Archive for August, 2009

Power Breakfast: Recession over, Southwest loses, UPS, Coke

The recession is over, two Georgia economists declared yesterday. But you’re not going to relish the recovery.

“The recession ended in July and the recovery began this month,” Jeffrey Humphreys, director of economic forecasting at the University of Georgia’s business school, said Thursday at a real estate symposium, AJC reporter Gertha Coffee writes.

Roger Tutterow, professor of economics at Mercer University, agreed with Humphreys that the recession — which started in December 2007 — has ended. But he expects “several more months or even quarters of sluggish performance.”

In fact, unemployment will rise.

Humphreys forecasts 3 percent growth for the third quarter of 2009, dropping to 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The first quarter of next year will also post sluggish growth.

“Then, we will see acceleration when job growth picks up,” he said.

The financial problems were so serious that a quick recovery is just not in the cards.

Also in the AJC:

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Hartsfield sets monthly flight record despite recession

What recession?

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said today it set a new world record in July for monthly flight operations.

According to Federal Aviation Administration figures, Hartsfield-Jackson handled 88,408 flight operations between July 1 and 31.

Officials said Hartsfield also set a new single-day record on July 13, with 3,125 flight operations.

“As some other cities are seeing reduced flights, we are setting records based on our capacity, infrastructure and low operating costs,” Hartsfield General Manager Ben DeCosta said in a statement.

DeCosta attributed the airport’s ability to accommodate the flight increase to several factors, including a fifth runway added in 2006 and an end-around taxiway built in 2007.

Continue reading Hartsfield sets monthly flight record despite recession »

Good sign: Recession ends in Germany and France

The world is getting smaller. So the good news today that Germany and France had unexpected economic growth is a welcome development across the Atlantic. The world economies are more intertwined today than they ever have been before.

Germany and France both reported that they shed recession in the second quarter. Their economies grew at a 0.3 percent rate, figures released today show, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, those two large economies helped ease the recession in the 16 countries that use the euro.

Euro zone gross domestic product fell by only 0.1 percent in the second quarter from the previous three month period, the European Union said.

This news comes on the heels of the Federal Reserve in this country saying the worst is behind us.

Clearly, the U.S. and world economies are still in deep trouble, with unemployment expected to rise. But there are more positive signs lately than there have been since this global crisis began.

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Power Breakfast: Foreclosures rising, Delta, going green

The number of home foreclosures is still rising, despite other signs the economy is starting to improve.

Foreclosure filings were up 7 percent from June to July and 32 percent from the same month last year, RealtyTrac Inc. said today, according to the Associated Press.

Georgia was No. 7 in foreclosure notices, RealtyTrac said.

Nevada had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for the 31st-straight month. It was followed by California, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Idaho and Georgia.

Nationally, more than 360,000 households, or one in every 355 homes, received a foreclosure-related notice, AP said. That’s the highest monthly level since the foreclosure-listing firm began publishing the data more than four years ago.

In the AJC:

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Notice change in housing market?

Are you noticing a change in the real estate market lately?

The median sales price of a single-family home in metro Atlanta rose in the second quarter, according to a report today by the National Association of Realtors.

AJC reporter Michelle Shaw writes that the metro Atlanta median sales price was $121,400 in the second quarter of 2009, up 5 percent from $115,600 the previous quarter.

Still, the current median sales price is 23 percent lower than it was this time last year.

If you’re a buyer or seller, have you seen a change?

And you real estate agents, what are you seeing now?

Continue reading Notice change in housing market? »

What brand really gets to you?

Branding is key to a company’s success.

Lots of readers commented yesterday when we asked what you thought about Southwest Airline’s possible service in and out of Atlanta.

Lots of others readers commented recently when we asked about Chick-fil-A’s new spicy sandwich — a move the Atlanta-based chain had been studying for a long time.

Drinks like Coke and Mountain Dew often get similar responses.

Is there a particular brand that really gets to you — emotionally? Or a brand that you really need to lambast? Why?

Continue reading What brand really gets to you? »

Power Breakfast: Long lines, audits, Coke, Cousins, Madoff

It’s a sign of the times. Long lines.

They were prevalent during the Great Depression. And they have been growing during this Great Recession.

Thousands lined up outside the Georgia World Congress Center on Tuesday seeking relief from unaffordable mortgages during the last day of a “Save the Dream” mortgage restructuring tour, AJC reporter Alyse Knorr writes.

The tour, organized by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, was originally set to end in Atlanta on Monday. But Darren Duarte, spokesman for NACA, said the Atlanta stop was extended an extra day to meet the enormous demand for help.

The tour provides free same-day mortgage modifications for some of those who attend.

Foreclosures have been one of the key problems that continue to pound the housing sector and our economy. Relief sometimes comes after long lines.

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Women’s soccer is a risky move

Fitz Johnson appears to be a sharp Marietta entrepreneur who scored big when he sold his family’s defense contracting business to Lockheed Martin last year. Revenue for his Eagle Group International was in the $175 million range at the time.

So why would Johnson, still with all of his faculties at 45, decide to invest $2.5 million to bring women’s pro soccer back to Atlanta next year? The sport already failed once here, as did the league it was in.

Does Johnson have money to burn?

“No one can lose $2.5 million and live comfortably,” he said.

daughter Whitney, wife Debra, son Fitz Jr., and daughter Jordan.

Fitz Johnson (left) with his family: daughter Whitney, wife Debra, son Fitz Jr., and daughter Jordan.

But Johnson took the plunge, as many team owners do, for personal reasons that can overshadow financial ones. Those reasons begin with his twin daughters, Jordan and Whitney.

Ever since they were 4-year-olds, Johnson coached their soccer teams, witnessing firsthand how playing the sport contributed to their self-confidence and maturity. …

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Anxious to fly Southwest?

The dean of low-cost carriers, Southwest Airlines, may soon be flying in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson.

If Southwest Airlines succeeds in buying Frontier Airlines, it plans to take over all of Frontier’s markets, meaning it would finally touch down in Atlanta, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.

Southwest has never served Atlanta. But, wishful rumors of its impending arrival have floated around civic circles ever since it emerged as the leading no-frills discounter in the early 1990s, Yamanouchi writes.

Are you a Southwest fan? Do you look forward to flying the carrier if it buys Frontier?

Do you think it will make a difference in the competitive landscape here? In fares? In service?

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Power Breakfast: Civility rules, Southwest Air, college cuts

Health care is a hot issue, but Hotlanta showed its civil side during a town hall meeting last night.

Nearly 2,000 people acted like adults when they attended a health care forum at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston, report AJC staffers Craig Schneider and Marcus Garner.

Clearly, the reporters write, this was not a town hall event in which people were intimidated by screaming opponents — as they have been in other cities.

No matter your opinion on this major issue, it’s nice to see.

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Continue reading Power Breakfast: Civility rules, Southwest Air, college cuts »