Business Briefs: Tennessee sales jump 8.6 percent

Business Briefs: Tennessee sales jump 8.6 percent

February 18th, 2016 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Tennessee sales jump 8.6 percent

Strong consumer spending in December pushed Tennessee tax revenues above budgeted estimates for January. Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin Wednesday that overall January revenues were $1.3 billion, which is $45.6 million more than the state budgeted.

"January sales taxes, which included the holiday buying season, posted the largest monthly growth rate so far this fiscal year, and in fact, it's been our strongest second quarter growth since 2006," Martin said. "Strong consumer spending, a continued decline in gasoline prices and an overall improving economy contributed to the sales tax growth in January.

Sales taxes were $58.3 million more than the estimate for January and were 8.59 percent more than January 2015. For six months revenues are $217.6 million higher than estimated. The year-to-date growth rate for six months was 7.44 percent.



Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

EPB, city plan workshop on cutting energy use

EPB and the city of Chattanooga are planning a workshop from 11;30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 at EPB's downtown building to encourage businesses to join the city's Better Buildings Challenge to trim energy consumption.

Last month, Mayor Andy Berke announces that Chattanooga has accepted the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge to cut the city's energy consumption in the city's 200 buildings by 20 percent over the next decade. The workshop is designed to help other businesses do the same.

Last year, EPB helped commercial customers save more than 17-million kilowatt hours of electricity through consultation and efficiency programs. EPB partners with business and home owners through programs like EPB's free Energy Checkups for homes and businesses.

"We are proud to join EPB and business leaders across the city in participating in the Better Buildings Challenge," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. "Together we can get more value for the electricity we use while enhancing our environmental stewardship."

Workshop participants will have access to technical expertise from representatives with the City of Chattanooga and EPB. Interested parties are asked to RSVP to this free event by visiting or calling 423-648-1506.

Heart Institute adds Jasper office

The Chattanooga Heart Institute at CHI Memorial has opened a new office in Jasper, Tenn. at 24 Mountain View Drive, Suite B.

The institute, which has a staff of 23 board-certified cardiologists with specialties in interventional procedures, imaging, electrophysiology and vascular disease, already operated offices elsewhere in Chattanooga, Hixson, Cleveland and Ooltewah. Rehab services also are available to increase patients' chance of survival and improve quality of life.

"Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from heart-related disease," says Paul Farmer, president, The Chattanooga Heart Institute at CHI Memorial. "We want everyone in the communities surrounding Chattanooga to have access to the region's leading cardiologists and technology available at The Chattanooga Heart Institute at locations convenient to them.

Stephen Monroe, Jr., M.D., will see patients at this new office in Jasper.

China's shipping firm buys Ingram for $6 billion

Chinese shipping company Tianjin Tianhai says it is buying U.S. logistics firm Ingram Micro Inc. for roughly $6 billion.

The all-cash deal amounts to $38.90 per share for Ingram, which distributes information technology products and services.

Tianjin Tianhai said in a statement that the combination should expand its geographic reach as well as its product and service offerings. It is based in the port city of Tianjin and specializes in bulk overseas shipments between China, South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.

The companies said Wednesday that Ingram is expected to remain headquartered in Irvine, California, and its CEO Alain Monie will remain in that post. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of 2016.

Factory output rise most in 6 months

U.S. factories cranked out more autos, furniture and food last month, boosting production by the most since July.

Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in January, after falling in four of the previous five months, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, added 0.9 percent, the biggest jump in 14 months.

The data could raise hopes that manufacturing may be stabilizing after output declined for much of last year.

Home starts fall during January

Cold winter weather appears to have cut into home building in the Midwest and Northeast, causing the pace of construction to tumble in January.

Housing starts slipped 3.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million homes, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The setback occurs after months of improvement for the real estate market. For all of 2015, builders broke ground on 1.1 million properties, the most since 2007 when the housing bubble was beginning to burst into a broader recession.

Producer prices up 0.1 percent in January

U.S. producer prices edged up slightly in January as the biggest rise in food costs in eight months offset a further decline in energy prices. The tiny overall increase indicated that inflation pressures remain modest.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its Producer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in January after having fallen 0.2 percent in December. Over the past year, the PPI, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, is down 0.2 percent.

Fed worried over global turmoil

Federal Reserve policymakers expressed growing concerns at their meeting last month about potential threats to the U.S. economy, including turbulence in financial markets, plunging oil prices and slowing growth in China and other emerging markets.

Minutes of their discussions released Wednesday showed Fed officials acknowledging that the developments made it difficult to forecast growth and inflation.

The officials said their outlook had grown more uncertain, and they stressed that the pace of any interest-rate increases would hinge on the latest economic data. The Fed raised rates from record lows in December, the first hike in nearly a decade.