Posted tagged ‘Economy’

$4 Gas a Reality for Many Americans

March 28, 2012

$4/gallon for gas? If only I could get it that cheap!!! I paid $4.59 just this morning in the Silicon Valley…

Sadly, the price of an average gallon of regular gas surpassed the $3.90 mark yesterday, which has the price of gas within 10 cents of the $4 threshold. Crazy!

From CNN Money:

The current price compares to just below $3.70 a month ago, and just below $3.59 a year ago.

Gasoline averages more than $4 a gallon in 10 states and the District of Columbia. At $4.55 a gallon, Hawaii has the nation’s highest pump price.

Prices are less than a nickel away from $4 a gallon in Nevada and Wisconsin.

Wyoming has the nation’s lowest gas prices, averaging nearly $3.51 a gallon.

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Ford Posts Profit of Nearly $1 Billion

November 2, 2009

Ford, the only automaker to dodge direct government aid and bankruptcy court, surprised investors this morning with a net income of nearly $1 billion in the third quarter.

Where did that come from???

From the Associated Press:

The automaker said Monday earnings were fueled by U.S. market share gains, cost cuts and the Cash for Clunkers program, which drew flocks of buyers to showrooms this summer. Ford’s shares rose 68 cents, or 9.8 percent, to $7.68 in morning trading.

The latest results signal that Ford’s turnaround is on more solid ground. The company lost more than $14.6 billion last year and hasn’t posted a full-year profit since 2005. While it made a profit in the second quarter, that was mainly due to debt reductions that cut its interest payments.

Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., reported third-quarter net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share. Its profit forecast for 2011 was a step above previous guidance of break-even or better for the year.

Ford’s key North American car and truck division posted a pretax profit of $357 million, the division’s first quarter in the black since early 2005. Ford cited higher pricing, lower material costs and increased market share for the improvement.

Excluding one-time items, Ford earned 26 cents per share, blowing away analysts’ expectations of a loss of 12 cents.

The earnings came despite an $800 million revenue drop. But Ford said it cut costs by $1 billion during the quarter, accomplished through layoffs in North America and Europe, reduced pension and retiree health care costs and improvements in productivity and product development.

Wall Street Journal Closes Boston Office

October 29, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has announced that it will close its Boston bureau to save money and that the publication will shift its coverage of the mutual fund industry to its money and investing reporting team.

From Reuters:

“The economic background is painfully obvious to us all,” Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson told the paper’s employees in a memo. “That there has been truly great reporting… out of Boston over many, many years is not in doubt. But we remain in the midst of a profound downturn in advertising revenue and thus must think the unthinkable.”

News Corp, which owns the Journal, will keep sister news organizations Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch in Boston, the memo said. An investigative reporting operation for the Journal will remain too, Thomson said.

Nine bureau reporters at the Journal would have to apply for other jobs, the memo said.

A Journal spokesman declined to say how much money the closure will save. There are no plans to close other U.S. or international bureaus, Thomson wrote.

New York Times to Layoff 100

October 19, 2009

The New York Times said today that the publication will cut 100 newsroom jobs and an unspecified number elsewhere amid industry wide declines in revenue.

Another tough hit due to these difficult economic times!

From the Associated Press:

The Times will offer voluntary buyouts at first but will resort to layoffs if it cannot meet the targets.

“I hope that won’t happen, but it might,” Executive Editor Bill Keller wrote in a memo to staff.

The Times, flagship of The New York Times Co., cut its newsroom work force by 100 positions last year mostly through buyouts, but Keller said then that the newspaper had to make a “relatively small” number of involuntary cuts to meet that target.

Even with the latest cuts, amounting to 8 percent of the newsroom staff, the Times has the largest news-gathering staff of any U.S. newspaper. The cuts would leave the newsroom with about 1,150 reporters and editors.

The Times already trimmed about 100 positions from its business operations this spring and plans additional cuts. The newspaper would not say how many. The business side now employs about 1,850.

The newspaper has so far avoided the deep newsroom cutbacks that have become a regular occurrence at America’s big-city dailies.

Gawker has the full memo that was distributed by Bill Keller. Here is a sample:

“Colleagues,

I had planned to invite you to the newsroom and break this news in person today, but I’ve been hit by something that seems to be the flu. Though I strongly believe in delivering bad news in person, I don’t want to add insult to injury by spreading infection.

Let me cut to the chase: We have been told to reduce the newsroom by 100 positions between now and the end of the year.

We hope to accomplish this by offering voluntary buyouts. On Thursday, the Company will be sending buyout offers to everyone in the newsroom. Getting a buyout package does NOT mean we want you to leave. It is simply easier to send the envelopes to everyone. If you think a buyout may be right for you, you have up to 45 days to decide whether you will accept it or not.

As before, if we do not reach 100 positions through buyouts, we will be forced to go to layoffs. I hope that won’t happen, but it might.

Our colleagues in editorial and op-ed, and on the business side, also face another round of budget cuts.”

WSJ: Burgerville’s Health-Care Recipe

August 31, 2009

A great article in today’s Wall Street Journal, written by Sarah Needleman, featuring client Burgerville and their affordable employee health care program.

If you don’t believe that a fast food, quick serve or fast casual restaurant chain can provide their employees with affordable health care, you will be pleasantly surprised!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Four years ago, executives of Burgerville, a regional restaurant chain, agreed to pay at least 90% of health-care premiums for hourly employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Today, the executives say the unusual move has saved money by cutting turnover, boosting sales and improving productivity.

Burgerville’s experience is notable for the food-service industry, where turnover is high and fewer than half of chains offer health insurance for part-time hourly employees, according to People Report, a research firm. The chains that do offer benefits pay on average 49% of the cost for employees working at least 30 hours a week, People Report says.

Burgerville’s initiative “not only improves quality of service but it saves money by not having to replace staff as frequently,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., a Chicago consulting and research firm for the food industry.

Burgerville, a 39-restaurant chain based in Vancouver, Wash., and owned by closely held Holland Inc., has long followed a distinctive path. It offers hormone-free meat, uses wind energy to power its stores and prints nutritional information on its receipts.

Under Burgerville’s plan, individual hourly workers can enroll in a health-maintenance organization for $15 a month, with no deductible. A worker and spouse pay $30 monthly; family plans cost $90. Salaried employees, whose plans didn’t change significantly, pay $84 a month for individual and $240 monthly for family coverage, and have an annual deductible of $500.

Executives say the plan paid for itself, and more. Turnover in 2006 plunged to 54%, from 128% in 2005. That’s a big deal when it costs an average of $1,700 to replace and train a restaurant worker, according to People Report.

Shots Fired…In My Driveway

August 15, 2009

Well, usually I get to pass along the stories I read about, whether it be Casey and Caylee Anthony, the economy, or just something funny, to each of you.

Tonight, I got to be part of a story.

We just walked home from my in laws house here in San Jose, California, and took the kids inside to get ready for bed. As we were brushing the kids teeth, all of a sudden four shots rang out. It turns out that  a man and a woman were running from a shooter and the four shots were fired from our driveway! The police arrived less than ten minutes later and found two bullets in an SVU in front of our house, a shell casing in the neighbors yard, and a casing in our driveway.

It appears that the two people who ran from the shooter ended up in the apartment complex up the street and the shooter ran back the way he came.

Frankly, I’m getting tired of things like this in the neighborhood. It seems like every couple of days, there is a police helicopter flying around and police checking out the area. Everyone is safe here, just a little shaken.

If I hear any more information, or see any news articles, I’ll be sure to post them!

Government Optimistic on State of Economy

August 13, 2009

The Federal Reserve said yesterday that it appears that the economy in the US has halted the longest period of decline since the Great Depression, although it has cautioned that economic activity is likely to remain weak in the near term.

From CNN:

The central bank left its key overnight interest rate at a 0% to 0.25% range, as expected. Its statement at the conclusion of its two-day meeting said “economic activity is leveling out.”

That is the Fed’s most bullish assessment of the economy in more than a year, and suggests that a recovery may have started.

It said it still expects “inflation will remain subdued for some time” and said that it expects rates to remain near zero percent “for an extended period.”

The Fed cut interest rates to the record low range at its December meeting in an effort to spur the struggling U.S. economy at that time.

It also pumped about $1 trillion of cash into the economy during the last year through a number of extraordinary programs, including the purchase of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, as well as new programs to get banks and other lenders to extend credit to consumers.