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Business Tax Breaks
5:07 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Businesses rush to get tax breaks for next year

The deadline for businesses to apply for 2010 tax breaks is Oct. 31
whiteoaksblog.com

Local approval is one of the first hurdles companies must overcome to get the tax breaks they want. The deadline to get tax breaks in 2010 is October 31st. That means there's a surge of projects in front of local city councils and commissions.

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GM IPO
8:57 am
Mon October 18, 2010

Is the General Motors IPO losing steam?

GM's Headquarters in Detroit
John F. Martin Creative Commons

 Next month’s General Motors’ big stock offering is expected to be much less than at one time predicted.

The GM Initial Public Offering is expected to hit the market around November 18th.

 When GM initially started talking about selling stock, the speculation was that November’s sale could be easily one of the largest initial public offerings in history.   Perhaps generating more than $16 billion.

Now some analysts are predicting the GM IPO will collect only about $6 billion. 

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ArtPrize
3:16 pm
Fri October 15, 2010

Economic impact of ArtPrize appears to be growing

Art Prize winner Chris LaPorte works on one panel of his pencil drawing
artprize.org

A new survey shows this year's ArtPrize attracted more people from outside Grand Rapids than last year's contest. Preliminary numbers show half the people who participated in ArtPrize came from outside of the Grand Rapids area. Only 6% came from outside of Michigan.

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Transportation in Michigan
5:30 pm
Thu October 14, 2010

1 in 4 Michigan bridges 'Deficient' or 'Obsolete'

A new report paints a dim picture of the bridges that many Michigan motorists use every day.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says one in four of Michigan’s 44 hundred bridges are either "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete"

Department spokesman Bill Schreck says despite millions of federal stimulus dollars spent in the past year on road improvements in Michigan problem bridges are still in need of repair. 

Housing Market
3:11 pm
Thu October 14, 2010

Michigan foreclosure rate stable, but still higher than last year

Michigan ranks 8th in the nation for foreclosures

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate has stabilized, but is still much higher than the national rate. One out of every 98 homes in the state is in the foreclosure process.

Daren Bloomquist is a spokeman for RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosures.

“In Michigan I would say the number one issue is unemployment. It's still there and so that's still pushing people into foreclosure. Until we solve that problem, you're still going to see an elevated level of foreclosures in Michigan," Bloomquist said.

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Fuel economy
2:35 pm
Wed October 13, 2010

Levin calls for scrapping CAFE standards

Carl Levin says more needs to be done to encourage alternative vehicles.
Charles Manley Michigan Radio

Senator Carl Levin wants to scrap the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard. Auto manufacturers must meet these fuel economy standards for their fleets, or face penalties from the government.

The Obama Administration recently updated the standards.  By 2020, automakers will have to reach an average 35.5 mpg for their combined car and truck fleet.

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'Government Motors' no more?
2:23 pm
Tue October 12, 2010

GM moving closer to November stock sale

GM's Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

General Motors (or should I say General Motors Holding Company) is planning to hold a public stock sale in mid-November. It will be the first since the world's largest company emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year.

General Motors Holding Company emerged as the wheat. Motors Liquidation Company emerged as the chaff.

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Volt's Shocking Media Release
12:12 pm
Tue October 12, 2010

Chevy Volt gets another step closer to showrooms

Electric car enthusiast Tim Stump takes a look at the Volt's interior.
Charles Manley Michigan Radio

The Chevy Volt got one step closer to the showrooms this week. The electric vehicle was unveiled to the media.

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Poverty in Michigan
1:42 pm
Thu September 16, 2010

14% of Michiganders Lived in Poverty in 2009

According to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, 14% of people in Michigan last year lived in poverty.  As the Detroit News reports that is, "the highest for the state since it hit 14.1 percent in 1994.'' Nationally, in 2009, the poverty rate was 14.3%.  That means 1 in 7 people, or 43.6 million Americans, lived in poverty last year.

Jobs
1:49 pm
Wed September 15, 2010

Michigan's jobless rate unchanged

Michigan's jobless rate remained steady from July to August.  The state umployment rate was 13.1%   The nation's August unemployment rate was 9.6%, up from 9.5% in July.  Michigan has the nation's second highest jobless rate.  Nevada has the highest.

Welfare
3:13 pm
Wed September 8, 2010

More people seeking welfare assistance in Michigan

Food stamp use per capita in each Michigan county in 1999 (last year the data is available). The more shaded the county, the higher the use.
Image from Food Stamp Program Map Machine USDA/ERS

Nearly 1.9 million people in Michigan are getting some form of public assistance. That's a new record according to a report from the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta.

Pluta talked with Sharon Parks of the Michigan League for Human Services.  Parks says the growing number of people applying for the cash assistance program concerns her most.

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CEO Compensation
1:01 pm
Fri September 3, 2010

Report says CEOs cashing in on layoffs

Cover of the report by IPS "Executive Excess 2010: CEO Pay and the Great Recession"
IPS

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies looked at CEO compensation from the 50 companies that layed off more workers during the recession. They found the CEOs at these companies are paid more, on average, than the average pay for the CEOs running to top 500 companies in the U.S. (S&P 500).

Sarah Anderson is the lead author of the report.  She says,

"CEOs are squeezing workers to boost short-term profits and fatten their own paychecks."  

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10:19 am
Fri September 3, 2010

Labor Day report shows trials of long-term unemployed

Workers haven't been seeing many help wanted signs in Michigan
kandyjaxx/creative commons

The unemployment picture in Michigan is still bad. It stands at 13.1% now. The worst it's been since the early 1980's.

Now, a new report by the Michigan League for Human Services puts the long-term unemployment picture into perspective.  In 2000, people unemployed for more than 26 weeks, accounted for 6.5% of the total number of unemployed. Today, the long-term unemployed account for 40.8% of the unemployed.

The report says,

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Jobs
12:17 pm
Wed September 1, 2010

Michigan leads nation in job growth

Ford's River Rouge Plant. Much of the job gains were in manufacturing.
Rob Goodspeed Creative Commons

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy posted a story about job growth in Michigan. James Hohman cited stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed Michigan posted 27,800 new jobs for July.  More than any other state in the country. Hohman writes:

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Auto/Economy
3:07 pm
Tue September 2, 2008

Construction Begins at Jean Klock Park

Developers in Benton Harbor hope a new resort and Jack Nicklaus signature golf course will improve the economically depressed city. But plans call for three of the golf holes to be built inside Jean Klock Park, next to Lake Michigan beachfront. Activists hoping to save the park have sued in federal court, but construction at the park is underway. Officials with Harbor Shores Redevelopment say they are not building the golf course holes, but instead are working on park improvements as part of a lease agreement with the city.

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