Business

Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Celebrating The Hartford Courant's 250th Year

This year, The Hartford Courant celebrates its 250th year of publication.
Credit NS Newsflash / Creative Commons

For centuries, Connecticut has housed one of American journalism’s greatest gems: The Hartford Courant. In 1764, a New Haven printer by the name of Thomas Green founded the capital-based newspaper. Since then, The Courant has evolved into an established and highly revered news enterprise, circulating well over 100,000 copies to readers each day.

Now, thanks to years of professional writing and reporting, The Courant is celebrating its 250th year of publication, thus maintaining its status as the nation’s oldest continuously-running newspaper. 

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Home Sales
9:58 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Connecticut Housing Market Posts Best Year Since 2005

Governor Dannel Malloy and his wife Cathy were one of the families to place their home on the market in 2013.
Credit CMLS

Connecticut's housing market continued to improve in January, and market-watchers said it's possible the state could see big gains in the spring selling season.

The state also saw distinct improvement in its housing market activity for the full year of 2013, with sales up six percent and prices rising 8.3 percent over the year. The numbers come from the Warren Group, a real estate data firm, and it marks the best full year results for the Connecticut market since 2005, before the market crash.

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Wages
8:49 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Overtime Pay Proposal Triggers A New Debate About Wages

Economists are divided about the White House plan to boost overtime pay for workers.
Doug Finger Gainesville Sun/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:56 pm

On Thursday, President Obama rolled out his plan for strengthening overtime pay protections for millions of workers. In his view, if more workers got fatter paychecks, they could spend more and stimulate the economy.

But if his critics are right, then employers would end up laying off workers to make up for the higher wage costs. And that would hurt the already painfully slow recovery.

Which scenario is right?

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Container Ships
8:22 am
Wed March 12, 2014

After A Downturn, Global Shipping Bets Big On Everything

A container ship docked at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey. No one on the pier knows for sure what exactly the containers carry — anything from frozen chicken to computers.
Jonathan Blakley NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 11:22 am

On a cold, blustery day at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, one of several massive cranes whirs along a rail high above the pier, picks up a heavy container from a ship's deck and loads it on a waiting truck back on land. The truck drives away, another arrives, and the whole process starts again.

It's a scene played out every day along America's coasts as massive container ships from across the globe pull into deep-water seaports, waiting to be unloaded. The ships are enormous — some 10 stories high and several football fields long.

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Economic Development
11:54 am
Tue March 11, 2014

UTC Deal Questioned Over Lack of Hiring Demands

Pratt and Whitney's planned new headquarters building in East Hartford.
Credit Pratt and Whitney

The deal offered to United Technologies to redeem extra tax credits could be extended to other corporations in Connecticut. A legislative hearing Monday revealed more details about the huge economic development agreement.

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Legal Marijuana
7:43 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Colorado Collected $2.1 Million In January Taxes On Recreational Pot

Marijuana is stored in bins for trimming and packaging in preparation to be sold retail at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denver.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:38 pm

For the first time since it legalized recreational marijuana, Colorado is releasing revenue figures: The state made $3.5 million in taxes and fees in January.

As KUSA-TV reports, $2.1 million of that came from the sale of recreational pot and $1.4 million came from medical marijuana.

KUSA adds:

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Deregulated Power
1:49 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Independent Electric Suppliers Hit Back at Critics

Credit Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Connecticut's independent electric suppliers have come in for some stiff criticism this winter, after it was revealed that some were charging customers astronomical rates for power. But the suppliers themselves claim there's another side to the story.

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Doing Business
2:40 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Campaign Aims to Improve Business Climate in Connecticut

Legislative leaders address business owners at CBIA's Business Day
Credit Harriet Jones

The state's poor business climate is a perennial complaint for Connecticut's largest business organization. And now it's launched a campaign to make it an urgent priority. 

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Wealth
10:02 am
Fri March 7, 2014

There Are Over 1,000 Billionaires Worldwide -- and Connecticut Has 13 of Them

Credit hynci/iStock / Thinkstock

Thirteen Connecticut residents appear on this year's list of the nation's billionaires, compiled by Forbes Magazine. The list, released annually, includes 1,645 billionaires worldwide. 

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U.S. Economy
9:34 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Jobless Rate Ticks Up, But Job Growth Is Better Than Expected

The scene at a job fair for veterans earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:14 am

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

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E-Commerce
7:09 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Facebook Moves To Restrict Posts About Gun Sales

Facebook is planning to roll out new restrictions on posts about gun sales on its social networking site and on Instagram.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:01 pm

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. ET on March 6.

Facebook said Wednesday that it will limit minors' access to pages and posts that offer firearms for sale, along with other measures intended to curtail illegal gun trafficking.

"This is something we've been working on for a while," says Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld. "We want to balance the interests of people who come here to express themselves while promoting an environment that is safe and respectful."

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Connecticut Business Day
1:14 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Business Audience Quizzes Malloy on Minimum Wage

CBIA members listen to legislative leaders during Connecticut Business Day at the Capitol
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Before he traveled to New Britain for this afternoon’s event with President Obama, Governor Dannel Malloy faced what might be his most skeptical audience on the issue of minimum wage.

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Keno, or no?
10:07 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Keno Finally Gets a Public Hearing

With a $500 million projected state surplus, chances are keno will be repealed in Connecticut.
Credit purple_onion / Creative Commons

The General Assembly's Public Safety and Security committee heard public testimony Tuesday on a bill that would repeal last year's law establishing keno in Connecticut.

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Minimum Wage
5:46 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Economists' Views Differ on Whether Minimum Wage Would Hurt Job Growth

Reverend Samuel Saylor of Hartford spoke at a rally outside the Connecticut State Capitol last May to support raising the minimum wage.
Credit Connecticut Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

President Barack Obama will be in Connecticut on Wednesday with four governors to push for a higher minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.

The increase is controversial, but what might actually happen if it goes up? Increasing the minimum wage is a contested political issue, but it's also an economic question that can be studied.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

How is Connecticut's Fiscal Health?

Donald Boyd, Keith Phaneuf, Spencer Cain, and Benjamin Barnes at the MetroHartford Alliance panel discussion, "Fiscal Sustainability: Critical to Connecticut's Growth."
Credit MetroHartford Alliance

Connecticut’s state budget faces a series of problems that have been building for some time. It’s why the Office of Fiscal Analysis shows looming budget deficits in the next two fiscal years.

But we’re not alone. A study of several states shows some of the same trends: Medicaid costs growing faster than states can raise money, which means less funding for education; the federal government cutting aid to states in an effort to cut their own deficits; reliance on volatile tax structures and massive underfunding of public pensions.

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Economic Development
7:59 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

State Strikes Major Tax Credit Deal With United Technologies

An artist's impression of the planned new Pratt & Whitney headquarters building.
Credit Pratt and Whitney

The state of Connecticut has struck a multi-million dollar deal with United Technologies, which it hopes will safeguard the future of research and manufacturing operations here.

Under the agreement, the state will allow UTC to exercise tax credits it has already built up. The conglomerate can exchange $20 million in tax credits each year, up to a maximum of $400 million.

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Pizza Strategy
11:44 am
Thu February 27, 2014

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza

Somebody check the cheese.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:28 pm

One day last year, an engineer and I went to a pizza place for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn't very hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it cost only a little bit more. This sort of blew my mind.

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Electric Cars
11:36 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Any Way It's Measured, Tesla's $5B 'Gigafactory' Is Huge

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:31 pm

Just how big a deal is the "gigafactory" that Tesla Motors says it's going to build to make batteries for its electric cars?

-- It's projected to cost $5 billion between now and the year 2020. Tesla expects to invest about $2 billion. Partners — who it's rumored could include Apple and Panasonic — would invest the rest.

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Pizza Prices
11:02 am
Thu February 27, 2014

The Price Of A Pizza In 237 U.S. Neighborhoods

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Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:44 pm

Yesterday, we crunched thousands of pizza prices from around the country, and argued that you should always buy a bigger pizza. (And in a separate post, we presented the case against buying a bigger pizza.)

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Technology
12:03 am
Thu February 27, 2014

The Web At 25: Hugely Popular, And Viewed As A Positive Force

A 1992 copy of the world's first Web page. British physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:58 pm

For something that's become so ubiquitous in our lives, the World Wide Web is just a youngster. It was only 25 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee first created a rudimentary information retrieval system that relied on the Internet. It's since exploded into a primary means by which we learn, work and connect. (To put things in perspective, the film Die Hard is older than the World Wide Web.)

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Technology
12:50 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

If You've Ignored Bitcoin Up Until Now, This One's For You

No, these aren't real bitcoins (just Bitcoin buttons). Fans of the virtual currency see several real benefits, including the elimination of fees for transferring money.
Frank Jordans AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 4:05 pm

One of Bitcoin's largest trading exchanges shut down Tuesday, and you probably couldn't care less.

So what if rumors are circulating that millions of dollars' worth of Bitcoin are stolen? If you don't understand Bitcoin in the first place, it's hard to figure out why this matters. So we're using this as an opportunity to go back to the basics: what this b-word means, where it came from and why it just might matter.

The Birth Of Bitcoin

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Massachusetts Gaming
7:50 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Revere Approves Mohegan Sun Casino Plan

An artist's rendering of Mohegan Sun's planned casino at Suffolk Downs, Revere
Credit Mohegan Sun

Residents in Revere, Massachusetts approved on Tuesday a plan by Mohegan Sun to build a $1.3 billion resort casino in the town. The Hartford Courant reported that the proposal won 63 percent of the vote.

It's the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's second attempt at the new gaming market in Massachusetts -- voters in Palmer recently rejected a casino plan there.

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Coming Home Project
4:37 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Connecticut Veterans Fired For Military Service Can Sue in State Court

Credit glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

A recent decision by the Connecticut Appellate Court could help local veterans who have been wrongfully terminated because of their military service.

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Public Policy Divide
4:04 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Mixed Effects on Industry and Workers as Malloy Pushes for Higher Minimum Wage

Dale Doll, pantry coordinator at MACC, said she sees minimum wage workers struggling to put food on the table.
Credit Sujata Srinivasan

As the pace of the gubernatorial campaign picks up, with the position up for re-election this November, Governor Dannel Malloy is making minimum wage a top priority issue. A further increase in the minimum wage is one of the most politically polarizing debates the legislature is likely to see this session. 

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Network Controversy
12:54 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Docs Claim United Healthcare Losing Medicare Members

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

United Healthcare has lost customers in its Medicare Advantage program, according to a physicians group that's locked in a court battle with the insurer. It has been the target of heavy criticism for its decision to drop 2,000 Connecticut doctors from its Medicare Advantage network. 

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Oh, Joe You Didn't!
3:37 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Trader Joe's Caught In Sticky Lawsuit Over Peanut Butter Pretzels

The Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel: The salty-sweet snack that launched a bitter lawsuit.
Courtesy of Tina Haupert

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:37 pm

Among the many snacks you can find in the aisles of Trader Joe's is an icon of sweet and salty goodness: the peanut butter pretzel. It's a combination so tasty, famed food writer Ruth Reichl once raved, "You haven't lived until you've tried the two together."

But the beloved treats aren't just treasures for the palate — they're a pretty lucrative business worth millions of dollars. And now, Trader Joe's is being sued for allegedly cornering the market on the snack.

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Technology
3:33 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Risk Is Low And Business Is Booming In The Malware Market

Stolen credit card data are sold on underground markets, along with the malware and tools the thieves need to steal the data themselves.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 2:29 pm

Malware is malicious, bad software. It's the code that cybercriminals use to steal credit card numbers and bank accounts. And the big hack against Target showed how good these criminals are getting: They've built a thriving underground where credit cards go on sale before anyone even knows that a massive breach has happened.

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Technology
12:23 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Why Facebook Thinks WhatsApp Is Worth $19 Billion

Facebook announced it acquired WhatsApp late Wednesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:19 pm

Facebook's purchase of messaging service WhatsApp — at a price tag of up to $19 billion — is its largest acquisition yet. To put things in perspective, the social giant tried to purchase Snapchat for a fraction of that cost — $3 billion. And it successfully bought Instagram for $1 billion.

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Military Engines
9:38 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Former Pratt Worker Pleads Not Guilty to Shipping Secrets to Iran

A U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in a test flight.
Credit U.S. Navy

A former defense worker charged with trying to ship stolen proprietary information to Iran about the Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program and military jet engines has pleaded not guilty in Connecticut.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Gender Balance and the Culture of Women in Science

What is causing a shortage of female scientists?
Credit Defence Images / Creative Commons

In 1962, the Nobel Prize was awarded to three scientists, James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins, for their work in discovering the fundamental structure of DNA: the double helix. Today, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins maintain international prestige for their findings. 

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