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Business


Growth of Texas manufacturing, service-sector activity cools in June

The growth of Texas factory production and service-sector business activity slowed in June, but outlooks on the statewide economy remained optimistic and employers continued to expand their payrolls during the month, according to a pair of reports from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The state production index, a key measure of Texas factory output, dropped to a reading of 12.3 in June from 23...


How to teach Austinites about CodeNext? Let’s try Legos

How to teach Austinites about CodeNext? Let’s try Legos

For those looking to learn more about how CodeNext could affect the city, two Austin organizations say the best learning tool might be an old childhood favorite — Legos. The city’s land development code rewrite, known as CodeNext, is expected to be one of Austin’s most impactful long-term policies. But some residents have criticized the 1,100-plus page document’s complexity...

Up the Ladder

Banking & finance Chase has named Marcus Kline vice president and Austin-area manager of business banking. Community The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has named Luis Rodriguez president and chief executive officer. Manufacturing & retail Factory Mattress has named Sarah Johnson chief financial officer. Technology Umbel has named Mike Malo vice president of business development.

Have a great workplace? Let us know

Help us spread the word about the best places to work in Austin. Nominations remain open for the American-Statesman’s 2017 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project, with the nomination deadline extended until July 7. The project recognizes employers that stand for the best in leadership, vision, an employee-centered culture and other qualities. Any employer is eligible — private company...

If Social Security overpays you, you’re still on the hook

Suppose Social Security makes a mistake in determining your benefits. Guess what? Their mistake becomes your mistake, and they will bill you for any amount they overpaid you, even if they told you the benefits in question were yours to collect. This happened to the husband of a woman who I’ll call Dana to protect her identity. Let me call her husband Sam. Here’s Dana’s description...
‘Jenga tower’ starting to make mark on Austin’s skyline

‘Jenga tower’ starting to make mark on Austin’s skyline

This week, some Austinites might have noticed a change on the downtown skyline. Construction has progressed to the point that the Independent — nicknamed the “Jenga tower” — has started taking on elements of its defining look as the 58-story condominium project rises toward its place as the city’s tallest building and the tallest residential building west of the...
Report: Walmart won’t make rival bid for Whole Foods

Report: Walmart won’t make rival bid for Whole Foods

A week after Amazon unveiled plans to acquire Austin-based Whole Foods Market in a deal valued at $13.7 billion, Walmart has decided it won’t put in a rival bid, according to published reports. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant is one of several companies that had reportedly been looking at trying to match or beat Amazon’s $42-per-share offer, but the Reuters news service said Friday...

Business Digest: 522 Aetna clients in Texas affected by data incident

DATA SECURITY 522 Aetna clients in Texas affected by data incident More than 500 Texans that receive health insurance through provider Aetna were affected by a data security incident that exposed some of their personal information online, Aetna officials said in a statement Friday. The information of 522 residents in Texas was “inappropriately available for a period of time,” the statement...
Walmart won’t submit rival bid for Whole Foods, report says

Walmart won’t submit rival bid for Whole Foods, report says

A week after Amazon unveiled plans to acquire Austin-based Whole Foods Market in a deal valued at $13.7 billion, Walmart has decided it won’t put in a rival bid, according to published reports. The Arkansas-based discount chain is one of several companies that had reportedly been looking at trying to match or beat Amazon’s $42-per-share offer, but the Reuters news service said Friday that...
New twist in bidding war for Austin’s Forestar Group

New twist in bidding war for Austin’s Forestar Group

The battle to acquire Austin’s Forestar Group has taken yet another turn. Forestar Group said Friday that it has received a revised — and larger — buyout offer from Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton, adding a new twist to an ongoing bidding war with Connecticut-based investment group Starwood Capital Group. Forestar Group said the latest offer from D.R. Horton is to acquire 75...
EXCLUSIVE: HomeAway plans major expansion, to add 2,000 workers in Austin

EXCLUSIVE: HomeAway plans major expansion, to add 2,000 workers in Austin

Austin-based HomeAway said it is planning a major expansion at The Domain in North Austin, where the nation’s largest vacation rental company will establish its global headquarters in a 16-story office tower that will house more than 2,000 additional employees. With the expansion, the company is “doubling down” on job growth in its hometown, where it now employs more than 1,500 people...

Business Digest: U.S. jobless aid applications edge higher

ECONOMY U.S. jobless aid applications edge higher WASHINGTON — Slightly more people sought US unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications remained at a historically low level that suggests the job market is healthy. The Labor Department says weekly applications rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 241,000. The less-volatile four-week average ticked up 1,500 to 244,750. The...
Starwood increases offer for Austin’s Forestar Group

Starwood increases offer for Austin’s Forestar Group

In the wake of a shareholder lawsuit contending its planned merger deal undervalued the company, Austin-based Forestar Group says it has now received a new, bigger buyout offer from Starwood Capital Group. Forestar Group announced in April that it had agreed to be acquired by Starwood Capital Group, a Connecticut-based investment firm, in a deal valued at $605 million. That agreement called for Forestar...
Trump mystique could help boost real estate sales in Palm Beach County, Florida

Trump mystique could help boost real estate sales in Palm Beach County, Florida

President Donald Trump has put Palm Beach County on the map. And now professionals in the real estate market are starting to see a business opportunity. In the 10 months since Great Gulf of Canada submitted plans to build a 27-story tower on South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach, a certain part-time winter resident has continued his seasonal treks to Palm Beach, turning what was once a home and private...

Business Digest: Kia gets top marks in new car quality survey

AUTOMAKERS Kia gets top marks in new car quality survey DETROIT — Kia has claimed the top spot in a survey of new vehicle quality for the second straight year. Genesis — a luxury brand owned by Hyundai Motor Co. — was second in J.D. Power’s annual initial quality survey. This marks the first time in the survey’s 30-year history that two Korean brands have topped the list...
Downtown club Speakeasy sues landlord, claims bogus eviction bid

Downtown club Speakeasy sues landlord, claims bogus eviction bid

The owners of Speakeasy are heading to court, claiming their landlord is trying to force the popular bar out of its current location under false pretenses. Rally in the Alley Limited, the entity that owns Speakeasy, filed suit in Travis County’s 419th District Court on Monday against Bears & Sons USA LLC, asking a judge to intervene in the dispute, saving the bar — known for its 1920s...
George F. Will: Let us plunge toward our fast-unfolding future

George F. Will: Let us plunge toward our fast-unfolding future

WASHINGTON — In 1859, when Manhattan still had many farms, near the Battery on the island’s southern tip The Great American Tea Company was launched. It grew, and outgrew its name, becoming in 1870 The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which in 1912 begat the first A&P Economy Store, a semi-modern grocery store. By 1920, there were 4,500 such stores; by 1930, 15,000. In 1936, in Braddock...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Apple seeks to void claims, fees in Qualcomm dispute

TECHNOLOGY Apple seeks to void patent claims, fees in Qualcomm dispute Apple is seeking to void some of Qualcomm’s patent claims and licensing agreements, intensifying its legal battle with the chip maker over the technology in iPhones and iPads. In a federal court filing Tuesday, Apple cited a Supreme Court ruling last month that a printer-cartridge maker’s patent rights end with the...
Low-cost German grocers Aldi, Lidl plan Central Texas stores

Low-cost German grocers Aldi, Lidl plan Central Texas stores

German grocery chains Aldi and Lidl have their eyes on Central Texas as part of aggressive plans to expand across the United States Both chains are known for their low prices, offering an assortment of primarily generic store brands. Lidl, in its marketing materials, claims shoppers can save as much as 50 percent compared to a traditional grocery store. Aside from stocking little in the way of name-brand...

Business Digest: Texas A&M System plans Bryan data center

TECHNOLOGY A&M System plans Bryan data center Texas A&M System officials said Monday they are looking to partner with private companies to build a data center on the system’s research and education campus in Bryan. The proposed data center would target the Houston market, but would also be an option for companies in Austin, Dallas and the Bryan-College Station area, system officials said. A...
Analyst: Whole Foods won’t be Amazon’s only big deal

Analyst: Whole Foods won’t be Amazon’s only big deal

Many people were surprised when online retail giant Amazon.com on Friday announced plans for a $13.7 billion acquisition of Austin-based Whole Foods Market. Ryan Deiss wasn’t one of them. The founder and CEO of Austin-based DigitalMarketer.com said he’d been expecting Amazon to make a brick-and-mortar purchase for at least a year – and Whole Foods was the perfect fit...
Drones carrying defibrillators could aid heart emergencies

Drones carrying defibrillators could aid heart emergencies

It sounds futuristic: drones carrying heart defibrillators swooping in to help bystanders revive people stricken by cardiac arrest. Researchers tested the idea and found drones arrived at the scene of 18 cardiac arrests within about 5 minutes of launch. That was almost 17 minutes faster on average than ambulances — a big deal for a condition where minutes mean life or death. Drone-delivered...

What are my financial must-do’s as a newlywed?

An occupational hazard of dispensing personal finance advice is that money matters are never far from my mind. At wedding ceremonies I wonder whether the couple has shared their credit reports yet or if they plan to use a joint checking account. That’s because I know getting married is not just a major emotional step. It’s a financial one, too. Your goals and money management methods may...
Redeveloping the Brackenridge hospital tract will be ‘a balancing act’

Redeveloping the Brackenridge hospital tract will be ‘a balancing act’

Central Health envisions a high-density, mixed-use development for its now-empty University Medical Center Brackenridge campus in downtown Austin. For some, this brings to mind luxury apartments, expensive restaurants and high-end boutiques — prompting calls from some community advocates for a project that includes affordable housing and amenities open to everyone. While there’s an obvious...

Summer vacation? Lots of Americans say they can’t afford it

Forget frequent flier miles, last-minute getaways and even road trips. Nearly half of Americans say they won’t be taking a vacation this summer, mostly because they can’t afford it, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The new AP-NORC survey, conducted in May, said 43 percent of Americans won’t be taking a summer vacation. The top...

Experts: Uphill fight against age-related job discrimination

Age-related discrimination in the workplace still exists 50 years after the enactment of legislation designed to prevent it, aging experts and advocates told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this month. Laurie McCann, senior attorney for the AARP Foundation Litigation, said the law “should not be treated as a second-class civil rights statute providing older workers far less...
Business week in review: More apartments coming to ACC Highland site

Business week in review: More apartments coming to ACC Highland site

HIGHLAND HAPPENINGS More shops and residences are on the way to the former Highland Mall complex in Central Austin. Newly announced plans for the property, now owned by Austin Community College, include two more apartment buildings with a combined total of 390 units, as well as 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Retail and restaurant tenants haven’t been announced yet. The two...
Digital burnout: Old-school typewriters attract new generation of fans

Digital burnout: Old-school typewriters attract new generation of fans

Typewriter enthusiasts gather at an Albuquerque restaurant to experiment with vintage Smith Coronas. Fans in Boston kneel in a city square and type stories about their lives during a pro-immigration demonstration. A new documentary on typewriters featuring Tom Hanks and musician John Mayer is set for release this summer. In the age of smartphones, social media and cyber-hacking fears, vintage typewriters...
‘Fintech’ startup SoFi moving into traditional banking

‘Fintech’ startup SoFi moving into traditional banking

Online lender and financial startup SoFi has taken the first step toward competing with the nation’s biggest banks on their home turf: the checking account. The San Francisco provider of student and personal loans has submitted an application for federal deposit insurance, a protection normally only available to conventional banks. In its application, the company said its SoFi Bank subsidiary...
Ways to send money online: A look at Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, more

Ways to send money online: A look at Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, more

With the rise of peer-to-peer payment services like Venmo, splitting the check with friends or reminding your sibling to pay you back isn’t as tiresome as it once was. The services, which allow users to send money to others online or through apps, continue to gain popularity in the U.S. for their convenience (and the fact that fewer Americans carry cash these days). While you may only be familiar...

Kotlikoff: Are reverse mortgages for you?

Are you 62 or over, house poor and barely making ends meet? If so, the Department of Housing and Urban Development claims to have the answer. It’s called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM. HUD regulates HECMs, or at least it says it does. On the surface, a HECM sounds like a great financial product. It lets people 62 and older, many with little if any financial assets, tap into their...
From bleeps of ‘Pong’ and ‘Mario,’ game music comes of age

From bleeps of ‘Pong’ and ‘Mario,’ game music comes of age

The electronic bleeps and squawks of “Tetris,” ”Donkey Kong” and other generation-shaping games that you may never have thought of as musical are increasingly likely to be playing at a philharmonic concert hall near you. From the “ping … ping” of Atari’s 1972 ground-breaking paddle game “Pong,” the sounds, infectious ditties and, with time...
Worker skills, job demands, wages — what makes a ‘middle-class’ job?

Worker skills, job demands, wages — what makes a ‘middle-class’ job?

The difficulties visiting the American middle class have not bypassed Austin, where the influx of highly educated and often wealthy people has sent the cost of living skyward. Yet discussions about how to support middle-class Central Texans often conflate the various factors that contribute to their struggles. The hodge-podge gets especially misleading when it comes to discussions about the middle...

Weston: When your emergency fund runs out

You’ve cut spending to the bone, sold excess stuff and hustled every side gig imaginable. But your emergency fund, if it ever existed, is on fumes. What you do next may determine how fast — or even whether — you recover from the setback of losing your job. Denial and desperation prompt people to grasp at solutions that could make matters worse, like an ill-considered raid on a retirement...
Timeline: Whole Foods through the years

Timeline: Whole Foods through the years

1978: John Mackey and Renee Lawson open a natural foods store in Austin called SaferWay. 1980: After merging SaferWay with Clarksville Natural Grocery, owned by Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, Whole Foods opens its first store in the 900 block of Austin’s North Lamar Boulevard with a staff of 19. 1981: Less than a year after opening, the original store is heavily damaged during deadly Memorial...
Home sales under way at eco-minded Whisper Valley

Home sales under way at eco-minded Whisper Valley

The first of hundreds of new homes are under construction in northeastern Travis County’s Whisper Valley community, which is set to become the nation’s largest energy-saving housing development. The $2 billion subdivision is being built on a 2,062-acre site just east of Texas 130 at FM 973 and Braker Lane, about three miles south of Manor. The community will be powered solely by geothermal...
Whole Foods, an Austin original, is snapped up by Amazon

Whole Foods, an Austin original, is snapped up by Amazon

Austin’s homegrown grocer has joined the e-commerce corporate world. Whole Foods Market, which got its start nearly four decades ago with a single store on a flood-prone stretch of North Lamar Boulevard, is being acquired by Amazon in an all-cash deal valued at $13.7 billion, the two companies said Friday. Whole Foods, which today has 465 stores – including six in Central Texas...
Austin job growth cools, but drop in labor force props up jobless rate

Austin job growth cools, but drop in labor force props up jobless rate

Austin-area employers slowed their pace of job creation in May, as the region’s tight labor market and, for some companies, uncertainty about the political environment helped keep payroll expansion in check. Employers in the metro area added 1,200 jobs during the month, posting the slowest rate of payroll growth for any May since 2011, according to preliminary data Friday from the Texas Workforce...
Higher prices squeezing both renters and would-be homeowners

Higher prices squeezing both renters and would-be homeowners

A diminished supply of available homes is swelling prices in large U.S. metro areas from New York to Miami to Los Angeles, squeezing out would-be buyers and pushing up rents as more people are forced to remain tenants. The trend is pressuring Americans’ budgets, with about one-third of households spending more than 30 percent of their gross income on housing as of 2015, according to a report...

Business digest: Amazon CEO looking to give away some of his fortune

PHILANTHROPY Amazon CEO Bezos looking to give away some of his fortune Jeff Bezos wants to give away some his fortune, and he’s looking for the public’s help to figure out how to do it. The Amazon CEO took to Twitter Thursday seeking ideas for a philanthropic strategy that would “be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and...
Walmart to acquire online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos

Walmart to acquire online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos

Walmart is buying online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million in cash, showing that its appetite for hip clothing brands shows no sign of abating as it looks for ways to gain on Amazon. It’s a sign of the aggressive direction Walmart is taking since buying Jet.com last year and keeping that company’s founder as head of its online division. Walmart has since bought clothing...

Shoppers offer mixed reactions to Whole Foods purchase

“So what do you think of Amazon buying Whole Foods Market?” Warren Sieder bit into a slice of pizza as he pondered how to answer the question. The Los Angeles resident was visiting his son in Austin and had just sat down to eat lunch on the patio of Whole Foods’ sprawling downtown Austin store. “I’m concerned,” he said, noting that Amazon might be more focused on...

Experts: Whole Foods-Amazon deal has positives, negatives for Austin

Whole Foods Market put Austin on the map as a place where a locally grown business can become a global player. With the natural food grocer’s $13.7 billion sale to Amazon, Austin will lose one of its most high-profile public companies — and also some of the clout that comes with that, business experts say. “Whole Foods is as good an example as Dell as a homegrown success, and it...
Investment chief at teachers’ pension fund jumps to same job at UTIMCO

Investment chief at teachers’ pension fund jumps to same job at UTIMCO

The longtime chief investment officer of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas is leaving to take the same position at the smaller University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Co., both funds announced Friday. Thomas “Britt” Harris, who oversaw investment strategy at TRS for more than a decade, will begin as chief executive and chief investment officer at UTIMCO on Aug. 1. &ldquo...
LOCAL EMPLOYMENT: Jobless rate stable in May, but number of employed workers drops

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT: Jobless rate stable in May, but number of employed workers drops

Central Texas employers added jobs at a modest pace in May, but the number of employed workers in the metro area dropped at a pace faster than usual for the month, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. The metro unemployment rate held steady at 3.2 percent in May, the commission said, but that figure held stable because of people dropping out of the labor...
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTS: Retail giant Amazon buys Austin-based grocery Whole Foods 

SOCIAL MEDIA REACTS: Retail giant Amazon buys Austin-based grocery Whole Foods 

The announcement from Amazon that it’s buying Austin-based, upscale grocer Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion was a stunning development Friday morning that set social media ablaze.  There were tweets about Amazon’s offer, nearly $9 more per share than the roughly $33 a share price Whole Foods stock closed at yesterday ... ... and about the plummeting stock prices...
Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Austin-based Whole Foods Market is being acquired by Amazon in an all-cash deal valued at $13.7 billion, the two companies announced Friday. Amazon had looked at Whole Foods last year, but initially decided not to make an offer. PHOTOS: WHOLE FOODS THROUGH THE YEARS The online giant will pay $42 per share — 27 percent more than Thursday’s closing price, $33.06. The acquisition is expected...
Austin-area home sales, median price climb in May

Austin-area home sales, median price climb in May

Central Texas’ housing market continues to sizzle. Sales of single-family homes in the Austin metro jumped 9 percent year over year in May, while the median sales price rose 8 percent, to $310,000, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. The dollar volume of May’s 3,170 sales topped $1.2 billion, making May the highest-grossing month in the region’s history, the board said in...
U.S. homebuilder sentiment edges lower in June

U.S. homebuilder sentiment edges lower in June

U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less optimistic, a shift that follows a big drop in sales of new homes in April. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday declined to 67 this month. That’s down two points from a downwardly revised reading of 69 in May. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than...
Rest easy during EU holidays: no more extra roaming costs

Rest easy during EU holidays: no more extra roaming costs

Ping! Tweet! Ring! Swoosh! Every command from a mobile phone that European Union holidaymakers or business people made Thursday must have felt like deliverance. As of June 15, there will officially be no more extra fees for using an EU handset in another EU country, the dreaded roaming charges that could add hundreds of euros to a vacation bill. “It was about time! We should have done it from...
Agencies slow methane rules opposed by oil, gas industry

Agencies slow methane rules opposed by oil, gas industry

The Trump administration is delaying two Obama-era regulations aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions from oil and gas production. The Environmental Protection Agency said it is seeking a two-year delay for oil and gas companies to follow a new rule requiring them to monitor and reduce methane leaks from their facilities. The delay follows a 90-day pause ordered earlier this year. EPA Administrator...
Nike to slash 1,400 jobs, cut sneaker styles in shakeup

Nike to slash 1,400 jobs, cut sneaker styles in shakeup

Nike wants to be more nimble on its feet. The sneaker maker said Thursday that it plans to focus on the hottest-selling sneakers, slash the number of styles it offers and sell more shoes directly to customers online as part of a restructuring in which it also will cut about 1,400 jobs. Nike said the moves will help it offer products to customers faster as it is facing increasing competition from smaller...
For Father’s Day, take Dad car-shopping

For Father’s Day, take Dad car-shopping

Forget the cologne. For this Father’s Day, help Dad get what he really wants: a new car. There are two approaches to Father’s Day car shopping. The first is to plan a fun, no-pressure morning of back-to-back test drives that let Dad check out the cars that appeal to him. Cap it with brunch or lunch and a discussion of which car he liked best. The second route is to surprise him with a...

Business digest: NEA dispatches almost $500,000 to Austin arts

ARTS NEA dispatches almost $500,000 to Austin arts The National Endowment for the Arts has announced almost $83 million in grants nationwide. Of that, $2.5 million went to Texas. Almost $1 million of that was given to the Texas Commission on the Arts to pass along to artists and arts groups statewide. In fact, of the $83 million that the NEA handed out, almost $51 million went to its state partners...
BILLION-DOLLAR MARK REACHED: Austin-area home sales jump 9 percent in May

BILLION-DOLLAR MARK REACHED: Austin-area home sales jump 9 percent in May

Central Texas home sales jumped 9 percent year over year in May, while the median sales price rose 8 percent, to $310,000, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. The dollar volume of May’s 3,170 home sales topped $1.2 billion, making May the highest-grossing month in the region’s history, the board said in its latest monthly report. May also was the first time this year that...
Appeals court tosses FCC cap on cost of calls to prisons

Appeals court tosses FCC cap on cost of calls to prisons

A federal court struck down regulations intended to cap the price of some calls to prison inmates, which can cost families thousands of dollars a year. In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Communication Commission lacked authority to set rates for calls between inmates and people in the same state. Companies that provide prison phone service...
Baylor Scott & White may bring health-care options to Spicewood area

Baylor Scott & White may bring health-care options to Spicewood area

Baylor Scott & White Health is considering bringing health-care services to the Spicewood area west of Austin. Baylor Scott & White Health officials and Thomas Ranch Development Interests announced a partnership this week that could bring a clinic or other health-care facility to Thomas Ranch, a proposed 2,200-acre master-planned community to be built off Texas 71 and Paleface Ranch Road. The proposed...
Feds point fingers as ‘debt relief’ cos. prey on students

Feds point fingers as ‘debt relief’ cos. prey on students

Fraudulent “debt relief” companies are preying on the most vulnerable of the 44 million people with student loans, as federal officials dispute who’s to blame and what to do, a NerdWallet investigation has found. U.S. enforcement agencies — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission — in recent years have closed only seven companies that...
U.S. consumer prices dip 0.1 percent in May

U.S. consumer prices dip 0.1 percent in May

Consumer prices declined in May, reflecting a big drop in energy prices and smaller declines in a number of other areas. It was the second monthly decline in the past three months and underscores how inflation has been a no-show in the slow-growing U.S. economy. Consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent last month following a small 0.2 percent increase in April, the Labor Department reported Wednesday...
Fed raises key rate and unveils plan to reduce bond holdings

Fed raises key rate and unveils plan to reduce bond holdings

The Federal Reserve has raised its key interest rate for the third time in six months, providing its latest vote of confidence in a slow-growing but durable economy. The Fed also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, which could cause long-term rates to rise. The increase in the short-term rate by a quarter-point to a still-low range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent...

Business digest: UT offers data science and analytics boot camp

EDUCATION UT taking signups for data science and analytics boot camp The University of Texas is offering a boot camp for those who want to pick up skills in data science. The data analytics and visualization boot camp starts Oct. 3 and will run 24 weeks at the UT Thompson Conference Center. It will take place on evenings and Saturdays. The camp is being offered in partnership with Trilogy Education...
In interview, Whole Foods CEO calls agitators ‘greedy bastards’

In interview, Whole Foods CEO calls agitators ‘greedy bastards’

Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey comes out swinging in a new Texas Monthly interview, calling the agitators who’ve pushed for the Austin-based grocer to make a host of changes – including possibly putting itself up for sale – “greedy bastards” looking to make a quick buck. Mackey tells the magazine he was just about to kick off the book tour for “The Whole Foods...
Uber CEO to take leave, leadership team to run company

Uber CEO to take leave, leadership team to run company

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will take a leave of absence for an unspecified period and let his leadership team run the troubled ride-hailing company while he’s gone. Kalanick told employees of his decision Tuesday in a memo, saying he needs time off to grieve for his mother, who died in a May boating accident. He also says he’s responsible for the company’s current situation and needs...
GM raises output of self-driving Bolts, boosts test fleet

GM raises output of self-driving Bolts, boosts test fleet

General Motors Co. says it has built 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric cars at a factory in suburban Detroit, making it among the first automakers to mass produce self-driving vehicles. The automaker has been building self-driving Bolts at its Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Mich., since January. Unlike GM’s earlier self-driving test vehicles, the new cars were built on the same...
Verizon takes over Yahoo to complete $4.5 billion deal

Verizon takes over Yahoo to complete $4.5 billion deal

Verizon has taken over Yahoo, completing a $4.5 billion deal that will usher in a new management team to attempt to wring more advertising revenue from one of the internet’s best-known brands. Tuesday’s closure of the sale ends Yahoo’s 21-year history as a publicly traded company. It also ends the nearly five-year reign of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who isn’t joining Verizon...

Sears to cut 400 full-time jobs, mostly at corporate office

Sears Holdings says it will cut about 400 full-time jobs as part of the troubled retailer’s plan to turn its business around. The company, which owns the Sears and Kmart chains, says the cuts include some at its corporate offices in Hoffman Estates, Ill., support functions globally, certain field operations positions and jobs related to store closures. The eliminated jobs represent less than...

Business digest: Ride Austin lowers fares to compete with Uber, Lyft

RIDE-HAILING Ride Austin lowers fares to compete with Uber, Lyft Homegrown ride-hailing service Ride Austin said Tuesday that it has lowered prices to better compete with Uber and Lyft. The move comes after Ride Austin reported a significant drop in ridership since the two companies returned to Austin on Memorial Day. The first week Uber and Lyft were back, Ride Austin says its drivers gave 55 percent...
EXCLUSIVE: Historic Austin estate to become boutique hotel

EXCLUSIVE: Historic Austin estate to become boutique hotel

The vision for a boutique hotel at Austin’s historic Commodore Perry Estate is poised to become a reality at last. Local developers told the American-Statesman exclusively that the hotel, planned for the 10-acre gated compound at East 41st and Red River streets in Central Austin, will be a 53-room property to be operated by Auberge Resorts Collection. The hotel, to be called Commodore Perry...
EXCLUSIVE: Historic Austin estate to become boutique hotel

EXCLUSIVE: Historic Austin estate to become boutique hotel

The vision for a boutique hotel at Austin’s historic Commodore Perry Estate is poised to become a reality at last. Local developers told the American-Statesman exclusively that the hotel, planned for the 10-acre gated compound at East 41st and Red River streets in Central Austin, will be a 53-room property to be operated by Auberge Resorts Collection. The hotel, to be called Commodore Perry...
JUST IN: Ride Austin lowers fares to better compete with Uber, Lyft

JUST IN: Ride Austin lowers fares to better compete with Uber, Lyft

Homegrown ride-hailing service Ride Austin said Tuesday that it has lowered prices to better compete with competitors Uber and Lyft. The move comes after Ride Austin reported a significant drop in ridership since the two companies returned to Austin on Memorial Day. The first week Uber and Lyft were back, Ride Austin says its drivers gave 55 percent fewer rides. Last week, rides totaled 22,000, down...
Cultural district takes over plans for mural at 12th and Chicon

Cultural district takes over plans for mural at 12th and Chicon

Six Square, Austin’s black cultural district, announced Monday that it has gained conservatorship of a wall that once featured a mural depicting African American music legends such as James Brown, Prince and Tupac Shakur. The district reached an agreement with the building owner and business owner leasing the property at 12th and Chicon streets, where the mural was painted over last month, causing...
Sudden technology tumble continues as stocks fall further

Sudden technology tumble continues as stocks fall further

U.S. stock indexes slipped again Monday as technology companies, which were near record highs last week, suffered a second day of sharp losses. Investors are changing course and selling some of the best-performing stocks of the year while buying companies that have struggled. Technology companies have surged in recent months, and on Monday almost all of the losses came from the big companies that...
Experts: Uber must make changes at top to fix culture woes

Experts: Uber must make changes at top to fix culture woes

Uber must get rid of leaders who tolerate bad behavior and hire people who don’t, experts say, as the ride-hailing company gets ready to announce significant changes to its culture and management. Uber’s board has adopted the recommendations of former Attorney General Eric Holder, who investigated its toxic culture of harassment and bullying. Those will be revealed to employees and made...
Fed is set to raise rates this week despite political tumult

Fed is set to raise rates this week despite political tumult

The Washington political world is in disarray. Britain’s election tumult has scrambled the outlook for Europe. And economies in the United States and abroad are plodding along at a pace that hardly suggests robust health. Yet when the Federal Reserve meets Wednesday, it’s all but sure to raise its benchmark interest rate for the third time in six months — a pace the Fed would normally...
Shops, restaurants, 390 apartments coming to ACC Highland site

Shops, restaurants, 390 apartments coming to ACC Highland site

More shops and residences are on the way to the former Highland Mall complex in Central Austin. Newly announced plans for the property, now owned by Austin Community College, include two more apartment buildings with a combined total of 390 units, as well as 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Retail and restaurant tenants haven’t been announced yet. The two buildings, which will...

Central Texas Digest: Northwest Austin shopping center up for sale

REAL ESTATE Northwest Austin shopping center up for sale A Northwest Austin shopping center is up for grabs. Arbor Town Square, at 10721 Research Blvd., is being marketed by David Thibodeaux and Logan Reichle in real estate giant CBRE’s Austin office. The 33,086-square-foot center is 100 percent occupied, with tenants that include Ashton Woods Homes, Firehouse Subs, Juiceland and Orange Theory...
NEW TODAY: Northwest Austin shopping center up for sale

NEW TODAY: Northwest Austin shopping center up for sale

A Northwest Austin shopping center is up for grabs. Arbor Town Square, at 10721 Research Blvd., is being marketed by David Thibodeaux and Logan Reichle in real estate giant CBRE’s Austin office. The 33,086-square-foot center is 100 percent occupied, with tenants that include Ashton Woods Homes, Firehouse Subs, Juiceland and Orange Theory Fitness. “This asset has exceptional construction...

Are Social Security officials scamming the public?

Jim Cornfeld, a certified financial planner in St. Louis who manages a wealth-adviser network, sent me the following email. Let me share my answer. — Larry, An adviser in our network told me that one of his clients, turning 70 this August, received a call from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling him that if he filed for his Social Security retirement benefits as of November 2016...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

AMD BONANZA AMD’s rebound has meant big money for key company executives: As chief executive at Advanced Micro Devices, Lisa Su earned $2.9 million in 2015. A year later, her earnings with the California-based chipmaker ballooned to $16.6 million. The remarkable increase in Su’s income is due to a meteoric rise in the value of the stock of her company, which employs 1,500 people in Central...

Business Digest: Austin Hispanic chamber names new leader

COMMUNITY Austin Hispanic chamber names new leader The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has named Luis Rodriguez as its new president and CEO, the organization announced. Rodriguez will replace Mark Madrid, who resigned in April to accept a position as the executive director of the Latino Business Action Network, a research and education nonprofit at Stanford University. Rodriguez worked...
A crane display in Austin’s downtown

A crane display in Austin’s downtown

Towering construction cranes dot Austin’s skyline these days, helping erect towers that will become hotels, offices, condos, apartments and more over the next several years. Currently, there are about a dozen of them at work in downtown Austin. For more on the boom in high-rise construction in downtown Austin, see the full story and photo gallery at www.mystatesman.com.
Cranes fill the sky as Austin’s building boom flies on

Cranes fill the sky as Austin’s building boom flies on

The state bird of Texas is the (construction) crane, or so the old joke goes. With Texas’ largest cities – especially Austin – experiencing phenomenal growth in recent years, that well-worn one-liner might as well be true. Construction cranes dot Austin’s skyline, helping erect towers that will become hotels, offices, condos, apartments and more over the next several years...
Top Workplaces nomination deadline extended

Top Workplaces nomination deadline extended

For the eighth straight year, the American-Statesman is trying to spread the word about the best places to work in Austin. And the response to our call to recognize local employers in the 2017 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project has been so strong, we are extending the nominating deadline to July 7 to accommodate the demand. The Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project recognizes Central Texas...

Business Digest: U.S. jobless claims drop by 10,000

ECONOMY U.S. jobless claims drop by 10,000 WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as most U.S. workers continue to enjoy job security. The Labor Department said Thursday that claims for jobless aid fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 245,000 last week. The less-volatile, four-week average rose by 2,250 to 242,000. Applications for unemployment benefits are...
Forestar Group: D.R. Horton bid could be superior to Starwood offer

Forestar Group: D.R. Horton bid could be superior to Starwood offer

Austin-based Forestar Group said Thursday that the competing buyout offer it received this week from homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. could be a better deal than its pending merger agreement with Starwood Capital Group. Fort Worth-based D.R. Horton Inc., the nation’s largest homebuilder, on Monday said it has offered to buy a 75 percent stake in Forestar Group, a natural resources and real estate...

Business Digest: Dell, Whole Foods make new Fortune 500 list

AUSTIN ECONOMY Dell, Whole Foods make new Fortune 500 list Two Austin-area companies made Fortune magazine’s annual Fortune 500 list of America’s 500 largest companies, as measured by annual revenue. Showing up in the rankings are Round Rock-based Dell Technologies, at No. 41 on the list with $64.8 billion in annual revenue, and Austin-based Whole Foods Market, which is at No. 176 with...
Austin TV ratings: KXAN, KVUE split the wins in May

Austin TV ratings: KXAN, KVUE split the wins in May

In the race to keep you informed before you head to work or school each morning, two Austin TV stations are duking it out for first place. ABC affiliate KVUE and NBC affiliate KXAN have been relatively close in the pre-dawn hours for the past several years, with KXAN winning most head-to-head competitions. May was different, though, with KVUE taking the top spot at 4:30 a.m., 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., according...
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