Lauren Willis, director of communications for the Texas Comptroller, says.

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Labor
11:26 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Michigan Lawmakers Pass Right-to-Work Bill, Over Unions' Protests

Union members from around the country rallied outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing as lawmakers voted on the right-to-work legislation.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:06 pm

Update at 6:00 p.m. ET:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two controversial "right-to-work" bills passed earlier Tuesday by the state's House. This officially makes Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation.

The two bills give both public and private employees so-called right-to-work protections — controversial pieces of legislation that have sparked protests in and around the state capitol in Lansing.

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Economy
10:35 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Incentives for Business Scrutinized in Texas

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The billions of dollars in incentives that Texas hands out to businesses each year are set to draw fresh scrutiny this week on the heels of a New York Times series that raised new questions about the practice while also ruffling some feathers.

On December 3, the Times devoted Part 2 of its three-part “United States of Subsidies” series to Texas. The article alleged that the state gives out $19.1 billion a year in business incentives, far more than any other state. (Disclosure: The Texas Tribune has a content partnership with The New York Times.)

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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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Economy
10:22 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Unemployment Drops To 7.7 Percent; Economy Adds 146K Jobs

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:44 am

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. That's a four-year low.

The economy added 146,000 jobs, beating expectations. Surprisingly the BLS said that Hurricane Sandy "did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November."

The BLS adds that employment increased "in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care."

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Business
7:28 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Council Approves $1.5M in Incentives for Visa

If Visa comes to Austin, the company promises to make about $27 million in capital investments.
flickr.com/MoneyBlogNewz

The Austin City Council unanimously approved a deal that offers the Visa credit card company about $1.5 million to bring almost 800 jobs to the area.

The city’s received some criticism for offering big companies these incentives. A council committee has been talking about adding a provision that would require companies seeking incentives to meet a minimum wage requirement of $11 an hour. While Visa doesn’t have to meet those requirements, yesterday they offered to anyway.

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Employment
8:08 am
Wed December 5, 2012

118,000 Jobs Added to Payrolls Last Month, Report Signals

A "closed" sign at a coffee shop in New York City, where many businesses had to shut down for at least a few days before, during and after Superstorm Sandy.
Carlo Allegri Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:56 am

There were 118,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in November, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

That's slower growth than in October, when ADP's employment measure grew by 157,000 jobs.

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Technology
11:00 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Making Permanent Digital Records Not So Permanent

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 4:11 pm

The Internet is forever — and so are texts, tweets and Facebook updates — but a startup has big ambitions to bring privacy and impermanence to online communication. The company, called Wickr, lets users decide how long a message lives.

The people behind Wickr found inspiration in 1960s-era TV and messages that self-destructed. "I think everybody who's watched Mission Impossible has always wanted self-destructing messages," says co-founder Nico Sell.

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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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Technology
7:19 am
Mon December 3, 2012

In Eye Control, A Promise To Let Your Tablet Go Hands-Free

In an image from an Eye Tribe video, a man uses his eyes to play the Fruit Ninja game, slicing fruit in half as it appears on the screen.
The Eye Tribe

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:57 am

Forget touch screens and voice recognition — what if you could control your computer just by looking at it? Gaze-based interaction has been around for 20 years, used mainly by people with disabilities. But the technology could be available to the masses soon, allowing users to move a cursor with their eyes, or turn the pages of an e-book without lifting a finger.

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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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Lottery
9:34 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Winning Powerball Tickets Sold in Arizona and Missouri; But Who Bought Them?

Ticket sales soared as the jackpot grew.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 1:15 pm

After all the hype and hoopla, millions of Americans (including us) are waking up this morning to learn that they aren't sudden millionaires.

Yes, there were winning tickets sold for Wednesday night's $580 million Powerball jackpot.

But there were only two tickets that correctly matched the numbers drawn: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and Powerball of 6.

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Lottery
4:57 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

What Would You Do With $550 Million in Powerball Winnings?

A standard Powerball ticket.
Brandon Mulder for KUT News

As of Wednesday afternoon, the interstate Powerball lottery has reached a total of $550 million – the second largest lotto jackpot in history. This amount has caught the eyes (and wallets) of many.

First-time players and regulars alike are dreaming of what they would do with the winnings if they draw the lucky numbers. KUT News spoke with one Powerball player, Abbie Garcia, who had an easy attitude: “When you win the lottery it leaks through your fingers anyway, so I wouldn’t want to be too caught up in trying to hold onto it.”

Many players have practical hopes of quitting their daytime jobs, paying off debts, sending their kids to college, vacationing in Europe, etc. But when it comes to pipe dreams, a half-billion dollar jackpot permits endless fantasizing.

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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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Economy
4:44 am
Mon November 26, 2012

'Giving Tuesday': The Start of a Holiday Tradition?

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 3:50 pm

First, there was the post-Thanksgiving sales spectacle Black Friday and then the online version, Cyber Monday. Now, charitable groups want to start a new holiday tradition — it's called Giving Tuesday and the first one is tomorrow.

It may seem a little surprising that no one came up with the idea before of designating a specific day to help launch the holiday charitable giving season.

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Business
3:49 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Visa Plans 800 New Jobs in Austin

flickr.com/photos/declanjewell

Credit card company Visa says it will build a new IT center in Austin, bringing almost 800 jobs to the area within five years.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced the project this afternoon.

Perry is using $7.9 million dollars from the Texas Enterprise Fund to entice Visa to Austin.

The city will kick in about $1.5 million over 10 years, according to a memo released by the city's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office.

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