Business

Bilingual Tax Help
10:44 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Revenue Services Reaches Out to Hispanic Businesses in Connecticut

Park Street in Hartford is home to many Hispanic-run businesses.
Tucker Ives WNPR

The state of Connecticut is trying to make it easier for Spanish-speaking business owners to pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue Services has produced a Spanish language video on electronic filing.

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WAMC News
9:44 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Connecticut Unemployment Rate Falls To 6.6 Percent

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 5:16 am

Connecticut's Labor Department says the state added jobs for a sixth straight month in July, dropping the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent.

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Startups
6:22 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Uber And Lyft Spar Over Alleged Ride Cancellations

It's not all pink mustaches and fist bumps in the business of on-demand car services.
Jose A. Iglesias MCT/Landov

Uber and Lyft are battling for customers looking for rides via smartphones, but maybe not everyone is fighting fairly.

CNNMoney reports that Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 Lyft rides since October, according to Lyft's data.

"And it's not just a rogue employee or two," CNN reports. "Lyft claims 177 Uber employees around the country have booked and canceled rides in that time frame."

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Technology
2:46 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Many Women Leave Engineering, Blame The Work Culture

Respondents in a survey of women with engineering degrees said that many companies did not provide opportunities for women like them to advance and develop.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 8:57 am

From the aerospace sector to Silicon Valley, engineering has a retention problem: Close to 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either leave the profession or never enter the field.

Conventional wisdom says that women in engineering face obstacles such as the glass ceiling, a lack of self-confidence and a lack of mentors. But psychologists who delved deeper into the issue with a new study found that the biggest pushbacks female engineers receive come from the environments they work in.

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Airline Industry
12:26 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Malaysia's Money-Losing Airline Will Become National Property

Flight attendants of Malaysia Airlines walk past their company's counter Friday at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.
Chong Voon Chung Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 5:41 pm

Malaysia plans to nationalize its flag carrier Malaysia Airlines after back-to-back disasters and a 12-year stretch that saw the company restructured four times. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing that another complete restructuring will follow, in a bid to pull the airline out of its financial tailspin.

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Industry Revival
2:12 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Stafford Springs Textile Mills Back in Action

American Woolen has restarted production at Stafford Springs.
American Woolen Company

Textiles are once again being produced in Stafford Springs. Eight months after the Warren Corporation mills closed, ending the industry in Connecticut, the newly-reopened company has taken its first work order.

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Telecommunications
12:23 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Sprint Names New CEO, As T-Mobile Bid Is Said To Crumble

A woman using a cell phone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint stores in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 1:10 pm

Just as reports surfaced that Sprint, and its corporate parent SoftBank, were ending their bid to merge with T-Mobile, the company announced it was appointing a new CEO.

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son said Marcelo Claure, who runs Brightstar, a wireless company and subsidiary of SoftBank, would replace Dan Hesse, who has been Sprint's president and CEO since 2007.

In the announcement, Son made a passing reference to Sprint's decision to forgo the T-Mobile merger.

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Electricity Law
3:37 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

New Regulations Aim for More Transparency for Connecticut's Electric Consumers

Brian Cassidy Creative Commons

Consumer advocates say that new laws passed this year will help electric consumers dealing with higher-than-expected rates from so-called "third-party" electric providers. Many of these companies offer lower initial rates than the major utilities -- Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating -- but the rates can later spike, often without warning. 

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WAMC News
1:26 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Massachusetts Gives Shoppers Another Sales Tax-free Weekend

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 12:26 pm

Shoppers in Massachusetts can look forward to a sales tax holiday later this month. The Massachusetts legislature in the closing minutes of the legislative session last week set the sales tax-free shopping days for August 16 and 17.

The sales tax holiday was included in a comprehensive economic development bill that contains dozens of programs and incentives designed to create jobs. State  Senator Gale Candaras  of  Wilbraham, who helped write the bill, acknowledges there is scant evidence the sales tax holiday does much to grow the Massachusetts economy.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Consumer Check-In: Alternative Electricity Suppliers; Herbalife Nutrition Clubs

Elin Katz.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new “bill of rights” has gone into effect for Connecticut’s electricity consumers. The bill is aimed at creating greater transparency in the marketing practices of third-party electric suppliers -- after many consumers complained that their electricity bills were increasing without warning.

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Automobiles
7:21 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

GM Stays At The Top As U.S. Car Sales Surge In July

Sales of GM's cars slid by 3.8 percent from July 1013, but its light trucks and SUVs, like this Buick Enclave, more than made up for it, spiking 17.5 percent.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 12:28 pm

Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.

Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.

GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.

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Wrestling Slammed
11:08 am
Fri August 1, 2014

WWE to Cut Seven Percent of Staff

WWE wrestler The Miz (Michael Greg "Mike" Mizanin) wins a Money in the Bank award in 2010.
Deron Kamisato Creative Commons

World Wrestling Entertainment will cut seven percent of its workforce, as it continues its efforts to remake the company. 

Stamford-based WWE reported a loss for the second quarter. It’s currently grappling with a 25 percent slide in its share price, and a less than impressive ramp up for its streaming online video network. 

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U.S. Economy
9:52 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Unemployment Ticks Up To 6.2 Percent; 209,000 Jobs Added

Construction workers building a commercial complex Thursday in Springfield, Ill., earlier this month. The sector has been on a gradual rebound following a devastating hit during the housing collapse in 2008.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 8:44 am

The nation's unemployment rate moved up a bit in the month of July, to 6.2 percent, as more Americans who'd been sitting on the sidelines started looking for work, according to the latest monthly report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs, a bit less than economists had expected.

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Energy Industry
8:44 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Tensions Stir At EPA Hearings On New Emission Rules

Some 5,000 union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America, march outside the William S. Moorhead Federal Building on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The city hosted two days of public hearings by the Environmental Protection Agency on stricter pollution rules for coal-burning power plants.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:14 am

The coal industry made its presence known in Pittsburgh this week for public hearings on President Obama's controversial plan to address climate change. A key element is rules the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June. They would cut greenhouse gas emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide — from existing power plants. The national goal is 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

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Business Confidence
1:16 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Manufacturers Optimistic About Economic Outlook

Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Thinkstock

Manufacturers are increasingly bullish about the state of the economy, according to a new survey.

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Rating Analysis
12:43 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Fitch Maintains Negative Outlook on Connecticut Debt

Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management Ben Barnes
Credit Uma Ramiah / WNPR

Ratings agency Fitch has maintained Connecticut's debt rating outlook at negative, saying the state's budget relies on one-time fixes, and calling the economic recovery "slow and uneven."

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Manufacturing
4:40 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Connecticut Leading on 3D Printing in Industry

Pratt and Whitney design engineer Louis Porretti uses an electron beam melting machine that is part of the new Pratt & Whitney Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center at the University of Connecticut.
University of Connecticut

Additive manufacturing — what’s commonly known as 3D printing — has technology geeks buzzing about its potential to turn your desk into a mini-factory. It’s actually not as new as you might think -- 3D printing traces its roots back to the 1980s, and it's been the subject of industry research ever since. What effect is it having now on manufacturing in Connecticut?

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Campaign Trail
3:05 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Foley Loses Control of The Message at Sprague Paper Mill

First Selectwoman of Sprague Cathy Osten confronts Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley outside Fusion Paperboard

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley wants the Malloy administration to answer questions about the loans it gives out to businesses across the state. His attempt to raise the issue Tuesday left Foley himself in the hot seat.

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Air Travel
2:25 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

FAA Seeks $12 Million Fine Against Southwest Airlines

A Boeing 737 jetliner operated by Southwest awaits loading at the Little Rock, Ark., airport.
Danny Johnston AP

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it intends to fine Southwest Airlines $12 million for flying Boeing 737 airplanes without making proper repairs.

Beginning in 2006, Southwest began "extreme makeover" alterations to address cracking of aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said in a news release.

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Reversing Outsourcing
11:33 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Sen. Murphy Urges Support for Bring Jobs Home Act

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) in a file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy hopes for a strong vote in the Senate this week on the Bring Jobs Home Act. The bill would take away the ability for businesses to get a tax break for sending jobs overseas, and instead incentivizes companies to bring jobs back to the United States.

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Culinary Delights
9:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Hungry for Variety? Hartford Has a Taste

A sample meal from Trumbull Kitchen. Scallops, zucchini, and sticky rice with soy and orange glaze. Each meal component is from a different part of Connecticut.
Katherine Peikes WNPR

Food lovers have a chance to savor unique culinary dishes from over 30 restaurants in the capital city as the annual Taste of Hartford continues.

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Planet Money
7:10 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Self-Published Authors Make A Living — And Sometimes A Fortune

The cover of Michael Bunker's self published book Pennsylvania Omnibus.
Michael Bunker

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 11:44 am

Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.

"But now," says Dana Beth Weinberg, a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, "the self-published authors walk into the room, and they say, oh, well, 'I made a quarter million dollars last year, or $100,000, or made $10,000.' And it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts."

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Ticket Websites
2:49 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

TicketNetwork Agrees To Fix "Unfair Trade Practices"

Ticket resale company TicketNetwork settled with the State of Connecticut and the Federal Trade Commission.
Bradley P. Johnson Creative Commons

A settlement has been reached between South Windsor-based TicketNetwork and the State of Connecticut. In the deal, TicketNetwork agreed to clearly disclose that it is a ticket resale company, and not an official box office outlet.

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Manufacturing
1:51 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What's Behind the Connecticut-Made Brand?

Bob Torrani, director of the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology’s (CCAT) Advanced Manufacturing Center in East Hartford, explains how CCAT helps smaller firms to optmize new technology.
Sujata Srinivasan WNPR

What consumer product comes to mind when you think of Vermont? Maple syrup, Cabot cheese, or Ben & Jerry’s, perhaps? If that's what comes up in a kind of consumer word association, marketing gurus would nod their heads knowingly.

A strong product is great, but if you don’t build a strong brand, it won't sell. How are businesses and policy makers branding Connecticut-made products?

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Insurance Industry
1:28 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Connecticut's Share of Insurance Industry Continues to Decline

Hartford, Connecticut, known as the Insurance Capital.
Credit Cliff / Creative Commons

A new analysis shows employment in the insurance industry is steadily recovering nationally. Connecticut’s share of the industry, however, has continued to decline.

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Job Growth
12:25 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (right) and Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess cut a cake to celebrate city's raised minimum wage.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 10:24 am

New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, could cost as many as 500,000 jobs.

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Technology Industry
8:33 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Microsoft Will Cut As Many As 18,000 Jobs

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:23 am

A large layoff is under way at Microsoft, as the technology company says it will cut 13,000 jobs in the next six months. All but 500 of the layoffs are related to the Nokia phone division the company acquired in April. Microsoft says it might shed as many as 18,000 jobs as it restructures itself.

The company says it will complete most of the layoffs by the end of this year, and complete the restructuring by next June.

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Online Shopping
5:16 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Visa Makes Big Move To Boost Consumer Spending Online

Visa Checkout will store customers' credit card numbers and billing addresses once without their having to re-enter the information each time they shop online.
Visa

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:00 pm

Here's an experience many of us have had: You're shopping on your smartphone. You click on the shoes or books you want. But then, when you get to the shopping cart, you abandon ship.

Visa says that's a big problem for retailers. On Wednesday, the credit card company announced it's rolling out a brand new system designed to get us to spend more money online.

One Password, Many Tokens

Visa is actually trying to fix two problems with one swipe.

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Technology
3:20 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Company Experiments With 3D-Printed Car

Local Motors engineer James Earl prepares to test drive the company's 3D printed vehicle prototype. (Carrie Jung/KJZZ)

3D printers are capable of producing a variety of consumer products, from children’s toys to prosthetic limbs. Now, a company in the Phoenix area is trying to take the technology to the next level with cars. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Jung of KJZZ reports.

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Customer Service
2:32 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Don't Fire The Comcast Guy, Says Caller Who Tried To Cancel

We don't know the fate of the Comcast service rep at the center of a viral call recording.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:12 pm

Ryan Block, whose hilariously tedious customer service experience with Comcast struck a chord with millions, says the customer service rep who harangued him should not be fired.

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