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(c) GM Logo/Photo Courtesy of General Motors

General Motors announced this morning that it made $2 billion in the third quarter.  The Associated Press reports:

The profit was fueled by GM's international operations and strong revenue from newly introduced car and crossover models in North America.

The automaker's actual revenue rose 36% to a little more than $34 billion.  This was the third-straight quarter in which GM was profitable.

Closeup of Chrysler Logo
Photo by Diego HC/Creative Commons

Chrysler says it narrowed its losses in the 3rd quarter of this year. The automaker reported a net loss of $84 million from July through September. That’s less than half of its $172 million loss in the second quarter. The automaker says this was the third quarter in a row of better-than-expected financial results.

Knight, Tom
Gerry Leslie / Homeless Management Information Systems

In 2008, the state estimates there were a little more than 86,000 people without a home. Half of them were families.

Amway is one of the leading, if not the largest, direct selling companies in the world. Three people trying to sell the vitamins, cookware and beauty products the company distributes sued an Amway subsidiary in 2007. They claim the company then known as Quixtar misled them about start up costs and how much money they'd make.

(Sarah Hulett, Michigan Radio)

If you walk into a gas station or a party store in the city of Detroit, you might see a flyer taped up, advertising "help with gas and lights."

But the phone number probably won’t connect to a charity program or aid organization. More likely, it’ll put you in touch with a fixer who will help you steal electricity or natural gas.

Trying to shut the problem down is a team of investigators from DTE Energy. Every day of the work week, they embark on what seems like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

 Time is running out again for many Michiganders living on unemployment benefits.

 Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders have spent nearly two years surviving on unemployment checks as the state struggles with a double digit jobless rate.

But time may be running out for those benefits.  Congress has passed several extensions but may not this time. 

Norm Isotello is with the state department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.    He concedes there is an argument that extended benefits may get in the way of people looking for work...but

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.

GM Renaissance Center 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. 

aPorte works on one panel of his pencil drawing that won ArtPrize
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.

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. 

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.

Chevy Volt's plug receptacle
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.

GM Renaissance Center in 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.

Inside the Chevy Volt electric vehicle
Charles Manley / Michigan Radio

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

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.

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.

Map of Michigan showing participation in the food stamp program per capita
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.

Cover of the report 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."  

help wanted sign
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,

Ford's River Rouge Plant in Michigan
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:

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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