Month: July 2012

Small business needs real help on health care

July 23, 2012


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For years, small business owners have asked Congress to assist in making health care more affordable for our companies and employees.

Unfortunately, Obamacare did little to achieve that goal even if it was well-intended.

Instead of making health care more affordable, Obamacare forced a sweeping tax on the entire country and drove up the cost of doing business. Small business owners have been painfully aware of some of the downsides of Obamacare, including an additional $60 billion tax on insurance, higher Medicare payroll taxes and a new Medicare tax on investments.

The uncertainty about the true cost of the program has hindered our ability to bounce back from this recession.

As the state president of The National Federation of Independent Small Businesses, here are five key points as a starting block:

– An equal tax code. End discrimination against individuals and the self-employed who buy insurance in the individual market by making health insurance costs fully deductible.

– Allow employers a defined contribution option. This feature would allow business owners to contribute a pretax dollar amount to their employees, allowing the employees the option of choosing a plan that best fits them.

– Allow small businesses to pool risk and buy insurance across state lines. Big business, labor and government have this option, why shouldnt small businesses have it as well?

– Make insurance portable. This could spark entrepreneurship by removing the dependence on employer-purchased insurance plans.

– Pass meaningful tort reform. The fear of litigation has caused health care costs to skyrocket. Lets end that battle once and for all.

With the Supreme Courts decision, the onus is now on Congress to overturn this flawed piece of legislation.

Lets scrap this failed policy and begin anew by bolstering our business sector, not weighing it down with another massive government expansion.

Richard Clark, Jacksonville

Valuation + Monetary Policy = Bullish Stance On Japanese Equities

July 18, 2012


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Japanese Equity Valuations are Historically Low amp; Quantitative Easing Could Lead to Further Yen-Weakening vs. the US Dollar

Co-authored by Christopher Gannatti, Research Analyst, WisdomTree

Expansionary Monetary Policy-Possibly a 2012 Japanese Equity Market Catalyst

On February 14, 2012, the Bank of Japan BOJ made a statement that it would target a 1% inflation rate. Compared to the last 20-years when powerful deflationary[1] forces gripped the Japanese economy, a 1% inflation target is a large commitment. At its latest meeting on April 27th, the BOJ took further steps to easing monetary pressures by raising the maximum outstanding amount of financial assets it can purchase through its asset purchase program, specifically through an additional 10 trillion yen in Japanese Government Bonds, 200 billion yen exchange traded funds, and 100 billion yen in equity issued by real estate investment corporations[2].

While true that the majority of the programs capacity is directed at the purchase of government bonds, we think the BOJs stated ability to purchase up to 1.6 trillion yen of exchange-traded funds makes a statement that it is willing to pursue unconventional means in its attempts to affect change with respect to the longstanding deflationary expectations that pervade Japans economic landscape.

The BOJ actions always create a lot of noise and activity in the exchange rate of the yen compared to the US dollar. However, amongst all the noise and inherent uncertainty that characterizes both the yen and Japanese economy, an important point is that Japanese equities appear to be relatively low compared to their own history. Within the conclusions that follow, it is important to inform investors that we are referencing index data and returns. As such, investors cannot invest directly in indexes, and the data that follows does not account for costs, fees, or expenses in its calculation which may adversely impact the data and returns.

The Valuation Case for Japan

As of December 31, 1970 and December 31, 1971, the trailing 12-month dividend yield[3] of the MSCI Japan Index was actually higher than that of the Samp;P 500 Index. Over the long period that followed, specifically from December 31, 1970 to March 31, 2012, average annual returns for the MSCI Japan Index were nearly 10%[4]. We think that this might surprise investors, in that during more recent time periods Japan has been associated with lackluster equity market performance and extremely low levels of economic growth.

The next time when the trailing 12-month dividend yield of the MSCI Japan Index surpassed that of the Samp;P 500 Index occurred during the 2010 calendar year. As of March 31, 2012, the MSCI Japan Index had a trailing 12-month dividend yield that was still higher than that of the Samp;P 500 Index[5].

More recently, Japanese equity markets have been characterized by a post-bubble period with low returns. As of December 31, 1989, close to the peak of the Japanese equity market bubble, the MSCI Japan Index recorded one of the lowest trailing 12-month dividend yields during its history (less than one-half of one percent). This value was certainly below that of the Samp;P 500 Index as of the same date. Average annual performance from December 31, 1989 to March 31, 2012 was -1.47%[6]. We believe this is the type of equity market performance people tend to associate with Japan, and our point is to emphasize that this has not always been the case.

Beyond the Extreme Bubble Example

In judging the aforementioned statistics, we understand that few would be unfamiliar with the Japanese equity market bubble, the peak of which was experienced in December of 1989. While the summary numbers above are important, we recognize that the data encompasses one extreme example that shows the potential risks inherent to subsequent performance of the MSCI Japan Index after recording low trailing 12-month dividend yields.

It may be helpful to cut the longer time periods that were shown into more relevant chunks for further analysis. Importantly, trailing 12-month dividend yields do not dictate future returns with certainty, and the analysis that follows looks to indicate what types of 1-year returns have typically been associated with relatively high or relatively low trailing 12-month dividend yield values. Additionally, this is done through index data which does not account for costs, fees, or expenses that may adversely affect performance. Investors cannot invest in indexes.

Figure 1: Quartile[7] Analysis of Calendar Year-End Trailing 12-Month Dividend Yields

click to enlarge

There are 41 full calendar years of available data for which trailing 12-month dividend yields may be calculated for the MSCI Japan Index. We broke those 41 values into quartiles, and Figure 1 indicates the average return over the next year after a particular trailing 12-month dividend yield was observed. Returns in figure 1 are denominated in local currency[8].

There was a stark difference between the average 1-year return following a trailing 12-month dividend yield within the highest quartile as compared to the average 1-year return following a value within the lowest quartile-specifically 26.76%.

The average performance after a trailing 12-month dividend yield in the highest quartile outpaced the average of all 41 calendar years by 14.30%.

While this analysis certainly cannot guarantee that performance will be strong after a high trailing month dividend yield, we feel that it does indicate a certain relationship between dividends as a valuation indicator and the subsequent local equity performance of the MSCI Japan Index. Our full analysis, along with data on all 41 available calendar years, is available by clicking here.


Japans equity markets have been difficult, to say the least, ever since the bursting of the equity bubble about 20 years ago. While the behavior of the yen/US dollar exchange rate and economic policy remain uncertain, the trailing 12-month dividend yields of the MSCI Japan Index indicate to us that Japanese equities may warrant further consideration. Japans performance following periods when its dividend yield is as high as today was significantly better than periods when Japans dividend yield was at the opposite low end of the spectrum. This tells us that if there was a valuation indicator telling you when a good time to own Japan, the current signals suggest now may be as good a time as any.

Index Definitions

MSCI Japan Index: A subset of the MSCI EAFE Index which measures the performance of the Japanese equity market. Within this paper, the MSCI Japan Index has returns that are measured in US dollars.

MSCI Japan Local Currency Index: A subset of the MSCI EAFE Index which measures the performance of the Japanese equity market. Within this paper, the MSCI Japan Local Currency Index has returns that are measured in yen.

Samp;P 500 Index: A market capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks selected by the Standard amp; Poors Index Committee designed to represent the performance of the leading industries in the US economy.

MSCI EAFE Index: A market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the developed market structure of 21 developed countries in Europe, Australasia, and Japan.

Unless otherwise stated, data source is WisdomTree.

There are risks associated with investing, including possible loss of principal. Foreign investing involves special risks, such as risk of loss from currency fluctuation or political or economic uncertainty. Investments focusing on certain sectors and/or countries increase their vulnerability to any single economic or regulatory development. This may result in greater price volatility.

WisdomTree Funds are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc.

Jeremy Schwartz and Chris Gannatti are registered representatives of ALPS Distributors, Inc.

WIS004152 5/2012

[1] Deflationary-characterized by falling price levels.

[2] Bank of Japan.

[3] Trailing 12-month dividend yield: The sum of dividends generated over the prior 12-month period divided by the price per share. Higher values indicate that a dividend is accessible at a lower price which is viewed as favorable.

[4] Bloomberg, MSCI.

[5] Bloomberg, MSCI.

[6] MSCI.

[7] Quartile: Segments a sample into four equal buckets, in this case four groups of 10 trailing 12-month dividend yields. Though there are 41 total years, the median trailing 12-month dividend yield is excluded.

[8] Local currency in the case of the MSCI Japan Index is the yen, so these returns would be in yen prior to any translation back into US dollars.

Disclosure: I am long DFJ.

Taunton business owner who emigrated from Lebanon to US says he’s a ‘proud …

July 17, 2012


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Fourth of July is a time to remember our War of Independence and reflect on the values that made this nation what it is today.

Nearly everyone can trace their roots back to another country, and for centuries America has meant the land of opportunity for millions of immigrants.

For some who personally emigrated from another country, like local resident Copal Awad, the American Dream is still very much alive.

Awad, 42, the owner of the Taunton Service Station at 48 Broadway, was born in Lebanon and spent the first 19 years of his life in the northern village of Chekka.

He came to the United States in 1988 to find new opportunity and to escape the Lebanese Civil War.

Im sure I do have some good memories growing up, but back in that era the country was at war, Awad recalled. Anytime a countrys at war, theres no stability, no future, no security and thats why you always look for a better life and that American Dream.

(Emigrating) was a challenge. I always lived at home, Awad said, adding that he traveled to this country by himself. But this country gives anyone a second opportunity in life, so Im grateful for that.

In 1988, Awad landed in New York City and immediately caught a connecting flight to Boston. Since then, he has called the Bay State home.

Its been my home state since Day One, Awad said, who has lived in Middleboro since 1993.

After spending his first decade in this country trying to get his life in America started, Awad decided more than 10 years ago that it was time to become a naturalized citizen.

At first when youre young, you dont look at these things in life. Youre just doing your thing. Then as you get older, you realize you should do this, Awad explained.

After making the decision, Awad filled out the necessary applications, completed the necessary tests and took his oath of citizenship less than a year later.

I had already lived in this country most of my life since I was young. Its my home, so the only thing that was left was to become a citizen, Awad said. It was definitely a great experience.

One thing I regret back in time, no one had made me aware of it, is that I should have enlisted, Awad added. If I could go back I would have enlisted because I look at this as my country. Thats one thing I didnt get to do.

Aquarius to Suspend Marikana Mine, Business Day Says

July 16, 2012


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Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) will suspend
operations at the Marikana mine it operates with Anglo American
Platinum Ltd. (AMS) at the end of this month, Business Day said,
citing a notice the company issued to workers.

It is not clear what will happen to the 1,500 workers at
the mine, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said. Aquarius will
make a statement today, Business Day cited Anglo American
Platinum as saying, adding that Aquarius could not be reached
for comment.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Vernon Wessels at

Poised to be business capital of Asia

July 15, 2012


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For Simon Galpin, who has lived in Hong Kong since before his native Britain handed the territory back to China, things havent changed much in the 15 years since the historic transfer.

Two constants, he says, are Hong Kongs vibrancy and capacity for change.

I love the fact that it seems to be continually reinventing itself. It is very skillful at identifying new opportunities and adapting its businesses to new potential, says Galpin, who moved to Hong Kong in 1995, two years before the central government officially took control and reclassified it as a special administrative region under the One Country, Two Systems policy.

Of course, there have been notable changes. Galpin says, Mandarin, or Putonghua, is now used much more widely in the Cantonese-speaking bastion, and Western companies that come to do business in Hong Kong have gotten younger and smaller.

Galpin is the head of investment promotion at Invest Hong Kong, part of the special administrative regions government. Since 2000, the agency has been responsible for helping foreign and Chinese mainland companies set up operations in the city of 7 million people.

One Country, Two Systems is the model that has allowed Hong Kong to maintain the financial autonomy it enjoyed under British colonial rule, but the policy also has helped open fresh business opportunities, Galpin says.

Hong Kong has long been the gateway to China for companies seeking access to the mainland market. But as Chinas economy continues to grow, the region is increasingly a launch pad for mainland companies aiming to operate abroad.

Some of these Chinese companies want to use their Hong Kong subsidiaries to make acquisitions around the world, the investment official says. We are seeing a growing number of law firms, accounting firms and service providers who come to Hong Kong to assist these mainland companies in their global aspirations.

At the same time, the One Country, Two Systems principle has led to closer economic cooperation between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. In 2004, for example, State-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China acquired the Hong Kong banking subsidiary of Dutch-Belgian financial services firm Fortis NV.

Hong Kong is also becoming more international, largely due to China becoming so much more important, Galpin says.

According to InvestHK, the region is becoming a favorite place for big corporations to establish global operations. In the past, Hong Kong was favored more as an Asia-Pacific regional base.

US-based General Electric Co, which does business in more than 100 countries, late last year began moving its Global Growth and Operations unit to Hong Kongs central business district.

Japans Nissan Motor Co announced in November 2011 that it would relocate the global headquarters of its luxury-car brand, Infiniti, to Hong Kong.

We see a lot of potential in the Hong Kong market, says Takeshi Nakajima, head of global planning for Infiniti. The city has a wide talent pool, an international and open atmosphere, and is also a major hub for the global economy. Its proximity to the mainland and the ASEAN region makes it the ideal location to capture the growing market in these areas.

With Chinas GDP growing at as much as 9 percent a year, businesses opportunities from the mainland have clearly benefited Hong Kong. Of the 303 companies InvestHK assisted in setting up shop last year, 20 percent were from the mainland. While the mainland is the regions biggest investor, the US and Britain accounted for 39 companies that began operating in Hong Kong in 2011.

In 2009, Suning Appliance Co, Chinas leading retailer of electrical appliances, established a presence in Hong Kong through a HK$215 million ($27 million) takeover of Citicall, a digital-electronics retailer.

Hong Kong is a vital platform for mainland companies to expand overseas, Sun Weimin, president of Suning, told the Southern Metropolis Daily. It is an attractive market to Suning.

He says the regions retail market for appliances is estimated at HK$25 billion, which is on par with the biggest mainland cities – Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Suning plans to open 50 stores in Hong Kong in 2013.

Visitors from the mainland spell business for Hong Kong retailers. The regions retail sales jumped 25 percent in 2011 from a year ago, driven by mainland visitors consumption of luxury and retail goods, according to Bloomberg News.

As Galpin sees it, Hong Kong is poised to be the undisputed business capital of Asia. The fact that Hong Kong is part of China and China is such an important economy has helped Hong Kongs development, he says.

Business Buzz, July 1, 2012

July 13, 2012


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Companies merge

CHA Consulting Inc. and RW Armstrong have merged to create a 1,250-person global firm. CHA has offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Scranton. RW Armstrong, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of CHA, is based in Indianapolis. The merger creates a firm with total revenues in excess of $210 million. CHA anticipates having a workforce of 2,000 people by 2016. Each firm was founded more than a half-century ago.

Foundation gives awards: Pocono Health Foundation awarded more than $70,000 to various community organizations and students. Ten Monroe County community organizations were honored through the Dr. Alberta Finch Childrens Health Endowment Fund and the Dr. Claus G. Jordan Endowment Fund. Four students from Northeast Pennsylvania were awarded the R. Dale Hughes Nursing Scholarship Endowment, Jennie Cramer Memorial Nursing Scholarship, Robert A. Gordon Memorial Nursing Scholarship, and the Dr. Elmo J. Lilli Healthcare Scholarship. The Monroe County Family Health Center also received a grant from the Community Health Fund and three PMC physicians received grants from the William B. Cramer Medical Staff Equipment Endowment.

Program accepts proposals: Leadership Pocono invites community partners to submit proposals with project ideas for the class of 2013. Strongly considered projects will have the greatest impact on the community and encompass organizational, leadership, and networking skills for class participants. To obtain a copy of the community project RFP, visit and click on application. The deadline for project proposals is July 11.

Hospital featured in brochure: Wayne Memorial Hospital has been cited one of its great success stories, in a new brochure by the Rural Development Office of the US Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities program. The publication offers details about its telecommunications loan and grant programs. Wayne Memorial Hospital received several grants totaling more than $1 million that enabled the hospital to create a teleradiology unit.

Company releases new test cables: MegaPhase, a global manufacturer of high performance RF coaxial cables and connectors for advanced microwave and optical electronic systems, announced the release of a new line of high-frequency probe station test cables, the MegaPhase PS Series. The PS Series test cables are specifically designed for dynamic probe station measurements and offer low loss, phase stable performance through 70 GHz.

Design firm wins award: Borton-Lawson was selected by the Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association as the winner of the Employers Excellence Award for Energy Efficiencies for efforts on a successful combined heat and power project.

College partners with training center: Penn State Wilkes-Barre partners with Marcellus Shale Education and Training Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport in an effort to better prepare members of the local workforce for job opportunities in the Marcellus Shale Industry. Some of the initial programs available at Penn State Wilkes-Barre include training for onshore rigging and hoisting, SafeLandUSA, hazard recognition, natural gas measurement and roustabout.

Coffee shop reopens: The Dunkin Donuts located at 1510 Main St., Dickson City, reopened after a five-week transformation. The restaurant will also celebrated its 30th anniversary with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Travel company receives awards: Sundance Vacations, a national travel company that specializes in discount vacation accommodations, was presented with three Bronze Stevie Awards at the 10th Annual American Business Awards in New York City. The company is headquartered in Wilkes-Barre.

Conservancy releases brochure: The Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced a new 2012 edition of Shop Local Save Land Guide to Farms and Farm Markets. Copies of Shop Local Save Land are available at fine shops, restaurants, farms and farm markets, lodging facilities, visitors bureaus and chambers of commerce, or may at the Pennsylvania office of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, 508 River St., Hawley. The brochure features 22 pages of essential information about farms, farmers markets and stands, and community gardens that produce and sell local agricultural products.

Health care company signs contract: Aetna has reached an agreement on a three-year contract with PrimeMed PC, owner and operator of the Viewmont Health Associates family of providers, expanding access for Aetna members in Northeast Pennsylvania. The agreement took effect June 15.

Casino launches app: Mount Airy Casino Resort has launched a new SmartPhone application that allows patrons to make hotel reservations, view restaurant menus, check out nightlife and entertainment events, view exclusive promotions, get directions with GPS mapping, catch up on the latest social media buzz and more. The free mobile app can be found in iTunes and Android App stores.

Medical center opens new waiting room: Pocono Medical Center and the Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated maternity family waiting room.

X-rays available at hospital: Wayne Memorial Hospitals new Outpatient Center in Forest City now offers X-ray services. The center is located at 632 Main St., and also offers laboratory services blood draws.

Utility company supports alliance: PPL recently presented a check for $10,000 for PPLs annual membership to Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance officials.

SUBMIT BUSINESS BUZZ to or The Times-Tribune, 149 Penn Ave., Scranton, PA 18503.

Carroll Business Path: Let’s get that phone to ring

July 13, 2012


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As a business counselor for the Small Business Development Center, two of the most frequent comments I hear are how can I get my phone to ring and this economy is killing me.

For both start-up and expanding businesses, customer retention and new business development efforts are daily concerns.

Business briefcase: July 1

July 11, 2012


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Kelton Olney has recently joined the law firm of Luxan amp; Murfitt in Helena.

A native of Vermont, Kelton has lived in Montana since 1999. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont and the University of Montana School of Law. He has been practicing law in Missoula and Helena since 2002. At Luxan amp; Murfitt, Olney’s practice will focus on health care law, banking law, general business law and civil litigation.


Kelli Cox, RN, has been named Clinical Patient Advocate at St. Peter’s Hospital. Her duties will include facilitating hospital-patient relations and quality of care, acting as a liaison between patients, families and medical staff and collecting and evaluating data about patient satisfaction and making suggestions for improvement, among other duties.

Before joining St. Peter’s, Cox served as a utilization review nurse at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. Her extensive experience in nursing and health care includes serving as the quality/risk manager for Brigham City Community Hospital in Brigham City, Utah; branch director of nursing for Heritage Brookside Homecare in Logan, Utah; a home health/hospice nurse for Lompoc Hospital District in Lompoc, Calif.; and working as a clinical support team nurse for Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls. Cox earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Montana State University. She can be contacted at or by calling 447-2494.


Patty White has been hired as Carroll College’s director of marketing. White most recently served as the marketing and communications director for the Montana Nonprofit Association in Helena. 

White, a 1982 Carroll graduate, served as Carroll’s interim marketing director in 2005-2006 and has previously held positions as the associate director at the Holter Museum of Art, the executive director of the Helena Symphony and from 1999 to 2004 she was Carroll’s director of information technology. She has served as a Helena City commissioner and taught at Carroll as an adjunct professor in computer science, visual art and desktop publishing.


Ashleigh Heimbach has joined West Mont as accounts payable coordinator. Heimbach is a Helena High School graduate and recently graduated from Montana State University-Billings with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on accounting. She recently relocated back to Helena after working at Belgrade Urgent Care as a medical coding/insurance billing specialist.

West Mont is also announced a number of promotions: David Bristow has been promoted from director of programs to vice president of vocational services; Jean Morgan, has been promoted to vice president of residential services. For the last 10 years she has served as the quality assurance and training director. Arlene Flynn has been promoted to vice president of development and communications from director of development; Joni Johnson has been promoted from finance director to vice president of finance. Susan Pesta, former employment and projects coordinator has been promoted to vice president of client and agency relations. Chandra Lutz has been promoted from human resource specialist to human resources director. Diana Nelson has been promoted from executive administrator to administrative and trust director. Lynae Ryckman has been promoted to clinical services director from nursing program manager. Ed Hastings has been promoted from program manager to support services director. Michelle Boone has been promoted from program manager to Hillside and PASS program coordinator. Brittany Herzog has been promoted from job coach to supported employment specialist. Mary Edwards has been promoted to administrative specialist from administrative assistant.


Teresa Merkel, LCPC, recently moved her practice to Custer Avenue Counseling at 104 W. Custer Ave. in Helena, where she will provide individual and couples counseling for adults and adolescents.

Merkel has worked in private practice in Helena for the past five years. Previously, she worked at Golden Triangle Community Mental Health for six years with children, adolescents and adults and a wide variety of mental health difficulties. She also spent three years at the Montana Chemical Dependency Center. Merkel received her master’s degree in marriage and family counseling at Montana State University in 1995 and her licensed clinical practical counseling license in 1998. She can be reached at 442-3869, extension 2.


Orlinda Worthington of KMTX radio in Helena earned recognition during the Montana Broadcasters Association/Greater Montana Foundation EB Craney awards announced recently in Whitefish.

Worthington claimed runner-up honors in both the radio commercial and radio spot news categories.

The “EB Awards” are named in memory of Montana broadcast pioneer and founder of the Greater Montana Foundation, Ed Craney. The awards recognize excellence in local news, production, promotion and public service.


Ivy Crawford Robertson, licensed esthetician and owner of Radiance Skin Care Salon, recently attended the International Esthetics Conference in Las Vegas. Robertson had the opportunity to attend advanced education classes from Boldijarre, the CEO and master trainer for Eminence Organics. She can be contacted at 459-5641.

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There is no charge for items appearing in the Business Briefcase. Items are run on a space-available basis, and we reserve the right to edit and use information as we see fit. The deadline is Tuesday at noon to be considered for publication the following Sunday.

The best way to send information and photos is by email to We also accept information by fax (447-4052), snail mail (PO Box 4249 Helena, MT 59601-4249, attention Business Briefcase), or you can drop it off at our downtown office, located at 317 Cruse Ave.

Immigrants and Small Business

July 9, 2012


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Immigrants are known as entrepreneurial people, for obvious reasons: those with the ambition and energy to uproot themselves and build new lives in a distant land are well equipped to build businesses and the economy, too. That is the common wisdom, anyway, which a new study from the Fiscal Policy Institute strikingly confirms. The study, based on census data, looks at owners of small businesses across the country and paints a broad and detailed picture of immigrant entrepreneurship.

The study found that there were 900,000 immigrants among small-business owners in the United States, about 18 percent of the total. This percentage is higher than the immigrant share of the overall population, which is 13 percent, and the immigrant share of the labor force, at 16 percent. Small businesses in which half or more of the owners were immigrants employed 4.7 million people in 2007, the latest year for which data were available, generating $776 billion in receipts. They accounted for 30 percent of the growth in small businesses — those with fewer than 100 employees — between 1990 and 2010.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are concentrated in professional and business services, retail, construction, educational and social services, and leisure and hospitality. They own restaurants, doctor’s offices, real-estate firms, groceries and truck-transportation services. More of them come from Mexico than any other country, followed by Indians, Koreans, Cubans, Chinese and Vietnamese. California has the highest percentage of immigrants among small-business owners at 33 percent, followed by New York (29 percent), New Jersey (28 percent), Florida (26 percent) and Hawaii (23 percent).

The study did not look at immigrants’ legal status, but because it covered only incorporated firms, not off-the-books operations, it presumably included few, if any, business owners without papers.

By rousingly affirming the centrality of immigration in the American economy, the study exposes a fault line running through the Republican Party, which mythologizes small-business owners while treating immigrants with hostility bordering on fury. There is no shortage of conservative business owners who celebrate the immigrant contribution to America — Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch are two — but Republican leaders, including the party standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, have allied themselves with extremist efforts to limit immigration and hound and harass millions of unauthorized immigrants out of the country.

In G.O.P. strongholds like Arizona — and Alabama, home to sleepy small towns where Latino-owned bodegas and laundries are among the only signs of economic life downtown — anti-immigrant policies are threating to strangle economic growth. If Republicans started believing their own rhetoric about small-business owners, they would see immigration not as a sea of troubles but as a deep well of capitalist energy, waiting to be fully tapped.

Reitzer joins Inside Business

July 4, 2012


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Reitzer joins Inside Business


July 01, 2012 11:25:00

Metcash CEO Andrew Reitzer talks to Inside Business about the grocery wholesalers $375 million capital raising venture.

Source: Inside Business
Duration: 3min 48sec