Saturday News Briefs

March 6, 2010 12:01am
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•  Hundreds of thousands of California jobs lost

•  Protest marchers trek through Central Valley

•  And more….

Job losses in California ‘far worse’ than originally thought

In California, 338,400 more people lost their jobs in December than was previously reported, according to revised numbers released by the California Employment Development Department. The benchmark revision is extraordinarily large -- one of the largest in the state's history, say economists with Beacon Economics of San Francisco.

“The sector feeling the brunt of this remarkable revision is professional and business services, which lost 103,600 more jobs in December than originally reported,” says Beacon. This loss accounts for 30.6 percent of the total revision. Manufacturing experienced the second largest revision, losing 47,000 positions.

Although dwarfed by the revision numbers, since December, the state has seen some job expansion. In January, California added 32,500 new jobs.


Central Valley transit projects get grants

More than $600 million in funding for 191 new Recovery Act transit projects in 42 states and Puerto Rico has been announced that includes grants to a number of transit projects in the Central Valley.

Once funds are obligated to a project, contracts can be bid, workers can be hired, buses and rail cars can be purchased and work can begin on transit construction projects that create jobs and drive economic growth, the U.S. Department of Transportation says.

Here are the grants in the Central Valley

• Modesto: $35,500 for preventive maintenance

• Turlock: $194,532 for a bub transfer hub facility

• City of Fresno: $1.2 million for operating assistance

• Sacramento Regional Transit district: $488,000 for six replacement minivans

• Manteca: $649,009 for bus passenger amenities

“Investing in these transit upgrades not only puts construction workers on the job at project sites, but supports American manufacturing jobs all the way down the supply chain,” says Vice President Joe Biden. “At a time when jobs are priority number one, that means twice the employment bang for the Recovery Act buck.”


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March for education heads through Valley

A diverse group of Californians is marching some 260 miles to highlight what they say is the need for quality public services and education in the Golden State.

The march, sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers and a coalition of labor, education, and civil society groups including the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees, began Friday in Bakersfield and is to end in Sacramento.

The march is expected to last 48 days, culminating on April 21 and 22 at the state Capitol.


Obama Administration accused of want to destroy ‘incriminating data’

The American Small Business League says it plans to go to federal court Monday seeking an order that would forbid destruction of records indicating what businesses got federal contracts.

“One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire federal government today is that large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards and agencies are receiving credit for these awards,” ASBL says.

On March 12, the Obama Administration intends to move forward with a plan that could destroy years of “incriminating contracting data,” the Petaluma-based organization says. The General Services Administration plans to eliminate the socio-economic field, "Small Business Flag," on all historical and future contracting data.

In the past, the Government Accountability Office, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General and other agencies have used the small business flag to uncover large businesses that have misrepresented themselves as small businesses to illegally receive federal small business contracts.

The ASBL says it is preparing to use the data in the small business flag field to launch civil and criminal action against large businesses that had received federal small business contracts fraudulently.

"There is absolutly no reason to destroy historical contracting data," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman says. "This is just the latest attempt by the government to reduce transparency and cover up the fact that large businesses have received billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts.”


Sacramento MBA students demonstrate prowess against Philadelphia counterparts

Every year, graduate students from seven prestigious Philadelphia universities – the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Penn State University, Drexel University, LaSalle University, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University, and Villanova University – compete for $25,000 in prize money, developing innovative strategies to help solve a hypothetical business challenge.

This year, the competition in Philadelphia will have a Sacramento twist.

In the first round of the competition, four MBA students from Drexel’s Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento defeated seven teams of their fellow students from Drexel’s LeBow College of Business in Philadelphia, earning the right to represent the university against the finalists from the other Philadelphia-based schools.

The April 8 competition will be held in Philadelphia and the winning team earns $10,000. Second place receives $7,000 and the remaining money is split among the next four finishers. Drexel will be flying its four students to Philadelphia for the finals.

The Sacramento team of Paul Green of Stockton, Ryan Baker of Sacramento, Robert Dodge of Rocklin, and Scott Freeman of Citrus Heights used their combined business acumen to advance to the finals in the fourth annual Association for Corporate Growth Philadelphia Cup, a contest open exclusively to MBA and MS Finance students attending the seven universities.

The Sacramento students were encouraged to participate by David Stewart, who relocated from Drexel’s Philadelphia campus a year ago and now heads up the MBA program in Sacramento. In 2007, Stewart was the driving force behind launching the Philadelphia Cup.

This year the Philadelphia Cup case study was a classic buy-side investment banking scenario. The study concerned a hypothetical cable/DSL company that was considering a merger acquisition. There were multiple layers of complexities to the merger, and the teams had to evaluate if the buyout was ultimately a good idea and make their recommendations.

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