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From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on July 10, 2014 - 3:30pm - Add new comment

Automatic Data Processing, one of Augusta’s largest private employers, is trying to find a place for about 100 of its employees that will become part of a spinoff company.


ADP handles payroll and human resources functions for other companies. It also has a division that specifically deals with helping car dealers with management and marketing.


Well, the dealer services segment is going to be a company all by itself. ADP announced that in April.


About 100 of the 990 people that work in Augusta’s ADP facility are in this division.

By: Tim Rausch on June 4, 2014 - 10:46am - Add new comment

The Georgia Bankers Association was excited about the first three months of 2014.


The association added up the financial performance for 219 state-based banks for the first quarter and it turns out it was better than 2013. The exciting part was that it was the best since 2007.


Remember that Georgia was a wasteland of banking in the recession with more bank closings every year than David Ortiz home runs. So when Georgia banks are doing better than before the recession, it is cause for balloons and cake.


By: Tim Rausch on May 31, 2014 - 11:41am - Add new comment

Buying a bank-owned or HUD-owned house in the Augusta area could yield a 45 percent discount compared to a house that isn’t “distressed.”


RealtyTrac’s report on foreclosure home sales for April comes up with that figure by comparing the median sales price of distressed homes to the median sales price of the nonforeclosure homes.


(Distressed? Yes, I also didn’t realize houses had anxieties, but that’s the jargon.)


By: Tim Rausch on May 24, 2014 - 10:38am - Add new comment

Some who question the declining unemployment rate point out that the reason it’s going down – nationally, statewide and metro – is because there are fewer people seeking jobs.


The workforce is lower, hence the percentages are better when compared to those that have jobs. The number of people on the “sidelines” taint the true picture of unemployment: Many people aren’t looking because they aren’t finding jobs.


By: Tim Rausch on May 16, 2014 - 9:23am - Add new comment

Leading indicators point to better things for the Augusta economy.


Every month, economists at Georgia Regents University crunch job, housing and stock numbers to develop their Leading Economic Indicators index. In March, the index went up 0.4 percent from February, reversing two months of declines.


“It was good news considering January and February hadn’t been good. Some of it was weather-related issues that hit us locally,” said Simon Medcalfe, who oversees the index for GRU. “Also, the national economy had sputtered a little.”


By: Tim Rausch on May 12, 2014 - 12:53pm - Add new comment

Crown Communities, which has built several subdivisions in Augusta, is now owned by a Fort Worth, Texas, company.


D.R. Horton Inc., which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, bought the “homebuilding assets” of the Atlanta-based Crown for $210 million in cash.


Those assets include a sales order backlog of approximately 420 already-sold houses, 640 houses in inventory and 2,350 lots. D.R. Horton also acquired control of approximately 3,400 lots through option contracts.


By: Tim Rausch on May 9, 2014 - 1:30pm - Add new comment

Homes are selling a little slower this year compared to last year.


Real estate data on the Augusta metro area shows about 40 houses under what buyers did in January through April.


The average listing price of a house this year is $157,000, according to data from the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors.


When it sells, though, the average price is $154,700.


Buyers were negotiating better deals last year and in 2012 – they were getting $4,000 to $5,000 less.


By: Tim Rausch on April 23, 2014 - 12:52pm - Add new comment

As people continue to cut the cord on the landline phone in homes, what is a company to do with all that wiring?


Find something else to stream down the wire to customers.


In the last three years, AT&T has spent $100 million on upgrades in the Augusta area, primarily to transition over to IP-based networks for the wire and wireless.


By: Tim Rausch on April 16, 2014 - 6:57pm - Add new comment

It is a little ironic that some of the trees from the ice storm that knocked out power are now being used to make some.


Ameresco Inc. has a “biomass cogeneration” facility at Savannah River Site. That’s code for “we burn wood chips and shredded tires to make electricity.” It fits in the realm of environmentally friendly energy because the trees and tires are waste kept out of landfills.


By: Tim Rausch on April 8, 2014 - 10:40am - Add new comment

E-Z-GO has a birthday coming up this year.


The iconic golf car company turns 60 in June, but won’t be having the cake and cookout until the temperatures cool off in the fall, said President Kevin Holleran.


“They’ve put thoughts together of a fall weekend where we could celebrate with our employees, with former leaders,” Holleran said. Locals and corporate officials will also be invited.


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Frazier retires after demotion

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