In February, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that this year’s deficit would fall to $845 billion, down from nearly $1.1 trillion in 2012. Goldman Sachs recently predicted that the deficit would fall even further, to $775 billion, and return to sustainable levels within two years.
As a result, the national debt is rising far more slowly than in the frantic days after the 2008 economic crisis: The Treasury Department actually expects to repay a tiny sliver of the $16.8 trillion national debt by the end of June.
Much of the improvement stems from recent budget deals. Over the past two years, Congress has capped agency spending and created the sequester, which is trimming outlays on domestic programs and the military. Lawmakers also agreed to raise taxes on virtually every American this year, letting a temporary reduction in the payroll tax expire and tax rates rise for households earning more than $450,000 a year.
But other factors are at work, too. Defense spending has been declining rapidly with the end of the war in Iraq and the ongoing drawdown of forces in Afghanistan. A surprising — and apparently durable — slowdown in health-care costs has sharply reduced projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. And the falling jobless rate and improving economy have helped push federal tax collections up 16 percent over last year, according to figures out Tuesday.
This will have interesting implications for budget talks, but also should start instilling some confidence with business leaders, which hopefully then fuels even more economic growth.
The fracking revolution is having a ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy. That applies to both the natural gas boom in states like Ohio and the oil gas boom in North Dakota. BusinessWeek notes the impact the oil boom is having on local banks.
In his office on the second floor of a glass-encased building on North Main Street in Watford City, N.D., Stephen Stenehjem rolls out a map of a proposed multimillion-dollar residential development and shakes his head in disbelief. “My dad would have been very pleased,” says Stenehjem, a third-generation banker and the chief executive officer of First International Bank & Trust. “For 25 years, our focus as a community bank was to help keep our small town alive. So it has been really fun to see this oil come back.”
Once a depressed town of 1,700 in what was America’s least-visited state, Watford City and its neighbors are at the center of North Dakota’s oil and gas boom. While about 470 banks across the U.S. have folded in the past five years, those serving America’s new fracking economy have seen explosive growth. Oilfield workers carrying paychecks, investors looking to build, and farmers enjoying mineral-rights payments are pouring money into banks. First International, with $1.3 billion in assets and 21 branches in North Dakota, Arizona, and Minnesota, hired 65 employees over the past year, including lenders, trust officers, and insurance agents, and plans to add 30 more this year. “It’s fun to be a banker in North Dakota,” Stenehjem says. “Even six or seven years ago, if there was a new pole barn going up in the county, I knew about it. Now I can’t keep track of everything.”
The implications for the U.S. economy are staggering. It’s great to hear good news and we’ll be following this story.
Are you sick of cable bills over $100 per month? Are you tired of paying for bundled cable channels that you never watch?
Thing may be changing as more people, particularly young people, are opting out of cable in favor of streaming services like Netflix and online TV options.
Even the CEO of Time Warner Cable is changing his tune in the face of new services like Aereo that offers everything that appears on CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, PBS and roughly two dozen other channels for less than $10 a month.
Now, more and more people are also getting set-up boxes as the ability to access online video and TV shows is showing up in Blu-ray players as well. The pressure on the cable companies and content providers to change the pricing model will just keep growing.
The SEC isn’t amused by the Twitter hoax that led to a quick and serious drop in financial markets yesterday and we may see an investigation.
Frankly it’s also a little troubling that some of these computer programs can move so fast to sell off stock just based on key words in a Tweet. Maybe we need to start thinking about a financial transaction tax.
We covered a post back in February on how SEO services can contribute towards the growth of online business. Social media is an important aspect of any search engine optimization strategy, and with all the recent changes going on in the functioning of search engine algorithms, presence on social media is more important than ever.
Social media may look like a mere term from far away, but it can make a huge impact. There are more people present on social media at any particular hour than the number of those watching television commercials, TV shows and other forms of advertisements combined. A 2012 social media marketing industry report revealed that 60 percent of a company’s marketing department is spending all working hours to increase social media presence.
The use of social media has also increased by a whopping 230% since 2007, powered by smartphone applications that allow people to use the platforms from anywhere and at any time.
Here are top 3 reasons why online businesses will live and die by their presence on social media modern age:
1. Consumers use it for research
Consumers, shoppers or anyone looking to buy products and services from an online company will turn towards social media for research. They’ll look over at the platforms where the company is present, check the comments of existing customers to see what they have to say about the products, check out videos and tutorials, and most importantly, see if there are any offers and discounts on what they’re looking for.
A survey conducted by Lies Damned Lies Statistics revealed U.S retailers considered social media as important as online shopping itself. Consumers are greatly influenced by social media, and a single positive or negative comment coming from Facebook or a Tweet can greatly influence their spending decision.
2. It builds reputation
Online businesses can use social media to build their reputation. New customers are likely to be influenced by a business that have a decent amount of following on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites compared to a business that doesn’t even have an account present.
Through presence and engagement, social media can be used to build reputation. It’s also possible that competitors may try to defame the reputation by paying someone to leave anonymous comments, but that’s also manageable through online management services like the ones listed in this LinkedIn Reputation.com overview.
3. Direct relation with customers
Social media allows internet based businesses to build direct relationships with new and existing customers. No longer is a customer required to pay for expensive phone calls on a landline number or wait for weeks to get a reply from a customer service representative, while companies no longer have to ask customers to wait in line or give a specific date on when their queries will be answered.
Social media has brought both customers and businesses together. Customers now get almost instant replies to their queries left on social media, and businesses are able to engage directly and build relationships. It’s also cost effective, as online companies don’t have to pay for market research to gather customer data and interest; they’re now directly able to communicate with customers and answer their questions, ask their likes and dislikes and consider their suggestions.
Any online business should consider social media it’s not next to impossible to achieve long-term business success without being present socially.
Walmart has a reputation of being one of the best run companies in the world, but that reputation may be in jeopardy. This article details how Walmart’s obsession with cost-cutting and reducing employee headcount is destroying the customer experience. The company literally doesn’t have enough employees to get products loaded onto the shelves. Product is sitting in storage at the stores while customers can’t find that product on the shelves.
Walmart may be the poster child of companies that have been obsessed with cost-cutting since the recession began. It’s a tough balance, but perhaps some executives will read this an realize that sufficient investment in employees is critical for success.
Here’s a very interesting article out of Cleveland on how certain older homes can be rehabbed into loft-type homes by ripping out most of the walls and most of the second floor. It works with certain older homes that are constructed in a way that makes this treatment feasible.
This offers an excellent alternative to demolishing the home. We’re talking about older homes that are worth basically nothing and then can be rehabbed in this way for under $10,000. Then they can be rented for around $500 per month, which seems like a very interesting investment.
This is good news for those of us who believe that immigration reform can provide much-needed certainly for the US economy and provide a real boost.
Labor and business representatives have met for the last several months to find a way to create a legal system for bringing foreign workers into the country for low-wage jobs such as restaurant and home-care work. That would greatly reduce the incentive for illegal immigration, supporters argue.
Under the new proposal, companies that could not find U.S. workers would be allowed to hire foreign workers. Those workers would enter the country under a newly created program of immigrant worker visas. Companies would have to advertise jobs to Americans first.
The agreement calls for creating a federal expert bureau that would make recommendations on the number of foreign workers allowed into the country each year. The recommendations would be based on unemployment data and other information about labor market conditions in particular industries.
The agreement involves a trade-off. For the first time, the AFL-CIO agreed to support establishing a temporary guest-worker program for low-skilled labor.
The Chamber of Commerce agreed that the number of workers admitted under the new visa would expand and contract with the economy. In addition, the visa would not tie a worker to a particular employer, a step designed to protect workers from the threat that they could be deported if they had a dispute with their boss. Workers would also receive protections on wages and working conditions. At least some of the temporary workers would be allowed to eventually apply for green cards, which would give them lawful permanent residence.
The chamber also signed on to a long-standing labor demand that an independent entity – the new expert bureau – have the authority to study labor data and recommend curtailing work visas when unemployment is high. The bureau would have “political independence analogous to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said to a joint statement released Thursday by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Thomas J. Donohue.
The bureau would make recommendations, but it would then be up to Congress to set visa numbers, as it does now.
This is something we don’t see much in Washington – real compromise. Perhaps the Republicans in Congress will now change their tune a bit if the Chamber gets behind reform.
SEO, far from being dead, is alive and well and hitting harder than ever. The websites which are most well designed, offering the highest quality navigation and the best content are those which are found at the top of the search engine and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future.
How does a website owner or designer get their website to the top in Google?
The key is to ensure the quality of your site as opposed to trying out various tricks to game the search engines. Ethical SEO is always the best option rather than to use the tricks used by others to temporarily rank their sites. This type of SEO is much like a game of roulette. It may work temporarily, but it never works long term.
Google, Yahoo and Bing, the top three search engines are changing their algorithms frequently due to the wide range of changes which are arriving daily on the technology scene. Today, the major component in getting your site seen and higher in the search engines is rich content which offers a good experience for your website users. In earlier days the keywords and the meta tags to a large extent determined where you sat in the search engines and how your pages were displayed.
That is no longer the case today, as keywords and meta tags may be easily used to manipulate the search engines into listing pages which really do not belong in given categories in search. Today SEO Services methodology has changed dramatically. Those who have kept up with the changes know that some of the older techniques will not be workable for their site.
The SEO community of today knows that solid content creation and keyword research, cost effective solutions to your online marketing are what are necessary to promote page and business growth.
SEO is one part research, one part skill, one part experience and one part common sense. Customized solutions for every business or website are a necessary part of the package and one that must be implemented for every business.
Social media, on page SEO and in some instances targeted advertising are all a part of your SEO Services package that must be investigated and customized for each individual. SEO packages are a very cost effective way to get the job done, but each SEO package must be individualized. Just as no two websites are alike, neither are two SEO packages.
Working in partnership with your SEO company will give you the best chance of seeing your website and your business grow and expand and your bottom line increase exponentially. Take a good look at what SEO Services can give to your website and your business.