Business

Economics, employment, jobs, real estate, taxes, economic development and incentives, workforce development, IPOs, investment and anything related to business in Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

KUT

Car2go is pulling out of Austin.

The business, owned by the German luxury-car maker Daimler, allows people to rent cars by the minute. In a message posted on the car2go website Friday, the company said it "underestimated the investment and resources that are truly necessary to make our service successful in these complex transportation markets amid a quickly-changing mobility landscape."

Components of SpaceX's Starship prototype
Paul Flahive / Texas Public Radio

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will travel to Texas on Saturday to give an update on the rocket he hopes will one day take the company to Mars. But before Mars, the company may have a tougher challenge: Texas homeowners. It wants to buy about 30 houses it now says are too close to its launch pad. 

Spencer Selvidge / KUT

Whole Foods, the Austin-based grocery chain now owned by Amazon, is cutting health care benefits for its part-time workers, a move that could leave about 1,900 of its employees without medical coverage.

Walmart Announces It Will Stop Selling Handgun Ammunition

Sep 3, 2019
Walmart employees near a memorial for the shooting victims
Stella M. Chávez / KERA

Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition and publicly request customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.

A Zilker Brewing Company employee sells state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez beer to go.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas’ “beer-to-go” law went into effect today, allowing the purchase of beer direct from breweries and taprooms.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin bought the first beer to go this morning at Zilker Brewing Company on East Sixth Street. 

Walmart Pulls Violent Game Displays After El Paso Shooting; No Change In Gun Sales

Aug 9, 2019
Walmart employees near a memorial for the shooting victims
Stella M. Chávez / KERA

Walmart is removing from its stores nationwide signs, displays or videos that depict violence following a mass shooting at one of its stores in Texas, though it has not changed its policy on gun sales.

Construction
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s expensive to live in the Austin area, but it could be worse.

According to a new report from Apartment List, Austin is one of the better markets at keeping up with housing demand. The report compares the number of jobs created with the number of homes built between 2008 and 2018. Austin sits at 1.3 jobs per new housing unit – right in the sweet spot for that ratio, according to Chris Salviati, the housing economist who wrote the report.

Flags fly at Apple's North Austin campus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is putting a moratorium on the practice of giving property tax breaks to companies that agree to expand here and meet minimum county requirements, including agreeing to invest at least $25 million and hire more than 100 people.

The incentives program was set up to lure business investment and expand the county’s tax base.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A perfect storm of circumstances has helped create what a UT Austin professor calls “the new innovation economy.” What is that?

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin’s Celis Brewery is scheduled to be auctioned off next week – unless the brewery receives bankruptcy protection.

Whataburger
Carlo Nasisse for KUT

Whataburger announced today that it is selling a majority interest in the company to BDT Capital Partners, LLC, a Chicago-based bank.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars, has agreed to pay a $15,000 legal settlement to the creator of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character appropriated by the "alt-right" that is now widely used in racist Internet memes.

Jones signed the settlement on Monday with Matt Furie, the California-based artist who created Pepe some 15 years ago. The lawsuit alleged that Jones used the character without permission as part of a promotional poster also featuring images of himself, President Trump and far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

New tariffs against Mexico will begin to bite next week, President Trump vowed Tuesday, unless the White House is satisfied that Mexico's government is acting with new alacrity to stop migrants from crossing into the United States.

"This will take effect next week, 5%," Trump said during his visit to London.

Trump said he is open to continuing negotiations with Mexican leaders, including at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between its foreign minister and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

KUT

The state’s labor regulator on Tuesday approved a controversial new rule on gig economy workers – a rule opponents say will have far-reaching implications for these workers going forward.

 Google has reportedly leased an entire 35-story, 735,000-square-foot building under construction on Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you were relieved by last year’s announcement that Amazon’s HQ2 would go elsewhere – along with its potential 50,000 employees over 15 years – know this: Expansion efforts by Amazon, Apple and Google could produce a near-equivalent wave of folks coming to Austin – and sooner than any HQ2.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT'

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating the city of San Antonio for potential First Amendment violations after the City Council voted to prevent Chick-fil-A — a franchise known for opposing same-sex marriage — from opening a location in the city’s airport.

Amazon headquarters building
Robert Scoble/Flickr <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(CC BY 2.0)</a>

Amazon will create 800 new jobs in engineering, research and cloud computing in Austin, the tech giant announced Thursday.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Workers' rights advocates called on the Texas Workforce Commission to abandon a proposed rule that would exempt gig economy contractors from unemployment benefits. They say the rule was crafted by industry lobbyists and could encourage businesses to adopt online-only models to dodge state taxes for worker benefits.

Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

When Amanda Bosky, a graduate student in sociology, goes to an academic conference, she often uses Airbnb to save money. Now the University of Texas at Austin student is worried that she can't anymore.

Women attending DivInc Startup Sistas Happy Hour listen to CEO Preston James.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

Kim Roxie was a student when she first realized there was a problem.

“It was working at a makeup counter while I was in college and coming in contact with so many women who were tired of the way beauty was being done,” she says. “A lot of beige and not enough brown in the cosmetic department.”

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texans would be able to take home beer directly from local breweries if a bipartisan bill before the Texas Legislature becomes law. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is enjoying a robust economy. The city boasts monthly job numbers that are at or near what economists consider full employment; that is, almost everyone who can work is working. But the tighter job market is putting the squeeze on restaurants.

Courtesy of We Print Houses

An Austin-based company is ushering in 3D technology that makes it easier for builders to print homes.

Residential building company Sunconomy LLC and California-based Forge New last week introduced We Print Houses, a system that can be licensed by contractors and builders to construct homes in only a few months.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Williamson County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an incentive package for Apple to develop 133 acres of ranch land into an office complex.

Apple announced plans last week to invest $1 billion to build a third complex in the Austin area; this would be the first in Williamson County.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Tech giant Apple announced today it plans to invest $1 billion in a new Austin campus. The 133-acre campus off Parmer Lane is about a mile away from Apple's existing campus and would accommodate 5,000 new employees. The new facility is slated to open in 30 to 36 months.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Shareholders of Round Rock-based Dell Technologies voted Tuesday to take the company public after operating for five years as a private company. The closing of the roughly $23 billion move will happen at the end of the month.

Julia Reihs/KUT

Fear not, Texans. You won't be crying in your last, lonely Lone Star any time soon.  

The "National Beer of Texas," has been spared in a dispute between Pabst Brewing, which owns the Lone Star brand, and MillerCoors.

Stores Fighting For Black Friday Sales Aim For Convenience

Nov 23, 2018
Sarah Jasmine Montgomery / KUT

Retailers are offering much of their Black Friday deals online, but shoppers still showed up at malls and stores around the country looking for discounts — and also to take in the scene.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

After more than a year of lists and speculation, Austin's bid to secure Amazon's second headquarters is over. According to NPR, Austin joins a long list of more than 230 cities that competed in the race for an unheard-of prize: the promise of 50,000 jobs from the ecommerce juggernaut.

That prize has now been split in two – between Arlington, Va., and a neighborhood just across the East River from Manhattan. So what’s to come for Austin and the scores of other cities that didn't get a call from Amazon?

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Broadcast Music Inc. will be opening an office in Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott and the music rights management group announced Thursday.

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