Auto

General Motors
5:12 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

Background on the GM IPO story

The old GM Headquarters in Detroit.
Historic American Buildings Survey

General Motors (GM) will be in the news a lot this week, so if you sat out the GM story up until this point, here's a quick summary to get you caught up.

Today's General Motors is not your father's General Motors. The old GM went bankrupt. The company couldn't pay its bills (they had some big ones).

But instead of letting the whole company collapse, a court stepped in to reorganize the auto giant (under chapter 11 bankruptcy).

The court split the old GM in two.

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Auto
9:21 am
Fri November 12, 2010

Auctioneers sell off items at shuttered GM plant

GM's Wyoming Stamping Plant closed in June of 2009. Auctioneers are selling of the contents of the plant.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith covered the auction at the former GM Wyoming Stamping plant. The plant closed in June 2009 as part of GM's bankruptcy.

The auction was held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The auctioneers said they'll sell off anything leftover today.

Smith said it was easy to get lost as she took photos of the more than 2 million square foot building. Here's an audio slideshow she put together:

Economy
11:55 am
Wed November 10, 2010

Obama letter provides economic stimulus

A handwritten letter from President Barack Obama
Gary Zimet Moments in Time

A woman from Monroe, Michigan made news last week when she sold her hand written letter from President Barack Obama for $7,000.

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AUTO EARNINGS
9:17 am
Wed November 10, 2010

GM posts 3rd quarter profit

General Motors Logo
(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.

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Auto Earnings
7:55 am
Mon November 8, 2010

Chrysler narrows losses in 3rd quarter

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.

Homeless awareness
4:34 pm
Fri November 5, 2010

Community leaders in Flint hoping to raise awareness of growing homeless population

Tom Knight trying to help "Richard" one of many homeless veterans in the Flint through his work at Resource Genesee.
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.

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Business
4:57 pm
Wed November 3, 2010

Amway to settle lawsuit alleging unfair and illegal business practices

Amway logo

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.

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Energy theft
9:32 am
Tue November 2, 2010

Detroit utility struggles to stay on top of theft

DTE Energy theft investigator Keith Gross prepares a lock box to prevent thieves from tampering with a gas meter.
(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.

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Jobless in Michigan
11:38 am
Mon November 1, 2010

Many Michigan jobless could soon lose their unemployment benefits

 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

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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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