(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 19 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— President George W. Bush has announced that the Treasury Department will loan $13.4 billion to GM and Chrysler. Ford is not included in the plan.

See more below in TOP STORIES

— The state’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.3 percent in November, an increase of 0.9 percentage points over the month before.

It’s also up significantly from the state’s unemployment rate of 4.3 percent for November 2007.

The November survey used to calculate the state’s unemployment rate found 26,000 fewer people employed compared to October and 30,200 less than one year ago.

See the release: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2008/unemployment/1208_state_lmi.pdf

— U.S. Rep. Dave Obey said the country is facing its worst economic crisis since 1932 and blasted the Bush administration for inaction.

“It is nothing short of a national tragedy that action has not already occurred to try to deal with this problem,” the powerful House Appropriations chair said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.

The Wausau Dem said he’s heard estimates that the national unemployment rate could rise to 9 percent or more over the next two years without federal intervention.

Obey said he has been working with the incoming Obama administration and Capitol Hill colleagues to put together a stimulus package that would include help to states. He said the package could be ready by the time Obama takes office on Jan. 20.

See more from the conference call: http://blogs.wispolitics.com/2008/12/obey-states-local-governments-will.html

— The Milwaukee County Board voted 14-5 Thursday to direct county lobbyists to request the state pass enabling legislation for a 1 percent county sales tax.

The tax would fund parks, transit, emergency services and provide $67 million in property tax relief. Fifty-one percent of Milwaukee County voters indicated support for the tax in a Nov. 4 referendum vote.



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Press Releases
· Alliant Energy: Customers encouraged to remove snow and ice from meters
· DATCP: Second CWD-positive deer found in Portage County herd killed for testing
· First Business: Economic survey of Northeast Wisconsin reveals area businesses optimistic about 2009
· UW-Madison: New herbarium director brings modern roots to a traditional collection
· UW-Madison: VistaGen, WARF sign license agreement for human embryonic stem cell technology
· Wisconsin Better Business Bureau: Advice on customer steps to take if a retailer goes bankrupt
· Wisconsin Better Business Bureau: Advice on giving, and receiving, pre-paid bank cards

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


Feds to lend $13.4 billion to automakers
The federal government will provide $13.4 billion in loans to automakers General Motors and Chrysler, the White House said Friday. “Allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action,” President Bush said Friday morning. “The terms and conditions of the financing provided by the Treasury Department will facilitate restructuring of our domestic auto industry, prevent disorderly bankruptcies during a time of economic difficulty, and protect the taxpayer by ensuring that only financially viable firms receive financing,” according to a statement released by the White House. An additional $4 billion may be available in February, the Bush administration said.

Alcoa will close aluminum wheel plant in Beloit: Alcoa Inc. says it will close its aluminum wheel plant in Beloit next year, a move that will put about 250 people out of work. The Alcoa Cast Auto Wheels plant serves the troubled auto industry. It opened in 1995. Alcoa tried to sell the business in 2005 but was unsuccessful. It laid off 70 workers in November 2007 after a drop in customer orders.

General Growth gets loan extension: Shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties Inc. said Wednesday it received another extension on $900 million in loans for two Las Vegas properties. Lenders agreed to place the loans in forbearance until Feb. 12 as the Chicago company looks to sell some of its assets or raise fresh capital to help pay upcoming debt maturities. The mortgages cover two Las Vegas malls, Fashion Show and Palazzo. The company is also trying to sell its Las Vegas locations. It had received a two-week extension on the loans for the Las Vegas properties earlier this month.

TomoTherapy cuts staff by 12% by laying off, dropping unfilled positions: TomoTherapy is the latest Madison company to announce a round of layoffs. The company, which produces cancer-fighting radiation treatment systems, said late Thursday that it has reduced its workforce by approximately 12 percent through a combination of layoffs and the elimination of positions that are currently not filled.

State unemployment rate climbs to 5.3 percent : Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for November was 5.3 percent, up 0.9 percent from October, and 1 percent higher than November 2007, the state Department of Workforce Development reported Thursday. From October to November, total Wisconsin non-farm jobs decreased by an estimated 7,600 to about 2.9 million. Private-sector jobs decreased by 14,700, led by a decline of 9,400 in the leisure and hospitality sector. Trade increased by 9,000.


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

BIOTECH (back to top)
– WARF issues patent license to VistaGen

ECONOMY (back to top)
– State hospital association says economy is taking a toll

– UW stem cell pioneer James Thomson wins Massry Prize

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Net income down at Butler’s Actuant

– Harley to look outside for CEO

LABOR (back to top)
– Report: Companies cutting back on raises for 2009

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Schlossmann’s prime example of current auto dealer landscape

INVESTING (back to top)
– Marcus Corp. earnings fall 69%

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Cornerstone wants $14M condominium development

– Cardinal Stritch to expand at Pabst site

RETAIL (back to top)
– Boutiques make concessions to economic reality

– Wal-Mart moves ahead with Supercenter in Waukesha

– Gold’s Gym comes to Madison

REGULATION (back to top)
– MillerCoors to remove caffeine from Sparks

– Consumer-friendly credit card rules coming

UTILITIES (back to top)
– WPS electric rates to remain steady

– PSC approves rate plan for Wisconsin Power and Light

– PSC rejects rate increase for 2 utilities

– Water engineering company opens office in Milwaukee

– WPS acquires Iowa wind farm

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Green Bay hospital CEO set to retire in 2010

– M&I declares three-month home foreclosure moratorium

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
–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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