"Rhode Islanders are fortunate to have expanded access to several affordable health care choices through HealthSource RI," Chafee said in a statement. "This day-long event will offer help and guidance through these complex and important insurance decisions."
The R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals will partner with the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Parent Information Network on March 8 to host a series of enrollment events throughout the day at three different locations around the state.
Representatives from the Rhode Island Parent Information Network and the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island will be at the Anchor Recovery Center in Pawtucket from 9 to 11 a.m.; at the Department of Behavioral Healthcare offices in Cranston from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Harrington Hall, a local homeless shelter in Cranston, in the evening.
The representatives will assist Rhode Islanders looking to obtain health insurance, including those eligible to enroll in Medicaid. HealthSource RI's outreach team will also host an enrollment event on Saturday, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at AS220 in Providence.
"We hope all Rhode Island individuals and families will take advantage of these opportunities to get covered as the March 31 end of the open enrollment period approaches," said Christine Ferguson, executive director of HealthSource RI. "Our contact center specialists are available seven days a week to walk you through the enrollment process."
For more information about the enrollment events, contact Deb Varga at the Department of Behavioral Healthcare at email@example.com or call (401) 462-0192.
To find out more about the HealthSource RI event at AS220, visit www.healthsourceri.com.]]>
The initiative, which aligns with Department of Education technology standards for adult learners, aims to improve adult education and workforce training, and to better prepare Rhode Islanders with the skills to compete in a global digital economy.
"One of the goals of our strategic plan, 'Transforming Education in Rhode Island,' is to provide more high-quality educational opportunities for adult learners," said Deborah A. Gist, commissioner of elementary and secondary education in Rhode Island. "Just as we are expanding the use of digital literacy in our elementary and secondary schools, it is important to bring digital literacy into our programs for adult learners as well."
Through the two agencies' partnership, educators working in adult education programs will receive training on how to teach the Broadband Rhode Island Internet Basics Curriculum, and the R.I. Office of Digital Excellence will supply "technology point persons" who will help coordinate training, materials and resources for such programs.
According to Broadband Rhode Island, an initiative of the R.I. Department of Digital Excellence funded under the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, approximately 30 percent of Rhode Island adults do not use the Internet. To date, Broadband Rhode Island has presented 18 digital literacy training workshops and developed nearly 150 volunteer digital literacy trainers.
For more information about Broadband Rhode Island, visit http://broadband.ri.gov.]]>
PROVIDENCE - Nortek Inc. has agreed to move its corporate headquarters from Providence's Financial District to the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island building in the Capital Center area, the company said Friday.
Owner of ventilation system brands, Nortek has been growing and centralizing administrative functions in its Rhode Island headquarters, causing it to outgrow its current space at 50 Kennedy Plaza.
"Over the past two years we have added a lot of good jobs in Providence so our current space doesn't accommodate it, and we have had to take extra spaces in the building," said Michael Botelho, Nortek vice president of strategy and investor relations. "We have five spaces not connected on three different floors, so what we got is an opportunity to be in a great single space in a great building."
Nortek will lease roughly 25,000 square feet on the 10th floor of the Blue Cross building at 500 Exchange St. and expects to move there in June, Botelho said. The current lease at 50 Kennedy Plaza, also known as 100 Westminster St., ends in May.
After Nortek moves in, half of the 12th floor and all of the 11th floor will remain available for lease, according to Stacy Paterno, a spokeswoman for Blue Cross.
Nortek currently has 90 employees in Providence, up from 45 two years ago, Botelho said.]]>
Under the first contract, valued at $19.8 million, Electric Boat will conduct research and development work in submarine technology, including manufacturability, maintainability, survivability, hydrodynamics, acoustics, materials, manning, hull integrity, performance, ship control, logistics, weapons handling and safety.
Initially awarded in November 2010, the contract has a potential total value of $710.6 million over a five-year period and supports near-term development of the Virginia-class submarine - one of the ships constructed at the Electric Boat facility in North Kingstown's Quonset Business Park - as well as future submarine technology.
The second Navy contract, valued at $16 million, tasks Electric Boat with the development of the common missile compartment for the Navy's next-generation ballistic missile submarine to replace the aging fleet of U.S. Ohio-class submarines.
The contract was first awarded in December 2012 and has a potential total value of $2.3 billion. Construction of the Ohio-class replacement is scheduled to begin construction in 2021, and will take place at least in part at Electric Boat's Quonset facility.]]>
MANSFIELD - Global biotech firm Covidien PLC has acquired Israeli medical tech company Given Imaging Ltd. for $860 million, a move that will allow Covidien to expand into the multibillion dollar gastrointestinal product market.
Given Imaging's PillCam is a minimally invasive, swallowed optical endoscopy technology designed for direct visualization of the small intestine to detect and monitor abnormalities in the digestive system. This procedure - which with the PillCam technology does not require sedation of the patient - helps health care practitioners detect the presence of lesions, obscure GI bleeding, Crohn's disease and iron deficiency anemia.
Under terms of the merger, Covidien has acquired all outstanding Given Imaging shares for $30 per share or approximately $860 million total.
"Acquiring Given Imaging significantly expands Covidien's GI Solutions business and supports the company's strategy to comprehensively address key global specialties and procedures," said Bryan Hanson, president of medical devices and U.S. president of Covidien, which is based in Dublin, Ireland. "We are committed to providing clinicians with more accurate and efficient diagnostic technologies to help achieve better outcomes for patients."
The acquisition is expected to add between $40 and $50 million in quarterly revenue for Covidien. With 2013 revenue of $10.2 billion, Covidien has more than 38,000 employees worldwide in more than 70 countries, and its products are sold in over 150 countries.
Peter Lucht, vice president of external communications for Covidien, said decisions have not yet been made about whether all 12 of Given Imaging's global offices in Israel, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia will remain in operation, or whether any staffing changes will be made.]]>
The 175,000 gain in employment followed a revised 129,000 increase the prior month that was bigger than initially estimated, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 149,000 advance in February. Unemployment rose to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent as more people entered the labor force and couldn't find work.
The report indicates employers remain upbeat about the economy's prospects after winter storms and freezing temperatures across the eastern U.S. slowed consumer spending, housing and manufacturing. Lowe's Cos. is among those boosting headcount, setting the stage for further gains as Americans return to stores.
"It's a pretty good report, given the weather," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Pittsburgh, who correctly predicted the gain in payrolls. "You had a pretty good rise in average hourly earnings, you had some good gains in jobs in a couple of different sectors."
Stock-index futures extended gains after the report, with the contract on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index expiring this month rising 0.5 percent to 1,885.2 at 8:55 a.m. in New York.
The figures showed hiring at professional and business services increased by the most in a year, while payrolls also rebounded in education and health services. State and local government agencies, factories and construction firms also added to headcounts last month.
Revisions to prior reports added a total of 25,000 jobs to overall payrolls in the previous two months.
Bloomberg survey estimates of 92 economists for February payrolls ranged from gains of 100,000 to 220,000. Last year, the U.S. added 194,000 jobs each month, on average.
The unemployment rate was forecast to hold at 6.6 percent in February. The Labor Department's survey of households showed an increase in people entering the labor force, while few of them were able to find work. The so-called participation rate held at 63 percent.
Federal Reserve officials have de-emphasized the jobless rate as a point at which it would consider raising borrowing costs. Labor-market improvement is one reason why policy makers have dialed back monthly bond buying by $10 billion at each of its past two meetings.
While Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated the 6.5 percent threshold in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee Feb. 27, the Federal Open Market Committee debated "the reliability of the unemployment rate as an indicator of overall labor-market conditions," minutes of Fed officials' last meeting showed.
Friday's figures showed 601,000 Americans weren't at work because of weather during the survey week, the most since 2010, the agency said. Bad weather can affect the payroll count if employees didn't receive compensation for the entire pay period that included the 12th of month.
Hours worked declined as well because of the inclement conditions. The average workweek for all employees dropped to 34.2 hours in February, the lowest since January 2011, from 34.3 hours. For production and non-supervisory employees, hours worked fell to 33.3 from 33.5.
Almost 6.9 million people worked less than a full week, the most since record-keeping began in 1978, the agency said.
The week ended Feb. 15 was the coldest second week of February since 2011, according to weather-data provider Planalytics Inc. The South Atlantic region of the U.S. experienced the most snowfall since 1983 and New England registered the most in 20 years during the period, the Berwyn, Pa.-based firm said. February's winter blitz followed the chilliest January in three years.
Cassandra Summons is among those who had success finding work. Summons, who is older than 50 and lives near Dayton, Ohio, started a new job last week as a compliance specialist after five months of searching.
"It was hard to deal with, because I was the breadwinner in the family," Summons said. She applied for about 100 jobs before landing her new position and ultimately found work through a church group.
"It was a challenge," she said. "The time of year might have had something to do with it: the Christmas holidays, the cold weather, and we had a lot of snow here this year, and that contributed to the delay."
Private employment, which excludes government agencies, rose by 162,000 in February after 145,000 the prior month. Factory payrolls increased by 6,000 for a second month and construction companies took on 15,000 workers.
Employment at private service-providers rose 140,000. Jobs in education and health services rose 33,000 in February, the most since August. Temporary-help service employment rose 24,400.
As winter weather gives way to warmer temperatures, home- improvement retailers Lowe's and Home Depot Inc. are planning on hiring. Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe's announced Feb. 19 that it will be adding about 25,000 seasonal employees this year for the industry's busiest season. Home Depot will add 80,000 positions for the spring and summer, matching 2013.
"Looking at the landscape for 2014, economic forecast suggests moderately accelerating growth, stronger job and income growth should create a more favorable environment for consumer spending," said Robert Niblock, the company's CEO, in a Feb. 26 earnings call. That, "coupled with the lag benefit of the housing recovery should generate continued growth in the home improvement industry."
Faster employment growth that stokes wage gains and brightens consumer spirits may help embolden households, whose spending accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.
Online retailer Amazon.com is bringing on more than 2,500 full-time workers across its growing U.S. fulfillment network, according to a Feb. 12 statement.]]>
The January rate dropped to 9.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised December 2013 rate of 9.3 percent and down four-tenths of a percentage point from the January 2013 rate of 9.6 percent.
The slide in Rhode Island's jobless rate mirrored the trend on the national level, as the U.S. unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent the month before. In January 2013, the national unemployment rate was three-tenths percentage points higher at 7.9 percent.
The January figures came after last week's annual revisions showing that Rhode Island's 9.5 percent average unemployment rate for 2013 was the second-highest in the country, and the civilian labor force in the state dropped by 3,000 people.
Nonetheless, the DLT reported mostly good news for Rhode Island in January, which represented the sixth consecutive month-to-month decrease in the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents, taking the revised December figure of 51,100 down to 50,600. At the same time, the number of employed Rhode Island residents increased by 700, to 499,700, in January compared with a month earlier.
The state's civilian labor force - representing the sum of employed and unemployed residents in the state - totaled 550,300 in January, up 200 from December 2013 but down 9,700 from January 2013.
On a year-over-year basis, the number of unemployed residents dropped by 3,200 in January compared with January 2013, but the number of employed residents also declined by 6,500.
Rhode Island companies added an estimated 3,800 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, for a total of 475,000, compared with revised estimates of 471,200 for December. The January figure marks the highest level since October 2008, the DLT said.
Sectors adding jobs in January included educational services, with 1,600 new jobs since December; health care and social assistance, with 700 jobs (reaching an all time high of 81,100); and wholesale trade and other services, with 400 jobs each.
The DLT noted minor employment declines in professional and business services, which lost 200 josb; and transportation and utilities, which lost 100 jobs, with no change reported in the mining and logging sectors.
Year over year, total nonfarm employment increased by 6,100, with job gains in 11 economic sectors, including accommodation and food services, with 1,300 new jobs; professional and business services, with 1,100 jobs; arts, entertainment and recreation, with 1,000 jobs; manufacturing, with 900 jobs; health care and social assistance, with 700 jobs; retail trade, with 600 jobs; wholesale trade, with 500 jobs; transportation and utilities, with 300 jobs; financial activities, with 200 jobs; and other services and government, with 100 jobs each.
Construction employment, while information services lost 400 jobs, educational services lost 200 jobs, and mining and logging lost 100 jobs.]]>
Hasbro and property and casualty insurance company The Hartford of Hartford, Conn., were among 15 organizations and two individuals recognized in the 2014 awards, presented at the Climate Leadership Conference held in San Diego from Feb. 24-26.
The EPA - in collaboration with the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry - presented the awards for exemplary corporate, organizational and individual leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change. Recipients must have demonstrated leadership in managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in internal operations and throughout the supply chain, as well as integrating climate resilience into their operating strategies.
"The commitments and reductions made by The Hartford and Hasbro show the positive difference companies can make to reduce the greenhouse gases that are impacting our climate," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the EPA's New England office. "We hope their example will inspire other companies to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to our environment."
Hasbro received the "Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management" goal-setting certificate for publicly reporting and verifying corporate greenhouse gas inventories and for setting aggressive emissions reduction goals.
By the end of 2020, Hasbro aims to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent of its 2012 levels, through replacing existing roof insulation with energy-efficient materials, making HVAC upgrades and replacements, and converting from fuel oil to natural gas.
In 2012, Hasbro reported that it had cut emissions by 32 percent over its 2008 baseline, surpassing its goal of 10 percent, and between 2000 and 2007 the company cut emissions by 43 percent.
Hasbro received an "Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management" goal-achievement award in the EPA's 2012 Climate Leadership Awards in recognition of having exceeded its emissions reduction target. The company was not recognized in the 2013 awards.
"We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the U.S. EPA and its partner organizations," said Duncan Billing, executive vice president and global chief development officer for Hasbro. "This award is a testament to Hasbro's commitment to continuously reduce the environmental impacts of our global operations as well as our 2020 sustainability goals which build upon our previous achievements and serve to guide us forward."]]>
Net worth for households and nonprofit groups rose by $2.95 trillion in the fourth quarter, or 3.8 percent from the previous three months, to a record $80.7 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday from Washington in its financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey.
More jobs, higher stock prices and improved home values have all helped consumers clean up their balance sheets in the years following the biggest recession since the Great Depression. Additional gains in the labor market and household wealth will be needed to give consumers the means to spend on goods and services, boosting economic growth.
"The gains in wealth are cumulative and they're likely to have, over time, a more positive effect on consumer spending," said Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Conn. Looking ahead, gains will be "a bit less rapid, but we do have continued improvement."
The value of financial assets, including stocks and pension fund holdings, held by American households increased by $2.52 trillion in the fourth quarter, according to Thursday's Fed report.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 9.9 percent from Sept. 30 to Dec. 31, capping the best yearly gain since 1997.
An improving housing market also boosted household wealth. The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index rose 11.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2012, the biggest year-over-year advance since the first three months of 2006.
Household real-estate assets climbed by $401.1 billion, the data show. Owners' equity as a share of total household real- estate holdings increased to 51.7 percent last quarter from 50.6 percent in the previous three months.
Household net worth was $11.8 trillion greater than its pre-recession peak of $68.8 trillion reached in the second quarter of 2007. It was $77.7 trillion in the three months ended September.
The Fed is trying to preserve improvements in household net worth by maintaining an accommodative stance, even as it scales back its unprecedented stimulus program.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank intends to reduce asset purchases at a "measured" pace, in testimony before the Senate last week. She also said in response to a separate question that the bond-buying program is likely to end in the fall. At the same time, "if there's a significant change in the outlook, certainly we would be open to reconsidering," Yellen said.
Fed policy makers will likely keep a close eye on the labor market, where gains have been inconsistent over the past three months. Payrolls grew by 113,000 in January following advances of 75,000 in December and 274,000 in November. They're projected to increase by about 150,000 in February, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg before Friday's Labor Department report.
Household debt increased at a 0.4 percent annualized rate last quarter, Thursday's Fed report showed. Mortgage borrowing dropped at a 1 percent pace. Other forms of consumer credit, including auto and student loans, increased at a 5.4 percent pace.
For all of 2013, household debt climbed 0.9 percent, the biggest gain since 2007, even as Americans continued to pay down home loans. Mortgage borrowing fell 0.8 percent, the smallest drop since 2008, which marked the first year of the recession.
Total non-financial debt increased at a 5.4 percent annual pace last quarter, the most in a year. Federal government obligations jumped by 11.6 percent, the biggest gain since the first three months of 2012. Business borrowing rose 7.1 percent. State and local government debt dropped at a 4.9 percent pace.]]>
The annual pretax savings, which the company expects to achieve by the end of 2015, will come from areas including the supply chain, sales force, marketing and information-technology services, in addition to the store closings, the Framingham, Mass.-based company said in a statement today.
The retailer is facing increased threats from Internet-based rivals such as Amazon.com Inc., a challenge that spurred Office Depot Inc. to merge with OfficeMax Inc. last year. Staples said sales in its fiscal first quarter will fall from a year earlier, the fifth straight quarterly decline, and profit will be as much as 22 cents a share, trailing analysts' 27-cent average estimate.
Staples' sales slowdown "reflects both tough industry conditions and underperformance" by the chain, Denise Chai, an analyst with Bank of America Corp. in New York, wrote in a note to clients today. She has the equivalent of a sell rating on the shares.
The shares fell 15 percent to $11.35 at 11:08 a.m. in New York and earlier dropped as much as 17 percent for the biggest intraday decline since Aug. 15, 2012. The stock slid 16 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 1.4 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
Staples shuttered 42 stores in North America last year, ending 2013 with 1,846 in the region. The plan announced today calls for as many as 225 closings. Kirk Saville, a spokesman for Staples, didn't immediately respond to voice mails and an email left by Bloomberg News seeking comment on how many jobs will be eliminated by the cost-cutting plan.
Representatives of Staples declined to comment in response to a Providence Business News inquiry about whether any of the stores slated to be closed are located in Rhode Island.
"With nearly half of our sales generated online today, we're meeting the changing needs of business customers and taking aggressive action to reduce costs and improve efficiency," CEO Ron Sargent said in the statement.
Fourth-quarter sales at stores open at least a year fell 7 percent, while sales from Staples.com gained 10 percent, the company said today.
Staples joins a broad swath of retailers shutting stores amid sluggish U.S. sales. Kids-clothes seller Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. said today it would close 125 stores through 2016, including 41 locations it shut last year, while forecasting profit this year that trailed analysts' estimates.
Electronics retailer RadioShack Corp. said March 4 that it planned to close about a fifth of its stores after fourth-quarter sales trailed estimates. Department-store chains J.C. Penney Co. and Macy's Inc. also have announced closings this year.
Staples' fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $212.4 million, or 33 cents a share, from $78.1 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier.]]>