From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on July 31, 2009 - 7:01am - Add new comment

The unemployment rate is going up, and not just because more people are being laid off .

There are fewer jobs, and more people wanting them. In other words, fewer cookies in a larger cookie jar.

In Richmond County, there were 82,719 people with jobs in January. That number declined to 81,779 in June. The county lost 940 jobs in six months.

The labor force in January was 91,363 people. The labor force represents the number of people who are wanting and able to work.

By: Tim Rausch on July 23, 2009 - 9:41am - Add new comment

Two weeks from now, there’s going to be another bank opening in the metro area.
It is a 60-year-old banking company, Farmers and Merchants Bank, based in Washington, Ga.

The branch at the intersection of Furys Ferry Road and Evans To Locks Road will be its sixth branch. The other branches are in Wilkes and Lincoln County.

Expansion has been on the bank’s drawing board for a couple of years, said Lee Clark, who is a senior vice president. They drew a circle out to Athens and Lake Oconee and Augusta – and picked Evans.

By: Tim Rausch on July 16, 2009 - 2:09pm - Add new comment

Two states have been thrown out of the running for a new auto manufacturing plant.

That leaves Aiken alive, although it is not the only site in South Carolina that’s caught the attention of Carbon Motors.

The Atlanta-based company that wants to make police cars said today that it narrowed its search to South Carolina, Georgia and Indiana – three states, but five cities. North Carolina and Michigan didn’t make the cut.

Carbon Motors is still saying July 31 is the target date for the final decision.

By: Tim Rausch on July 9, 2009 - 1:51pm - Add new comment

Can the electric vehicle capital of the world draw in more electric vehicle manufacturers?

A subsidiary of a Korean company, CT&T Korea Ltd., is in the hunt for a manufacturing site.

They are looking throughout the Southeast for this place and have named Georgia and South Carolina as potential host to this facility.

Over the next five years, the company wants its employment up to 2,600, so this is no small potatoes electric vehicle production.

By: Tim Rausch on July 1, 2009 - 8:15am - Add new comment

A Chinese company picked up a local company this week with Top-Eastern Drill buying parts of Kennametal.

But did you know that a local company picked up a Chinese company two weeks ago?
The reverse involves AGY Holding Corp., which is headquartered in Aiken. The company makes glass fiber yarns and high-strength glass fiber reinforcements.

By: Tim Rausch on June 25, 2009 - 8:21am - Add new comment

The Greater Augusta Economic Activity Index had me cringing.

First, I cringed because it is the last one. Its caretaker, Augusta State University economist Mark Thompson, will be teaching at Texas Tech this fall.

Secondly, I cringed because the blue line is under 100. That mean’s the local economy is less than it was in 2002, which was the baseline.

By: Tim Rausch on June 18, 2009 - 7:09am - Add new comment

We know what’s going in with Publix in the Riverwood Town Center under construction in Evans. Charlotte-based Crosland LLC, part of the joint venture, has lined up four businesses to open by the end of the year: Great Clips, Sky Nails, White House Cleaners and Woody’s Spirits.

Riverwood Town Center is a 100,000-square-foot neighborhood retail center, anchored by Publix, located at the intersection of Washington Road and William Few Parkway. It serves as the gateway to Riverwood Plantation, a 3,800-acre master-planned community.

By: Tim Rausch on June 11, 2009 - 12:35pm - Add new comment

The economy claimed an Augusta book publisher.

Harbor House is out of business after a decade, the victim of the economy, said publisher Randall Floyd.

Harbor House’s Web site is still working, but the office on 10th Street has a new owner.

The company printed books in different genres: supernatural horror to Civil War fiction to modern romances.

By: Tim Rausch on June 3, 2009 - 7:14am - Add new comment

General Motor’s plan to purge more dealerships sounds like the demise of the small town car dealer.

Among the mountain of documents filed with a New York bankruptcy court is an affidavit from Fritz Henderson, GM’s chief executive. It covers a lot of ground on how the automaker got into financial trouble, but it also has plans for the future.

The New GM, for example, will only have a dealer network of 4,100. The current GM has 6,000 of them.

By: Tim Rausch on May 28, 2009 - 9:19am - Add new comment

The Georgia Department of Labor says Augusta added 1,300 jobs to its economy from March to April. 

Drilling down into the data from the labor department and the industries that gained jobs were federal government, leisure and hospitality, private serve providers and professional and business services.

We lost jobs in retail, transportation, local government and manufacturing.

The hospitality and business services were the biggest gainers, so that explains a portion of the labor department estimate on the number of jobs the area got back last month. 

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