For our weekend business and political readers:
AUTOMATION HELPING BRING BACK U.S. TEXTILE MILLS BACK TO LIFE
In the 90″s the U.S. textile industry took a huge downturn as it saw its production being outsourced to foreign countries. Now, the New York Times reports labor costs have leveled out and the mills are spinning again.
American manufacturing has several advantages over outsourcing.
Transportation costs are a fraction of what they are overseas. Turnaround time is quicker. Most striking, labor costs — the reason all these companies fled in the first place — aren’t that much higher than overseas because the factories that survived the outsourcing wave have largely turned to automation and are employing far fewer workers.
Because of that re-emergence, “In 2012, textile and apparel exports were $22.7 billion, up 37 percent from just three years ago.”
While the size of operations remain behind those of overseas powers like China, the fact that these industries are thriving again after almost being left for dead is indicative of a broader reassessment by American companies about manufacturing in the United States.
Click on this link to learn more about this positive note on the American economy and also find out what survey results say about how many U.S. companies are re-considering moving at least some of their textile production back to the States.
SLOW RECOVERY OF JOBS A “MYSTERY”
“The U.S. economy just hasn’t looked like its old self lately, especially when it comes to regaining the jobs lost during a recession,” says the Washington Post.
The United States is stuck in its third consecutive “jobless recovery,” stretching back to the rebound from the 1990 recession. And Americans might need to get used to them: A major new study from economists at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California at Berkeley suggests that vintage Europe is the new American normal for recessions and recoveries.
So is there an answer? What were some of those tests and what were the results? And how is the trust effect, especially among social networks negatively affecting job recovery? Go to this link for the full story.
HEALTH CARE PRICE SHOPPING ENCOURAGED
Harvard Business Review says a recent closer look at health care costs for the same procedures in the same state showed the difference among providers to be as high as “six- or sevenfold.” The Review says this is not uncommon across the nation.
Moreover, prior research has also shown that there is little correlation between price and quality of care for inpatient care and that higher-priced providers control a large share of the market. Not surprisingly, given these facts, most analyst agree that encouraging price shopping for health care represents an important opportunity for reducing health care costs without adversely affecting patient outcomes.
Why don”t Americans shop for health care more and is it too complicated?
Moving forward, we need to harmonize patient-oriented and provider-oriented strategies for encouraging price shopping. Patients need easily accessible information about price that is tailored to their individual needs. This information should include not only the out-of-pocket price of the service (e.g., a doctor visit) but also more holistic information on downstream costs for the entire episode of care and data on the quality of care.
Click this link for more on a proposed multi-pronged approach that could help consumers make the right financial decisions when choosing their health care options.
GOOD DESIGN IS A PRIORITY FOR SUCCESS
Fast Company invites you “to the intersection of business and design” with 10 lessons for design success.
I was taught by the Fast Company staff – and in particular, by senior editor Linda Tischlerr – that good design is really about problem solving, that it offers a more sophisticated perspective on modern business challenges than traditional spreadsheet-based approaches. You could go to consulting firms like McKinsey and get an answer based on established business models. Or you could go to one of the rising design firms such as Ideo, and maybe you”d come up with something never before seen.
Maybe you could come with “something never before seen” for your business after you learn the 10 design lessons at this link.
IS FOOD STAMP BILL GOOD FOR AMERICA?
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor”s (R-Va.) proposed bill “would reduce spending on food stamps by $39 billion over 10 years. If that happens Bloomberg Businessweek reports that “an estimated 2.8 million people would lose eligibility for food stamps.”
The proposal is designed to put more people to work, but it runs up against an unpleasant reality: an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. Cantor’s “get-a-job” message rings hollow when there are few jobs to be had. Many of the people who would be forced off food stamps would simply end up going hungry, say experts at anti-poverty organizations.
Read more at this link about the analysis of this bill that Bloomberg says, “The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has been poking holes in.”
NO END OF DAY FOR MODERN REPORTERS
In the old days the story was filed at the end of a long day, and that was that until the next days news. No more says the New York Times.
For modern political reporters, the end of the day never arrives. There is no single narrative, only whatever is going on in the moment, often of little consequence, but always something that can be blogged, tweeted or filmed and turned into content.
Because of the relentlessness of the schedule, the limited access and the multi-platform demands, many of the boys and girls on the bus are in fact boys and girls. And the bus they ride is Twitter.
Go inside the Times story to learn how a study by one political reporter describes “the extent to which reporters in the bubble — on the bus, on the plane, at the rope line — have become one giant tweeting blob.”
Is it death for the “hallowed political reporter”? Go to this link to find out.
THE HAMMER CLEARED
This past week Tom DeLay, who resigned from Congress in 2006 “under an ethical cloud,” got back what he needed. A Texas appeals court threw out his 2010 conviction on state money-laundering charges reports POLITICO.
Smaller and frailer-looking then he was in his glory years of a decade ago, DeLay praised Jesus for carrying him through the long, expensive and politically devastating legal battle that helped sink his career. Several Republicans stopped to hug DeLay as he made his way through the first floor of the Capitol, including Reps. Randy Weber (Texas) and Patrick McHenry (N.C.).
For the full story and details on DeLay”s long trek of redemption, click on this link.
NASA LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS TO LAY IN BED
And the space agency will pay too for laying down on the job for 70 days.
That’s right, you could get paid a total of around $18,000 for lying in bed, playing games on your phone, reading books, skyping with your friends and family, taking online classes – and even go on with your day job if you can get away with working remotely, so long as you don’t get out of bed for that entire duration.
So what is the space agency up to and how could you help it conquer space?
Find out by going to .
NY JETS DON”T RETURN PUNTS DURING NFL GAME
Say that again you may ask? Well, here it is.
Three times Thursday night during their 13-10 loss to the Patriots, the Jets did something that likely had most NFL traditionalists tsk-tsking and tut-tutting.
With the Patriots set to punt the football, the Jets lined up without a returner. This strategy is sometimes seen at the college and high-school levels, where special-teams mistakes are more prevalent, but in the NFL it”s akin to having a quarterback try to throw the ball with his feet.
Want to know why? There”s an Arkansas angle to this story. Punt on over to for an explanation.
YUPPIES ARE UNHAPPY
So says Huffington Post. Yuppies or Generation Y were born between the late 70″s and the mid-1990″s.
To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place. It comes down to a simple formula.
What is the formula and how has it gone out of whack for Generation Y and what do their parents have to do with all this? Go here to find out.
3D PRINTER SOLUTIONS THAT COULD SOLVE WORLD PROBLEMS
At a recent conference, 3D printing companies from around the world met at an inaugural gathering called Inside 3D Printing.
Among the speakers and product demonstrations, a few technologies stood out as solutions to major problems the industry and world face today.
Actually there were four and to find out what they were, navigate this link.