(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 15 Aug. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— State Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman announced that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for July was 4.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from June. The rate was unchanged from the rate in July of 2007.  The national rate for July was 6.0, up 0.3 percentage points from June, and up 1.1 percentage points from July 2007.

“Wisconsin’s unemployment rate showed little change in July with a drop in rate over the month and no change over the year, despite increases in the national rate in both monthly and yearly comparisons,” Gassman said. “Job counts followed normal seasonal patterns, which typically show a drop from June to July.”

See the release: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2008/unemployment/0708_state_lmi.pdf

— Data Specialists, Inc. in Elkhorn will receive $100,000 in state Technology Zone tax credits for a project is expected to create 36 new positions.

See details: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=133541

— Appleton Papers Inc. has received an $85,000 Customized Labor Training grant from the Department of Commerce to train 80 current employees on new equipment.

See details: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=133538

— Researchers from UW-Madison and Hitachi have announced a new approach to manufacturing that could further shrink the size of hard drives and other data storage devices.

The new manufacturing method could allow for smaller devices and also make the production process cheaper and faster.

See the release: http://www.engr.wisc.edu/news/headlines/2008/Aug14a.html

— Wisconsin is feeling an economic contraction in the printing industry this week.

Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. eliminated 100 jobs, mostly in Wisconsin, Wednesday, and General Binding Corp., a commercial document finishing company, announced plans to cut 75 jobs at its 100,000-square-foot plant in Pleasant Prairie.

See details: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/8/14/#economic-slowdown-clips-briggs



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Press Releases
Dept. of Commerce: Governor Doyle announces funding for Data Specialists, Inc.
Dept. of Commerce: Marketplace 2008 to showcase Wisconsin Minority Business Awards
Fiserv: Launches source capture optimization approach to capture deposits from any location
Gov. Doyle: Announces training project with Appleton Papers
Marshfield Clinic demonstrates improved quality of care resulting in cost savings for Medicare
SonoPlot: Appoints distributor in Japan
TV4US Wisconsin: Wisconsin cable companies black out Brett

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


Wisconsin bucks July’s national unemployment trend: Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for July was down slightly from June, despite national trends which saw unemployment grow. Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman said the unemployment rate for July was 4.8 percent in Wisconsin, down 0.1 percent from June and virtually unchanged from July of 2007. The national unemployment rate for July was 6.0 percent, an increase of 0.3 percent from June and an increase of 1.1 percent from July of 2007. Gassman said July marked the fifth consecutive month to post gains in both manufacturing and construction jobs, although the total number of non-farm jobs in the state decreased by 29,600 to a total of 2,889,000.

Wisconsin’s existing home sales drop 22.2 percent: Existing home sales in Wisconsin fell 22.2 percent during the second quarter from a year ago, a steeper decline than the Midwest region and the nation, according to a report issued Thursday by the Wisconsin Association of Realtors. Median sale prices were down 3 percent to $162,200 from last year, better than a 7.6 percent national decline reported by the National Association of Realtors. During the second quarter, 14,933 home sales were reported to multiple listing services in the state, down from 19,186 during the second quarter last year. These figures do not include sales that didn’t involve a real estate agent. “It’s a mirror image of what happened in the first quarter,” said David Clark, an economist with C3 Statistical Solutions of Milwaukee.

Kohl’s quarterly profit drops by more than 12%: Earnings fall as consumers cut spending … Kohl’s Corp. said Thursday that its second-quarter profit fell more than 12 percent as same-store sales dipped during a consumer pullback in spending. The department store chain, based in Menomonee Falls, said it earned $236 million, or 77 cents per share, during the three-month period ending in August. That was down from the same period last year, when Kohl’s earned $269.2 million, or 83 cents per share. Sales rose 3.8 percent to $3.7 billion, on par with estimates. But same-store sales — a key figure in retailing that measures sales at stores open at least a year — fell 4.6 percent. The results came after the market closed Thursday. Kohl’s shares rose 68 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $48.27.

Briggs’ sales fall, profits plummet: Homeowners choose to repair old mowers instead of buying new, and lawn and garden equipment makers are feeling the painEarnings fall 97%; new machines to cost more … Briggs & Stratton executives said Thursday they remain cautious about their outlook for the lawn and garden equipment industry as consumers pull back on discretionary spending. The company’s fourth-quarter earnings sank 97% on a decrease in sales and higher operating costs. For 2009, Briggs expects sales growth of 5% to 6%, mostly due to price increases. U.S. sales of lawn and garden equipment, especially, have been hard hit by the economic downturn. “We think that we have hit bottom here,” John Shiely, Briggs chairman, president and CEO said in a conference call with analysts.

UW team patents way to make smaller drives: An iPod equipped with a tiny disk drive can hold up to 200 hours of video, or 40,000 songs. In other words, not nearly enough. The continuing effort to squeeze more digital material into ever smaller devices has taken a big step forward at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where researchers have helped develop a novel technique for making computer chips. The team used materials called “block copolymers” that can assemble themselves into microscopic patterns printed onto chips used in disk drives. The technique has the potential to make the mass production of higher-capacity drives possible at a reasonable price, some experts say. “We’re making structures 1,000 to 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.”

Oshkosh school district suing Appleton-based company over lead contamination: The Oshkosh School District is suing the company it believes spread lead-contaminated paint dust throughout the Recreation Department building in October. The district filed a civil lawsuit against Appleton-based Protective Coating Specialists Inc. and Acuity Mutual Insurance for cleanup costs to remove dust from the building and the cost of additional cleanup work still needed, according to a civil complaint filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court Thursday. Protective Coating Specialists was contracted to grind paint off the building’s basement floor, a former shooting range. A clause in the contract required the company to take precautions to limit the amount of dust circulating from the work, but the district claims the company’s work spread through the building.


GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Court says copyrights apply even for free software

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Wind program blows in to LTC

– State swings for wind rules

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Recipients of grants, tax credits for business growth announced

– Bear market takes toll on retirees

– Consumer prices rise at double the expected rate

– Market crushes developers

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Magnetek sees 27% rise in quarterly profit

LABOR (back to top)
– Jobless claims fall less than expected

– More layoffs planned for Pleasant Prairie plant

– July jobless figure grows by 12,000

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Grand Chute church site cleared for novelty restaurant

INVESTING (back to top)
– Oil falls below $114 on slowing economies

– Stocks fall after disappointing inflation data

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Fox Valley home sales drop

– Dip in home foreclosures shows hope for state

– Land near Racine brings $3.4 million

– UWM names three finalists for residence hall site

– U.S. foreclosure filings surged 55 percent, data say

– Estimates on Allied Drive redevelopment are $730,000 over budget

– Alderman wants a redo on Sequoya Commons parking entrance ruling

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Life drained by water that won’t

– Controlling beetles will be a local expense

– 21 county farms enter 2008 dairy futurity

– Prices Mostly Lower on NASS Cheese Survey

– Crave Brothers, Barlass to be Honored at World Dairy Expo

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– S.S. Badger to resume crossings

– Airport lease study sought

– Law enforcement to crack down on Highway 151 speeding next week

RETAIL (back to top)
– Wilsons store closes

– Texas Roadhouse coming to Sheboygan

– Retail sales drop slightly on weak car sales

REGULATION (back to top)
– EOC members get their say on nuisance property law

– State law on child performances murky

– Slow, no-wake order for Lake Mendota lifted

– Campers around the bonfire face new restrictions because of the Ash Borer

TOURISM (back to top)
– Artrageous in running for Top 10 list

– DNR vote on par with golf course overhaul

– Antique center could draw visitors to Evansville

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Dominion seeks license renewal for Kewaunee Power Station

– Utility Committee OKs water agreement

– LTC goes nuclear with $1 million grant

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Marshfield Clinic cuts Medicare costs

– ThedaCare names chief medical officer

– Suit with former mental hospital patient settled for $162,000

– Mercy residence hospice won’t take new patients

– MGIC sells rest of Sherman Financial

– Altoona loan guarantee to company linked to jobs

– Disaster Program Eligibility Requires Reporting Pasture Acreage

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– UW-Madison chancellor transition is under way

– Chvala gets his real estate license back

– Phillips Plastics brought into state’s Green Tier program

– Broadway Business Improvement District’s budget moves on to Green Bay City Council

– ZJS names new president

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Ray Unger: Simplicity is a powerful tool for portfolio management

– Leslie Whitaker: Lying about job skills can hurt you when called to perform

– John Oncken: Hageman family tries to keep going after devastating barn fire

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–CNBC BUSINESS NEWS: http://www.cnbc.com
–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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