Archive of: National/World

Title Issue

Single-family home sales up in March compared to 2011

Sales of new single-family houses during March totaled 328,000, 7.1 percent below the revised February rate of 353,000 but 7.5 percent above the March 2011 estimate of 305,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

April 2012

FDIC, SBA offering new education support for entrepreneurs

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and U.S. Small Business Administration have added new resources to support small businesses across the nation.

April 2012

Small business outlook improving, but hasn't impacted hiring trends

While small business confidence is increasing, with a 7 percent increase in the confidence of the economy since January, hiring has remained stagnant, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Community Quarterly Survey.

Q1 saw a slight increase in the number of small businesses that have lost employees in the last year (30 percent). Nearly half of small business respondents (49 percent) have kept the same number of staff, and only 20 percent have hired in the last year.

April 2012

Employers using non-traditional voluntary benefits to help fill financial gaps

The economy continues to impact employees with varied financial consequences, forcing many people to turn to their employers for financial safety nets, such as access to personal insurance, the purchasing of household products and receiving professional financial advice. And increasingly, employers are offering non-traditional voluntary benefits to meet their employees' financial needs.

Forty-four percent of employers that offer an employee purchase program do so because they believe it helps fill financial gaps for workers during tough economic times, while 67 percent say it enhances their benefits package, according to survey results published in "The Power of Employee Purchase Programs: The Next Generation of Voluntary Benefits," a white paper released by Purchasing Power LLC.

April 2012

Staff, not brew, drives coffee customer satisfaction

Staff, more than price or merchandise offerings, is key to driving higher satisfaction among specialty coffee customers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Specialty Coffee Retailer Satisfaction Report.

The inaugural report finds that a specialty coffee retailer's staff is more than twice as important to customers compared with the importance for the other factors that measure satisfaction. Attributes included in the staff factor consist of courtesy, knowledge of merchandise, speed of checkout and availability. Other factors contributing to overall satisfaction are merchandise, cost, sales/promotion and facility.

April 2012

Retail sales tick up

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $400.6 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent compared to the previous month and 6.5 percent higher than December 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Total sales for the 12 months of 2011 were up 7.7 percent compared to 2010. Total sales for the October through December 2011 period were up 7 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. The October to November 2011 percent change was revised from 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent higher.

January 2012
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