With Metro-North service still only running at 50 percent of normal capacity, Connecticut commuters are entering a second week of delays and challenges getting to work. Being a regular Metro-North commuter frequently calls for ingenuity. Last week's electrical failure left many searching once again for a Plan B.
Governor Dannel Malloy pointed small businesses in Connecticut who were affected by Superstorm Sandy to a new state website, Connecticut Recovers, to apply for a share of $10.5 million in federal grants. The site is intended to streamline the process of filing for relief.
Targets for "expense reductions" have not been set, but The Hartford Courant's parent company, Tribune, confirmed that it has asked newspaper managers to look for areas they could cut back. According to a report by The Los Angeles Times, there will be staff reductions but they have not determined how many jobs will be affected.
State lawmakers are turning up heat on Northeast Utilities over rumors the utility giant will outsource its information technology functions. The legislators say the company isn't playing straight with them. For several weeks, gossip has been circulating about the intentions of Northeast Utilities with regard to its IT department.
Most of us have gone through the process of buying an automobile. It can be both exciting and excruciating. And sales are up to almost pre-recession levels. A boom caused by “more widely available credit, an increasingly aged fleet, and a host of new models.”
Online travel site KAYAK will move its headquarters to Stamford, with the help of a $2.5 million state loan. KAYAK is already headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, and was recently acquired by the state's other online travel giant, Priceline.com.
It’s Harvest Time for farms all over Connecticut, and that means a growing number of small farms that work on the “community supported agriculture” model. In CSAs, members share the risk of a volatile New England growing season, and share in the bounty as well.
Executives from several Connecticut companies, along with U.S. Department of Commerce officials from Middletown, are on a trade mission in Australia this week to promote exports, inbound investments and tourism. It’s all hands on deck. Officials dressed up as Mark Twain and Nathan Hale at “The Tastes and Sights of Connecticut” event, which kicked off the week-long visit.
People who lost money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme after investing in feeder funds could get a share in more than $2 billion recovered by the government. So far, feeder fund investors have been shut out of compensation.
No doubt most of you reading this post have looked at Yelp or Google+ Local to check the user reviews before you tried that fish store, bakery or even dentist. On occasion, you may have wondered if some of those reviews were too good to be true.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 3:29 pm
Sales of its new iPhone 5s and 5c models have surpassed other iPhone releases and exceeded initial supply, Apple says. The company says it has sold 9 million of the phones since their launch on Friday and that "many online orders" will ship in coming weeks.
"This is our best iPhone launch yet — more than nine million new iPhones sold — a new record for first weekend sales," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a Monday press release. He added that "while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly."
Officials' estimates say that in the next twenty years there could be as many as 30,000 drones flying in US airspace. Depending on your point of view, that's either a great technological leap forward, or a very scary prospect. Businesses are similarly divided about our drone future.
According to the government, there are 46.5 million Americans who live below the poverty line. In other words, that's how many people are officially poor. But pretty much everyone who studies poverty agrees: The way we arrive at this figure is completely wrong.
On today's show, we figure out how we got here, why still measure poverty in a way that so many people agree is wrong, and how could we do it better.
Firebox executive chef Sean Farrell, at right. Even though organic, local ingredients are more expensive, business is booming. “We’ve seen a 20 percent growth across the board in sales throughout this full year,” Farrell said.
Credit Sujata Srinivasan
Michael Corcoran, waiter at Max Amore in Glastonbury.
Credit Sujata Srinivasan
Farmer Lisa Griffin at Oxen Hill Farm in Suffield.
This week was Farm-to-Chef week, as the Connecticut Department of Agriculture makes an effort to promote local produce at Connecticut restaurants. The state’s eateries report they are seeing more demand for locally-grown food.
Have you visited the Quiet Corner lately? In nighttime satellite imagery, it shows up as a swath of darkness in a field of twinkling lights. This rural area is larger than you might think - it’s about half the size of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and about ten times the size of Acadia National Park in Maine. And it’s almost 80 percent forest and farmland.
Economists at the University of Connecticut are calling on the state to use bonds that have been approved by the legislature but never issued. The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis forecast reports that if the state relies only on traditional drivers like the housing market to grow the economy, it could begin to lose jobs again in 2014.
The president of Electric Boat, Kevin Poitras, has announced his retirement, just over a year after taking the reins at the Groton submarine yard. He'll be succeeded in the top job by Jeffrey Geiger, who's currently president of the Bath Iron Works in Maine. The two yards are both owned by General Dynamics.
Poitras garnered praise for his tenure at Electric Boat, where he's worked since the early 1970s. Second district Congressman Joe Courtney noted particularly his relationships with local colleges to develop training and mentoring opportunities.
In the spring, the city of Hartford launched the iConnect program, meant to fill vacant storefronts with new businesses. It's an idea that's been tried - with some success - in cities like New Haven, but Hartford's "Pop-up Storefront" has taken months longer than expected.
Customers who had money in The Community's Bank in Bridgeport should receive their insured deposits back this week after the bank failed and was put into receivership. It's the first bank failure in Connecticut in more than a decade.
Laborers stand on a new ship at a Rongsheng Heavy Industries shipyard in Nantong, China, in 2012. The troubles at Rongsheng, China's largest private shipbuilder, mirror what's happening in the global industry.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 12:43 pm
There's news this week that shipbuilder STX Finland will close what it describes as "the world's leading ferry builder," a yard where the company also built small cruise ships, icebreakers and naval craft.
The company blamed economic conditions for the closure of the Rauma Shipyard. Work from there will be shifted to the company's facility in Turku. About 700 people will lose their jobs.
When critics of industrial agriculture complain that today's food production is too big and too dependent on pesticides, that it damages the environment and delivers mediocre food, there's a line that farmers offer in response: We're feeding the world.
It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground. Farmers say they farm the way they do to produce food as efficiently as possible to feed the world.
With U.S. economic growth inching upward, the Federal Reserve’s announcement in May that it might taper off quantitative easing – initiated to boost domestic growth – is sending emerging economies into a tailspin. Global economies are so inter-connected with the U.S. through trade and investment channels that the currencies of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico all fell. But the Indian currency was especially sensitive, falling to its lowest in 20 years.
Yale’s School of Management wants the nation’s regulators to learn the lessons of the financial crisis, and they’re designing a new program to help them do it. When Wall Street hit the skids in 2008, it was Main Street that largely paid the price. Andrew Metrick, professor of finance at the Yale School of Management, says one reason is that regulators weren’t looking in all the right places in the years before the crash.
Connecticut is celebrating its maritime heritage this weekend with the Schooner Festival in New London. The brand-new event hopes to attract thousands of people from around the region, and provide a showcase for local companies.
The Fishers Island Ferry prepares to sail from its terminal in New London. She'll have some company today, as 20 schooners, sturdy, sleek and fast sailing vessels with a long history in Connecticut, arrive in the Thames River.
The executive director of Amistad America Inc., a New Haven-based non-profit, asserts that all money it has received from the state has been used appropriately. Amistad America owns and operates the Freedom Schooner Amistad, and recently lost its non-profit status after falling behind in filing federal tax returns.
Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called <em>Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.</em>
Credit Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika / iStockphoto.com
Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is also the author of <em><em>The Great Stagnation</em>, An Economist Gets Lunch, Good and Plenty</em> and <em>Create Your Own Economy. </em>He blogs at <a href="http://marginalrevolution.com/">Marginal Revolution</a>.<em></em>
Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:
"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:15 pm
When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.
Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.
It’s been just over a year since Connecticut began to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Dubbed CT Next, the system has launched four hubs, hosted many events, signed up hundreds of nascent companies and spent almost five million dollars. But as it goes into its second year it has changed direction and some are left wondering if enough has been achieved.