Archive for November, 2010

Is housing market stopping you from taking a job out of state?

The fallout from the sick housing market has been far and wide. It’s even affecting the job market, with many workers — both employed and unemployed — wary of taking jobs out of state.

That’s because they don’t think they can sell their house anytime soon.

Have you been affected by this?

Or are you willing to roll the dice, take the job and try to rent your home until you can sell it later?

In addition to commenting below, AJC reporter Michelle E. Shaw is doing a story about this dilemma. If you’re interested in participating, please contact her at mshaw@ajc.com. Thanks.

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Power Breakfast: Cousins Properties trims losses, plant closure, Deal transition, GE, Andy Warhol, Delta

This is the time to monitor the troubled commercial real estate sector to see if things are starting to turn around. Well, the answer appears to be a definitive maybe.

Atlanta-based Cousins Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, continues to narrow its losses as it comes out of the downturn, AJC staffer Rachel Tobin reports.

In the third quarter, the company posted a loss of $8.4 million, or 8 cents per share, on revenue of $52.5 million, Tobin writes. That compared to a year-earlier loss of $57.1 million, or 96 cents per share.

Funds from operations available to shareholders, a metric often used by real estate companies, were $886,000, or 1 cent per share, Tobin reports. That’s an improvement over the third quarter of 2009, when Cousins showed a loss of $41.9 million, or 71 cents per share.

“The third quarter results illustrate significant progress in our continued efforts to lease vacant space, sell non-core assets and generate additional fee …

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Has economy changed your funeral plans?

Rethinking family funerals in the wake of a weak economy?

AJC reporter Dan Chapman finds that the economy is prompting families to search for cheaper ways to bury loved ones — namely cremations.

At the same time, tombstone carvers in Elberton, coffin salesmen in Atlanta and cemetery managers in Rome are suffering the consequences, Chapman writes.

“Before, if you had a $25,000 insurance policy on Uncle Bob, you would spend every dime to make sure he had a good funeral and the biggest monument possible,” Doy Johnson, executive vice president of the Elberton Granite Association, told Chapman. “In today’s economy, when Uncle Bob passes away, chances are you’ll spend $750 on cremation and put the other $24,250 in the bank.”

Johnson estimates that headstone and monument sales are off about 15 percent since the recession started in late 2007, Chapman writes. Meanwhile, a generational shift toward cremation that was already underway is getting a boost.

Have you …

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Power Breakfast: Skills mismatch hits blue-collar jobs, state finances, Gwinnett grand jury, streetcar, Deal, Airbus, Citi

The “skills mismatch” that makes unemployment worse than it would otherwise be is affecting blue-collar fields, too.

Dennis Winslow, for example, offers the type of relatively well-paid job that should attract legions of jobless Georgians to his Kennesaw machine shop, AJC staffer Dan Chapman writes.

But Winslow can’t find enough skilled workers to mill, turn, grind or assemble the metal parts needed for quick delivery to the U.S. Air Force, NASA and Lockheed Martin, Chapman reports.

“There’s an old saying: ‘They’re just not making toolmakers anymore,” Winslow, who owns Win-Tech with 38 employees, told Chapman. “They’re retiring or leaving the industry and people are not stepping up. Trade schools aren’t popular. People don’t consider it a sexy business. There’s just a dearth of people in the skilled trades.”

Business owners, welders, fabricators and finishers attending the FABTECH Expo, which ended Thursday at the Georgia World Congress Center, …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Skills mismatch hits blue-collar jobs, state finances, Gwinnett grand jury, streetcar, Deal, Airbus, Citi »

What’s your take on stock market vs. job market?

Stock investors are doing well right now, but workers — not so well.

While Wall Street is setting yearly highs, the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in October, the labor department reported Friday.

There was, however, better than expected news, as nonfarm payrolls rose by 151,000 — considerably more than economists had been predicting.

Still, the job market remains in intensive care.

What do you make of the dichotomy between Wall Street and jobs?

Will the election change anything for the better? Or is gridlock — in the job market and in Washington — our immediate future?

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Have you ditched cable or satellite TV?

Cable companies have been losing TV subscribers at an ever faster rate in the last few months, and satellite TV isn’t picking up the slack, Associated Press is reporting.

That could be a sign that Internet TV services such as Netflix and Hulu are finally starting to entice people to cancel cable, though company executives are pointing to the weak economy, AP writes.

Have you ditched cable TV or satellite TV service?

Was it a financial decision?

Or do you just get more content delivered online?

If you have not ditched the service yet, are you thinking about it?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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Power Breakfast: Roaring stock market awaits jobless report, Ga. sales increasing, Delta, Coke, Toyota, Obama

I wonder what effect today’s jobless report is going to have on a zooming stock market.

Stocks indexes hit new yearly highs Thursday, a day after the Fed announced its massive $600 billion bond-buying plan, Associated Press reports. The Dow Jones industrial average soared more than 220 points, reaching another high for 2010. All three main stock indexes have now reached yearly highs this week.

After five straight days of gains, the Dow Jones industrial average returned to levels last seen in early September 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the worst days of the financial crisis, AP writes.

Whether the gains will continue Friday will largely depend on the national unemployment report due out this morning. Economists are expecting the rate to hold steady at 9.6 percent. Another month of weak  job growth also is expected.

In the AJC:

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Poll: Americans want cash for holidays — and they’ll get it

Give me money. That’s what many Americans said they want this holiday season, according to a new Consumer Reports poll.

What’s more, those wishes are likely to come true for many. Fifty-eight percent of those polled plan on giving cash as a gift this season, Consumer Reports said.

Aside from cold cash, Americans also cited electronics and gift cards as among the most desirable gifts to both give and get, Consumer Reports said.

The poll results come from telephone surveys of 2,033 Americans.

Here’s the breakdown of what Americans plan to give this holiday season:

– Clothing            68%

– Electronics        62%

– Gifts cards        62%

– Toys                 62%

– Cash                58%

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Poll: Americans want cash for holidays — and they’ll get it »

Power Breakfast: Delta flight attendants reject union, trauma centers, timber scheme, Fed, Airbus, Chick-fil-A

Delta Air Lines flight attendants narrowly voted against union representation, their third such declaration in nine years, AJC staffer Kelly Yamanouchi reports.

The National Mediation Board announced Wednesday that about 51 percent of votes cast were against unionization, following a months-long, contentious campaign, Yamanouchi writes.

“We have said all along that we believe our direct relationship works well for our people and our company,” Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said. “Our flight attendants have spoken and we are pleased that so many flight attendants agree.”

The Association of Flight Attendants accused Delta of interfering in a fair election and said it will seek a re-vote, Yamanouchi reports.

“The amount of intimidation that these flight attendants experienced was unprecedented,” AFA President Pat Friend said.

Also in the AJC:

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Announced job cuts rise in October, but down from last year

Employers throughout the country announced 2.2 percent more job cuts in October than September, but the total was 32 percent less than a year ago, according to a new data released Wednesday.

Downsizing announcements totaled 37,986 cuts in October, according to a report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

October marks the sixth month in the last seven in which fewer than 40,000 job cuts were announced, Challenger said.

It was the tenth consecutive month this year that saw fewer job cuts than the same period a year ago.

Overall, the pace of job cutting is down 62 percent from a year ago, Challenger said. Employers have announced 449,258 job cuts year to date, compared to 1,192,587 over the same period in 2009.

“Job cuts are the lowest they have been in a decade, due in part to a slowly improving economy, if not the fact that many employers have basically cut their workforces to the bare minimum,” John Challenger, CEO of the study firm, said in a statement. …

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