Archive for December, 2011

Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 9.9 percent in November

Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in November from 10.2 percent in October — the largest one-month decline in 34 years, the state labor department said Thursday.

The increase of 22,400 jobs from October was broader than just holiday hiring, the labor department said.

“We had the best November since 2007 for retail hiring, while seeing gains in the financial and business sectors,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “These two sectors have been hit very hard by the recession. This is encouraging news.”

The number of jobs rose 0.6 percent to 3,838,700 in November. In addition to retail, financial and business services, there were more jobs in education and health care.

Despite those gains, Georgia had 19,900 fewer jobs than in November of last year, when the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, the labor department said. Economists often say the combination of fewer jobs and a lower unemployment rate — November 2011 vs. November 2010 — can …

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Horses at counter startle Starbucks

You don’t see this too often at Starbucks.

Customers sipping on lattes, Frappuccinos and other java favorites in Steamboat Springs, Colo., recently looked up to find three horses (with riders) at the counter.

The riders’ 10-hour rein of terror included stops at several bars and a Safeway grocery store to the astonishment of store employees and customers (see video).

When the three horsemen approached the Starbucks counter, “I looked at the riders and I told them ‘You have got to go. This violates every policy we have,’ ” an employee told The Steamboat Pilot newspaper.

Local authorities were not amused and used a stun gun on one of the riders when he refused to dismount, according to the Pilot.

Maybe it’s not that big a deal to ride horses in Colorado establishments. Only one of the riders was charged. Michael Joseph Miller is accused of suspicion of harassment, disorderly conduct, obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest.

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Delta expects profits to take off next year

Delta Air Lines’ stock got a boost earlier today after the Atlanta-based airline said it expects profits next year to be solid.

The largest carrier serving Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said it will also end this year with an $800 million profit. According to an Associated Press report, analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting adjusted net income of $977 million.

The stock closed Wednesday at $8.15, up 16 cents, or 2 percent. The stock reached as high as $8.35.

Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said even higher fuel prices won’t put a crimp in strong earnings expected next year, when the carrier is also expected to cut flying by 2 to 3 percent, which will help cut expenses. Higher fares also have prompted the carrier to raise its current quarterly operating margin outlook.

Delta is pouring a lot of money into its hubs  to remain competitive. In New York, it has launched an overhaul at JFK Airport and plans to expand operations at …

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Should phone ban include all U.S. drivers?

The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s time for all U.S. drivers to ditch the cell phone when they’re behind the wheel.

The federal agency, which can’t make drivers do so on its own, says there have been too many traffic accidents,  many of them fatal, that could have been prevented if drivers had only put the phone away instead of dialing or texting.

The NTSB wants Congress to ban all hands-free and hand-held phones in a move that would significantly exceed any existing state laws restricting texting and cell phone use behind the wheel, according to an Associated Press report.

Last year, Georgia made it illegal for anyone to read, type or send a text message while driving. And “driving” includes being stopped at red lights or awaiting an arrow in a turn lane. A violation can cost up to $100 for adults. Adults, however, can use the keypad to dial a phone number. Young drivers with provisional licenses are prohibited from all cellphone use …

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No gifts this year, kid. ‘Santa’

How much is that high-tech doggie in the window? Too much for many of Americans to afford this Christmas.

As a result, many families say their kids can expect a “No, no, no” instead of “Ho, ho, ho” when it comes to gift-giving this holiday.

One parent plans to write a note signed by Santa that says, “Hey, I couldn’t get by your house last night.”

While retailers have seen a sharp uptick in buying in the weeks leading up to Christmas, many Americans are too stretched to repeat the gift-giving of Christmases past.

They say it’s hard to justify the expense when you’re out of work, your savings have been depleted, you can hardly keep a roof over your head or food in the fridge, you’re unemployed, and your unemployment check is running out.

Are you forced to delay your gift-giving?

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Woman who pepper sprayed shoppers may sue Walmart after kids trampled on Black Friday

A woman who pepper sprayed at least 20 shoppers who attacked her two teenage children as she picked out X-Box video game consoles at a California Walmart on Black Friday might sue the store for not providing enough security.

Her son and daughter were punched, kicked and beaten, the attorney for the woman, Elizabeth Macias said, in a report from ABC News.

Earlier, Los Angeles County prosecutors decided there wasn’t enough evidence to indict her on felony charges. She could still face misdemeanor charges. The melee was videotaped.

“[The victims'] faces were red,” shopper John Lopez told ABC News Radio after the incident.  “This one guy was coming up to my wife going, ‘Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance!’”

Macias turned herself in to police but wouldn’t answer questions.

Mike Fesperman of the Los Angeles Police Department told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not saying it was right. It could have been a situation that she was in fear for her safety, that she would be …

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Son fakes mom’s death for time off

So, how far would you go to make up an excuse to get paid time off from your job?

Police say a Pennsylvania man advertised in a local newspaper that his mother had gone to the great beyond, according to an Associated Press report.

Brookville Police Chief Ken Dworek said Scott Bennett, 45, wrote up the obituary notice for The Jefferson Democrat because he didn’t want to get fired for taking time off. Bennett’s occupation wasn’t provided.

It wasn’t until relatives called the northwestern Pennsylvania newspaper to say Mom was very much alive, and to prove it, she showed up on the newspaper’s doorsteps.

The plot (no pun intended) landed Bennett in jail on a disorderly conduct charge.

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Jay-Z: Don’t mind paying more taxes

Hip-hop artist Jay-Z is the latest ultra rich businessman who has stepped forward to say he also wouldn’t mind paying more taxes – if there is a solid accounting of where the money is going.

In an interview with CNN, Jay-Z also said he thinks most people with “a conscience” and “integrity” wouldn’t have any problem paying more taxes if they went to helping people in areas such as health care and education.

“Me, personally, I wouldn’t mind paying more taxes if it went to the things that really mattered, if it went to education, to people in poverty,” Jay-Z told CNN. “If it went to the right things, I wouldn’t mind. It should be clearly defined where all the money is being allocated.”

The Obama administration is pushing for tax cuts that would be paid for with higher taxes on the rich.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, is echoing a sentiment expressed by billionaire Warren Buffett, who insists the rich should pay more taxes. Few other …

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Atlanta 3rd most mobile savvy shopping city

Atlanta is ranked by the Interactive Advertising Bureau at No. 3 in the nation for the most mobile savvy shoppers, with 63 percent owning a mobile device and 18 percent influenced by mobile coupons.

Houston and New York were tops, while Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth ranked just behind Atlanta.

This is big news for advertisers, according to the item at iab.net.

“Shopping falls high on the list of mobile-impacted behaviors,” it notes, with the number of mobile users visiting mobile shopping sites on their phones rising dramatically in the last year. Mobile shoppers tend to be younger, with higher than average incomes, making them all the more attractive.

As for what shoppers do with their mobile phones: 15.1 percent use them to find a store location; 9.8 percent use them to compare product prices; 9.5 percent look for coupons and deals; 9.1 percent research product features; 8 percent use them to check product availability at a specific store;  and 7.7 percent access …

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Atlanta ranked 2nd “most socially networked city”

Here in the ATL, we pride ourselves on being connected.

Now, a national magazine has affirmed our standing.

Men’s Health  ranks Atlanta as the second “most socially networked city” in the U.S., just behind Washington, D.C.

According to The Root, the magazine factored in Facebook and LinkedIn users per capita and overall Twitter usage. It also examined traffic generated by major social networks including Myspace, Friendster, Reddit and Digg. Then it calculated the percentage of households that check out chat rooms and blogs.

Here are the top five:

1. Washington D.C.

2. Atlanta

3. Denver

4. Minneapolis

5. Seattle

Here are the bottom five, or least socially networked:

1. Billings, Mont.

2. Fort Wayne, Ind.

3. Bridgeport, Conn.

4. Detroit

5. Fresno, Calif.

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