The Weekend Digest: Boomtowns For Manufacturing

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 4 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

Manufacturing in certain sectors across the country is coming back strong spurred by energy-driven growth and the revival of the auto industry, says Forbes.

Conventional wisdom for a generation has been that manufacturing in America is dying. Yet over the past five years, the country has experienced something of an industrial renaissance. We may be far from replacing the 3 million industrial jobs lost in the recession, but the economy has added over 330,000 industrial jobs since 2010, with output growing at the fastest pace since the 1990s.

The manufacturing boom covers a large swath across the country from the Northwest to the Great Lakes, to the Mid-South.  What cities are seeing the biggest increase in manufacturing and employment and what other professions are seeing huge gains because of industrial growth in these boomtowns? Forbes has the answers and complete story at this link.

What”s more simple and clear than the information on a business or index card? Taking on an old school look from the past, Google”s current formatting on many of its products has migrated to the simple card design.

These piles of pixels are revolutionizing the way Google simplifies increasingly deep information. Google’s cards represent the biggest of data in the smallest of packages.

“It’s not like we’ve invented a new way to organize information,” admits Matias Duarte, UX director for Android. “We’ve actually tapped into one of the oldest pieces of graphic and information design around – business cards, calling cards, greeting cards, playing cards.”

Why did Google turn to this old style of formatting and which of its products feature the card look? You can get the full story from Fast Company by clicking this link.

The Rolling Stones recently embarked on an abbreviated 50th anniversary tour with ticket prices through the roof. Prices for some general admission tickets start at $600 stretching to $2,000 for premium seats close to the stage, and sales are lagging because of the high dollar seats, says Harvard Business Review. The Review also says what”s happening to the Stones” tour can make for a valuable “pricing lesson” to companies that overreach to consumers.

The situation faced by the Rolling Stones — sagging sales due to high prices — is one that all companies are susceptible to. Quite simply, sometimes you overshoot. When this occurs, the challenge for a premium company is how to discount in a manner that doesn”t damage their brand nor anger customers who paid full price. Here are some tips to help front man Mick Jagger, as well as managers in the same situation, profitably navigate out of this mess.

It”s not known whether Jagger and the Stones will get any “Satisfaction” out of the Review”s tips, but you can at this link.

That”s according to Harvard Business Review that says what we all know: Getting sufficient sleep is a need that every human on the planet shares.

The problem though with hectic lifestyles at home and work, sleep in many cases comes in second at a high price.

Research shows the performance on even a moderate level of fatigue is equivalent to or greater than what is considered acceptable for alcohol intoxication.

For most people, sleep health — their own, their employees”, their communities” — hasn”t yet become a top-of-mind issue. In the three-legged stool of good health, nutrition and exercise are constantly discussed, while sleep has so far come up short. Put all this together, and it”s hard to imagine a cause that would offer you a greater chance to change so many lives for the better.

Want to be an activist for better sleep regimens that not only affect you, but your employees” business performance?

If you”re a corporate leader, you”re constantly being asked to pitch in on a cause or add power to the arm of some activist. This is one of those cases where your answer should be yes.

Harvard Business Review is taking a leading stance to “pull more businesses into the movement to change attitudes and behaviors toward sleep.” Find out what the Review is doing and how you and your business can become part of it at this link.

It”s no secret President Obama already has had plenty of negative discourse with Republicans and those who are deeply opposed to his agenda. Now with the recent scandals involving the IRS, federal eavesdropping at the AP, and the endless torrent of controversy over the attack on the embassy in Benghazi, the Obama administration has been shell-shocked with an outpouring of GOP criticism.

The practical impact of Obama’s scandal-laden spring is not only in the drumbeat of camera-ready hearings that could ensnare some of his top advisers. Now, some House Republicans — never particularly eager to compromise with the Democratic president — are beginning to write his legislative obituary.

What about the Senate?  And is the heat being turned up on both sides of the aisle?  How will all of this affect the President”s agenda that some same is already in political “tatters,” and is all of the criticism being aimed at the Obama administration for these back-to-back-to back scandals justified? For the complete story and analysis click on this link from Politico.

This past week the acting director of the IRS was fired after it was revealed the agency had been targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status based on politics.

Common Sense was one of scores of groups that faced months and even years of delays in seeking tax exemptions after the IRS started targeting groups with names containing “tea party,” “patriot” and other terms associated with conservatives. The practice, which appears to have lasted for about 18 months until slotmachines early 2012, has set off a political firestorm in Washington and a criminal investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department.

Now the Washington Post has published a first-hand account from some of those groups like Common Sense, on the heavy-handed and possibly illegal actions of the IRS.

Some groups, including several interviewed by The Washington Post, were asked to provide names of donors or membership lists, which experts say the IRS cannot legally do. The agency also demanded names of board members, copies of meeting minutes and résumés, details of community organizing efforts and numerous other details, according to questionnaires obtained by The Post.

Common Sense Chairman Pete Riehm says, “We were spending thousands of dollars between the filing fees and attorney fees. We realized that just paying the taxes would cost a whole lot less.”

For the full account, go to this link.

“Too many loans were given to students without considering their prospects for finding jobs after graduating and being able to repay their debts,” says this commentary from The American.

The American points out the same kind of failure to carefully review income was one of the prominent factors that led to the housing crisis with so many foreclosures. Now the online magazine says student loan defaults could not only cause similar problems to the nation”s economy, but spawn deep social problems as well.

Defaults not only increase the national debt and thereby the overall tax burden, they are also particularly damaging to the prospects of students from low-income families, who are more likely to default than students from more affluent backgrounds. Defaulting on their loans makes it more difficult for them to get on the escalator leading to a better life through improved employment opportunities — precisely what the loans were intended to accomplish.

How much could be defaulted and what are other consequences of this very serious pending student loan default crisis?  Read the full post at this link.

In what could in actuality be a script for a TV show itself, New York District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, who has filmed six insider episodes about his office for CBS, has been sued by a political rival to keep the show off the air.

The lawsuit filed by Abe George, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who is one of Mr. Hynes’s challengers in the primary, asks for a temporary injunction barring the show from being shown as scheduled on May 28.

“The broadcast is nothing more than an in-kind campaign contribution by CBS to Hynes in excess of the legal limit imposed on corporate contributions by New York State election law,” Mr. George said in his lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Calling it a “reality series,” George, who is running against Hynes, says the show would also give Hynes and unfair advantage in the September 10 primary.

For its part, CBS says it”s not a reality series, but rather a “news” series. For a complete look at the controversy, “tune-in” to this link from The New York Times.

Now you can do it via Google Wallet.

Google has just introduced a nifty little service to U.S. residents who are over 18 and who use Gmail. Its Google Wallet service can now be used within an e-mail to send people money – provided your bank account is hooked up to Wallet.

How does it work?  Click on this link from Fast Company to find out.

Here you certainly could insert a lot of things in the blank, but how about one that lurks in your pantry bringing you out a night for a guilty after-hours, over-indulgent addiction?

What are we talking about? Potato chips, of course. But why are they so dang addictive? Bet you can”t just eat one!

If you believe the commercials, opening a bag of potato chips is something akin to a sexual experience. And just try only eating one of the crispy confections inside! It will take a handful or two (or an entire bag) to satisfy the craving. Scientists are beginning to understand why commercial snack food can be so darn addicting. It”s more than just the pleasurable combination of fat and carbohydrates.

Rats have helped scientists figure out the potato addiction, and it has “to do with a mystery component wanting us to have more.” What is it? What to Expect, along with the rats, solves the mystery at this link.

Here the important word in the title is “glide.” You probably have seen a hovercraft zooming along through swampy terrain or across stretches of water and then up on the beach because of a cushion of air underneath the craft.

But how about on a golf course? Yes, we”re talking a golf cart hovercraft. Think it”s far-fetched? Well it”s already been produced and one of its investors is a famous pro golfer.

For the full story and an incredible video look, putt to this link from Huffington Post Tech.