Economy

Fierce drought widening the economic divide in California

Fierce drought widening the economic divide in California

The drought conditions in California is widening economic split in California. The prospect of increased water-price in California is illustrating parallel worlds. The water war has divided Californians into tribes: urban vs. rural; coastal vs. inland.

Wealthy communities are consuming water and poorer neighbors are conserving by necessity. Southern California community is saving water to save money.

Alysia Thomas, a stay-at-home mother, urges her children to skip a bath when they do not play outside. This helps the family to hold down the water bill.

Lillian Barrera, a housekeeper who travels 25 miles to clean homes in Beverly Hills, serves dinner to her family on paper plates for the same reason.

Pandora’s Loss Widens, but Revenue Rises

Pandora’s Loss Widens, but Revenue Rises

While focusing on growing its user base, Pandora's losses have widened in the first quarter ending March 31. The company posted a net loss of $48.3 million, or 23 cents per diluted share.

However, the digital radio service's revenue has grown by bringing in $230.8 million, an 18.8% increase over the $194.3 million that was generated in the first quarter of 2014.

During the quarter, advertising revenue growth has remained strong, totaling $178.7 million, an increase of 27.1%. Subscription revenue has shown a 3.1% decline, to $52 million.

In the Q1, the listener hours showed 11% growth, 5.3 billion in total, while active listeners also grew 5.6% to 79.2 million, as compared to 75.3 million in the corresponding period last year.

Amazon Web Services Business Generates Sales of $1.57bn in Q1

Amazon Web Services Business Generates Sales of $1.57bn in Q1

Online retailer and cloud services provider Amazon said that its web services business has generated sales of $1.57bn in the first quarter of the year.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform that generates money by charging businesses to host websites and other applications. According to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, AWS is a $5bn business and growing fast.

Total revenues of the firm for the quarter have increased by 15% to $22.7bn. According to the company, the rise was stronger than anticipated and the firm’s share climbed about 5% in after-hours trading. The AWS division offers cloud computing services to household names involving Dropbox, Spotify, Netflix, Uber, Samsung and even the CIA.

Google reports rise in Advertising Revenues

Google reports rise in Advertising Revenues

Search and technology major Google reported its first quarter revenue. According to the earnings report released by search giant, profit for the first quarter of 2015 edged higher from last year despite strong US dollar which impacted overseas revenue. The company has reported a healthy rise in its advertising revenues.

The Mountain View, California-headquartered company reported that in the first quarter, net profit rose about 4% from a year earlier to about $3.59 billion. The revenue surged by 12% to $17.3 billion. Google stated that the revenue was led by gains from the company’s online advertising.

Sales expected to Rebound in Next Three Months in US

Sales expected to Rebound in Next Three Months in US

US businesses are optimistic that sales will recover in the next three months after a sluggish first quarter. As per a survey released on Monday, US businesses may also hire more and increase pay.

Sales of only 49% of firms increased in the first three months of the year from last year's fourth quarter. According to experts, that is down from 54% reported in by the last survey, released in January. About three-quarters of companies are predicted to witness higher sales over the next three months.

"Growth in the first quarter appears to be an outlier within the broader economic outlook", said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo, president of the National Association for Business Economics.

Unemployment Rate in Ohio Remains Unchanged in March

Unemployment Rate in Ohio Remains Unchanged in March

As per a statistics released on Friday, unemployment rate in Ohio stands at 5.1% between February and March 2015. The statistics released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services remains unchanged during the period.

During the same time period, the number of jobs in Ohio increased by 1,500. The number of jobs increased from 5,385,000 in February to 5,386,500 in March. In the last 12 months, the number of unemployed people in state has declined by 50,000. Also, the jobless rate has declined from 6.0% a year ago.

Unilever reports Estimate-Beating First Quarter Sales Growth

Unilever reports Estimate-Beating First Quarter Sales Growth

On Thursday, consumer goods major Unilever said that it has witnessed better than expected sales for the first quarter. The company said that sales increased 2.8% during the quarter.

On an average, analysts were expecting a gain of 2.1%. In January, the Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap, Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream predicted the gain to be between 2 and 4% in 2015. It forecasted the first quarter sales to be at the low end of the range.

Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huet said that it is a good start. One of the main reasons is considered to be improved performance in China. “China has performed better than expected, and food has done better, some of that due to Easter coming earlier this year”, said Huet.

Gravity Payments’ CEO Cuts his Salary to Cover Cost of Big Raises for his Employees

Gravity Payments’ CEO Cuts his Salary to Cover Cost of Big Raises

A decision taken by a Seattle CEO not only made his employees happy, but also made the company gain new customers. On Monday, Dan Price, chief executive Gravity Payments, a credit card payment processing firm, announced that he is making drastic pay cut in order to help cover the cost of big raises of his employees.

Price told his more than 100 employees that he is cutting around $1 million salary to $70,000 and would also use the company’s profits in order to ensure that every employee is able to earn that much amount in three years.

Netflix reports surge in New Subscribers

Netflix reports surge in New Subscribers

On Wednesday, streaming media company Netflix reported a record jump in subscribers in the first quarter of 2015. According to the company, the jump has pushed its streaming television service membership above 60 million.

According to the company’s report, the service has surpassed the 40 million mark in the United States and the 20 million mark across the world. In the report, the company stated that the unprecedented jump has pushed the number of subscriptions to its streaming television service more than 62 million overall.

After the report by Netflix, shares of the Los Gatos, California headquartered company jumped about 13% in after-hours trade. The company reported profit in the first quarter of the year, but it was dragged down by currency changes.

China’s Economic Growth Slowest in Six Years

China’s Economic Growth Slowest in Six Years

Since the last quarter 2009, China's economy has expanded at the weakest pace, with output, investment and retail data pointing in the direction of a deepening slowdown.

In Beijing, on Wednesday, while matching the median estimate of economists and the leadership's full-year expansion target, the statistics bureau said that the gross domestic product has shown a 7% rise in the three months through March from a year earlier.

China's leaders have signaled tolerance for a slower expansion as they seek to rein in debt risks, corruption and pollution. But, today's reports have spoken about the case for policy makers to deploy greater stimulus.

Gas prices will hit lowest in 10 years in Maine

Gas prices will hit lowest in 10 years in Maine

It has been anticipated that this summer, gasoline prices will considerably decrease compared to last year. The Energy Department has predicted the lowest seasonal gas prices in six years and the national averaged price has been predicted to be $2.45 per gallon from April to September. It is down from $3.36 a gallon in the same months in 2014.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price in Dutchess County is $2.56 a gallon. Saved money from this price decline can assist in bills and other expenses. Lowering prices for crude oil and higher production in North America will lead to the lower prices.

As per Annah Christofferson of Marlboro, in the summer, her family frequently goes on vacations. Christofferson said that the money saved by them will help go to nicer vacation places.

Congress facing difficulty to provide funding for US highways that require urgent fixing

Congress facing difficulty to provide funding for US highways that require

According to a February report by US Department of Transportation, about 65% of America's roads are in not in a good condition, 25% of bridges need to be replaced, and public transit faces a repair backlog of about $86 billion.

Lawmakers from Congress members both parties agree that there is urgent need to fix nation's crumbling highways and bridges.

However, the money granted to the states from government through federal Highway Trust Fund will expire on May 31 unless Congress acts. The fund reimburses states for the cost of highway improvements and mass transit projects.

Social Security should start sending out bigger checks: Democratic Senators

Social Security should start sending out bigger checks: Democratic Senators

About 42 Democratic senators think that Social Security should start sending out bigger checks. Last month, they voted for a resolution to strengthen social security benefits. Their vote was largely symbolic, but it represented a significant tactical change by liberal wing of the party. It seems that liberals are tired of fighting proposals that would cut benefits to ensure the long-term solvency of the Social Security. Now, they are changing from defense to offense.

Traditional pension plans have everything but vanished in private sector, and people in the United States do not save enough for their life after retirement. According to estimates by Employee Benefit Research Institute, retirement savings of Americans deficit at about $4.1 trillion.

FedEx Corporation target price revised to $205 by Citi Research

FedEx Corporation target price revised to $205 by Citi Research

In a recent report published on Thursday, FedEx Corporation target price has been raised from $200 to $205 by analysts at Citi Research.

On Tuesday, the company acquired TNT Express, following which the research firm reiterated its Buy rating on the stock of FedEx. In the report, the analysts said that FedEx is one of the most compelling stories in Transports.

For the last four years, TNT Express has made consistent loses, so in order to cover its operating expenses, TNT had to sell its assets.

FedEx has made an acquisition deal for purchasing TNT Express for 8 Euros per share. Total worth of the deal is around $4.8 billion. However, it is yet to be approved by the European authorities.

Attorney General Healey asks Federal DOE to Forgive Student Loan

Attorney General Healey asks Federal DOE to Forgive Student Loan

Attorney General Maura Healey and top law enforcement officials for eight other states have sent a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

In the letter, they have asked the authority to forgive the student loan debt for students who became victim to unjust and misleading practices of for-profit schools.

“These are situations where students are simply seeking a way to better themselves, and they get lured in by these false promises, and then they’re on the hook for $15,000, $20, 000”, affirmed Healey.

Number of Americans filing for Unemployment Benefit increased last Week

Number of Americans filing for Unemployment Benefit increased last Week

The United States Department of Labor released a weekly report, stating that the number of Americans filing jobless claims increased. But, according to the report, the four-week average was the lowest in last one and half decade.

According to the cabinet-level department of the United States federal government, jobless claims by people in the United States have increased by about 14,000 to 281,000 in the week that ended on April 4. The department also stated that the claims were less than forecasts by economists. Before this, the economists forecasted that jobless claims would be 283,000. The jobless claims in the previous week were revised to about 267,000 and the four- week average fell by about 3,000 to 282,250.

China’s Consumer Inflation stayed flat at 1.4% in March

China’s Consumer Inflation stayed flat at 1.4% in March

According to official data, China's consumer inflation remained unchanged at 1.4% last month and producer prices dropped slightly less than anticipated.

It has been predicted by analysts polled by Reuters that March consumer price index (CPI) will be at 1.3% than 1.4% posted the previous month. As per experts, the producer price index (PPI) decreased 4.6%.

General Electric to sell its entire $30 Billion Real Estate Portfolio

General Electric to sell its entire $30 Billion Real Estate Portfolio

Consortium led by Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo & Co is close to strike the deal to purchase $30 billion real estate portfolio from General Electric Co, said a person familiar with the matter.

Since Blackstone's acquisition of office landlord Equity Office Properties Trust in 2007, this will be the biggest commercial real estate deal. According to source, the deal could be announced as early as Friday. As per the source, the deal is not yet public. Both GE and Blackstone have not said anything related to this matter.

"We're in that sweet spot of 2007 when there's a lot of money, commercial real estate looks really attractive, and you could do some mega deals”, said Ken Riggs, president of Situs RERC, a firm conducting commercial real estate valuations.

Workers get Opportunity due to Unfilled Jobs

Workers get Opportunity due to Unfilled Jobs

In February, the job openings climbed to a 14-year high, and indicated that companies are optimistic about the prospects for sales and the economy on the heels of a recent setback.

The Labor Department report, on Tuesday, showed that the number of openings waiting to be filled have climbed by 168,000 to 5.13 million, the most since January 2001. Since November 2013, the dismissals have dropped to the lowest level.

February's more employment opportunities, led by construction companies, retailers and restaurants, have indicated that the labor market probably will keep on improving after a slowdown in March hiring. Decline in the number of Americans who have quit their jobs has showed that faster wage growth may yet take time to develop.

$13.4 million unclaimed tax refunds to be paid to Connecticut residents

$13.4 million unclaimed tax refunds to be paid to Connecticut residents

On Friday, US Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut said that there is a potential amount of USD 13.4 million which has to be paid to tax payers for the year 2011.

According to Blumenthal, that money belongs to people who didn't claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. The plan is offered for people with current moderate incomes. It reduces the amount of taxes a person owes or it could outcome in a refund.

Blumenthal said that when he verified the amount of unclaimed refunds owed to Connecticut taxpayers, the IRS told him that 2011 tax returns have not yet been filed by more than 13,400 Connecticut residents.

Some of these could not have met the income threshold for filing a federal tax return but might have qualified for the earned earnings tax credit.




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