Archive for December, 2009

Labor commissioner to seek federal loan, hold jobs summit

Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will be seeking a federal loan to boost the state’s depleted unemployment insurance fund and also will call a special jobs summit for next month.

Thurmond, in an exclusive AJC interview today, said the jobs summit will bring together the “best minds from the public and private sectors to develop an economic growth and job creation strategy.”

Two weeks ago, a Biz Beat column asked Thurmond to call such a meeting.

Thurmond will hold a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. at the state Capitol to discuss details of the summit and his request for the federal loan.

After disbursing $1.6 billion so far this year in unemployment insurance, the state fund only has about $25 million left.

Thurmond also will release November’s unemployment figures Thursday. Economists expect it to stay above 10 percent.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Labor commissioner to seek federal loan, hold jobs summit »

Tiger Woods crisis sparks new ‘reputation risk insurance’ for sponsors

Where there’s a crisis, there’s a buck to be made.

In the wake of the Tiger Woods fiasco, DeWitt Stern, a century-old risk management firm in New York, will be offering “reputation risk insurance” to advertisers and other companies starting in the new year.

Sponsors paid Woods tens of millions of dollars a year to endorse their products.

“The Tiger Woods scandal shows how quickly reputations can become tarnished in today’s fast-paced media environment. All the planning in the world cannot protect a brand manager against the unforeseen,” LeConte Moore of DeWitt Stern said in a news release.

The new type of insurance “will compensate policy holders for both the cost of crisis remediation and actual loss of revenue following public relations crises,” the news release said.

What do you think of this idea?

If you’re a company exec, would you consider buying it?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Tiger Woods crisis sparks new ‘reputation risk insurance’ for sponsors »

Power Breakfast: Ga. joblessness to top 11%, progress in water talks, Delta, Georgia Power

Job growth in Georgia should resume in the middle of next year, according to the University of Georgia’s new economic forecast.

But the state’s unemployment rate will top 11 percent before it starts to decline as the slow recovery gains momentum, a UGA forecaster told Atlanta business leaders Tuesday at the Goergia World Congress Center.

AJC reporter Michael Kanell writes that the economy is expanding modestly and, by the time hiring starts to outpace layoffs, Georgia will have lost about 370,000 jobs — about 9 percent of the pre-recession total, said Robert Sumichrast, dean of UGA’s Terry College of Business.

“Our state will continue to suffer for its heavy exposure to real estate, which was the epicenter of this recession,” he told an audience of about 900 people.

Both locally and across the country, many businesses are burdened with tight credit, while consumers remain skittish, Kanell writes.

Yet a “double dip” – that is, a slip back into recession – is not …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Ga. joblessness to top 11%, progress in water talks, Delta, Georgia Power »

New WNBA owner has tough financial game to win

Atlanta was on the verge of losing its women’s pro basketball team four months ago. Ron Terwilliger was bailing out as the owner after only two seasons, and the WNBA was considering moving the money-losing franchise to Tulsa or disbanding it.

Kathy Betty

Kathy Betty

Up to the line stepped Kathy Betty, a woman who had been looking for a new purpose in life after losing her husband and both in-laws.

Garry Betty, the former CEO of Atlanta-based Earthlink whom she had been married to for 14 years, had succumbed to cancer. A businesswoman in her own right, Betty spent much of her career as a financial consultant before becoming a “caregiver” during the spate of family illnesses.

“I knew I wouldn’t retire and stay at home,” Betty, 53, said after getting her spirit back following the emotionally wrenching time.

What she didn’t know is that a proposition to buy the Atlanta Dream would fall into her lap.

The Atlanta committee charged with finding a local owner to replace Terwilliger …

Continue reading New WNBA owner has tough financial game to win »

Power Breakfast: Commercial real estate fallout growing, AT&T, Medicare, airline losses

The fallout from commercial real estate appears to be in full swing.

When foreclosure figures for metro Atlanta were released Monday, the proportion related to the commercial market increased, the data collector, Equity Depot, said. At the same time, the residential share of foreclosures fell, although it still accounts for most of the activity.

Now comes word that another local office tower has fallen on hard times, AJC reporter Gertha Coffee writes.

Tower Place 200 in Buckhead has been foreclosed on and sold for $32 million, according to Databank  Atlanta, a real estate research firm. The buyer was CW Capital, special servicer for the lender.

The former owner of the 259,888-square-foot high rise, Chicago-based Transwestern Investment Co., purchased the Class A office building in 2006 for $58 million, according to Databank.

The 14-story building, located at 3348 Peachtree Road, was built in 1999 and is one of four buildings in the Tower Place complex.

The building also is …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Commercial real estate fallout growing, AT&T, Medicare, airline losses »

Power Breakfast: Foreclosures rise in Atlanta, Biden-Perdue stimulus announcement, Zoo Atlanta, Dubai, Citigroup

There’s still no relief from foreclosures.

The picture worsened in metro Atlanta in December, as foreclosure notices rose nearly 10 percent over November and 77 percent compared with December of last year, according to new data from Equity Depot.

The previous annual record, set last year, was shattered as 117,107 foreclosure notices were published this year — an increase of 47 percent, Equity Depot said.

In December, a total of 10,341 foreclosure notices were published in a 13-county metro area — up 9.7 percent from November, according to Alpharetta-based Equity Depot.

Barry Bramlett of Equity Depot said relatively fewer residential properties are involved, while the proportion of commercial properties is rising.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Foreclosures rise in Atlanta, Biden-Perdue stimulus announcement, Zoo Atlanta, Dubai, Citigroup »

Atlanta foreclosures rise in December, set new annual record

The foreclosure picture worsened in metro Atlanta in December, rising nearly 10 percent over November and 77 percent compared with December of last year, according to new data from Equity Depot.

What’s more, the previous annual record, set last year, was shattered as 117,107 foreclosure notices were published this year — an increase of 47 percent, Equity Depot said.

“Maybe we’ve reached the apex, but it’s still unbelievable, in my opinion,” Barry Bramlett, president of Equity Depot, wrote in an e-mail.

In December, a total of 10,341 foreclosure notices were published in a 13-county metro area — up 9.7 percent from November, according to Alpharetta-based Equity Depot (www.equitydepot.net). The notices published this month are for public auctions scheduled for January 5.

Bramlett said relatively fewer residential properties are involved, while the proportion of commercial properties is rising. That includes hotels, motels, manufacturing sites and office space.

In December, …

Continue reading Atlanta foreclosures rise in December, set new annual record »

Ten hottest jobs for the next decade

The U.S. Labor Department just came out with its forecast for the hottest jobs of the next decade.

Here are the 10 fastest-growing jobs and the projected increase in employment from 2008-2018:

1. Biomedical engineers — 72 percent increase

2. Network systems and data communications analysts — 53.4 percent increase

3. Home health aides — 50 percent increase

4. Personal and home care aides — 46 percent increase

5. Financial examiners — 41.2 percent increase

6. Medical scientists — 40.4 percent increase

7. Physician assistants — 39 percent increase

8. Skin care specialists — 37.9 percent increase

9. Biochemists and biophysicists — 37.4 percent increase

10. Athletic trainers — 37 percent

Here’s the link to the top 30 fastest-growing jobs.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Ten hottest jobs for the next decade »

Power Breakfast: Ga. jobless fund running dry, NCR, solar power, Gwinnett budget, Coke

Georgia’s unemployment insurance fund is running dry and our labor commissioner will be asking for a federal loan soon to replenish it.

In two years, the state has paid roughly $2.6 billion to laid-off Georgians, AJC staffer Michael Kanell reports. That flood of checks has left the state’s trust fund nearly empty.

In the next week, state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will likely ask the federal government for a loan so the state can keep paying its share of the benefits, Kanell reports.

Roughly 269,000 Georgians now receive unemployment checks, more than half are funded by federal extensions. If those benefits are not again extended, an estimated 143,511 people in the state are going to be without benefits at year’s end, according to a study by the National Employment Law Project – a guess embraced by the Labor Department.

Meanwhile, nearly 73,000 laid-off workers placed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits, the state Labor Department reported …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Ga. jobless fund running dry, NCR, solar power, Gwinnett budget, Coke »

Renting instead of buying — new American Dream?

The Wall Street Journal has a very interesting trend story today about the new American Dream — renting.

A growing number of families who have defaulted on their mortgages are concluding that renting a home is a better idea than buying one, the WSJ says.

Some are leaving behind their homes and mortgages right away, while others are simply halting payments until the bank kicks them out. In either case, the WSJ reports, that’s freeing up cash for them to use in other ways.

The U.S. home-ownership rate had its biggest decline in more than two decades, falling to 67.6% as of September from a peak of 69.2% in 2004, the WSJ reports. And more renters are on the way, the paper says.

Meanwhile, in another slap at home ownership, the AJC has been reporting in a special series that homeowners across metro Atlanta are victims of appraisals that are way out of line, given the collapse of the housing market.

So, what say you? Will renting become the new dream for many in the future? Is it …

Continue reading Renting instead of buying — new American Dream? »