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What a friend we have in FRED
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What a friend we have in FRED

By on Jul 29, 2014

Mark Twain noted that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Fraud with numbers is something business journalists should always be alert to. But there are gold-standard statistics that no one outside the lunatic fringe questions. And the top place to find them is on the FRED site run by the Federal Reserve Bank of [...]

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Helping readers make business sense of global turmoil
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Helping readers make business sense of global turmoil

The growing drumbeat of global strife and spate of recent air disasters is casting a gloomier pall over economies worldwide, many of which already are mired in tepid recoveries in jobs and financial markets. The escalating stream of bad news is becoming difficult to overlook even in locales seemingly unrelated to the military conflicts in [...]

Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business
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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business

We write a lot about consumer demographics, from college students to young parents to Baby Boomers – but there’s one cohort of spenders that tends to get overlooked even though it comprises a pretty significant market:  Prisoners. NBCNews recently ran a very interesting piece, “Prison inmates offer captive market for gadget makers,” that was rich [...]

The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories
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The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories

What’s a multi-billion industry that draws celebrities, corporate exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of free-spending enthusiasts to events in multiple venues nationwide? No, not talking about NASCAR, the NFL or the beauty pageant circuit.  The movement I’m thinking of is the world of fandom – comic cons (comic conventions)  cosplay (costumed role playing) and related [...]

Microsoft layoff news prompts a look at job cuts
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Microsoft layoff news prompts a look at job cuts

Word last week that Microsoft will be jettisoning 18,000 workers raises the specter of mass layoffs, a frequent occurrence several years ago but one we haven’t heard much about lately. A few industries stand out in terms of recent job cut numbers, according to the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas; the firm’s monthly jobs [...]

Hack to flacks: PR advice from a cranky journalist
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Hack to flacks: PR advice from a cranky journalist

Some of you will go directly into public relations or “public affairs” (I always wanted to be in public affairs, but that’s another story). Others are journalists who will leave mid-career for the “dark side” of PR. The latter used to be a sure shot — journalists had the best contacts, writing skills, etc. That’s [...]

Do $7 billion deals like Citigroup’s really help consumers?
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Do $7 billion deals like Citigroup’s really help consumers?

This week’s announcement of a federal government settlement with another major mortgage lender is reviving buzz about the mortgage messes that contributed to the economic meltdown, and might be something you’ll want to use a springboard to consumer stories about the home loan market. The U.S. Department of Justice agreed to end its civil investigations [...]

What new finger-food trends are replacing cupcakes .. or are they?
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What new finger-food trends are replacing cupcakes .. or are they?

The headline-making saga of the Crumbs Bake Shop company – the cupcake chain that closed all of its stores only to receive a last-minute reprieve from an investor group – suggests a few ideas for localizing food-related business stories. The potential survival of the Crumbs chain is good news for its investors and workers, bad [...]

As highway fund is debated, how does the local business of road building fare?
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As highway fund is debated, how does the local business of road building fare?

The federal Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money on August 1.   Congress is as usual eschewing a long-term, sweeping vision in favor of a short-term patch.   According to Bloomberg, odds are that a House version of a transportation bill will make it to President Obama for signature. With looming funding issues, [...]

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