Business starts rise to Tennessee record
Despite higher interest rates and economic uncertainty, business starts in Tennessee during the third quarter were the highest ever for the fall period, according to a report released Wednesday by the Tennessee Secretary of State.
During the three months ended Sept. 30, 2022, a total of 18,752 new entities filed to become businesses in Tennessee, up 1.1% from a year earlier.
“Tennessee continues to create and attract new business, growing even on last year’s record pace as we emerged from the pandemic,” Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said in a statement issued by his office Wednesday.
The pace of new business filings has historically been a leading indicator for jobs, income and tax growth and the increase this fall “suggests a positive economic outlook for the state in the near term,” Hargis said.
Despite the statewide increase in business filings, however, Hamlton Couny showed a 3.2% decline from a year ago with 981 new businesses filing with the state in the third quarter.
Bernstein speaks Thursday at Southern lecture series
Fifty years ago after he helped break the Watergate story in The Washington Post that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, Carl Bernstein will talk Thursday night about why truth telling still matters during a talk at Southern Adventist University.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is the inaugural speaker for a new lecture series at Southern, which is named after R. Lynn Sauls, a former Southern professor and chair of the School of Journalism and Communication.
Bernstein, the co-author along with Bob Woodward of All the President’s MenT, will talk with local television host Alison Lebovitz as they explore “Why Truth Still Matters.” Audience members will have the opportunity to submit questions for a live Q&A.
The event is free to attend at the Iles Pie Center on University Drive. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
La-Z-Boy boosts sales to a record high level
Furniture maker La-Z-Boy Inc Wednesday.reported record second-quarter sales, which rose 6% from a year ago to $611 million — the highest second quarter ever.
La-Z-Boy, which operates its biggest U.S. production factory in Dayton, Tennessee, boosted its net income in the three months ended Oct. 29 by 17% to $46.1 million, or $1.07 per share. In the same period a year earlier, La-Z-Boy earned $29.5 million, or 89 cents per share.
La-Z-Boy President Melinda D. Whittington said the company delivered the record results ” in a challenging environment led by our company-owned Retail business.
“Strong supply chain execution in the period allowed us to reduce our backlog and improve service to customers and consumers as we continue to shorten lead times and move closer to delivering on our brand promise — quality custom furniture with speed to market,” she said.
Whittington said sales are slowing at the end of the year due to “near-term macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds.”
“We are pivoting quickly to respond to market dynamics, including proactively aligning our cost structure with demand, and making prudent investments to drive long-term profitable growth through Century Vision.,” Wittington said in Wednesday’s news release.
U.S. job openings drop to 10.3 million
U.S. job openings dropped in October but remained high, a sign that businesses became slightly less needy for workers as the Federal Reserve ramps up interest rates in an effort to cool the economy.
Employers posted 10.3 million job vacancies in October, down from 10.7 million in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Even with the drop, openings were slightly lower in August, when they dipped below 10.3 million before rebounding the following month.
The number of people quitting their jobs also slipped in October, to 4 million from 4.1 million.
The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring the figures on job openings and quits for signals about the strength of the job market. The Fed is seeking to pull off a delicate task by slowing hiring and the broader economy to cool inflation, but not so much as to cause a recession.
While more job openings are a benefit for those seeking work, Fed officials would like to see the number of openings fall. That’s because fewer openings would indicate less competition between businesses to find and keep workers, reducing pressure on them to raise wages.
The number of open jobs dropped last month in construction, manufacturing, professional services such as architecture and engineering, and health care. They rose in financial services and remained high for restaurants, bars, and hotels.
“The labor market is cooling (what the Fed wants) but it is far from cold,” Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in an email.
West Virginia lures 143 remote workers
A program offering cash and free outdoor adventures to remote workers to move to West Virginia with the hope of offsetting population losses has welcomed 143 new residents in the year since it launched, officials announced Tuesday.
The public-private program Ascend West Virginia said it has added a fourth destination where out-of-state workers can apply to live. Applications are being accepted immediately for the Elkins area in the northeastern part of the state.
Elkins is on the western edge of the Monongahela National Forest and is within reasonable distance of skiing and golf resorts. The town of about 6,900 residents hosts the Mountain State Forest Festival every fall.
Applications also are being accepted to the three areas previously announced since the program launched in April 2021: the northern college town of Morgantown, the Greenbrier Valley in the southeastern corner of the state, and the Eastern Panhandle.
Under the remote worker program, successful applicants will receive $12,000 along with free passes to indulge in whitewater rafting, golf, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing and ziplining. The full relocation package is valued at more than $20,000.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner