Archive for July, 2009

Peachtree Street: Best or worst of times?

Is the glass on Peachtree Street half-empty or half-full?

AJC reporter Rachel Tobin Ramos wrote a story about all the canceled projects along the Peachtree corridor — enough to build quite a mini-city.

But, for anyone who has been here over the past decade, Peachtree Street has seen an enormous amount of development. All of those mixed-used projects have transformed the area like it never was before.

Which side do you come down on? All the progress so far? Or all the opportunity lost going forward?

Continue reading Peachtree Street: Best or worst of times? »

Credit question?

If you have a question for credit expert Suzanne Boas, please go to this link and add it to the ones already there.

On Tuesday, I’m scheduled to interview Boas for a future column. She has been president of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta for the past 17 years.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to ask all of your questions, but I will try to ask as many key ones as possible.

Continue reading Credit question? »

Power Breakfast: Development bust, Delta, Ted Turner

In case you missed them, there were several strong articles in Sunday’s paper, from all the development projects that have been canceled in metro Atlanta, to how smaller banks got into trouble by joining with bigger ones in loan programs that went sour.

There was also an interesting story on how consumers got into trouble when a car dealer did not pay off the balance on their trade-in vehicle. And another one on Delta retrenching from its international growth plan, at least for now.

Finally, there’s an update on our favorite billionaire, Ted Turner.

In the AJC:

In other media:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Development bust, Delta, Ted Turner »

Atlanta is last in per capita income growth

We’re No. 25. Who would’ve thunk it?

A new study done for the Metro Atlanta Chamber reveals that Atlanta’s per capita income growth was 2.6 percent annually from 1998 to 2007 — last among the 25 largest metro areas.

The study conducted by Bain & Co., put Atlanta behind Detroit, which had annual income growth of 2.9 percent.

“We have not created enough new jobs, and the jobs we’ve created are fairly low paid,” Alan Colberg of Bain’s Atlanta office told AJC reporter Dan Chapman.

I know we’ve lost some high-paying airline pilot jobs, but I never would have predicted last place for Atlanta.

San Diego, which ranked first, had annual income growth of 5.2 percent — double Atlanta’s. Rounding out the top five were San Francisco, Houston, Baltimore and Boston.

Could it be that too much of our growth has come from lower-paying, service sector jobs connected with shopping centers, fast food joints and hotels? What do you think?

Continue reading Atlanta is last in per capita income growth »

Poll: Which niche will work best?

My colleague Andre Jackson summed up the local chamber’s “New Economy” game plan quite simply: “The riches are in the niches.”

Which segment of the economy provides the most promise for Atlanta?

  • Supply chain/Logistics
  • Technology
  • Health/Bioscience
  • Business services (engineering, design, marketing)

View Results

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Coming out of this recession, our area will be best positioned to grow by recruiting companies from four segments of the economy, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Of these sectors, which one do you think provides the most opportunity?

Even these four segments need to be further broken down into smaller niches, so corporate recruiters can be more effective.

For example, the supply chain segment includes transportation support, high growth wholesale, warehousing and storage, and air and rail transportation.

Technology includes software, wireless telecom, data management and Internet content.

Health includes global health and …

Continue reading Poll: Which niche will work best? »

Power Breakfast: Ponzi schemes and religion, Delta pilots

Ponzi schemers often rely on some connection with their victims to ply their trade. And religion seems to be a popular one.

Bernie Madoff targeted Jews. Now, comes word that a Peachtree City company sought out Christians.

Eldon A. Gresham has been charged with running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, AJC reporter Larry Hartstein writes.

Starting in 2004, the agency said, he solicited more than $15 million by promising high returns. He said he was offering his program to “a limited number of Christians for a limited time,” the agency said.

But at most, according to the commission, Gresham deposited just over $2 million.

It’s important for investors to be careful with their money, especially in times like these. Experts constantly advise consumers to put personal feelings aside when investing.

Experts also deliver one other key message before investors should consider parting with any money: DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Ponzi schemes and religion, Delta pilots »

Do you have a credit question?

I’m sitting down with personal finance expert Suzanne Boas next week to do a column.

If you have a question for her, please post it on this blog. I cannot promise I will be able to ask all of your questions, but I will try to deal with as many key ones as possible.

For 17 years, Boas has been president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, a nonprofit agency that provides debt, bankruptcy and housing counseling. She has grown the agency from a 35-employee organization focused on in-person budget and credit counseling in metro Atlanta to more than 500 employees providing a wide range of credit counseling services in all 50 states.

Continue reading Do you have a credit question? »

Bad economic news outweighs the good

One major step backward today. Two tiny half-steps forward.

The number of foreclosures rose 15 percent across the country in the first half of the year.

The foreclosure crisis affected more than 1.5 million homes over the past six months, according to a report released Thursday by foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc.

The Associated Press story about the report says experts don’t expect foreclosures to peak until the middle of next year.

Meanwhile, the government reported that initial jobless claims fell last week to the lowest level since early January.

But the Associated Press reported that a department analyst said the drop in new claims didn’t reflect improvements in economic conditions. The second straight weekly decline was due to problems adjusting layoffs for temporary shutdowns at General Motors and Chrysler plants to retool for new models.

On the earnings front, JPMorgan Chase reported a $2.7 billion quarterly profit. It’s the second major financial …

Continue reading Bad economic news outweighs the good »

Power Breakfast: Health care, DOT, MLK papers, Hartsfield

So much for bipartisanship.

Even though President Obama stressed its importance, the Democrats and Republicans remain divided over health care reform.

The latest example, discussed in a New York Times article, is the approval of a reform bill by a Senate committee that split along party lines.

There are few issues more important and complex than health care. But if Congress continues to divide along party lines, the chances for real reform diminish.

In the AJC:

In other media:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Health care, DOT, MLK papers, Hartsfield »

Speak out: More government involvement on unemployment?

I know many Georgians are tired of government intervention in the economy. Readers of this blog have said so many times.

At the same time, there is a record number of Georgians unemployed right now. About 230,000 of them receive no state or federal unemployment benefits.

In light of those conflicting facts, what do you think of what Michael Thurmond, state labor commissioner, said today:

“Georgia leaders should develop a bi-partisan recovery plan that focuses on three critical elements: protecting vulnerable citizens, including children, the elderly, and the sick; preserving our health, safety, and educational institutions; and encouraging economic development investments that promote job creation and future prosperity.”

Should the government become more involved or not?

Continue reading Speak out: More government involvement on unemployment? »