Rent Is Affordable to Low-Wage Workers in Exactly 12 U.S. Counties

America’s mismatch between wages and rental prices is more perverse than ever.

These stark numbers come from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s latest Out of Reach report, which maps the minimum hourly wage required to afford a modest rental based on federal Fair Market Rent (FMR) estimates. The report defines “affordable” as housing and utilities that cost no more than 30 percent of a person’s annual income—also the basic standard used by the feds. NLIHC has run these reports since 2005, and this minimum “housing wage” is rising year over year.

Source: Rent Is Affordable to Low-Wage Workers in Exactly 12 U.S. Counties

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Tourism to National Parks in Western Pennsylvania Create $88 Million in Economic Benefits | GantNews.com

SHANKSVILLE – A new National Park Service report shows that 1,061,400 visitors to the five western Pennsylvania National Park Service sites in 2016 spent $64 million dollars in communities near the park.

That spending supported 1,058 jobs.

The five Western Pennsylvania parks are Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site and Johnstown Flood National Memorial.

Source: Tourism to National Parks in Western Pennsylvania Create $88 Million in Economic Benefits | GantNews.com

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Gov. Wolf signs Pennsylvania pension reform into law | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The measure replaces the current generous retirement benefit with three new options that rely partially or entirely on a 401(k)-style plan.

The measure, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, reconstructs the state’s current pension system for future state employees and public school teachers, replacing the current generous retirement benefit with three new options that rely partially or entirely on a 401(k)-style plan.

Source: Gov. Wolf signs Pennsylvania pension reform into law | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Target stock jumps 7% as retailer blows past Wall Street expectations

Target reported first-quarter earnings and sales Wednesday that topped the Street’s expectations.

Here’s what the company reported vs. what the Street was expecting:

  • Earnings per share: $1.21, excluding items, vs. forecast of 91 cents, according to Thomson Reuters analysts’ consensus estimates.
  • Revenue: $16.02 billion vs. $15.62 billion estimate, analysts said.
  • Same-store sales: 1.3 percent drop vs. forecast of a 3.7 percent decline, according to FactSet.

Source: Target stock jumps 7% as retailer blows past Wall Street expectations

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US, China reach access deals for beef, poultry | TheHill

The White House struck agreements with China on several persistent trade irritants to reduce the trade deficit with Beijing.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced deals that will send U.S. beef exports to China, allow Chinese imports of cooked poultry, expand U.S. electronic payment services and provide for faster regulatory approval of biotechnology products by Beijing.

Source: US, China reach access deals for beef, poultry | TheHill

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U.S. April job gains rebound, unemployment drops to 4.4 percent | Reuters

* Total payrolls up 211,000 vs 185,000 estimate & downwardly revised 79,000 prior (original 98,000)* Private payrolls up 194,000 vs 185,000 estimate & downwardly revised 77,000 prior (original 89,000)

* Unemployment rate down to 4.4 pct vs 4.6 pct estimate & 4.5 pct prior

* Average hourly earnings growth 0.3 pct vs 0.3 pct estimate & downwardly revised 0.1 pct prior (original 0.2 pct)

* U-6 rate pct 8.6 pct vs 8.9 pct prior* Labor force participation 62.9 pct vs 63.0 pct prior

* Household survey: Workforce grew by 12,000, employed rose by 156,000, unemployed fell by 146,000

Source: U.S. April job gains rebound, unemployment drops to 4.4 percent | Reuters

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Panera to add 10,000 jobs by the end of 2017 as it expands delivery

Panera Bread is working to expand delivery services to more of its cafes, adding 10,000 more jobs by the end of 2017.

  • Panera to hire 10,000 employees as it expands its delivery service
  • The company hopes to expand delivery to 35 percent to 40 percent of its locations
  • Panera forecasts that delivery will add $250,000 per year to each store’s annual revenue

Source: Panera to add 10,000 jobs by the end of 2017 as it expands delivery

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Bebe plans to close its last stores by the end of May – LA Times

omen’s apparel retailer Bebe Stores Inc. said it’s closing its remaining 168 stores, the latest in a string of retailers shutting physical outlets.

Bebe said it expects “to close all of the stores by the end of May,” according to a filing the Brisbane, Calif., firm made this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Bebe plans to close its last stores by the end of May – LA Times

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Wal-Mart is cutting hundreds of jobs to slash costs

The layoffs span Wal-Mart’s international, technology and Sam’s Club businesses.

The layoffs span the company’s international, technology and Sam’s Club divisions. They follow Wal-Mart’s decision to eliminate some 1,000 corporate positions earlier this year, including 200 in its e-commerce division.

A spokesman for the retailer confirmed the job cuts to CNBC, which had originally been reported by Dow Jones.

Source: Wal-Mart is cutting hundreds of jobs to slash costs

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Tax reform decoded: What you need to know – Apr. 11, 2017

Discussions about overhauling the tax code will be peppered with tax and legislative jargon. Here are some key terms decoded.

Revenue neutral: “How much will that tax plan cost?” is just another way of asking whether the overall plan will raise less revenue than the current tax code, more revenue or the same amount.

Republicans and the White House may have a hard time muscling through a full tax code overhaul this year. But there will be plenty of debates and mudslinging over tax reform while they try.

And all those rhetorical talkfests will be peppered with tax and legislative jargon. Lots of it.

Source: Tax reform decoded: What you need to know – Apr. 11, 2017

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Tesla Just Passed GM to Become America’s Most Valuable Carmaker

Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. briefly surpassed General Motors Co. to become America’s most valuable carmaker, eclipsing a company whose well-being was once viewed as interdependent with the nation’s.

Tesla’s usurping of GM and Ford will undoubtedly spur debate over the relative value of Musk’s company compared with some of the world’s top-selling automakers. GM expects to earn more than $9 billion this year and analysts predict Ford will generate adjusted profit of about $6.3 billion. On that basis, Tesla is expected to lose more than $950 million.

Source: Tesla Just Passed GM to Become America’s Most Valuable Carmaker

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Panera Bread’s potential suitors

This post is part of the On the Margin blog.

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Panera Bread Co. might put itself up for sale after receiving interest from a potential buyer. The news sent the company’s stock price skyrocketing.

As I wrote about several weeks ago now, 2017 is going to be a huge year for mergers and acquisitions

Jonathan Maze, Nation’s Restaurant News senior financial editor, does not directly own stock or interest in a restaurant company.

Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

Read Source: Ranking Panera Bread’s potential suitors

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US home prices rise 5.9 percent to 31-month high in Jan: S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller

The index, which measures all nine U.S. census divisions, found that home prices rose 5.9 percent year over year in January.

Of the nation’s 20 largest cities, three reached their all-time highs in January: Seattle, Portland, and Denver. And 12 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending January 2017 versus the year ending December 2016, the report said.

Source: US home prices rise 5.9 percent to 31-month high in Jan: S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller

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Wal-Mart is beating the pants off Amazon in apparel, and it’s fighting to keep it that way – MarketWatch

Both Wal-Mart and Amazon are making a strategic push in fashion, a huge sales arena for e-commerce players.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been on an e-commerce apparel acquisition tear, purchasing sites like ModCloth, MooseJaw and ShoeBuy in recent weeks. The purchases aren’t just part of an apparel effort at Wal-Mart, but an effort to compete with, and fend off, Amazon.com Inc., which is also making a push in the apparel arena.

Amazon AMZN, -0.21%   has been adding private label brands at a pace as robust as Wal-Mart’s WMT, -0.36%  acquisitions. By KeyBanc Capital Markets’ count, Amazon has at least 14 private-label apparel brands in the U.S. and U.K., nine for Prime members exclusively. Analysts there estimate that the e-commerce giant has a $14 billion-plus apparel business.

Source: Wal-Mart is beating the pants off Amazon in apparel, and it’s fighting to keep it that way – MarketWatch

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17,000 AT&T technicians and call center workers go on strike

California and Nevada workers allege offshoring and illegal job changes.

About 17,000 AT&T wireline technicians and call center employees went on strike in California and Nevada today while filing an unfair labor charge to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that AT&T violated federal law.

“The company has shown disrespect to the bargaining process by changing the work assignments of workers without bargaining as required by federal law,” the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union said in its strike announcement. “Further, AT&T reneged on an agreement to resolve the dispute without any explanation.”

The CWA said that AT&T “is asking its workers to do more for less—keeping them from their families with unpredictable overtime, undercutting pay and advancement, offshoring good jobs, and pushing more health care costs onto employees.”

Source: 17,000 AT&T technicians and call center workers go on strike

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Sears Has Finally Admitted That It’s Almost Dead

This zombie retailer is on its deathbed.

Kudos to Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) for finally admitting what everyone already knew: it’s almost dead.

As TheStreet broke the news on Twitter Tuesday evening, Sears indicated in its newly filed annual report that “substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” For those clickbait-loving headline writers out there with no financial services training: what Sears essentially said is that yes, it’s unsure if it could stay in business. Well, duh.

Sears’ cash position has melted from a high point of $1.7 billion for the 2009 calendar year to a mere $286 million to close out 2016. Revenue hasn’t grown since the credit boom lifted all ships in retail in 2006. The company hasn’t generated cash flow from its operations since 2006.

Source: Sears Has Finally Admitted That It’s Almost Dead

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Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth – BBC News

It’s the international day of happiness – and the annual rankings have been published.

The world’s happiest – and saddest – countries
Happiest Least happy
1. Norway 146. Yemen
2. Denmark 147. South Sudan
3. Iceland 148. Liberia
4. Switzerland 149. Guinea
5. Finland 150. Togo
6. Netherlands 151. Rwanda
7. Canada 152. Syria
8. New Zealand 153. Tanzania
9. Australia 154. Burundi
10. Sweden 155. Central African Republic

Source: Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth – BBC News

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