- Created on 13 September 2012
WASHINGTON — A government survey shows about 821,000 U.S. households lost access to basic banking services between January 2009 and June 2011.
Roughly 10 million U.S. households, or 8.2 percent, have no access to bank accounts, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That's up from 7.7 percent in the FDIC's 2009 survey.
And an even larger percentage of Americans are relying on high-interest alternatives, even those with traditional bank accounts. The survey found 28.3 percent either lacked bank accounts or used payday loans, check-cashing services and other alternatives as of June 2011. That's up from 25.6 percent in the previous survey.
The survey found 21.4 percent of black families and 20.1 percent of Hispanic families had no banking services.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
- Created on 13 September 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — The ranks of America's poor remained stuck at record levels, although dwindling unemployment benefits and modest job gains helped stave off what experts had predicted would be the fourth rise in a row in the poverty rate.
With joblessness persistently high, the gap between rich and poor increased in the last year, according to two major census measures. Also, the median, or midpoint, household income was $50,054, 1.5 percent lower than 2010 and a second straight decline.
A Census Bureau report released Wednesday provides a mixed picture of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2011, when the unemployment rate improved to 8.9 percent from 9.6 percent in the previous year. The numbers are coming out not long before the Nov. 6 election in which the economy is the No. 1 issue and President Barack Obama is trying to make the case that the labor market, while not fully healed, is on the right track.
The overall poverty rate stood at 15 percent, statistically unchanged from the 15.1 percent in the previous year. The rate was better than a consensus estimate of demographers who had predicted, based on weak wage growth, a gain of up to half a percentage point, to levels not seen since 1965.
For last year, the official poverty line was an annual income of $23,021 for a family of four. By total numbers, roughly 46.2 million people remained below the poverty line, unchanged from 2010. That figure was the highest in more than half a century when records were kept. The 15 percent poverty rate was basically unchanged from 1993 and was the highest since 1983.
Broken down by state, New Mexico had the highest share of poor people, at 22.2 percent, according to rough calculations by the Census Bureau. It was followed by Louisiana, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia. On the other end of the scale, New Hampshire had the lowest, at 7.6 percent.
"This is good news and a surprise," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan economist who closely tracks poverty. He pointed to a continuing boost from new unemployment benefits passed in 2009 that gave workers up to 99 weeks of payments after layoffs and didn't run out for many people until late 2011. Also, job gains in the private sector that helped offset cuts in state and local government workers.
"It would indicate the stimulus was even more effective than believed," he said.
Bruce D. Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago, said it was disappointing that poverty levels did not improve. He described it as a sign of lingering problems in the labor market even with recent declines in unemployment. "The drop in the unemployment rate has been due in significant part to workers leaving the labor force, because they are discouraged, back in school, taking care of family or other reasons," he said.
The official poverty level is based on a government calculation that includes only income before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership.
As a result, the official poverty rate takes into account the effects of some stimulus programs passed in 2009, such as unemployment benefits, as well as jobs that were created or saved by government spending. It does not factor in noncash government aid such as tax credits and food stamps.
David Johnson, the chief of the Census Bureau's household economics division, attributed the better-than-expected poverty numbers to increases in full-time workers over the last year. He also estimated that expanded unemployment benefits helped keep 1.6 million working-age people out of poverty.
Social Security also lifted roughly 14.5 million seniors above the poverty line. Without those cash payments, the number of people ages 65 and older living in poverty would have increased five-fold, he said. Johnson also noted that that income inequality was widening. He said the top 1 percent of wage earners had a 6 percent increase in income over the last year, while income at the bottom 40 percent of earners was basically unchanged.
"A lot of the increase is driven by changes at the very top of the distribution," he said.
The share of Americans without health coverage fell from 16.3 percent to 15.7 percent, or 48.6 million people. It was the biggest decline in the number of uninsured since 1999, boosted in part by increased coverage for young adults under the new health care law that allows them to be covered under their parents' health insurance until age 26.
Congress passed the health overhaul in 2010 to address the rising numbers of uninsured people. During this election year, the law has come under increasing criticism Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has pledged to push a repeal if he is elected. The main provisions of the health care law will not take effect until 2014.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
- Created on 11 September 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — In case you haven't heard by now, Apple is unveiling its latest iPhone on Wednesday. That leaves the question: What should you do with your old one?
The new phones will join some 244 million iPhones sold since the first one launched in 2007. Some have been lost or stolen. Some of us are still hanging on to our old gadgets in some futile attempt to resist the constant upgrade cycle that technology companies are forcing on us.
But it's fair to say that millions of iPhones are languishing in desk drawers or gathering dust. Here are a few things to do with yours to keep it from meeting that fate once you buy the iPhone 5.
1. Give it to your kids so they stop taking yours...
Every parent, aunt and uncle knows that no toy in the history of toys has ever been as appealing to a kid as an iPhone. They are shiny, they have games and grown-ups use them for important things. More importantly, they are either off-limits or doled out in limited quantities as a reward for, say, sitting still for a minute. Load up your old iPhone with games and give it to a deserving child in your life.
2. ...or to your mom so she can finally see the light
Alternately, if a Luddite adult has been thinking of taking the plunge into the world of smartphones, your old iPhone may help him or her get over the hump. If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you might also find someone who's still hanging on to an earlier model and give them the gift of an upgrade. You may just buy a friend for life (or at least until iPhone 6 comes out).
3. Use it as a teeny-tiny iPad
You'll be able to watch videos, send email and search Wikipedia for random facts to end cocktail-party disagreements with your decommissioned iPhone ‚Äî as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. There's even a camera, which means you can avoid being that guy (or gal) at the concert who's turning heads for taking photos with an iPad.
4. Donate to charity
Several charities accept old phones for donation, though it's worth remembering that these groups likely won't physically give your old phones to people in need. Rather, they work with phone recyclers and sell your donated phones to them.
A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your "gently used" phone and sell it to recycling company ReCellular. It will then use the proceeds to buy calling cards for soldiers.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works with another recycling group in a similar manner. About 60 percent of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40 percent of the phones are recycled, according to the group's website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones.
There are a few more suggestions from New York's Department of Environmental Conservation at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8818.html .
5. Alarm Clock
Do you still use that old radio alarm you bought for your college dorm room in the 20th century? Join the 21st century by turning your old iPhone into an alarm clock. Hide it in a different spot in your bed each night for an added challenge.
6. Sell, sell, sell!
Join the eBay hordes and sell your phone for a few hundred bucks if you can. There will likely be a flood of the gadgets soon after people start getting their new phones, so it might make sense to wait a little.
A company called Gazelle, meanwhile, will make an offer for your old phone based on its condition, your phone carrier and other information. A 32 gigabyte iPhone 4S on Verizon Wireless, for example, was recently going for $237 if it's in good condition and $90 if it's broken.
Glyde.com also offers to help you resell your old phone. A recent check showed the above 4S getting roughly $325 to $350 after fees are deducted ‚Äî provided there is a buyer. A "speed sale" that guarantees to sell it in seven days will get the seller slightly less money.
7. Trade in at GameStop
The video game retailer offers cash or store credit for old iPhones (along with iPods and iPads). The service is only available in stores and not online. A 32 gigabyte iPhone 4S on Verizon will get you up to $335 in store credit or up to $268 in cash.
8. Stream music
Stick that baby in a speaker dock, spring for a Pandora subscription ($36 per year) or Spotify ($10 per month) and bam, you have a stereo.
Or try SoundCloud. Although it's meant to let you create and share music with people, it's also a good place to listen to DJs you like or discover new ones. TuneIn, meanwhile, will let you listen to online radio stations playing music, sports, news or talk shows.
9. Keep as a backup in case you lose your fancy new one.
Nearly one-third of cellphone owners have had their gadgets lost or stolen, according to a recent survey from Pew Internet & Pew Internet & American Life Project.
10. Use as a camera
At its core, a decommissioned iPhone is a hard drive with a camera. Snap photos with it. No Canon needed. You can also use the iPhone to move photos and other files from one computer to another.
11. Recycle with Apple
Apple Inc.'s own recycling program will give you an Apple gift card if it is determined to have a "monetary value." A 32 gigabyte iPhone 4S with some light scratches but in good working condition was recently estimated at $280. That's higher than Gazelle, but you'll have to spend the money at Apple. The company also accepts broken phones for recycling but you won't get any money for them.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
- Created on 12 September 2012
DiversityMBA Magazine, an internationally distributed publication targeting business professionals in corporate America as well as entrepreneurs, will celebrate its 2012 Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive and Emerging Leaders during a conference and gala in Chicago September 20-21.
The leaders were selected from a group of more than 300 highly competitive candidates mostly from public and privately held companies. Some among the 50 leaders are entrepreneurs while others work for not-for-profit organizations. All the honorees are accomplished in their professions but also hold an advanced degree.
The honorees, all featured in DiversityMBA Magazine's Summer 2012 issue, will be honored at the magazine's Leadership Forum and Awards Gala September 20-21 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago. The event has proven to be one of the most powerful and engaging forums of its kind, with 85 percent of the Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executives and Emerging Leaders in attendance.
"We are humbled by the success of our Top 100 Under 50 recognition program," says Pam McElvane, CEO and publisher of DiversityMBA Magazine. "Our goal is to recognize high potential and seasoned executives for their outstanding leadership within their companies and communities. We believe that celebrating accomplished individuals who value higher education is a unique recognition that aligns leadership and education."
DiversityMBA Magazine is the global leadership publication for professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge base from a thought leadership perspective.
The magazine also publishes an annual "50 Out Front List: Best Places for Diverse Managers to Work," which recognizes companies that not only demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity, but whose top executives also understand the value of supporting external programs that enhance leadership and retention within their organizations.
This year's honorees come from around the world, including China, Africa and Europe. They also come from diverse industries, including retail, financial services, automotive, railroad, healthcare, education, medical, pharmaceutical, communications, government and consulting. Eighty percent of the 2012 honorees are from corporate America.
- Created on 11 September 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —YouTube is being reprogrammed for the iPhone and iPad amid the latest fallout from the growing hostility between Google and Apple.
The changes are being made because Google Inc. and Apple Inc. didn't renew a five-year licensing agreement that established YouTube's video service as one of the built-in applications in the operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad.
YouTube is being bumped from the menu of pre-installed apps on the next version of Apple's mobile operating system, or iOS, which could be released as early as Wednesday when the latest iPhone is expected to be unveiled.
Google is making a pre-emptive strike on Tuesday with the release of a revamped YouTube application. The app is designed to make it as easy as possible for the tens of millions of iPhone and iPad owners to continue watching clips from the world's most popular video site.
The new YouTube app will create more moneymaking opportunities for Google and video producers because it allows advertising to be shown with the clips. That's something Apple hasn't allowed on the pre-installed YouTube app. The ban on ads prevented many music videos and other widely watched clips from being shown in the iOS app because some copyright owners don't allow their content to be shown if there is no way for them to be paid.
Removing the advertising limitations will mean users of the new iOS app can watch YouTube videos that already have been available on smartphones and tablet computers running on Google's Android software said, Francisco Varela, YouTube's global director of platform partnerships.
"We are offering a better user experience to iPhone users," Varela said of the new YouTube app. "We will now have content parity on all our mobile platforms."
Apple had no comment on Google's claims.
The new YouTube app is tailored for the iPhone, although it will work on the iPad, too. A retooled app specifically tailored for the iPad is supposed to be released in the next few months.
As has always been the case, YouTube's videos also can be watched through Web browsers that work on iOS, including Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome.
YouTube could still end up losing some of its audience on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch because device owners will have to go to Apple's App Store to download the free program. YouTube says mobile viewers collectively watch more than 1 billion clips per day.
Many of those YouTube viewers watch on Android devices that have become Apple's bane. Before he died 11 months ago, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he viewed Android as a "stolen product" and vowed to get even with Google and its partners for ripping off his company's ideas.
The vendetta has spurred a series of lawsuits against Android device makers, including a case that culminated last month when a jury awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages after concluding Samsung Electronics violated iPhone patents.
Apple has also lashed out by removing Google's digital maps as the automatic navigation system on its family of mobile devices. That change will also occur when the next version of iOS comes out. The upgrade will feature Apple's own mobile mapping system.
That switch could hurt Google because maps are a key piece of the company's plans to sell more ads to local merchants.
Google wanted to gain more control over how YouTube worked on Apple's products, a goal that led to a decision to give up YouTube's prized status as a built-in app despite the potential loss in traffic. The licensing agreement allowed Apple to design the YouTube app for the iOS.
"They have been a great partner," Varela said of Apple. "Together, we have absolutely changed the mobile ecosystem. This is just the next evolution in this partnership. We are the only people that can build the best YouTube app."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.