Davidson sees unemployment rate rise to 4.9%

County continues to sport lowest mark of Tennessee's Big Four
Jul 23, 2015 2:20 PM

National Seating & Mobility leases Birmingham space

National Seating & Mobility has signed a lease for space in a Birmingham industrial building, the Birmingham Business Journal reports.

The Franklin-based company, which specializes in custom mobility, rehab and adaptive seating, will take 9,500 square feet in the building, the address for which is 115 45th Place N.

The lease (read more here) follows National Seating & Mobility’s announcement in May that it had opened branches in New Redding, California, and Cleveland.

Relatedly, the company in July 2014 named William Mixon as CEO (read more here).

Jul 21, 2015 12:30 PM

RealtyTrac: Tennessee sees nation's 10th-highest foreclosure rate

Tennessee had the 10th-highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2015, according a news release from research firm RealtyTrac.

The median sales price of a foreclosure home in the state was $76,600, or 45 percent lower than the median sales price of non-distressed homes. The overall national foreclosure rate for the first half of 2015 was at a 10-year low.

In June, the number of Tennessee properties that received a foreclosure filing in Tennessee was 63 percent lower than the mark of the previous month and 250 percent higher than the number from the same time last year.

RealtyTrac foreclosure date can be viewed here.

Jul 17, 2015 2:17 PM

VU survey results: Civil service reform needed

One third of federal executives feel the U.S. government workforce lacks necessary skills and that underperforming employees can rarely be dismissed, according to a Vanderbilt University study. 

Results of the survey, which asked executives a various questions about skills, training, recruitment, aspirational goals and future career plans, prompted VU researchers to call for changes in the government service career sector.

“It’s time to do civil service reform,” David E. Lewis (pictured), William R. Kenan Jr. professor of political science and lead researcher on the Survey on the Future of Government Service, said in a press release. “I worry that it will be done in piecemeal fashion in response to a crisis rather than the right way, which is to develop a modern-day human resources system for a modern government.”

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:

* Seventy percent of federal executives report that underperforming non-managers are rarely or never reassigned or dismissed, and 64 percent of federal executives report that underperforming managers are rarely or never reassigned or dismissed;

* Only 68 percent of federal executives and 45 percent of those who are political appointees believe they have received sufficient training and guidance on how to hire, promote, reward, discipline and dismiss employees in the career civil service;

* Thirty-nine percent of federal executives agree or strongly agree that an inadequately skilled workforce is a significant obstacle to their agency fulfilling its core mission. Forty-five percent disagree or strongly disagree;

* Fifty-one percent of federal executive said the skills of the workforce in their agency had gotten better or much better during their tenure, while 19 percent said skills had gotten worse or much worse. The rest said the skills were the same.

* Forty-two percent of federal executives agree or strongly agree that they are unable to recruit the best employees. Thirty-seven percent disagree or strongly disagree;

* Twenty-four percent of career executives and 35 percent of political executives say it is likely or very likely they will leave their agency in the next 12 months.

Lewis and Vanderbilt political science Ph.D. candidate Mark D. Richardson sent out 14,698 surveys to federal executives last year, after the executives received a letter from former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker endorsing the survey. Granted confidentiality, 3,551 federal executives (a response rate of 24 percent) responded.

Jul 17, 2015 1:08 PM

August opening set for classic car showroom in La Vergne

Gateway Classic Cars — which bills itself as the world’s largest dealer of antique cars, exotic cars and race cars — is targeting an Aug. 15 opening for an indoor showroom in La Vergne.

The approximately 44,300-square-foot facility, with an address of 320 Tech Park Drive, will feature more than 100 vehicles and will be modeled after the company’s nine existing showrooms in St. Louis, Louisville, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Tampa, Houston, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

According to a release, Gateway Classic Cars is experiencing significant growth and has projected revenues of $42 million for 2015 and $60 million in 2016.

The company sells vehicles on a consignment basis for private entities, collectors and estates. 



Jul 17, 2015 6:50 AM

June sees unemployment rate dip slightly to 5.7%

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for June was 5.7 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point lower than the May revised rate of 5.8 percent, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today.

This is the fifth consecutive month of unemployment decline in the state.

From May 2014 to May 2015, Tennessee's unemployment rate decreased from 6.6 percent to 5.7 percent, while the national rate declined from 6.1 percent to 5.3 percent during the same period.

There was an increase of 5,500 non-farm jobs from May to June, with the largest increases occurring in professional/business services, health care/social assistance and durable goods manufacturing.

Year over year, non-farm employment has added 61,100 jobs. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, professional/business services, and education/health services.

Jul 16, 2015 2:33 PM

Fueled by instant-ticket sales, Tennessee Lottery posts 11th record year

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. today announced record sales and proceeds for the 2015 fiscal year, with $1.475 billion in total sales from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

The number marks an increase of $58.7 million (4.1 percent) compared to last year’s previous sales record of $1.417 billion, according to a release.

This year’s sales resulted in a contribution of $347.7 million for all education programs funded by the Lottery, also a record. This is the 11th consecutive year the Lottery has posted a consecutive gain.

"We work hard developing fresh and innovative games that respond to the market demand and offer value and entertainment for our players,” Rebecca Hargrove (pictured), Lottery president and CEO, said in the release. “In so doing, we stay focused on the corporation’s mission to serve Tennessee students and their families by responsibly raising proceeds for the designated education programs funded by the Lottery."

Instant ticket sales fueled the record year, accounting for 83 percent of all Lottery sales. In addition, 46 new instant ticket games were introduced during the year, according to the release.

Total Lottery funding for education-related programs in Tennessee — including funds used for scholarships, grants, and after-school programs — now exceeds $3.4 billion since ticket sales began in 2004.

Since the Lottery began, more than 900,000 scholarships, grants and dual-enrollment awards have been awarded to Tennessee students, including more than 100,000 during the past academic. Lottery funds are also used to support education-related activities, such as after-school programs, an ongoing project to make schools more energy efficient and the new Tennessee Promise initiative.

Jul 16, 2015 11:40 AM

LeanKit lands $16M in VC funding

Company to use capital for global marketing, sales operations
Jul 15, 2015 1:43 PM
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SMS to distribute for Larry the Cable Guy entity

Hangover Joe's Holding Corp., the developer of Hangover Recovery Shot and Git-R-Done-Energy, Larry the Cable Guy and Git-R-Done Productions, has announced a long-term agreement with Nashville-based Specialty Marketing Systems to distribute two of its products in the U.S., Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

SMS has played a role in helping Tabasco brand products broaden exposure in new and emerging markets and has worked with that brand since 1996, according to a release. Its distribution model gives dealers exclusive rights to distribute products in their chosen territories and pays them on a percentage basis.

For HJHC, SMS is putting a major effort into training, sales tools, store locators and applications, and into several trade shows and event promotions featuring Daniel Lawrence Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) are planned.

Jul 15, 2015 1:15 PM

MTSU, Tennessee Chamber launch 'business barometer’ index

Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry have partnered to launch today the Tennessee Business Barometer, a  quarterly index capturing the mood and outlook of business leaders statewide through online surveys.

The index consists of a core set of 17 questions, with the overall index score computed by adding the percentage of favorable responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses.

The Tennessee Chamber is helping MTSU researchers generate a sampling of responses among the chamber’s member base and through the dozens of regional chambers of commerce and the businesses they serve. The first index measured at 325, setting the benchmark for future indices.

Key findings include the following:

•    Two out of three respondents said that current economic conditions were neither good nor bad (“in between”). Only 25 percent said current economic conditions in the U.S. are “good.”

•    Tennessee business leaders feel much more positive about the economic conditions in the state (64 percent rating it as “good”), their industry (54 percent “good”) and their specific firm (63 percent “good”).

•    Employment outlook is mixed, with 42 percent expecting to increase employment at their firm and only 9 percent expecting to decrease.

A key concern expressed by business leaders is finding qualified employees to fill positions. Staffing was by far the most often top-ranked issue.

Almost half of survey respondents (46 percent) said that qualified employees are “hard to find,” and only 1 percent of respondents said that qualified employees are “easy to find.”
“This is significant,” said  Tim Graeff (pictured), MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the survey. “For most businesses — especially those in the service sector, which makes up approximately three-fourths of our nation’s GDP — the people component of their business is perhaps the most important in terms of attracting and maintaining customers and ensuring future business and marketing success.”

Jul 15, 2015 11:40 AM