Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Restaurants and social media

Moderated by Rick Badie

Georgia relies on innovative technology and a trained workforce to grow its manufacturing base. Today, a Georgia Tech professor writes about the possibility of long-term growth if the state remains committed to this mass-production sector. An executive with Georgia Quick Start writes about that program’s role in training a skilled labor force. Meanwhile, an entrepreneur writes about the role of social media in marketing restaurants. To comment, go to: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/.

Social media a way of life

By Robby Kukler

In the restaurant business, we see it often: Customers sit down to eat and inevitably pull out a smartphone at least once during the meal to post a picture on Instagram, check in on Foursquare, send a tweet or update their Facebook.

Social media is a way of life.

Social media reviews via Twitter, OpenTable, Yelp and more is a given in the service industry. What’s critical for executives is knowing what to do with that …

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Chinese Consumers

Moderated by Rick Badie
In August, Gov. Nathan Deal led a business, trade and tourism mission to Asia, accompanied by a delegation of state officials and business leaders. Today, an executive and state official who partook in the trip write about this region’s budding relationship with what’s considered the world’s fastest-growing economy.

China: Rich with opportunity

By William Pate

China’s economy continues to expand and provide significant opportunities for business sectors across the United States. One of the most rapidly growing segments is tourism from China to the U.S.

Last year, more than 67 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. China was the seventh-largest international inbound market. By 2015, China is expected to become the fourth-largest market. This rapid growth creates a significant opportunity for Atlanta.

In 2012, metro Atlanta welcomed 47,000 tourists from China. While China was our seventh-largest inbound market, it ranked second in …

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Affordable Care Act: A land of options or socialized medicine?

Moderated by Rick Badie
As of Tuesday, Georgians without employer-provided health care could start shopping for insurance plans through a federally run exchange. Today, we continue our discussion of the Affordable Care Act with  guest writers, Vice President Joe Biden and economist Peter Morici.

Real health care isn’t politics

By Joe Biden

I don’t expect the political debate about Obamacare to end any time soon. Republicans in Congress are going to demonize it, run against it, do what they can to sabotage it.

But now, Americans can see for themselves that the Affordable Care Act isn’t about Washington politics. It’s about regular people shopping for insurance they can finally afford, and purchasing security and peace of mind along with it.

In 2010, because of President Barack Obama’s perseverance, we passed the Affordable Care Act. Some of its provisions took effect soon after, with dramatic results.  More than 100 million Americans have taken advantage of free …

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Fuel for Georgia’s space industry

Moderated by Rick Badie

Welcome to the great space race. Georgia, Florida and Texas each hope to land SpaceX, a rocketship company that delivers cargo to the International Space Station. That company would be the first tenant of a proposed “spaceport” in coastal Georgia. For now, though, SpaceX founder Elon Musk calls Texas his top choice. Today, an advocate for space industry development in Georgia says we should be more competitive, while a Texan considers his state an ideal fit for the industry.

Commenting is open.

Expand Georgia’s space business

By Bob Scaringe

Private-sector space companies like SpaceX are launching commercial satellites and resupplying the International Space Station. SpaceX, a space transport company, is evaluating Georgia, Florida and Texas as the location for a $90 million launch site.

The Federal Aviation Administration has licensed 17 spaceports in seven different states, and they all would welcome the SpaceX investment. Yet Georgia state …

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Digital Dollars

Moderated by Rick Badie
A half-day forum, “Georgia’s Digital Economy,” was hosted Monday by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and Google. A state education official and an Atlanta technology innovator participated in panel discussions. Today, they share their insights on the growing role of digital technology in our region’s economy and with virtual learning.

Atlanta is nation’s IT capital

By David Cummings

The digital economy is changing the world, and we’re just getting started. Companies are launched every day with just an idea and an Internet connection. Technology has affected nearly every area of business, and Georgia’s growth trajectory within the digital economy is very promising.

Georgia’s strong information security cluster has stood out for years. Our state continues to be among the top three in the U.S. for information security technology and is home to hundreds of such companies. More than 25 percent of the worldwide security revenue market share …

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Immigration reform: Pathway to citizenship?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory joined Roman Catholics around the nation in calling for an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws that would include a path to citizenship. Today, Gregory — who oversees an archdiocese that represents 69 North and Middle Georgia counties — explains that perspective. Meanwhile, a conservative activist who takes issue with that position.

Time for path to citizenship

By Wilton D. Gregory

Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Our country is facing many challenges at home and abroad. There are people in our midst, particularly vulnerable children, who we see suffering from lack of legal protections because of their immigration status.

Delaying and ignoring the real problems for political purposes has not brought solutions but only exacerbated the suffering of immigrant peoples and hurt our country at large. The Catholic bishops of the U.S. have long advocated for immigrants and …

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Tips: To insure promptitude

By Rick Badie
Does it bother you when restaurants automatically add a gratuity to your bill? Come Jan. 1, that may end at many establishments. An IRS ruling that takes effect in January will regard automatic tips as part of wages, which might lead to higher payroll taxes for businesses. In response, Darden Restaurants has nixed 18-percent tipping for large parties at nearly 100 restaurants and may disband the custom completely. Atlanta being a dining city, we explore the issue.

Tips are here to stay

By Todd Semrau

Working for tips has long been an American tradition. For those willing to put up with the long hours, tired feet and crazy cast of characters only found in restaurants, the shift-ending wad of cash was sometimes the only way to pay tuition or rent. But like many good things — early rock n’ roll and pre-cable college football come to mind — the practice of tipping seems to rest on precarious ground.

Mostly due to the Internal Revenue Service’s pending change …

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Shrinking wages and slow job creation

Moderated by Rick Badie
Today, we address economic pressure points that can stall consumer spending and job creation. A small-business advocate writes about the slowdown in hiring by Georgia businesses and why many are reluctant to add workers. Meanwhile, an economic forecaster says the Great Recession’s aftermath continues to constrain job growth and worker wages.

Wary business owners

By Kyle Jackson

Officially, the Great Recession lasted 18 months and ended four years ago, but we still haven’t gotten back to where we were before things went south.

One sign of that is the unemployment rate. The U.S. average was 7.4 percent in July — better than it was at the height of the recession, but well above the 4.4 percent jobless rate we had before the downturn. Things are worse in Georgia. Our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 8.8 percent.

Usually, small business plays a big role getting people back to work. It represents 99.7 percent of all employers and …

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Robust exports in Georgia

Moderated by Rick Badie
Georgia businesses are successfully exporting goods and services to the world, so much so they accounted for a state record in the first half of this year when compared to the same period in 2012. Merchandise exports increased 4 percent, from $17.8 billion to $18.5 billion. Today’s guest writers note the economic importance of the respectable gain.

Exporting is good for Georgia businesses

By Don Nay

When I left Atlanta at the end of 1990 to serve in Europe, Africa, Asia and Washington with the U.S. Commercial Service, the Braves had the worst record in baseball. Times have changed. Now, Georgia can boast about more than the Braves.

In addition to exporting our baseball prowess, the state also has come a long way in exporting our goods and services to the world. New data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that Georgia hit a record for exporting in the first half of 2013.  Merchandise exports increased 4 percent in the first half of 2013 …

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Atlanta’s economic (im)mobility

By Rick Badie

A recent study shows that many of Atlanta’s poor children, generally, stay poor. Those born into the bottom fifth of the income distribution ladder have a 4 percent chance of making it into the top fifth. Compare this to Salt Lake City, where the corresponding number sits at 11.5 percent, according to the Equality of Opportunity Project. Today’s guest writers, who find our region’s economic immobility unacceptable, weigh the issue. We also post an essay written by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Reduce economic immobility

By Michael Leo Owens

The American Dream is obscure for many of Atlanta’s poor. A recent economic study makes it plain.

The chances that a poor metro Atlanta child will eventually earn a higher income than his or her parents is slim. Bottom-to-top movement, generationally, is unlikelier in metro Atlanta than most places in (or beyond) the South, including metro areas that economically compete …

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