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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business
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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business

We write a lot about consumer demographics, from college students to young parents to Baby Boomers – but there’s one cohort of spenders that tends to get overlooked even though it comprises a pretty significant market:  Prisoners. NBCNews recently ran a very interesting piece, “Prison inmates offer captive market for gadget makers,” that was rich [...]

The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories
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The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories

What’s a multi-billion industry that draws celebrities, corporate exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of free-spending enthusiasts to events in multiple venues nationwide? No, not talking about NASCAR, the NFL or the beauty pageant circuit.  The movement I’m thinking of is the world of fandom – comic cons (comic conventions)  cosplay (costumed role playing) and related [...]

Microsoft layoff news prompts a look at job cuts
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Microsoft layoff news prompts a look at job cuts

Word last week that Microsoft will be jettisoning 18,000 workers raises the specter of mass layoffs, a frequent occurrence several years ago but one we haven’t heard much about lately. A few industries stand out in terms of recent job cut numbers, according to the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas; the firm’s monthly jobs [...]

Do $7 billion deals like Citigroup’s really help consumers?
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Do $7 billion deals like Citigroup’s really help consumers?

This week’s announcement of a federal government settlement with another major mortgage lender is reviving buzz about the mortgage messes that contributed to the economic meltdown, and might be something you’ll want to use a springboard to consumer stories about the home loan market. The U.S. Department of Justice agreed to end its civil investigations [...]

As highway fund is debated, how does the local business of road building fare?
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As highway fund is debated, how does the local business of road building fare?

The federal Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money on August 1.   Congress is as usual eschewing a long-term, sweeping vision in favor of a short-term patch.   According to Bloomberg, odds are that a House version of a transportation bill will make it to President Obama for signature. With looming funding issues, [...]

Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier
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Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier

How are we spending our summer vacation?   Prepping for back-to-school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, if the displays in retail stores are any indication. Consumers who didn’t buy their swimwear back in March probably found themselves picking through a clearance rack featuring a few “size 2 junior” mismatched bathing suit bottoms and tops the week before the [...]

Helping readers if they’re getting stock market fever
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Helping readers if they’re getting stock market fever

The U.S. stock markets are having a star-spangled week heading into the Independence Day holiday, as Reuters reports in “Dow, S&P end at records in fireworks before the Fourth.” With headlines ablaze about major indices hitting never-before-seen heights, you might want to find some local angles to the Wall Street news. First, it’s always interesting [...]

Does the summer home sales bounce help furniture dealers, related industries?
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Does the summer home sales bounce help furniture dealers, related industries?

With existing home sales for May posting their best gain since 2011, as USA Today reports, and this week’s new home sales report expected to show a modest increase, according to Business Insider, you might want to take a mid-year checkup of the real estate market’s spin-off effect on other lines of business. I was [...]

Quicktips:  Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents
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Quicktips: Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents

Maybe this column should be called “quirky tips” instead of “quick tips,” because I can’t resist sharing some of the interesting and offbeat jottings from my notebook.  Hopefully you can embrace the oddities and spin an idea or two into a colorful summertime business feature. First off, my ears perked up the other day when [...]

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