Economy

Economy
9:21 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Kansas Third In Nation For Charitable Giving, Study Says

Kansas ranks as the third most charitable state in a new study out from finance website WalletHub.

Kansas is ranked in the top ten most charitable states in the country, according to a study released by the personal finance website WalletHub.

Kansas tied narrowly with Idaho to rank third in the nation. Utah came in first place and South Dakota came in second.

According to the publishers, the purpose of the study was to foster holiday competition between the states to increase their charitable activities.

WalletHub ranked the states using eight criteria:

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Tell KCUR
4:43 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Kansas City’s Picks For Best Cowtown Gifts

A framed photo of the holiday lights on the Country Club Plaza was one of the Kansas City gift ideas we received this week on social media.
Credit michaelfranks6 / Flickr--CC

Kansas Citians love eating and drinking, so it should come as no surprise that food and drinks top their list of the best Kansas City gifts.

In our social media quest for a rundown of presents that would represent the Kansas City area , you shot back a grocery list of items that sound like the makings for a fun holiday party: regional beer, popcorn, coffee, chocolate, pastries, toffee, nuts and more.

And the list wouldn’t be complete without the ample mentions of Kansas City barbecue sauce.

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Tell KCUR
1:24 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

What's The Best Kansas City Gift?

What's the best Kansas City gift? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Courtesy photo / KCUR

 

When you want to send a little bit of the Kansas City area to friends and families during the holidays, what's your go-to gift?

Maybe it's a jar of barbecue sauce or a Kansas City Royals T-shirt. Perhaps it's a bag of sunflower seeds or a six-pack of locally brewed beer.

As we enter the holiday shopping season, divulge your Kansas City-inspired wish list.

Tell KCUR: What's the best Kansas City gift?

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Small Businesses
9:00 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Local Businesses Gear Up For 'Small Business Saturday'

If you thought Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the only big holiday shopping events, think again.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as a marketing campaign for American Express. Last year, small businesses across the country raked in $5.7 billion in sales on that one day. And that number is expected to grow this year.

Dan Murray is the National Federation of Independent Business’s Kansas branch director. He admits he was skeptical at first, but quickly realized how the dedicated day can help visibility for such businesses.

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Beyond Our Borders
2:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City, Missouri, Companies Score Higher On LGBT Friendliness Than Kansas

For the most part, companies based in Kansas City, Mo., scored high on the Human Rights Campaign's latest study on LGBT friendliness in businesses.
Credit Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A new report ranking Kansas City-area companies on LGBT equality essentially gave the Missouri side a B — and Kansas a C. 

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Economy
9:25 am
Thu November 20, 2014

After A Six-Year Dive, Wichita Aviation Industry May Be Looking Up

Beechcraft's King Air line in Wichita
Frank Morris KCUR

Wichita, Kan., calls itself the "Air Capital of the World."

But sales of the business jets made there took a nosedive during the recession and have struggled since.

A couple of fresh business ideas are trying to help. One centers on getting more people to travel in small planes. The other is repurposing business jet technology to build a jet fighter for the developing world. 

Hard times in Wichita

Wichita’s been through some tough years recentl. And so has Kevin Bell.

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Economy
3:21 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Technology Company Plans To Add 100 Jobs In Historic Western Union Building

Peter Fullerton, CEO of the Kansas City, Mo., Economic Development Council, announces The Nerdery will add 100 jobs in Kansas City. With him are Mike Downing of the Missouri Department of Economic Development and Mayor Sly James.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Nerdery, a Minneapolis-based technology company, will add 100 jobs in Kansas City, Mo., over the next five years, the Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday.

The company, which designs websites and mobile apps, will also invest $4.3 million in the historic Western Union building downtown. 

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Economy
5:54 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

More Summer Jobs For Youth In Jackson County

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announces a new Summer jobs program for low-income Jackson County youth.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCU

A summer jobs program for low-income youth is expanding in Jackson County.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says 1,500 slots will be available to workers age 18 to 24 in the county.

Last year, using federal grant money, workers were hired to spruce up local parks. This year, Nixon says, there’s more jobs available and so the state is looking for private partners.

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Economy
4:00 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Sprint Announces 2,000 Layoffs

Sprint Corp. is owned by Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp., but the telecommunications firm's headquarters is in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Mike Mozart / Flickr--CC

Sprint Corp. announced Monday that it would layoff at least 2,000 employees.

The cuts, which are expected to save Sprint around $400 million, are part of an aggressive cost-cutting package introduced by CEO Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian businessman who took over from ousted CEO Dan Hesse in August.

“The Sprint brand was weak," Claure told investors during an earnings call Monday. "We had no clear value proposition for consumers. The measure of our own customer’s willingness to recommend Sprint was the lowest among the four big wireless carriers.”

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Foreclosures
11:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Foreclosure Rates Plummet In Kansas And Missouri

Foreclosure rates in Kansas and Missouri dropped significantly during the third quarter of 2014.
Credit BasicGov / Flickr-CC

New numbers on foreclosures in Missouri and Kansas show promising signs of economic stability for both states.

Real estate information company RealtyTrac reports that foreclosure rates in Kansas dropped 31 percent from July to September. In Missouri, the numbers dropped even lower for the same period — a 45.5 percent decrease.

RealtyTrac spokeswoman Ginny Walker said that in terms of foreclosures, both states are back to pre-housing crisis numbers. She attributes the progress to consistently low unemployment rates in both states.

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Kemper Arena
7:52 am
Sun October 19, 2014

American Royal Still Wants $30 Million For Kemper Plan

City council will decide if Kemper Arena should be renovated or razed soon.
Credit bizjournals.com

The city council found out Friday that they were wrong in their assumption that Cerner Founder Neal Patterson's offer to pay the costs of razing Kemper Arena to make way for a smaller facility would knock down their asking price. 

Attorney Chase Simmons told the council that despite Patterson's remark to a civic group, the American Royal Board has not reduced the amount of incentives it is asking for to $25 million.

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Economy
3:55 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Sprint Begins Round Of Layoffs

Sprint Corp., whose U.S. headquarters is in Overland Park, Kan., started a round of layoffs on Tuesday.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

 

Overland Park-based Sprint Corp. has begun a series of workforce reductions, according to documents the Kansas telecommunications company filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing didn’t say how many employees would be affected by the layoffs, which the company began to implement on Tuesday.

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Economy
1:04 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Claycomo Assembly Plant Now Biggest In Ford System

United Auto Workers members look on as Ford announces 1,200 additional jobs are coming to the Claycomo assembly plant.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

Thursday morning Ford announced it was adding 1,200 jobs at its Claycomo, Mo., plant because of surging demand for the company’s new Transit van.

Ford says Transit van sales have grown every month since it was introduced.

With hundreds of United Auto Workers union members looking on, John Hinrichs, Ford president in the Americas, said by the end of the year there will be 6,000 UAW jobs in Claycomo.

That makes it the assembly giant in the company.

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Technology
11:35 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Kansas Bitcoin Company Shut Down For Allegedly Taking Millions From Customers

Leawood, Kan., based company Butterfly Labs was recently shut down by the FTC for failing to deliver Bitcoin mining equipment on time.
Credit BTC Keychain / Flickr-CC

A federal commission has shut down Leawood, Kan., based company Butterfly Labs Inc., for failing to deliver high-powered Bitcoin mining equipment to customers on time. 

The Kansas City Business Journal reports that the Federal Trade Commission believes Butterfly Labs took between $20 million and $50 million in specially designed computer orders from customers. Many of those orders didn't get delivered on time, or at all. 

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Tell KCUR
8:45 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How One Sprint Employee Is Bracing For Expected Layoffs

Officials at Sprint Corp., which employs roughly 7,000 people at its U.S. headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., expects job cuts in the fall.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Last week, Overland Park-based Sprint Corp. officials indicated job cuts were coming in the fall.  

The extent of the layoffs at the Kansas company, which employs roughly 7,000 people locally, hasn’t been divulged, but at least one Sprint worker is taking the news to heart.

“Personally, I am cleaning everything out of my cube,” said Peg McMahon, a Sprint employee who responded to our Tell KCUR question of the week.

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Economy
3:36 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Gates & Sons Can't Cut Benefits After Strike, National Labor Relations Board Says

The National Labor Relations Board says Gates & Sons shouldn't have cut free employee meals after workers at the Main Street restaurant went on strike.
Credit Brandon Burke / Flickr--CC

A three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board says Kansas City-based Gates & Sons Barbeque engaged in an unfair labor practice after workers participated in strike last summer.

According to the complaint, which was filed by the Workers' Organizing Committee on the employees' behalf, about a quarter of the Main Street restaurant's workforce informed their supervisor they planned to strike on July 30, 2013, and return to work the next day. The strike was part of an organized effort among Kansas City fast-food workers to ask for higher wages.

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Tell KCUR
4:31 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Tell KCUR: How Do You Prepare For A Layoff In Kansas City?

How do you prepare for a layoff in Kansas City? Tweet us your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Courtesy photo / KCUR

As one of the Kansas City area’s largest employers is bracing for another round of job cuts, the community is busy speculating on how large this wave will be.

Last week, Overland Park-based Sprint Corp.’s new CEO, Marcelo Claure, told investors that as the telecommunications company attempts to cut costs, the firm also would shed management employees, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.  

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Up to Date
11:29 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Mission Businesses Cope With Losses From Construction

Sandi Russell of Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop got in the spirit of the construction with a bit of humor in front of her shop.
Credit Sandi Russell

Massive street and sidewalk work has been going on for six months along Johnson Drive in Mission, and the mom and pop businesses on that street are feeling the pain of lost business. The work has shut off front-door access for many of them.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about how much the construction has changed these businesses, how they're coping and what the city is doing about the situation.

Guests:

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Economy
5:50 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Fast Food Workers Arrested In Kansas City After Minimum Wage Protest

Fast food workers stepped up protests for higher wages Thursday, and dozens were arrested in Kansas City.

Hundreds of fast food workers and supporters marched and chanted near 14th Street and Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. They are trying to form a union, and asking for $15 an hour.

Unlike earlier protests here though, this one involved civil disobedience.

Forty-five year old Richard Iker says he’s worked for McDonalds 18 years and pulls down $11.05 an hour. He was one of 52 people arrested for blocking the on ramp to I-70 from Prospect.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Tue August 26, 2014

How Microloans Are Affecting KC Businesses

Microloans are helping local businesses in Kansas City.
Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr-CC

Just what is a microloan and how can we use it to help a local business?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with a Kansas City, Mo., councilman and local business owners about a new program that's making a big difference in the city.

Guests:

  • Scott Taylor, councilman for Kansas City, Mo.
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Economy
7:39 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Brownback Proposing Urban Opportunity Zones In Kansas

Gov. Sam Brownback says he'll propose a plan to attract people to some urban areas of Kansas that are in decline.

The governor released few details on the so-called Urban Opportunity Zones, but he says they will likely include parts of Sedgwick, Wyandotte and Shawnee Counties. Brownback says the plan may include tax incentives to attract professionals from out-of-state to the areas.

"So it's getting individuals with — a lot of times — with some education, educated individuals, moving into an area and we hope creating growth," says Brownback.

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Central Standard
2:50 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Behind The Sticker Price: Tomatoes

Gerry Newman of Providence Farms shows off his tomatoes at the Overland Park Farmer's Market.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Fresh tomatoes are a pleasure of summer, but they typically come at a price. Discover what goes into setting that price, whether it's worth it, and what you can do with them when you get home.

Guests:

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Development
11:23 am
Wed August 13, 2014

How Kansas City's West Bottoms Went From Vacant To Vibrant

The Great Flood of 1951 caused over $1 billion (nearly $9 billion in today's dollars) in damages and completely vacated Kansas City's West Bottoms.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library

Within the old bones of big brick buildings like the Columbia Burlap & Bag Co., in Kansas City's West Bottoms, new businesses, artist studios and restaurants are finding success in an area that still looks like it belongs in the late 1800s.

One spot that's finding particular success is the 12th Street Bridge and the surrounding buildings. First Friday "Warehouse Weekends" and antique shops bring in thousands of visitors each month.

But it wasn't always this way. In fact, parts of the West Bottoms were practically deserted for nearly 40 years.

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IKEA
1:16 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

7 Reasons To Get Excited About IKEA Opening In Kansas City

A new IKEA store in Merriam, Kan., is going to open on Sept. 10.

For the uninitiated, IKEA is just a big furniture store.

But for those in the Kansas City area who have been to IKEA before, the grand opening of a new store in Merriam, Kan., on Sept. 10 is a big deal. The Swedish furniture chain is allowing people to line up 48 hours before the Merriam store opens. And they will.

Why? Well, because of all the possibilities.

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Development
8:52 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Is Residential Development Right For Kansas City's West Bottoms?

A new apartment building in Kansas City's West Bottoms is in the early stages of construction.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

A new push for residential development in Kansas City's West Bottoms has some strong support and strong opposition.

Rancher and real estate developer Bill Haw started construction on a new apartment building at 1515 Genessee St., in July. The goal for the 11 unit complex is to draw families into the West Bottoms.

"There haven't been many families with young children moving back to the central core," Haw said. "I think that's an essential part of the transition to rebuilding the core of the city."

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Economy
7:51 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Failure Of Sprint Merger Bid Leaves Kansas City Unsure About Future

Trees frame the clock tower at Sprint Nextel Corp., based in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The death of a merger proposal between Sprint and T-Mobile may have been bad news for the Kansas City company — stock prices dropped 19 percent Wednesday. But the news has some locals breathing a sigh of relief. It means Sprint is staying put, for now.

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Economy
10:32 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Sprint Replaces CEO, Says It Will Remain Competitive

Sprint's headquarters, located on a 200-acre campus in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Sprint Corp. announced a shake-up at its Overland Park-based headquarters Wednesday, ousting CEO Dan Hesse amidst a reported change in plans in its $32 billion bid for T-Mobile.

Replacing Hesse will be Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian businessman who founded Brightstar Corp., a Florida-based wireless services company that is a subsidiary of SoftBank, the Japanese company that owns Sprint.

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Business
7:33 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Reports: Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Off, Hesse Out As CEO

Sprint Corp., will end its pursuit of T-Mobile, according to reports Tuesday.
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

Sprint Corp. is ending its attempt to acquire T-Mobile US Inc., and Dan Hesse will no longer be CEO of the company, according to media reports out Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "people familiar with the matter" say Sprint and its parent company SoftBank will not pursue the deal any further because it would too difficult to win approval from regulators.

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Economy
2:43 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

McDonald's Workers Planning Protest To Ask For Living Wage

Fast food workers are planning to rally at McDonald's to ask for higher wages.
Credit Mike Mozart / Flickr--CC

Fast food workers plan to rally Friday evening at the McDonald's restaurant at the corner of Troost Avenue and Meyer Boulevard in Kansas City, Mo.

They're pushing for a $15-an-hour wage and asking McDonald's Corp to take responsibility for employment decisions made at franchised restaurants.

Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board determined McDonald's Corp has what's known as "joint employer status" in a series of labor complaints filed by striking workers. The ruling means McDonald's Corp can be named as a co-defendant in disputes with franchise employees.

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Central Standard
5:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Author Puts Unconventional Spin On Economics

John Hope Bryant's recent book has a different take on the relationship between capitalism and the poor.

Who has the power in capitalism? The critics of capitalism say the rich have the upper hand. But author John Hope Bryant thinks the story is more complex than that. He thinks that capitalism works best when it benefits not the few, but the many.

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