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November 1, 2013
Issue # 348
Costs of the
The 16-day government shutdown cost the
economy jobs, delayed mortgages and lost retail sales — at least $12 billion worth, and maybe as much as $24 billion.
As federal workers returned to work, statisticians and businesspeople began toting up the damage:
- Estimates of the toll are $12 billion to $24 billion for the U.S. economy, or as much as $1.5 billion per day, and as many as 250,000 jobs. The shutdown trimmed fourth-quarter growth by 20%, economist Joel Naroff said — an outcome any business would “consider a disaster.”
- At least 400,000 government employees will be paid for all 16 days they didn’t work, and roughly the same number will get paid for not working during part of the shutdown. The government has not disclosed that cost.
- Consumer confidence plunged. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to its lowest level since March in data released Thursday. The share of people predicting economic conditions will get worse fell faster than at any time since the 2008 collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers One result: Hyundai’s CEO John Krafcik said this week that October car sales could drop about 10%.
- The U.S. Travel Association said the shutdown cost $152 million a day in lost travel and related activity. Federal parks were closed, accounting for much of the losses. Washington-area hotel occupancy dropped 9% from late September levels in the first week of October, according to Destination D.C.
- The Mortgage Bankers Association of America said applications for mortgages dropped 7%, to the lowest levels seen since 2007. “The government shutdown had a notable impact on the mortgage market last week,” the association said.
“Most of (the economic damage) comes from government employees and contractors not doing their jobs,” said Paul Edelstein, director of financial economics at consulting firm IHS. “Then maybe there’s a loss in people not doing some spending they would have, or delaying. It’s a real noticeable hit to the economy, more so because we weren’t growing that fast to begin with.”
Federal contractors will take a major hit because many companies that laid off hundreds of thousands of people won’t be able to pay them back wages. One example: Herndon, Va.-based logistics provider EDJ Associates, which furloughed about a dozen of its 45 employees, Vice President David Moretti said.
“It’s difficult, because unlike the federal government, we’re not able to pay them back for the time they didn’t work,” he said.
The impact on retailers may last into the crucial holiday season, said National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz — especially because the short-term deal reached by Congress and the White House may spark another showdown in early 2014.
“We know in some areas there is less foot traffic,” especially at car dealerships, Kleinhenz says.
The closing of federal offices that handle mortgages, small business loans and certain permits, along with disrupted tourism, cut about $7 billion from the economy’s fourth-quarter growth, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said.
The shutdown affected high finance, as well. Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz said tension over the talks helped freeze clients of the investment bank, which announced Thursday that it missed third-quarter revenue forecasts by about $600 million.
“Activity from the client base was picking up pretty much really broadly in the early part of September, but then of course people got very focused on the government debate,” Schwartz said on a conference call with stock analysts. “It was still an environment of uncertainty.”
Economists expect the recovery to regain momentum within six months, much as the economy accelerated by mid-1996 after a shutdown ended in January, Edelstein said. But Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at Standard & Poor’s, suggested that with another deadline already set, government workers who get reimbursed for lost wages may not feel like spending them.
“They’ll get it back, but with the uncertainty about what will happen in a few months, they may want to keep a cushion,” she said.
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Cotton traders head to the Uzbek capital Tashkent for their annual cotton fair, as a growing number of international companies have declared their refusal to source cotton from the country until it ceases the forced labor of children and adults in its cotton fields.
The market value of companies that are signatories to the “Company Pledge Against Forced Child and Adult Labor in Uzbek Cotton” has surpassed $1 trillion, with 136 companies now part of the agreement, said the Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN).
By signing the cotton pledge, companies commit to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton until the practice of forced labor is stopped, said Patricia Jurewicz, director of RSN, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together investors, companies and human rights activists to create sustainable supply chains.
“The coalition of companies taking a stand against forced labor in the Uzbek cotton industry is growing,” Jurewicz said. “It’s a further step in stopping cotton that uses slave labor from entering the global market.”
Swedish furniture and housewares company IKEA, Canadian sportswear maker Lululemon Athletica, and British retailer Marks & Spencer are the latest additions to the pledge, which RSN launched in 2011, Jurewicz said.
Human Rights Watch said that for the 2012 harvest, the Uzbek government forced more than a million of its citizens - children and adults, including teachers, doctors, and nurses - to harvest cotton in abusive conditions under the threat of punishment. They are housed in cramped, unheated barracks and often do not have access to clean drinking water.
Uzbekistan - a landlocked, mainly Muslim country of 29 million in the heart of Central Asia - is ranked by rights bodies as one of the world's most repressive states. The world’s 5th largest exporter of cotton, the country denies that children work in its cotton fields and remains silent about the existence of adult forced labor in its cotton industry, estimated to be worth $1 billion annually.
Jurewicz stressed that more needs to be done to enable companies to move from “not knowingly sourcing” to “knowing and not sourcing” Uzbek cotton.
Traceability is a crucial factor in ensuring supply chains are free from forced
labor, but it is complex and expensive to trace everything in the supply chain “down to the dirt in the cotton fields”, she said.
Yarn spinners - the people or companies that take the raw materials and convert them into yarn or textile - are key players in achieving responsible sourcing because they are the ones who purchase cotton and receive shipments, so they know where the cotton is grown. A validation and certification system could help identify those who do not buy from countries that use forced labor, Jurewicz said.
“If you reward the yarn spinners for not buying from those who exploit the pickers, you could shift the market and help end the practice of forced labor,” she said.
She added that it is encouraging that the Uzbek government for the first time is allowing the International Labor Organization (ILO) to conduct an inspection during the ongoing 2013 harvest. But she said that ILO representatives were being accompanied by Uzbek officials, making it difficult for workers to speak openly.
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The stewardess, not missing a beat, said, "I'm sorry sir. You have to show your ticket here, not your stub."
Smiffy’s Hits PIX11!
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Hanesbrands to Cut Half of Maidenforms Jobs
Hanesbrands Inc. said it will close the New Jersey headquarters of Maidenform Brands Inc. as part of a massive merger of the two apparel companies.
The Winston-Salem apparel manufacturer completed the largest purchase in its six-year history Oct. 7 by buying Maidenform for $585 million in cash. The deal was announced July 24.
As a result, close to half of Maidenform’s 1,330 global workforce will lose their jobs over the next 12 months.
The Maidenform operations in Iselin, N.J., will be consolidated into Hanesbrands’ local headquarters and in its Manhattan offices by the end of 2014.
Maidenform’s distribution center in Fayetteville will be closed by the end of 2014, with those operations being absorbed into Hanesbrands’ facilities in Forsyth and Cleveland counties.
The bulk of the retained Maidenform workforce, about 500 employees, is in its direct-to-consumer online, retail and outlet networks, Hanesbrands spokesman Matt Hall said. Maidenform’s distribution center in Ireland, with about 100 employees, will remain open, as well some sales, design and merchandising employees.
Hall said there will be minimal impact among Hanesbrands’ Forsyth County workforce, primarily involving sales. Local employees today will be given the same integration presentation as the Maidenform employees on Wednesday, Hall said.
Hanesbrands has about 2,500 employees in Forsyth County, including about 1,500 at its headquarters.
Hanesbrands said it has more than 130 vacancies at its Winston-Salem operations "that need to be filled in order to run the combined company.” Hall said those jobs would include sales, marketing, information technology, supply chain management and direct-to-consumer.
The company said filling the open positions is expected to add $13 million in annual pay and benefits to the Forsyth economy.
"We are pleased that Hanesbrands will be adding staff to its corporate headquarters in Winston-Salem,” said Gayle Anderson, president and chief executive of Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to meeting with the employees who are contemplating the move and telling them more about our area.”
The significant job cuts were not surprising given that Hanesbrands made the purchase mostly to gain access to Maidenform’s basic apparel brands and to wring cost savings from shifting Maidenform’s production from third-party vendors to Hanesbrands’ supply chain in Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
"Reducing costs regarding Maidenform is obvious in shedding duplicate headquarter job functions,” said Peter Tourtellot, managing director of Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos & Co., a turnaround management company. “The other is less obvious in spreading more volume over the existing Hanesbrands distribution network by consolidating the Maidenform distribution.”
Maidenform has 300 headquarters jobs, of which three-fourths will be eliminated, Hall said.
Few of the 280 Fayetteville distribution center jobs will be retained once the facility closes, in large part because Hall said that Hanesbrands has existing capacity to absorb the work. Hanesbrands operates eight distribution centers in North Carolina with a combined 1,300 employees, not including seasonal temporary workers.
"There could be some upside in terms of jobs eventually,” Hall said.
Hanesbrands will provide severance and separation benefits consistent with Maidenform policies and collective bargaining obligations.
Hanesbrands expects the deal to contribute more than $500 million in incremental annual sales, 60 cents in diluted earnings for each share, $80 million of operating profit, and $65 million of free cash flow within three years.
Sportsheets Nominated for
OC Business Journal's
Family-owned-and-operated manufacturer honored for local business excellence
Sportsheets® has received a coveted commendation from the Orange County Business Journal with a nomination for its 14th annual Family Owned Business Awards. Named alongside some of the most respected mainstream companies in southern California, Sportsheets® holds an especially unique standing as this is the first time the publication has recognized a family-run operation for its success in the business of bondage and pleasure.
Every year the Orange County Business Journal carefully selects a group of local family-owned firms to honor their business accomplishments and contributions to the community. Sportsheets stands alongside an impressive list of fellow nominees, including Anaheim White House, Friar Tux Shop, Nekter Juice Bar,
Pacific Coast Orthopaedic Institute, and Rogers Gardens, to name a few.
Founded by company CEO Tom Stewart in 1993, Sportsheets® quickly became a family business when his sister, Julie Stewart, joined as a business partner. Since then, several other members of the Stewart family have joined the Sportsheets® team and the company has grown to become a true family affair.
And now the company boasts a genuine commitment to product quality and domestic manufacturing while employing more than 60 local contractors and employees.
"We create and maintain jobs within our community and beyond and are dedicated to sustaining local and U.S.-based manufacturing processes as part of our ongoing pledge to make a positive impact on our economy," Sportsheets® President Julie Stewart. "It's an honor to be a part of the Family Owned Business Awards and we look forward to celebrating with the other nominees at next month's gala event!"
This recognition comes to the family-owned-and-operated manufacturer following two consecutive honors as one of Orange County Business Journal's Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2012 and 2013.
"I am so proud of the company that Sportsheets® has become over the last two decades and to see how welcomed we are within the mainstream business community," Tom Stewart said. "Especially after being inducted into Inc. magazine's 5000 fastest-growing businesses list, we're showing the world that adult businesses like Sportsheets® are significant and successful – and serious contenders for awards like these."
The 2013 Family-owned Business Awards will take place during a luncheon Nov. 13 from 12 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, Calif.
For more information about Sportsheets®, please visit http://www.sportsheets.com
Sportsheets® International has helped ordinary couples find new pleasure and explore new positions together with specialized "relationship tools" since 1993, when the Sportsheet™ Bondage Bed Sheet sexual positioning and restraint system broke into the market. The company now offers more than 350 specialty items, including the Sportsheets® Premium restraints, sexual positioning products, and strap-on harnesses; the award winning Sex&Mischief® line of products for beginners; the Manbound collection for gay couples; Naughty Night Out™ bachelorette line; Tease the Season™ Christmas novelties; XOXO2U™ Collection of Sportsheets® -inspired romance; and the award-winning Sex in The Shower collection. All of the company's brands individually and collectively support its goal of Keeping Couples Connected!®"
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