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Alabama unemployment falls to 5.8 percent
Alabama's unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent in February, its lowest level in nearly seven years, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the state. The number remains slightly higher than the national average of 5.5 percent in February. In releasing the numbers, the state repeatedly referenced 2008 as the last time the Alabama job market was this healthy. "Over two million Alabamians are working — the most since 2008," Gov. Robert Bentley said in the release. "Our economy supported more jobs in February than it has during the same period since 2008." Montgomery Advertiser
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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Three things Birmingham is doing right
If you're looking for something metro Birmingham is doing right, look downtown. That was the landslide choice of respondents to our recent survey that asked what Birmingham was doing right and what needs to improve. No matter how they feel about Birmingham's myriad challenges or which metro they envy, respondents love what's going on downtown. Whether they are millennials or longtime Birmingham residents near the end of their careers, the downtown revitalization drew heavy praise in our survey. Birmingham Business Journal
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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Mississippi lands only Questair Venture manufacturing facility in the nation
The John Bell Williams Airport in Bolton and Raymond is now the home of the country's only manufacturer of the Questair Venture, a small, high-performance kit plane. Meanwhile, a world record was set for the largest number of Questair Ventures in one place as owners of the tiny plane from all over the country gathered for a "fly-in" to celebrate the opening of the facility. In a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the airport on Friday, owners Dan Myers of Madison and Jim Cook of Clinton talked about the history of the planes and the future of the manufacturing facility. Clarion-Ledger
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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Richmond's high business taxes blamed for pushing companies to suburbs
Michael C. Hild lives in Church Hill and wanted to keep his growing mortgage lending and servicing business in Richmond. But he considered the business tax too high. The tax liability of operating in Richmond was nearly three times what it would be in Chesterfield and Henrico counties and much greater than it would be in Hanover County, which doesn’t charge any business tax. “I was blown away by the discrepancy,” said Hild, chairman and CEO of Live Well Financial. Richmond Times-Dispatch
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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Atlantans have the longest commute in entire U.S.
It’s a well-known fact that Atlanta has some of the worst traffic in the nation. And according to a new report released by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution, Atlantans also have the longest commute in the country. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank's report found in the Atlanta metro area, which spans 29 counties and contains more than 5 million people and 2 million jobs, the typical commute distance is 12.8 miles. Atlanta Business Chronicle
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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U.S. Senate bill aims to help rural businesses
Republican-backed legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate aims to help businesses in rural communities have greater access to credit opportunities. Current policies in place with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau permits certain rural lending practices in areas it deems rural or underserved. But many rural communities argue the Bureau’s definition of rural excludes a number of truly rural areas and doesn’t provide members of those communities with any input in the process. Charleston Daily Mail
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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Here's More Proof the U.S. Economy Is Beating the Rest of the World
At first glance, the corporate profits data released today by the Commerce Department don't look good. Profits fell by 0.8 percent in 2014 from the prior year, the first decline since the middle of the recession. Below the surface, however, the weakness was concentrated in earnings from abroad. It's the latest embodiment of the surge in the dollar as the U.S. recovery strengthens. Profits originating outside the U.S. dropped by $36.1 billion in the fourth quarter, the biggest decrease since 2008 and the second-biggest since 2002. This would be money earned by big multinational companies, such as Coca-Cola Co. or Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as well as any business that sells goods and services abroad. Bloomberg
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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Why Wages Will Rise
Business leaders should start planning now for increasing wages, according to "The Real Economy: Higher Wages," a report targeted to middle market businesses. Published by McGladrey LLP and authored by Joe Brusuelas, the firm's chief economist, the report provides a variety of reasons to believe that conditions are ripe for "modest wage growth in 2015." Noting a strong year in the labor market, with unemployment steadily falling all year to it's current rate of 5.6%, the firm predicts the economy has reached the point "where wages will start rising and the competition for, and retention of, skilled workers will present a challenge as firms seek to boost productivity." Industry Week
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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What's destroying middle-class wages?
Perhaps the biggest question in American political economy right now is why middle-class wages have been falling. There are three main hypotheses. Roughly, these are: robots, unions and China. The robots theory gets by far the most play in the news media, since it’s by far the scariest — if automation is replacing big chunks of the human workforce, things are only going to get worse as robots become more capable and efficient. This interpretation has tentatively been embraced by many on the political right, since it doesn’t imply a need for substantial government intervention in the economy (though it might imply a need for redistribution). The unions theory is favored by the political left, since it implies that giving more institutional power to this traditional liberal power bloc would shift the distribution of national income toward workers. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

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US economy stalled in first quarter: Economists
The U.S. economy may have stalled in the first quarter. CNBC Rapid Update, which averages tracking forecasts from economists, fell 0.4 percent to 1.4 percent after the government reported weaker-than-expected consumer spending in February. One survey participant, Stephen Stanley of Amherst Pierpont Securities in Stamford, Connecticut, is predicting zero growth in the first quarter. That would be the lowest growth rate since the first quarter last year came in negative mostly as a result of harsh winter weather. CNBC
Submitted 1 years 329 days ago

 

 

 

Features & Opinion

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

For those who still languish over "losing to China" or believe that the economy is still in recession, wake up and smell the data. Economic development in the South was about as good as it gets in calendar year 2015 according to the data. And as for China, borrowing a quote from the late football coach Bear Bryant that he made in the half-time locker room down 15-0 to Georgia Tech in 1960, "We got 'em right where we want 'em." For those of you who don't know the rich history of Alabama Crimson Tide football, Bama scored all of its 16 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a field goal on the last play of the game to beat Tech 16-15.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Mike Randle
Today, factories in the U.S. make twice as much product as they did in 1984. And they are doing it with one-third of the manufacturing workforce. In fact, the output of durable goods in 2015 was the highest in the nation's history. So, we do have a strong manufacturing base, at least in the South, much of the Midwest and parts of the West, and it is getting stronger because on a cost-basis, we can compete with any major manufacturing nation in the world.  
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

FEATURE     
The argument for or against a minimum wage hike continues between the reds and the blues, as well as within the economic development community in the South. Should we stay the course with a minimum wage under $8 an hour to better compete with Mexico, the South's biggest competitor for jobs, or set a minimum wage just over $10 an hour, a wage floor most centrists support? That $10 per hour is, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, about right in most states in the South for one adult to be able to cover basic expenses plus all relevant taxes.
 
 Randle Report - Business News in the South
Recent data from the Computing Technology Industry Association (Comp TIA) showed that the technology industry is one of the fastest growing job generators in the South and the nation. The report also indicated that technology job compensation is growing faster than any other sector.
 


 

 

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