Economists expect Fed to keep rates low | U.S. manufacturers boost production with robots | Corporate auditors will see higher budgets, more spending on tech
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March 19, 2013
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Business Finance Today
Economists expect Fed to keep rates low
Ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting this week, economists expect the central bank to maintain historically low short-term interest rates, despite signs of a strengthening economy. Unemployment remains at 7.7%, and at previous meetings, the Fed has pledged to keep policies in place until unemployment drops to 6.5%, provided inflation remains mild. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/19)
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U.S. manufacturers boost production with robots
Soaring profit in the U.S. manufacturing sector isn't translating into additional jobs. As robots become less expensive and more skilled, manufacturers are buying robots instead of adding employees when sales are good enough to increase production. (3/19)
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Your Bottom Line
Corporate auditors will see higher budgets, more spending on tech
Two separate studies point to increased budgets for corporate auditors this year and their plans to use the extra funds to beef up analytical and information technology skills. The surveys, from the 2013 State of the Internal Audit Profession study from PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as the Institute of Internal Auditors, conclude that technology can improve audit quality. The Wall Street Journal/CFO Journal (3/18)
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Workers pick more affordable health plan in private exchange
An Aon Hewitt study shows that 42% of employees have chosen a less expensive health plan offered through a private exchange compared with a previous plan from their employer. The study also says that 32% of employees have opted for coverage similar to their previous plan, while 26% have chosen a more comprehensive plan. Business Insurance (tiered subscription model) (3/18)
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In the C-Suite
5 simple tips for improving company culture
"[T]here are adoptable practices to turn a halfhearted team into one that's resilient and devoted," writes Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network. "It's as easy as celebrating and investing in your employees." Gimbel's tips include making a team out of people who don't normally socialize together, embracing cultural events such as March Madness, involving employees in big decisions, setting aside a regular time to meet with each staff member and offering workshops and additional training. Fox Business Small Business Center (3/14)
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How March Madness can put a spring in the step of workers
There are legal considerations to letting employees participate in a March Madness bracket at work, but doing so correctly can build team spirit and morale without hurting productivity, says Murat Philippe of Avatar HR Solutions. Bracket betting "is something that is going to happen anyway, no matter what a company may say," Philippe said. "It doesn't really cost you a great deal, so you may as well saddle it up and ride it out." USA Today/Gannett News Service (3/17)
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On the Move
John Fleurant is New York Life Insurance's next CFO
Fleurant is deputy CFO and will replace Michael Sproule when he retires. Bloomberg (3/18)
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Off the Charts
Lululemon has a sheer reason to recall yoga pants
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Lululemon athletica has recalled its black yoga pants after finding the material is too sheer. The company says there likely will be a shortage of the wildly popular item. Yahoo/The Associated Press (3/19)
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Technology has emerged as a key enabler for internal audit to improve audit quality and value while remaining cost-effective."
-- PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2013 State of the Internal Audit Profession study, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal
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