Archive for June, 2011

Help available Friday and Saturday for avoiding foreclosure

With foreclosures still at abnormally high levels in metro Atlanta, here’s an event that might help some homeowners at risk of losing their houses.

A free “Help for Homeowners” event on Friday and Saturday will give homeowners a chance to meet with their mortgage company and a government-approved counseling agency to try to work out a solution and avoid foreclosure.

The event is being sponsored by the federal government’s Making Home Affordable Program, HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks America.

It will take place at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

On Friday, help will be available from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on the government’s program, including what documents to bring, please go to the link provided here.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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Power Breakfast: Georgia jobs program plagued with problems, Atlanta pensions, ethics, Roark, Greece, Facebook

This is not what you want to hear about a jobs program that’s supposed to be helping people.

Delays, slipshod vetting, confusion and waste plagued Georgia’s handling of $23 million in federal stimulus grants designed to put unemployed Georgians back to work, AJC writer Katie Leslie reports, citing a new state audit.

Georgia’s Department of Human Services didn’t adequately vet nearly two-thirds of the companies that received money and nearly a quarter of the individuals who were hired through the Adult Subsidized Employment Program, the audit found. More than $400,000 went to buy computer equipment, much of which wasn’t used, Leslie writes.

The first workers weren’t placed until a year after the money became available, and the program ended before Georgia had spent all its funds, Leslie reports.

Finally, DHS put more participants to work in its own operations than in any private company, Leslie writes.

DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese, who joined the department in January …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Georgia jobs program plagued with problems, Atlanta pensions, ethics, Roark, Greece, Facebook »

Help on avoiding foreclosure available Friday and Saturday

With foreclosures still at abnormally high levels in metro Atlanta, here’s an event that might help some homeowners at risk of losing their houses.

A free “Help for Homeowners” event on Friday and Saturday will give homeowners a chance to meet with their mortgage company and a government-approved counseling agency to try to work out a solution and avoid foreclosure.

The event is being sponsored by the federal government’s Making Home Affordable Program, HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks America.

It will take place at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

On Friday, help will be available from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on the government’s program, including what documents to bring, please go to the link provided here.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Help on avoiding foreclosure available Friday and Saturday »

Power Breakfast: Alpharetta gaining corporate headquarters, Georgia jobless rate, storms, immigration, Beazer

Let’s start with the good news on the jobs front.

Information technology company Agilysys is moving its corporate headquarters to Alpharetta and could bring about 100 jobs to the area, AJC writer Leon Stafford reports.

The company, which is based in Cleveland, creates enterprise software and services for hospitals and the retail industry, Stafford writes. The majority of its customers are in the United States, but it has support offices in England, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The move is part of a restructuring effort, Stafford writes. Relocating to Georgia will help Agilysis save money by reducing its space needs and put it closer to its other operations.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8 percent from April to May, the state labor department said Thursday.

The state’s jobless rate was 10 percent in May 2010.

This May marked the 46th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Alpharetta gaining corporate headquarters, Georgia jobless rate, storms, immigration, Beazer »

Georgia jobless rate remains unchanged at 9.8 percent in May

Georgia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8 percent from April to May, the state labor department said Thursday. The April rate has been revised from a preliminary 9.9 percent.

The state’s jobless rate was 10 percent in May 2010.

This May marked the 46th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, the state labor department said.

“Our state’s jobless rate has been declining slightly for the past six months,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “More businesses are slowly beginning to expand their workforce, illustrating a gradual increase of confidence in the economy.”

The number of payroll jobs increased slightly from April to May — 0.1 percent — to 3,834,500, the labor department said. Most of the new jobs were in leisure and hospitality, with smaller increases in retail trade, health care, manufacturing and construction.

But, there were 28,300 — 0.7 percent — fewer jobs …

Continue reading Georgia jobless rate remains unchanged at 9.8 percent in May »

More American workers taking time off to care for aging parents

The percentage of Americans who provide care for their aging parents has tripled since 1994, according to a new study.

What’s more, caregivers lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pension and Social Security benefits when they take time off  from work to help their aging parents, the study said.

The research was conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy at New York Medical College — all long-term care advocates. Still, they analyzed data from the National Health and Retirement Study done by the University of Michigan, and it appears newsworthy.

The study said that average losses equal $324,044 for women caregivers and $283,716 for men.

“Nearly 10 million adult children over the age of 50 care for their aging parents,” Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, said in a statement. “As the percentage of employees who are caregivers continues to …

Continue reading More American workers taking time off to care for aging parents »

Power Breakfast: Grady cutting more jobs, DeKalb tax hike, farm labor shortage, AT&T-T-Mobile deal, Atlanta schools

Following layoffs and the shutdown of two neighborhood clinics earlier this year, Grady Memorial Hospital is cutting an additional 120 jobs as it faces a $17 million budget shortfall in just the first four months of 2011, AJC reporter Misty Williams writes.

The cuts represent roughly 2 percent of Grady’s workforce and will include some nurses, spokesman Matt Gove said. They are part of a spate of cost-saving measures, including cutting back on overtime, improving cash collections and reducing patients’ length of stay, Williams reports. No services or programs will be reduced, Gove said.

“We’re at a point where decisions have to be made to ensure Grady’s doors will stay open,” said Thomas Dortch, a Grady corporate board member and chairman of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority board of trustees.

The move follows other recent cutbacks as Grady has tried to bridge a $20 million cut in local and federal dollars to care for the poor and uninsured, among …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Grady cutting more jobs, DeKalb tax hike, farm labor shortage, AT&T-T-Mobile deal, Atlanta schools »

Creating jobs depends on improving metro transportation

There’s only one way to look at transportation, says Chris Cummiskey, chief of the Georgia Economic Development Department. Does it help or hinder job creation?

Chris Cummiskey

Chris Cummiskey

On the positive side, he said, Hartsfield-Jackson and the Savannah-Brunswick ports help enormously when he tries to woo companies here.

On the negative side, well, you know. You live it everyday. Traffic congestion in metro Atlanta is a considerable hurdle to overcome when he talks with prospects. That’s why he thinks it’s critical for voters to approve next year’s transportation referendum on a 1 percent sales tax to fund about $8 billion in projects in metro Atlanta.

“Unemployment is too high in Georgia,” said Cummiskey, 36, who was named to his post by Gov. Nathan Deal six months ago. “The referendum has everything to do with economic development — gaining jobs. It’s integral to the economic future of Georgia.”

That future depends on how Georgia plays its cards in the increasingly …

Continue reading Creating jobs depends on improving metro transportation »

Power Breakfast: Delta tops in baggage fees, more metro jobs forecast, Wendy’s/Arby’s, Atlanta schools, 401(k)s

Delta Air Lines collected the most baggage fees of any U.S. airline in 2010, AJC writer Kelly Yamanouchi reports, citing federal data.

Delta collected $952 million in baggage fees last year, far more than any other U.S. airline, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Yamanouchi writes. That’s also nearly double the baggage fees Delta collected in 2009.

Atlanta-based Delta has increased its baggage fees over time and currently charges $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second checked bag on domestic flights, Yamanouchi reports.

American Airlines, in the No. 2 spot, collected nearly $581 million in baggage fees last year, followed by US Airways at about $514 million, Yamanouchi writes.

Continental collected $342 million in baggage fees last year, while United collected $313 million, Yamanouchi reports. United and Continental merged last year to become the world’s largest airline, surpassing Delta. But even combined, the total amount United …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Delta tops in baggage fees, more metro jobs forecast, Wendy’s/Arby’s, Atlanta schools, 401(k)s »

Improved hiring expected for metro Atlanta in third quarter

I hope they follow through.

Metro Atlanta employers plan to hire at a strong pace in the third quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released Tuesday.

Twenty-two percent of the metro companies interviewed expect to hire more employees from July to September, while 6 percent plan to cut staff, Manpower said. Another 70 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels and 2 percent are not certain of their hiring plans.

This yields a Net Employment Outlook of 16 percent (planned increases minus decreases), Manpower said. That’s up from 11 percent in the second quarter and 8 percent a year ago.

Job prospects appear better in many industries, Manpower said, including construction, manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.

The third-quarter results for metro Atlanta were slightly better than statewide.

Twenty-one percent of …

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