“The RI Cheat Sheet”—Start Your Monday with the Latest Numbers, Data, and Factoids - Feb 18, 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019


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Welcome to this week’s edition of the RI Cheat Sheet.

The weekly feature focuses important and interesting numbers, data, and high-value factoids that impact Rhode Island and the economy.

1) Where Does Amazon HQ2 NY Go Next -- is RI Still Pursuing 

Nothing has been announced by Amazon since saying they are pulling out of their plans for a NYC HQ2 -- and RI Commerce officials aren’t saying much about their effort.

"We remain in regular communication with the company regarding a variety of possibilities in Rhode Island," Matt Sheaff, spokesman of Commerce RI tells GoLocal.

2) Google Doubling Down in Boston

Boston Business Journal is reporting that “Google Inc. on Wednesday confirmed plans to lease 362,000 square feet at a newly built tower at the site of the MIT Coop building in Cambridge’s Kendall Square, a 16-story glass tower that will ‘serve as additional office space for Google’s growing Cambridge office.’”

Google is investing $13 billion in new data centers and offices. Presently, Google employs more than 1,500 in Cambridge, MA.


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Bernie Sanders

3) Want to know the costs of one Presidential candidate's proposals?

Vermont U.S. Senator and likely Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ proposal for free college education has a price tag of $1,044 per 2 taxpayer household. According to Fix the Debt, the overall cost is $75,000,000,000.


4) Job Losses in Rhode Island Piling Up

In just the past few weeks:

Agoda — the travel company recruited by RI Commerce was supposed to have hired 200, but it is closing and 70 will lose their jobs.

New England Motor Freight last Monday announced that the company and ten related entities have voluntarily filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The company is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit against Rhode Island's truck tolls.  The closing will impact 145 in Pawtucket.

Tuition Management is slashing jobs in RI. According to the company’s filing with the RI Department of Labor, “Netnet Business Solutions, Inc. acquired Tuition Management Systems LLC. Certain aspects of the facility will be closing and the work will be transitioned to the NBS headquarters in Lincoln, NE. As a result, fifty-nine affected workers will be laid off…”

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20 stores in southern N.E. closing

Payless’ closing is impacting 20 stores in RI and nearby Massachusetts. Hundreds of workers will lose their jobs.


5) Whole Foods Prices Are Going Up and Up

The Wall Street Journal is reporting, "Whole Foods is raising prices again, bowing to pressure from some consumer-product makers to cover rising packaging, ingredient and transportation costs on hundreds of products."

The report says that internal Whole Foods documents reviewed by the paper found price increases “on dozens of items from Dr. Bronner’s soaps to Häagen-Dazs ice cream...A separate company email in December listed 550 additional price increases on products including crackers, olives, and cookies.”

6) 2018 was Record Year for Private Equity Deals

Private equity closed the year with a record 4,828 deals worth a combined $713 billion, according to PitchBook.

In 2018, the United States private equity saw:

$713.0 billion total deal value across 4,828 deals (7.2% and 5.5% YoY increases, respectively)
$365.4 billion total exit value across 1,049 exits (a 0.1% YoY increase and a $16.3 YoY decrease, respectively)
$166.64 billion total capital raised across 186 funds (25.9% and 20.9% YoY decreases, respectively)

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Journalists lost their jobs at the highest rate since the "Great Recession"

7) Media Job Cuts -- Worse Than Previously Reported

Media jobs disappeared in 2018 at the fastest rate since year one of the Great Recession.

According to a report last week from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, "consolidation, declining revenue, combative language from the Trump Administration, and occasional violence marked 2018 for members of the media. It was also the year with the highest number of job cut announcements in the sector since 2009."

The report finds, "Last year, media companies, which include movies, television, publishing, music, and broadcast and print news, announced plans to cut 15,474 jobs, 11,878 of which were from news organizations. That’s 281 percent higher than the 4,062 cuts announced in the media sector in 2017."


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