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State and local governments wasting billions to lure firms from other states

Friday, January 25th, 2013

US mapState and local governments waste billions of dollars annually on economic development subsidies given to companies for moving existing jobs from one state to another rather than focusing on creating truly new positions, according to a study released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.

“What was long ago dubbed a Second War Between the States is, unfortunately, raging again in many parts of the country,” said Greg LeRoy , executive director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report.

“The result is a vast waste of taxpayer funds, paying for the geographic reshuffling of existing jobs. By pretending that these jobs are new, public officials and the recipient companies engage in what amounts to interstate job fraud.”

Interstate job piracy is not a fruitful strategy for economic growth, LeRoy noted: “The costs are high and the benefits low, given that a tiny number of companies get huge subsidies for moving a small number of jobs.” LeRoy added: “Moreover, the availability of relocation subsidies allows companies that have no intention of moving to extract payoffs to stay put.”

Interstate relocations have microscopic job effects

Summarizing studies demonstrating that interstate relocations have microscopic job effects, the report also reviews the history of economic competition among the states and presents eight case studies of those areas where job piracy is most pronounced.

The case studies cover metropolitan areas such as Kansas City, Charlotte, New York and Memphis, where companies get subsidized to move short distances across state borders; states such as Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, New Jersey and Rhode Island that are aggressive users of relocation subsidies; and states such as Illinois and Ohio, which have given big retention or “job blackmail” packages.

The report recommends that states stop subsidizing companies for relocating jobs from other states, noting that four-fifths of the states already refuse to pay for intrastate job relocations.

The report also recommends that states end their business recruitment activities that are explicitly designed to pirate existing jobs from other states. It also suggests a modest role for the federal government: reserving a small portion of its economic development aid for those states that amend their incentive codes to make existing jobs ineligible for subsidies.

 The report, entitled The Job-Creation Shell Game, is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org/shellgame.

Sharp rise in labor demand seen in monthly online advertised vacancies

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The Conference BoardOnline advertised vacancies rose 246,300 in March to 4,669,600, according toThe Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Data Series.  The March rise is the fourth consecutive monthly rise.  The Supply/Demand rate stands at 2.9 unemployed for every vacancy; however, nationally there are still 8.4 million more unemployed than advertised vacancies.

“The March sharp rise in labor demand continued to narrow the gap between the unemployed and available job opportunities,” said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board.

Nationally advertised vacancies are 60 percent above their levels inJune 2009, the official end of the great recession.  However, that increase has varied greatly among the States with some Midwestern States exceeding the national average, including Minnesota (+ 121%); Ohio (+ 102%); Wisconsin (+ 95%); Indiana(+ 92%); and Michigan (+86%).  Some states where the housing market tank — including Nevada (+ 21%) and New Mexico (+ 24%) — remain well below the national average while other States like Florida (+50%), where the housing market was also an issue, showed more resiliency.

REGIONAL AND STATE HIGHLIGHTS

  • In March all of the largest States except Pennsylvania post gains
  • 12 of the 20 largest States are on an upward trend in job demand

In March the South gained 74,700 advertised vacancies, with gains in all six of its largest States.  Texas was up 19,000, reflecting increases of 11%+ over the last four months for labor demand in the metro areas of Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

Virginia gained 9,200 for a combined three-month gain of 14,300.  North Carolina rose 6,700 bringing its two-month increase to 8,500.  Maryland gained 5,800 for a combined two-month gain of 9,600.  Georgia was up 4,800 in March.  Florida rose 2,400.  Among the less populous States in the South, Tennessee rose 7,800, South Carolina increased by 1,600, Louisiana gained 1,200, and Arkansas gained 900.

The West gained 61,700 advertised vacancies, reflecting gains in all four of its largest States.  California had by far the largest increase, 23,300.  Over the past four months, labor demand in California was up 80,200 with gains in all of its larger metro areas, led by notable increases of 21.7 percent in San Diego and 20.6 percent in Sacramento.  Washington State gained 9,600.  Colorado rose 4,400 while Arizona gained a mere 500.  Among the less populous States in the region, Oregon rose 4,300; Nevada gained 2,600; and Utah rose 1,500.

The Midwest region gained 48,800 vacancies in March.  Ohio experienced the largest gain — 8,700 — and, at 181,900 advertised vacancies, reached its highest level since the HWOL series began in May 2005.  Minnesota rose 6,700. Missourirose 5,600 for a combined two-month gain of 8,200. Michigan gained 5,200 for a two-month gain of 6,500.  Wisconsin rose 4,700.  Illinois gained 1,600.  Among the less populous States in the Midwest, Indiana gained 5,100, Kansas rose 1,800, South Dakota gained 1,300, and North Dakota rose 600.

Labor demand in March in the Northeast  rose 23,100, which included a rise of 9,300 in New York.  New York is up 17,700 over the last four months with the New York metro area up 14.8 percent and Rochester up 12.2 percent.  New Jersey rose 7,100 while Massachusetts gained 4,900 for a combined four-month gain of 11,500.  Pennsylvania was down 1,700 in March.  Among the smaller States in the Northeast, the number of advertised vacancies in Connecticut fell by 300.  Maine rose 1,000 in March while New Hampshire gained 1,400 and Rhode Island gained 300.

The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in February (the latest month for which the national unemployment number is available) stood at 2.90, indicating that there are just under 3 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy.  Nationally, there are 8.4 million more unemployed workers than advertised vacancies.

The Supply/Demand rates for the states are for February 2012, the latest month available for unemployment data.  The number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed only in North Dakota, where the Supply/Demand rate was 0.88.  States with the next lowest rates included South Dakota (1.23), Nebraska (1.28), Vermont (1.41), Alaska (1.56), Minnesota(1.60), and New Hampshire (1.68).  The State with the highest Supply/Demand rate is Mississippi (5.97), where there are nearly 6 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy.  Other States where there were more than 4 unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy included Nevada (4.42) and Kentucky (4.13).

It should be noted that the Supply/Demand rate only provides a measure of relative tightness of the individual State labor markets and does not suggest that the occupations of the unemployed directly align with the occupations of the advertised vacancies.

METRO AREA HIGHLIGHTS

  • 19 of the 20 largest metro areas posted gains in labor demand in March
  • San Francisco up 7 percent in March.

In March, 19 of the 20 large MSAs posted increases in the number of online advertised vacancies.  Overall 47 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately also showed increases in March.

A number of the largest metro areas have shown real strength since the official end of the recession in June 2009.  Four have posted increases of over 100 percent since then: Cleveland, up 142%; Minneapolis-St. Paul, up 124%; Detroit, up 116%; andSan Jose, up 112%.

Six MSAs had Supply/Demand rates in January 2012 (the latest available data for unemployment) below 2, indicating there fewer than two unemployed for every advertised vacancy.  Washington, DC continues to have the most favorable Supply/Demand rate (1.21) with about one advertised vacancy for every unemployed worker.  Minneapolis-St. Paul (1.36),Boston (1.54), Oklahoma City (1.63), and Salt Lake City (1.67) were metropolitan locations with the next lowest Supply/Demand rates.

Metro areas where the number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies includeRiverside, CA — with over 8 unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy (8.23) — Sacramento (4.56), Miami (4.53), Las Vegas (4.47), Los Angeles (4.19), and Memphis (4.04).  Supply/Demand rate data are for January 2012, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.

OCCUPATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Supply/Demand rates range widely for the 22 major occupational categories
  • Labor demand for retail sales help rises in March
  • Demand for Healthcare practitioners dipped in March but job opportunities continue to outnumber unemployed looking for jobs 

Changes for the Month of March

In March, nineteen of the 22 Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC codes) that are reported separately posted gains and three declined.

Among the top 10 occupation groups with the largest numbers of online advertised vacancies, demand for Sales and Relatedworkers rose 35,900 to 596,500 and was led by an increase in demand for Retail Salespeople and First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Retail Sales Workers.  The number of unemployed in this occupational category continues to outnumber the number of advertised vacancies by over 2 to 1 (S/D of 2.30) but is substantially below the slightly over four unemployed for every available advertised vacancy in April and May 2009.

Labor demand for Computer and Mathematical Science workers rose 25,800 to 620,700.  Over the past four months, labor demand has increased by 77,100.  The higher demand included increases for Computer Systems Analysts and Applications Computer Software Engineers.  The number of advertised vacancies in this occupational category continues to outnumber job-seekers by over 3 to 1 (0.28 S/D based on February data, the latest unemployment data available).

Demand for Management occupations rose 25,700 to 461,200 for a combined four-month increase of 56,600.  Responsible for the rise was higher demand for Marketing Managers and General and Operations Managers.  The number of unemployed in these occupations was just over one (1.39) unemployed for every advertised vacancy in March and significantly below the almost three (2.9) unemployed for every advertised vacancy at the HWOL series high in October 2009.

Labor demand for Office and Administrative Support occupations rose 22,700 to 476,900 for a gain of 50,100 since January, but the March level is still slightly below the level of demand in late 2011.  Largely responsible for the March increase was higher demand for Customer Service Representatives and Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants.  The number of unemployed in these occupations remains above the number of advertised vacancies with close to 3.6 unemployed for every advertised vacancy.

Business and Financial Operations positions increased by 17,100 to 268,100 advertised vacancies in March.  Accountants, Training and Development Specialists, and Financial Analysts were among the advertised vacancies that showed increases.  In this field there are 1.56 unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy.

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations fell 18,800 in March to 578,100.  Largely responsible for the drop were decreased advertised vacancies for Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, and Physical Therapists. The number of advertised vacancies in this occupational category continues to be quite favorable and outnumbers job-seekers by 2.4 to 1 (0.41 S/D).

Open Table names 100 U.S. restaurants providing best service

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

OpenTableBusiness travelers frequently need restaurants that have great food, but also good service, since they’re often on the run. If you’re looking for U.S. restaurants with top notch service, here’s some help from Open Table.

OpenTable, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN), a  provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants, has disclosed the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the 100 restaurants in the United States providing the best service.

Open Table founder Chuck Templeton is among the top speakers at the Southeast Venture Conference which started this morning in Tysons Corner, VA, and runs through tomorrow.  Templeton created and defined the restaurant reservation space after founding OpenTable in 1998, after his wife spent a frustrating evening one night trying to make dinner reservations for his visiting in-laws one night in San Francisco.

OpenTable’s successful IPO in 2009 was a milestone that helped to reopen the public market for tech companies.

Awards reflect millions of opinions

These awards reflect the combined opinions of nearly 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Regionally, the honorees span 29 states and Washington, D.C. The South reinforces the notion of southern hospitality, with 22 restaurants in the region being singled out for best service. The Northeast boasts 15 winning restaurants, including 10 in New York alone.

The Pacific region accounts for 14 winners, 10 of which are in California, as does the Mid-Atlantic, with six restaurants in Virginia claiming spots. Eleven winners come from the Great Lakes Region, four of which are in the Twin Citiesarea.

The Pacific Northwest and the Southwest follow with seven honorees apiece. The Rocky Mountain States count five winners, while the Central Plains has four, three of which are in Missouri. One restaurant in Hawaii also earned a nod.

American food restaurants rack up 40 winners

Superior service can be found across a number of cuisines. Restaurants serving American food, however, account for 40 winners. French restaurants earned 25 places on the list.

Steakhouses followed with 17 spots. Seven Italian restaurants are among the winners. Other cuisines include continental, global international, Japanese, seafood, and sushi.

“The most memorable part of a meal may not be just what’s on your plate, but also, that exceptional staffer who goes the extra step to ensure an enjoyable dining experience,” says Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s Chief Dining Officer.

“These winning restaurants understand this concept and have consciously created a culture of hospitality that is embraced by both front and back of house professionals. Whether it’s a grand gesture, such as a tour of the kitchen, or a simple one, like a warm smile from an attentive server, diners are coming away from these restaurants feeling special.”

The Diners’ Choice Awards for the top 100 restaurants providing the best service are generated from nearly 5 million reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between February 2011 and January 2012. All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the highest average rating in the service category.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the top 100 restaurants with the best service in the U.S. according to OpenTable diners.

The complete list may also be viewed athttp://www.opentable.com/bestservice.

2012 Diners’ Choice Award Winners for Restaurants in the U.S. with the Best Service

Acqua Restaurant & Wine Bar – White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Acquerello – San Francisco, California

Addison at The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, California

Bacchanalia – Atlanta, Georgia

Bibou – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Binkley’s Restaurant – Cave Creek, Arizona

Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, Virginia

Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, New York

Bluestem – Kansas City, Missouri

Bones – Atlanta, Georgia

Cafe Renaissance – Vienna, Virginia

Canlis – Seattle, Washington

Capital Grille – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Castagna – Portland, Oregon

Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse – Downers Grove, Illinois

Charleston – Baltimore, Maryland

Charleston Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

Chez Francois – Vermilion, Ohio

Chez Nous French Restaurant – Humble, Texas

CityZen – Washington, D.C.

Congress – Austin, Texas

The Copper Door – Hayesville, North Carolina

Corbett’s Fine Dining – Louisville, Kentucky

Cyrus – Healdsburg, California

Daniel – New York, New York

Daniel-Lounge Seating – New York, New York

Del Posto – New York, New York

Dewz – Modesto, California

The Dining Room-Biltmore Estate – Asheville, North Carolina

Eleven Madison Park – New York, New York

Elizabeth on 37th – Savannah, Georgia

Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant – Forestville, California

Fat Canary – Williamsburg, Virginia

Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina

Fig Tree – Charlotte, North Carolina

Forage – Salt Lake City, Utah

Fountain Restaurant – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Frasca Food and Wine – Boulder, Colorado

The French Room – Dallas, Texas

Genoa Restaurant – Portland, Oregon

Gordon Ramsay at the London – New York, New York

The Grill-The Ritz Carlton – Naples, Florida

Grouse Mountain Grill – Avon, Colorado

Halls Chophouse – Charleston, South Carolina

Hannas Prime Steak – Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Herons – Cary, North Carolina

Highlands Bar & Grill – Birmingham, Alabama

The Hobbit – Orange, California

joan’s in the Park – St. Paul, Minnesota

Kai-Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort – Chandler, Arizona

Killen’s Steakhouse – Pearland, Texas

The Kitchen Restaurant – Sacramento, California

La Belle Vie – Minneapolis, Minnesota

La Grenouille – New York, New York

La Mer at Halekulani – Honolulu, Hawaii

L’Auberge Chez Francois – Great Falls, Virginia

Le Bernardin – New York, New York

Les Nomades – Chicago, Illinois

L’Etoile Restaurant – Madison, Wisconsin

Madrona Manor – Healdsburg, California

Mahogany Prime Omaha – Omaha, Nebraska

Marcel’s – Washington, D.C.

The Melting Pot – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Menton – Boston, Massachusetts

Michael’s-South Point Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada

Mitchell’s Ocean Club – Columbus, Ohio

Morton’s The Steakhouse – Portland, Oregon

New York Prime – Myrtle Beach, Florida

Niche – St. Louis, Missouri

Nicholas – Red Bank, New Jersey

o ya – Boston, Massachusetts

Opus 9 Steakhouse – Williamsburg, Virginia

Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio

The Painted Lady – Newberg, Oregon

Palace Arms at the Brown Palace – Denver, Colorado

Peninsula Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

Pepper Tree Restaurant – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Per Se – New York, New York

Plume at the Jefferson Hotel – Washington, D.C.

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse – Dallas, Texas

The Restaurant at Meadowood – Saint Helena, California

Restaurant Iris – Memphis, Tennessee

Rover’s – Seattle, Washington

Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant & Bar – Galveston, Texas

Russell’s Steaks, Chops, and More – Williamsville, New York

Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Jacksonville, Florida

Saint Jacques French Cuisine – Raleigh, North Carolina

Sedgley Place – Greene, Maine

Sonoma – Princeton, Massachusetts

St. John’s Restaurant – Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Steak House at Silver Reef – Ferndale, Washington

Tony’s – St. Louis, Missouri

TRU – Chicago, Illinois

Uchi – Austin, Texas

Uchiko – Austin, Texas

Vetri – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse – Las Vegas, Nevada

Vintage Tavern – Suffolk, Virginia

White Barn Inn – Kennebunk, Maine

Woodfire Grill – Atlanta, Georgia

Diners can also read more about the Diners’ Choice Awards for the Best Service restaurants in the U.S. by visiting OpenTable Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter’s “Dining Check” blog.

Are the people in your city among the most curious?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Just AnswerSAN FRANCISCO – JustAnswer,  a paid Q&A website, has listed its Top Five Most Curious Cities in the U.S. While New York, NY – the nation’s most populous city with over nine million residents – ranked number one in total questions asked, it isn’t anywhere near the top. That distinction goes to Naples, FL, whose total number of questions asked represented 12.01% of the city’s total population of 21,653, making it nearly 38 times more curious than The Big Apple, which came in at .32%.*

Rounding out the Top Five Most Curious Cities (based on percentage of population) in the U.S.:

2. Littleton, CO: 8.41%

3. Spring, TX: 6.68%

4. Sarasota, FL: 5.31%

5. Marietta, GA: 4.62%

“Since the Experts on JustAnswer began answering questions in 2003, we’ve always been intrigued by where the pockets of curiosity are around the country. While we’re not surprised to discover that the nation’s largest urban cities asked the most total questions, we’re very intrigued by the online engagement of smaller cities, such as Littleton, CO and Spring, TX,” said Andy Kurtzig, Founder and CEO of JustAnswer.

How Major U.S. Cities Stack Up in the Curiosity Department

Among U.S. cities with populations of over 400,000, Atlanta, GA topped the rankings with questions asked representing 2.44% of its population, followed by:

2. Miami, FL: 2.16%

3. Minneapolis, MN: 1.87%

4. Las Vegas, NV: 1.55%

5. Denver, CO: 1.44%

A Tale of Two Cities: What’s In a Name?

When it comes to asking questions, two cities can share a name, but not necessarily their curiosity quotient. While Naples, FL topped the JustAnswer ranking of most curious cities, Naples, NC accounted for only two questions.

Similarly, Portland, OR (47th), Philadelphia, PA, (96th) and Memphis, TN (97th) far outdistanced their namesakes, Portland, MO, Philadelphia, MO and Memphis, IN, which combined for a total of just four questions asked.

*Rankings are based on an estimate of user location according to the IP address of the computer used to visit the JustAnswer website between June 2010 and June 2011. Population figures are from the United States Census Bureau. JustAnswer does not identify or record actual locations or addresses of its users.


Computable Genomix lands investment for biomarker tests

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Computable GenomixMEMPHIS, TN – Memphis-based Computable Genomix has secured an investment in an undisclosed amount Memphis-based venture capital firm Innova to pilot a novel process for developing genetic biomarker tests.

Biomarkers are used to predict how a person will respond to drug therapy or to determine their risk of contracting a disease.

Leveraging its next-generation computational discovery capability (patent-pending), Computable Genomix is developing highly targeted genetic biomarker tests for clinical researchers.

These tests will help address pressing pharmacogenomic and other clinical questions and enhance the ability of physicians to bring personalized medicine to their patients.

“Current approaches to genetic biomarker development require clinical researchers to work with thousands of patient samples and sift through millions of possibilities to pinpoint a handful of potential biomarkers for further evaluation,” said Brad Silver, CEO of Computable Genomix.

“Using Computable’s very targeted tests, clinical researchers need fewer patient samples to assess a small number of high-value biomarkers. The end result is savings of time and money.”

“As an incubator company at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, we have closely followed the evolution of Computable Genomix from a supplier of software to a developer of proprietary biomarker tests,” said Innova partner Jan Bouten. “We are very excited about Computable’s opportunity in the burgeoning biomarker market and its prospects for accelerating their use in clinical practice.”

Tennessee-based RxBio beams in $122M for merger

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

RxBioJOHNSON CITY, TN – RxBio Holdings, which has developed a product that protects users against lethal doses of radiation, has raised nearly $122 million from 120 investors for a merger of its two commonly controlled affiliated companies, according to a regulatory filing.

The company’s technology is based on small-molecule research at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis.

Its lead product, RX100, is a room-temperature stable small molecule that boosts natural mechanisms that promote and sustain cell survival in almost every cell type – while at the same time, inhibiting the cascade leading to programmed cell death.

The company says the treatment is effective in protecting a person’s whole body if given before, during or up t0 24 hours after exposure to an otherwise lethal dose of radiation.

While the threat of all-out nuclear war no longer seems immanent, nuclear terrorism is a distinct possibility, so a technology like this could potentially save millions of lives.

From what the company suggests, its cell-saving molecule has other possible applications that could also be important.

The company says it is also developing treatments for cancer and plaque-blocking.

The company disclosed the financing in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

To contact TechJournal South Editor & Writer Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com

More than 1,100 communities want Google’s ultra high speed broadband

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Google broadband response mapRESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC – Google reports that more than 1,100 communities have responded to its request for information from those who want a shot at hosting the company’s experimental ultra high speed broadband project. It also received more than 194,000 responses from individuals. On a map Google issued showing the government and individual responses, the Southeast shows considerable hunger for the Google project.

Only four Southeast efforts actually generated a noticeable amount of buzz on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, however, according to Steketee Greiner and Company, which tracked those communities generating “voice,” through their efforts.

Those making the firm’s top ten list on its ranking of “share of voice,” Sarasota, FL, ranked 5, Memphis, TN, 6, Ashville, NC, 7, and Greensboro, NC, 9.

Duluth, MN, ranked 1 on the list, followed by Grand Rapids, MI, Topeka, KS, and Fresno, CA. Portland, OR was 10.

The Southeast didn’t lack its share of stunts aimed at grabbing Google’s attention, however. Raleigh City Councilman Bonner Gaylord, in a video that includes other Raleigh officials, said he would name his unborn children after Google’s co-founders. It was only one of many widely reported stunts nationally.

On the map above, each small dot represents a government that responded to Google’s request for information and each large dot is an area where 1,000 or more individuals responded.

Google says its next step is to review the responses, visit sites, consult with third parties of interest and consult with officials in cities of interest.

The Google plan to install 1/Gbs broadband in the selected municipality would deliver broadband service about 100 times faster than what most Americans are receiving. It intends to reach from 50,000 to 500,000 people with the experiment.