Archive for January, 2013

Carter CEO: ‘Some investments are not good investments at any price’

There’s nothing like a recession, especially this last one, to teach a veteran real estate executive like Bob Peterson that life is full of curve balls. Peterson, CEO of the Carter commercial real estate firm, has been in the business for nearly four decades. But when the Great Recession hit, Atlanta-based Carter’s annual revenue headed south, from more than $40 million to about half that much.

Bob Peterson

Bob Peterson

Peterson, 61, ended up selling two of Carter’s four business operations in 2011 to focus on real estate investing and developing. The privately held company, with $15 million in revenue now, is investing in commercial properties, such as data centers and health care facilities, and developing a range of projects, from mixed-use urban centers to apartments and student housing.

During the housing crisis, Carter stumbled when it bought 271 foreclosed homes in a depressed area of southwest Atlanta. After paying dirt cheap prices for the houses, the company hoped to resell …

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Study: When male CEOs have 1st child, workers’ pay suffers

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Did you notice your paycheck got a little smaller after your boss had his first child? A group of researchers says your eyes probably are not playing tricks on you.

The Administrative Science Quarterly is reporting on a study that found male chief executive officers generally pay their employees less money after fathering a child but pays himself more, especially if the child is a male.

Three college researchers studied the salaries of 1.2 million people across 10,600 companies in Denmark from 1996 and 2006 to come up with the findings. In an ASQ abstract, Michael S. Dahl1 of Aalborg University in Denmark, Cristian L. Dezső of the University of Maryland and David Gaddis Ross of Columbia Business School said they conducted the study to see how the transition to fatherhood affects male CEOs’ values.

Male workers took a larger pay cut than women, although the drop overall was around .2 percent, the researchers say. The pay hikes the CEOs …

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Georgia’s jobless rate rises to 8.6 percent in December

Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to 8.6 percent in December from 8.5 percent in November, partly because of an increase in layoffs, the state labor department said Thursday.

“The unemployment rate ticked up slightly because of a combination of factors,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “We had a modest increase in new layoffs, along with a small job loss driven primarily by seasonal layoffs in education.”

Still, Butler added, “our economy has definitely improved in the past year.” In December 2011, the jobless rate was 9.4 percent.

But the job market remains challenging, with Georgia’s unemployment rate still considerably higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in Georgia increased by 7.4 percent from November to December. Most of the increase came in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, and administrative and support services. But the number of initial claims was down …

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Walmart to open mini-store on Georgia Tech campus

Walmart is going back to school in Atlanta.

The retailer plans to open a miniature version of its typical store on the Georgia Tech campus in the second quarter of this year, the company said.

It will be Walmart’s smallest store in the U.S.

The Walmart on Campus concept is a test format that focuses on pharmacy, basic grocery, health and beauty aids and general merchandise products, said Steven Restivo, senior director of community affairs for Walmart.

The Georgia Tech outlet will be 2,500 square feet. Walmart Neighborhood Markets average 40,000 square feet and Walmart Express stores average about 15,000 square feet.

Georgia Tech will be Walmart’s second college campus location. The first, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., opened in 2011.

In addition to the limited mix of goods that will be available at the store, Walmart will also offer check cashing and bill paying services.

“We have become more flexible in our approach, and at the end of the day …

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SEC No. 1 in spending on athletics, not on academics

The SEC is No. 1 again.

Not in football, but in how much its schools spend on athletes.

A USA Today story, drawing on work from the Delta Cost Project at the non-profit American Institutes for Research, which used federal and school data, shows median per capita spending on athletics at the Southeastern Conference’s public universities was $163,931 per athlete in 2010.

That total far eclipses the amount spent on each athlete at other conferences such as the Big 12, which came in second at $131,286. The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10, Pacific 10 and Big East were relative laggards in their spending on athletics among NCAA Division 1 programs.

On the flip side, spending per student for academic purposes at SEC schools was considerably less than it was at other conferences.

SEC schools spent $13,390 per student on academics in 2010, far below the $19,225 spent per student on academics at the Big 10. The SEC did edge out the Sun Belt Conference schools in academic spending, …

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Small businesses take bleak view of economy, government

More than one-half of U.S. small businesses have not hired in the last year, and two-thirds plan to keep the same number of employees in 2013, according to a survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Overall, the small business climate is bleak, the study indicates.

– 82 percent think the economy is on the wrong track.

– 54 percent expect the climate for small businesses to deteriorate in the next two years.

– 88 percent say they are looking for more certainty, not more assistance from Washington.

Among small businesses, 86 percent say regulations, rules and taxes will harm their business, and health care regulations are their prime concern in addition to labor rules and environmental laws.

Three in four small businesses expect the Affordable Health Care Act will increase their costs. Only 5 percent expect the law to make health care more affordable. Also, 71 percent said the act will end up making it harder for them to hire more workers.

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Andy Young recalls Martin Luther King Jr. assassination; discusses life’s lessons

There’s only one person with a resume like this in Atlanta. Make that America.

In his 80 years, Andy Young has been a pastor, civil rights leader, congressman, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Atlanta mayor, Atlanta Olympics leader and international business consultant. He’s not only been a witness to history, including the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., but he’s been an active participant in shaping it.

Andy Young

Andy Young

Young has spent his life dealing with domestic and international controversies, often using his negotiating or diplomatic skills to try to bridge the chasm between opposing sides. He shares a little of what he’s learned while experiencing the best and worst that human beings have to offer.

Q: What happened early in your life that helped shape your actions?

A: It’s the way I was raised. I was blessed in New Orleans. I grew up in the middle of a block where there was an Irish grocery store on one corner, an Italian bar on another …

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IRS to start processing tax returns Jan. 30

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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday it will begin processing individual income tax returns beginning Jan. 30.

The start of filing had been delayed while the agency reprogrammed computers and revised tax forms to reflect changes following legislation passed and signed into law Jan. 2 that avoided the so-called budgetary “fiscal cliff.” The original start of filing was expected to be Jan. 22.

The announcement means that the vast majority of tax filers — more than 120 million households — should be able to start filing tax returns, both electronically and paper, starting Jan 30, the IRS said in a statement.

The IRS said it will be able to accept tax returns affected by the late Alternative Minimum Tax patch as well as the three major “extender” provisions for people claiming the state and local sales tax deduction, higher education tuition and fees deduction and educator expenses deduction.

The remaining …

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Most stressful jobs: Is yours among them?

DeKalb County firefighter Shaun Kennedy. (John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

Steam rises from the head of DeKalb County firefighter Shaun Kennedy. (John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

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What do GIs, firefighters, airline pilots and, yes, public relations execs have in common? They are on the front line when it comes to stress on the job, according to a new workplace survey.

Military personnel, whose lives are always at risk whether in Afghanistan or on a base back home, and those responsible for them have the No. 1 and No. 2 most stressful jobs out there, according to CareerCast.com. In addition to risk, the group’s “jobs rated score” also takes into account travel, working in the public eye, physical demand and danger.

Which brings us to the third-most-stressful job, which is being a firefighter. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 81 on-duty fatalities in 2011 and 77 in 2012. Another study showed a high incidence of heart attacks among firefighter fatalities. Some would say the risk …

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Many Georgians coping with holiday shopping bills

Holiday spending sprees threatened to send some American households over their own fiscal cliff. One study done last November  found that shoppers expected to lay out an average of $854 for gifts during the season, a significant increase over 2011.

The question, as the bills come due, is how they will pay for their purchases. Many, it turns out, already have.

A survey from the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates found that two in three respondents said they have zero debt left over from their holiday spending, with a third saying they had saved throughout the year to cover the cost of gift giving.

Some of those who did carry holiday spending debt into the new year expect to eliminate it fairly quickly, with more than a quarter figuring to have paid their shopping bills within the first six months.

Still, the GCUA noted, “holiday debt remains a problem for many Georgians.” When asked how they plan to pay off their debt, one in three said they had no plan.

“To pay off existing …

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