Archive for December, 2012

Retailer H&M wants your old clothes (next year)

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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Hennes & Mauritz, the Swedish fashion retailer with H&M stores in Atlantic Station and Cumberland Mall in metro Atlanta, is launching a clothing recycling drive next year.

Beginning February 2013, customers will be able to bring in used garments to H&M stores in all 48 markets, the company said. Any pieces of clothing, from any brand and in any condition will be accepted. In return, the customer will receive a voucher for each bag of clothing brought in. More specifics about the voucher program were not provided.

“We want to do good for the environment, which is why we are now offering our customers a convenient solution: to be able to leave their worn out or defective garments with H&M,“ said CEO Karl-Johan Persson.

The global recycling company I:Collect will sort the clothing in Germany and the material will either be reused for new clothing, rags, insulation or for other uses.

H&M, which says 95 percent of the …

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Jobless rate falls, but fewer jobs added

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Good news or bad news on the jobs front, depending on your perspective.

The U.S. added 146,000 jobs in November, more than the 93,000 expected, and the jobless rate fell to  7.7 percent,  its lowest mark since December of 2008, the government said Friday.

But the Labor Department also said 49,000 fewer jobs were added in October and September than had been initially estimated.

The jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent in November from 7.9 percent in October mainly because some people weren’t counted as unemployed because they stopped looking for work.

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Apple bringing manufacturing jobs to U.S.

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Ask almost anyone where he or she thinks “the engine” of Apple’s iPhone and iPad is produced and the answer is likely to be some far-flung Asian country – like China.

Not so, says Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, now in his second year as head of the smartphone and tablet innovator after taking over following the October 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

“It’s not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the U.S., and many of these are also exported—the engine, the processor,” Cook reveals in a wide-ranging Q&A with Bloomberg News.

Not only does Apple produce its processors in Texas, but the glass for the IPhone and IPad is made in Kentucky. The final product, however, is assembled in China, as the back case of the iPhone indicates.

An even bigger revelation is that Apple plans to bring some of its overseas manufacturing jobs to the U.S. next year, Cook said.

“[Next] year we are going to bring some production …

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Study: Gays, lesbians in better financial shape

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

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A new study on the financial health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community finds that, as a group and compared with the general U.S. population, it has higher median and household incomes, better pay parity between men and women, higher employment and more spending money.

The study, “The LGBT Financial Experience,”was conducted by Prudential, which surveyed 1,401 LGBT individuals across the country aged 25 to 68 in August.

Prudential, which along with other financial services providers clearly sees the LGBT community as a growing market, says it conducted the “baseline study” to gauge the group’s financial prowess amid the country’s economic challenges.

“The research findings are eye opening and dispel common perceptions. While we found people to be largely optimistic about the future, the LGBT community, like most Americans, was affected by the recession and is very concerned about …

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Gun-packing Atlanta air travelers land in jail

(Curtis Compton,

(Curtis Compton,

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Monday was a busy day for Transportation Security Administration agents on the lookout for weapons at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Within a two-hour period, agents confiscated three guns from travelers and police arrested them, , according to Channel 2 Action News.

So far this year, TSA agents have confiscated 87 guns at the airport, one of the busiest in the nation. By comparison, 69 guns were taken from travelers last year at Hartsfield-Jackson.

According to the TSA website:

Travelers may only transport unloaded firearms in a locked, hard-sided container in or as checked baggage. All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

Sheryl Rexrode was arrested around 10:45 a.m. Monday after agents discovered a .380-caliber handgun in her carry-on. An hour later, Derek Morgan was arrested after he was found with a …

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We’re leaving more vacation days on the table

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With the end of the year quickly approaching, many



workers are wondering whether they’ll get to use the vacation days they have left before losing them. While some companies allow workers to carry vacation days over into a new year, many have a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy.

According to an annual Harris Interactive “Vacation Deprivation” global online survey, quite a few workers are refusing to take the time they have accrued because of their workload and their fear of being replaced if job cuts are needed during the business slowdown that normally follows the holiday season.

The survey for Expedia, the online travel service, found that the No. 1 reason workers gave for not taking the time they earned is “fear of being replaced,” followed by No. 2 “too much work.”

The study found that Americans earned 12 vacation days on average this year, two fewer than last year.  We also  earn fewer vacation …

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Most workers say they’re looking for new jobs

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For the fourth year in a row, a large majority of workers say they intend to look for a new job,  a poll of more than 700 U.S. employees done by a unit of  ManpowerGroup shows.

Of those polled, 86 percent said they plan to actively look for a new position in 2013. Another 8 percent said they may do so and are already networking. Only 5 percent intend to stay in their current position. The findings have been similar the last two years.

“At a minimum, the survey findings are a sign of considerable job dissatisfaction throughout North America,” said Owen J. Sullivan, President of ManpowerGroup Specialty Brands and CEO of Right Management, a workforce consultancy inside ManpowerGroup.

“The constant drumbeat of downsizing coupled with the expectation to do more with less has put an added amount of stress on workers,” he said. “Ongoing economic uncertainty and volatility around job growth and job security have warranted the exploration of new …

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Georgia factory activity slowed in November

U.S. manufacturing activity last month hit a three-year low, and factories in Georgia slowed down, too.

Culprits: Superstorm Sandy and the fiscal cliff.

The decline, while not a surprise, was more severe than expected. Nationally, the Purchasing Manager’s Index, based on a survey of manufacturers, fell to 49.5, the lowest since July 2009. A score below 50 indicates contraction.

In Georgia, the index fell to 46.4 in November, down 5.3 points from October. Most of the underlying components of the index declined, including new orders, production and employment.

State factory activity improved in September after declining for four consecutive months through August, then turned down in October.

Don Sabbarese, director of the Econometric Center at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State, said, “We believe this sharp drop can be attributed to the negative effect of … Sandy in the northeast and the uncertainty of Washington’s handling of the fiscal cliff. Until Washington …

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Older metro Atlantans feeling less secure than peers elsewhere

Metro Atlantans age 55 and older are more likely than their peers in seven other major U.S. metro areas to say they feel less financially secure than they did one year ago, a new survey from AIG Life and Retirement found.

This year, 61 percent of people in metro Atlanta who were surveyed said they’re feeling less secure, compared to 54 percent nationwide.

Only one in five metro Atlantans surveyed said they are prepared to be financially independent during retirement, while 55 percent they feel less prepared to retire than they did last last year.

The survey was done by AIG with Age Wave, a company specializing in generational issues. More than 3,400 Americans were surveyed.

The study determined that, overall, Americans age 55 and older are more cautious than they were before. Their caution hasn’t slipped despite a gradually improving economy, and they’re focused on spending less, investing cautiously and  trimming debt.

Among metro Atlantans, 62 percent said they are …

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CDC director: ‘Hire people who you trust and then trust them’

From TB epidemics to the flu pandemic in 2009 and the recent fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 36 people in the United States, Dr. Thomas Frieden has dealt with public health crises for more than two decades. As director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for nearly four years, Frieden has led an Atlanta-based organization with an $11 billion budget and 11,000 employees who work in 50 nations to identify and control epidemics, as well as to promote healthy behaviors.

Dr. Thomas Frieden

Dr. Thomas Frieden

Prior to leading the CDC, Frieden, 51, was New York City’s health commissioner. Known for his expertise in controlling tuberculosis and as an anti-smoking advocate, he began his public health career with the CDC in 1990. He first worked in New York and then spent five years in India battling TB. He talks about his experience there, as well the best ways to manage a crisis, regardless of what it is.

Q: What’s the best advice you received from your father, a …

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