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Corey Leopold / flickr.com/cleopold73

Heavy rains during the last part of 2015 are causing problems with Georgia's pecan harvest.

Georgia produces the most pecans in the country, where an average crop weighs in around 100 million pounds.

But the recent wet weather made it tough for Georgia  farmers to get to the crops, which left the pecans in soggy conditions for an extended period of time.

That could reduce the crop's final yield by as much as 20 percent.

Worse yet, this may result in smaller crops in the future.

Charles W. Jones / WABE

Georgia construction firms say they're optimistic that there will be plenty of business available this coming year, according to a survey from the Associated General Contractors of America. But they also say they're concerned about finding enough workers.

More than three-quarters of firms that responded to the survey said that they expect to add positions in 2016, but nearly as many said they're not sure they can find workers to fill them.

It’s a nationwide issue, said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the contractors’ trade group.

Atlanta's main economic development agency is in need of a new leader.

Craig Richard announced his resignation as president and CEO of Invest Atlanta on Wednesday.

His last day will be Jan. 18. He was hired in November of 2014.

Invest Atlanta serves as a liaison between government entities and help smoothen public and private partnerships. Its main purpose is to boost Atlanta's economy.

The Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead includes hot desks and flexible lease options for technology startups.
Perry Winkle / Trevelino Keller

The Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead features an independent coffee shop, free beer on tap, video game consoles, nap rooms and some desks.

Office spaces like this go by many names: tech incubator, maker space, startup accelerator, hub, innovation center. Technology companies have been eager to put entrepreneurs, ping pong tables and tech support all in one building -- especially within the last five years. 

A look at some Georgia peaches. Will McGehee with Genuine Georgia Group, whose family has been in peaches for 5 generations, joins A Closer Look on Friday, September 25, 2015 to give an update on the peach industry in Georgia.
Courtesy of The Georgia Peach Council

Georgia's No. 1 agricultural crop is cotton, followed by timber, peanuts and blueberries.

The official state fruit, the peach, is also a big money-maker.

But an unusually warm winter is not ideal for many crops like peaches.

Georgia peach growers say they're concerned about whether they'll have enough this spring.

Duke Lane Jr., a former president of the Georgia Peach Council, said if the peaches are not exposed to at least 31 more days of temperatures below 45 degrees before February 2015, farmers could lose some of their crop.

Ted S. Warren, File / Associated Press

Americans have been doing more of their shopping by sitting at home ─ and they've been buying more items to sit on. And overall, spending during the holidays is up by nearly eight percent from a year ago.

According to a report released today, Americans spent more on items like furniture during the holidays this year, with online shopping in particular seeing a big spike. It was up by 20 percent. But shopping at physical stores still accounts for the majority of spending during the holidays.

Looking Forward To 2016: Georgia's Economy Trends

Dec 28, 2015
David Goldman / Associated Press

As 2016 approaches, we are asking WABE reporters what trends they plan to follow in 2016.

Reporter Tasnim Shamma says she will be watching Georgia's growing economy.

University of Georgia economists say Georgia's gross domestic product will grow at 3.5 percent, almost a full percentage higher than the nation’s average.

John Bazemore / AP Photo, File

Negotiations have restarted between Delta Air Lines and its pilots' union.

In July, pilots voted overwhelmingly against a tentative contract with the airline.

John Malone, who represents the union, said during the recession, pilots agreed to work more strenuous schedules, but they think it's time for that to end.

“What we're really looking for is just things that are related to how long a pilot's duty day is, fatigue related issues that center around safety, and things like that,” he said.  

Elly Yu / WABE

Relations between the United States and Cuba have been thawing over the past year. Earlier this month, the countries stuck a deal for regular flights between the two nations, and the United States reopened its embassy in Havana over the summer. But while much is still up to Congress to fully restore relations with the island country, Georgia lawmakers have been eyeing how better relations with Cuba would help the Peach State.

One area they’re looking at: chicken.

Steve Reeves Photography / © Rion Rizzo / Creative Sources Photography, Inc.

The Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport in Paulding County, also known as Silver Comet Field, wants to add commercial flights.

More than 300 people attended a public hearing earlier this month to discuss a recently published environmental assessment.

Opponents of the project released a statement that said they fear endangered species will be impacted.

Dan Raby / WABE

Delta Air Lines got passengers from Point A to Point B promptly in October.

According to the U.S. Transportation Department, Delta had an on-time arrival rate of 92.1 percent.

That led the list of major U.S. carriers that month.

The Obama administration is considering opening up parts of the Atlantic Ocean, from the Georgia coast up to Virginia, to offshore oil and gas drilling. 

But according to an environmental law group, the economic projections that supporters of Atlantic drilling cite are too good to be true. 

A new report said earlier estimates provided by the oil and gas industry overestimate the potential economic benefits of drilling in the Atlantic. 

This DC-9 was delivered new to North Central Airlines in 1978. Thanks to airline mergers, it was absorbed by Republic then Northwest.  In 2008, Delta inherited the aircraft when it merged with Northwest.
Jim Burress / WABE News

 

Delta Air Lines says it is banning hoverboards because of the potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power the devices.

Hoverboards are motorized, two-wheel, skateboard-sized scooters that users stand on. They have been a hot gift item at some retailers.

Delta's ban takes effect Friday. Passengers won't be allowed to pack a hoverboard in either checked luggage or a carry-on bag. Delta says some boards use batteries that exceed the wattage for batteries allowed on planes.

Commentary: Time For Region To Be MARTA Smart

Dec 4, 2015
Brenna Beech / WABE

   

Here we go again. Another year. Another transportation debate.

This time, Fulton County wants a five-year penny sales tax for transportation.

The idea is gaining steam among the mayors of the various Fulton cities who want new funding -- primarily for roads.

The exception is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who wants funding to expand the city’s streetcar network -- especially along the Atlanta BeltLine.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Starting Friday, the ride-sharing company Uber will launch a service called uberPOOL, allowing passengers in Atlanta to carpool.

Technically, Uber is not yet welcome at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but the company is advertising it will allow carpools to and from the airport.

Four Locations  

Uber's general manager in Atlanta, Keith Radford, says uberPOOL will also initially be available in downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.  

Paul Sakuma, File / Associated Press

Shoppers spent more than $3 billion online this "Cyber Monday," making it the biggest online shopping day ever.

Research firm comScore said shopping by phone, laptop or tablet jumped 21 percent to $3.11 billion Monday.

The 10-year-old shopping holiday has lost some of its luster as retailers push sales forward on the calendar to Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Yet "Cyber Monday" has become engrained in the minds of enough shoppers, and it endures as the top online spending day of the year.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

Starting Friday, the ride-sharing company Uber will offer carpooling service in Atlanta. 

For now, it's offering the service in downtown, Midtown, Buckhead and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Uber says customers will have to wait a little longer to get matched with someone traveling in the same direction, but the new service will save customers about 25 percent off the cost of a normal UberX ride. 

The carpooling service will be available during rush hour traffic during the week and on weekends. 

Don McCullough / flickr.com/DonMcCullough

Amazon is giving new details on its Prime Air drone delivery program. But the timeline is still unclear.

The retailer says Prime Air will one day deliver packages up to 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.

The drones will fly under 400 feet and weigh less than 55 pounds, according to details posted on its website Sunday. It says it will use technology and automation to operate safely.

Ross D. Franklin / associated press file

Retailers are rolling out online deals today, the so-called "Cyber Monday."

But since shoppers these days are online all the time anyway, the shopping holiday is losing some of its luster. Still, Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day ever, with estimates that it will rack up over $3 billion in sales.

The head of the National Retail Federation, Matthew Shay, says, "It's no longer about one day but a season of digital deals."

The Iberian Pig in Decatur says it has always allowed dogs outdoors, but the new rules provide restaurants with safety guidelines.
MaiBri Photography

Georgia's Department of Public Health says dogs on leashes are now allowed in outdoor dining areas.

Many restaurants in Georgia already allow dogs, but the department says making it official will improve safety.

Laurie / flickr.com/joanieofarc

Shoppers no longer have to wait until Black Friday to cruise store aisles for holiday deals.

With online shopping available at any time of the day or night, many major retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and Macy's are among the retailers whose brick-and-mortar stores will be open by 6 p.m.

Courtesy of Cardlytics

This year, 12 Atlanta area companies made it onto the list of the fastest growing technology companies in North America, according to rankings by Deloitte, a consulting firm.

Georgia's Fastest Growing Tech Companies

Cardlytics, headquartered in Atlanta, was ranked 25th on this year's Deloitte Fast 500.

Chuck Miller / www.flickr.com/Chuck Miller

General Electric will not be moving its headquarters to Georgia.

The Fairfield, Connecticut, company notified Georgia officials Saturday that metro Atlanta had been eliminated from consideration, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said economic development officials were disappointed by the decision but remain proud of GE's existing presence in Georgia.

According to the newspaper, GE representatives toured sites in the metro Atlanta area as recently as October.

coca-cola

A nonprofit founded to combat obesity says the $1.5 million it received from Coke doesn't influence its work.

But emails obtained by The Associated Press show the company was instrumental in shaping the Global Energy Balance Network. Coke helped pick the group's leaders, edited its mission statement and suggested content for its website.

When contacted by the AP, Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent said in a statement that the company was not as transparent about its involvement with the group as it should have been.

Adam Allington / Associated Press

Many aging baby boomers are caught between a desire to work less and a labor market that just isn't ready to let them go.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people 65 and older who are still working in some capacity is higher now than 20 years ago.

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies finds that slightly more than 40 percent of U.S. workers hope to cut back hours or transition to a less demanding position before retirement.

Fernando Filho / flickr.com/fpena

When Volkswagen submits a plan to fix emissions-cheating diesel engines Friday, it will have only two options for most of the cars.

It can install a bigger exhaust system to trap harmful nitrogen oxide or it can retrofit a chemical treatment process that cuts pollution.

The bigger exhaust will likely hurt performance and gas mileage, angering car owners. But the chemical treatment, while saving acceleration and mileage, needs a clumsy storage tank and multiple hardware changes to work. In either case, almost a half-million cars would have to be recalled for the repairs.

Group photo of participants
Alison Guillory / WABE

For a number of U.S. immigrants, the “American Dream” includes starting a business one day. That's true for many in Latin American communities, and increasingly women are starting those businesses.

States like California, Texas and Florida all have strong markets for business-minded Latinas. But no state has seen more growth in its number of Latina-owned firms than Georgia, according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Survey.

Ric Feld / Associated Press

Delta won't let you check your pets as baggage next year. Starting in March, bigger animals will have to fly on Delta's cargo service.

That's typically pricier than checking pets as baggage. It can also be less convenient since the pet may not be shipped with a customer's flight.

United Airlines also doesn't allow pets to be checked in as baggage.

Delta Air Lines Inc. will allow certain members of the military to check pets as baggage as well as customers with service or emotional support animals.

OnBoard has just completed its 2015 study with some surprising results. And the business climate in Georgia is looking favorable for women executives.

OnBoard is an organization that has been keeping track of the progress of women on corporate boards and in executive positions in Georgia for 23 years.

In 1993, women held only 4 percent of the seats on the boards of Georgia's public companies. By 2015, it is more than 12 percent, a record.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press, File

U.S. Attorney John Horn announced the indictment Tuesday of three people for allegedly hacking into the servers of E*TRADE and Scottrade, and gleaning the personal information of more than 10 million customers. Horn called the crime “one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history.”

But he says these were not typical hackers.

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