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VOL. 129 | NO. 78 | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Daily Digest

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Houston Levee Parcel Sells for $1 Million

A vacant 1.4-acre parcel at Houston Levee Road and Poplar Avenue in Collierville has traded hands for $932,700.

PHD @ Houston Levee LLC bought the land in a November 6 special warranty deed from Interface Houston Levee LLC. Though the sale closed in November, the Shelby County Register of Deeds didn’t process the paperwork until last week.

Interface Houston Levee LLC, an entity related to Boca Raton, Fla.-based Interface Properties Inc., in 2008 paid $1.6 million for the property from Houston Levee Galleria Joint Venture.

The land is an outparcel of the Houston Levee Galleria, a 26-acre mixed-used development on the southeast corner of Houston Levee Road and Poplar Avenue.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal of the land was $932,700, and the site is zoned commercial. The outparcel is just north of a Back Yard Burgers restaurant and a First Citizens National Bank branch.

No financing was associated with the purchase.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

First State Bank Given SBA Lending Honor

First State Bank has been named the 2013 Small Business Administration Community Bank of the Year for Tennessee.

The SBA Tennessee District Office each year recognizes and honors top lenders serving the small business community, and SBA lenders are awarded for their success in helping to provide capital necessary to grow small businesses and create jobs.

First State Bank, through its Small Business Lending Division, provides government-guaranteed lending to small businesses predominately in Tennessee and surrounding states.

First State Bank is owned by Community First Bancshares, a holding company headquartered in Union City, Tenn. The company has branches around the state, including in Memphis.

– Andy Meek

Tennessee Unemployment Drops to 6.7 Percent

In another sign of good economic news, Tennessee’s unemployment rate continues to dip.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in March, which is down from 6.9 percent in February, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Last March, the state unemployment rate sat at 8.3

March’s decline was the seventh month in a row that Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped.

– Amos Maki

Economic Gauge Up for 3rd Straight Month

A measure of the U.S. economy's health rose in March for the third consecutive month, a sign of stronger growth after harsh winter weather caused the economy's pace to slow.

The Conference Board said Monday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.8 percent in March after a 0.5 percent rise in February and modest 0.2 percent gain in January. It was the best showing since a 0.9 percent gain in November.

Both hiring and consumer outlooks have improved, which along with interest rates fueled much of the index's improvement. That offset a negative contribution from building permits. The index looks at a series of different indicators to spot peaks and troughs in economic growth.

Conference Board economists say the gains last month point to "accelerated growth for the remainder of the spring and the summer," although it remains to be seen whether employers continue to hire at their March and February pace of almost 200,000 workers a month.

"The economy is rebounding from widespread inclement weather and the strengthening in the labor market is beginning to have a positive impact on growth," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at The Conference Board. "Overall, this is an optimistic report."

Many economists expect the overall growth rate in the January-March quarter will dip below 2 percent because of the weather disruptions but they are forecasting a rebound in coming quarters to growth of around 3 percent.

– The Associated Press

AT&T Eyes Expansion of Super-Fast Internet

AT&T says it will expand super-fast Internet services to as many as 100 additional cities in 25 metropolitan areas.

The service's 1 gigabit-per-second speed is about 100 times what U.S. consumers typically get with broadband. That means faster video downloads and the ability for more devices to connect to the network without congestion.

AT&T currently has such speeds in Austin, Texas, and has committed to offer the service in Dallas. A rival offering from Google Inc. is available in Kansas City and is coming soon to Austin and Provo, Utah.

AT&T Inc. says the specific number of new markets will depend on discussions with local officials and assessments of potential demand. The company may start building some of the new networks by the end of the year.

– The Associated Press

Higher Costs Pressured Businesses in First Quarter

Rising costs for materials and labor appear to be pressuring businesses, according to a quarterly survey from the National Association of Business Economics.

During the first quarter of the year, 31 percent of businesses surveyed reported higher material costs, more than double the 15 percent that saw costs rise in the previous survey. Additionally, 35 percent reported rising wages and salaries at their businesses in the past three months, up from 23 percent in January.

Yet those who said they raised the prices they charge in the past three months remained unchanged at 20 percent, according to the latest NABE survey of 72 members, which was conducted between March 18 and April 1.

"It appears that businesses were not able to pass on costs increases, resulting in increased pressure on margins," the survey findings said.

The quarterly survey by NABE is intended to gauge business conditions at members' firms or industries. The April survey reflects first quarter results, as well as the near-term outlook.

Despite the cost pressures, businesses seem more upbeat about the direction of the broader economy. The survey found that 80 percent said they expect the GDP to rise at least 2 percent over the next year. Nearly three-quarters also said they expect labor market conditions to improve, with unemployment easing to between 5 percent and 6 percent in the next one to three years. And over the next six months, 43 percent of respondents expect their firms to expand employment..

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 79 146 10,368
MORTGAGES 95 202 13,529
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 19 43 2,687
BUILDING PERMITS 0 393 24,700
BANKRUPTCIES 62 122 10,014
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 37 3,773
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 99 248 14,805
MARRIAGE LICENSES 27 58 3,225

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