Posts

Is Mexico the “New” China?

When it comes to global manufacturing, Mexico is quickly emerging as the “new” China.

According to corporate consultant AlixPartners, Mexico has leapfrogged China to be ranked as the cheapest country in the world for companies looking to manufacture products for the U.S. market. India is now No. 2, followed by China and then Brazil.

In fact, Mexico’s cost advantages and has become so cheap that even Chinese companies are moving there to capitalize on the trade advantages that come from geographic proximity.

According to corporate consultant AlixPartners, Mexico has leapfrogged China to be ranked as the cheapest country in the world for companies looking to manufacture products for the U.S. market. India is now No. 2, followed by China and then Brazil. In fact, Mexico’s cost advantages and has become so cheap that even Chinese companies are moving there to capitalize on the trade advantages that come from geographic proximity.

According to corporate consultant AlixPartners, Mexico has leapfrogged China to be ranked as the cheapest country in the world for companies looking to manufacture products for the U.S. market. India is now No. 2, followed by China and then Brazil. In fact, Mexico’s cost advantages and has become so cheap that even Chinese companies are moving there to capitalize on the trade advantages that come from geographic proximity.

The influx of Chinese manufacturers began early in the decade, as China-based firms in the cellular telephone, television, textile and automobile sectors began to establish maquiladora operations in Mexico. By 2005, there were 20-25 Chinese manufacturers operating in such Mexican states Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Baja.

The investments were generally small, but the operations had managed to create nearly 4,000 jobs, Enrique Castro Septien, president of the Consejo Nacional de la Industria Maquiladora de Exportacion (CNIME), told the SourceMex news portal in a 2005 interview.

China’s push into Mexico became more concentrated, with China-based automakers Zhongxing Automobile Co., First Automotive Works (in partnership with Mexican retail/media heavyweight Grupo Salinas), Geely Automobile Holdings (PINK: GELYF) and ChangAn Automobile Group Co. Ltd. (the Chinese partner of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) andSuzuki Motor Corp.), all announced plans to place automaking factoriesin Mexico.

Not all the plans would come to fruition. But Geely’s plan called for a three-phase project that would ultimately involve a $270 million investment and have a total annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. ChangAn wants to churn out 50,000 vehicles a year. Both companies are taking these steps with the ultimate goal of selling cars to U.S. consumers.

Mexico’s allure as a production site that can serve the U.S. market isn’t limited to China-based suitors. U.S. companies are increasingly realizing that Mexico is a better option than China. Analysts are calling it “nearshoring” or “reverse globalization.” But the reality is this: With wages on the rise in China, ongoing worries about whipsaw energy and commodity prices, and a dollar-yuan relationship that’s destined to get much uglier before it has a chance of improving, manufacturers with an eye on the American market are increasingly realizing that Mexico trumps China in virtually every equation the producers run.

“China was like a recent graduate, hitting the job market for the first time and willing to work for next to nothing,” Mexico-manufacturing consultant German Dominguez told the Christian Science Monitor in an interview last year. But now China is experiencing “the perfect storm … it’s making Mexico – a country that had been the ugly duckling when it came to costs – look a lot better.”

The real eye opener was a 2008 speculative frenzy that sent crude oil prices up to a record level in excess of $147 a barrel – an escalation that caused shipping prices to soar. Suddenly, the labor cost advantage China enjoyed wasn’t enough to overcome the costs of shipping finished goods thousands of miles from Asia to North America. And that reality kick-started the concept of “nearshoring,” concluded an investment research report by Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets Inc. (NYSE: CM)

“In a world of triple-digit oil prices, distance costs money,” the CIBC research analysts wrote. “And while trade liberalization and technology may have flattened the world, rising transport prices will once again make it rounder.”

Indeed, four factors are at work here.

Mexico’s “Fab Four”

  • The U.S.-Mexico Connection: There’s no question that China’s role in the post-financial-crisis world economy will continue to grow in importance. But contrary to the conventional wisdom, U.S. firms still export three times as much to Mexico as they do to China. Mexico gets 75% of its foreign direct investment from the United States, and sends 85% of its exports back across U.S. borders. As China’s cost and currency advantages dissipate, the fact that the United States and Mexico are right next to one another makes it logical to keep the factories in this hemisphere – if for no other reason that to shorten the supply chain and to hold down shipping costs. This is particularly important for companies like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE:WHR) and even the beleaguered auto parts maker Delphi Corp. (PINK: DPHIQ) which are involved in just-in-time manufacturing that requires parts be delivered only as fast as they are needed.
  • The Lost Cost Advantage: A decade or more ago, in any discussion of manufactured product costs, Asia was hands-down the low-cost producer. That’s a given no more. Recent reports – including the analysis by AlixPartners – show that Asia’s production costs are 15% or 20% higher than they were just four years ago. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report from March reaches the same conclusion. Compensation costs in East Asia – a region that includes China but excludes Japan – rose from 32% of U.S. wages in 2002 to 43% in 2007, the most recent statistics available. And since wages are advancing at a rate of 8% to 9% a year, and many types of taxes are escalating, too, East Asia’s overall costs have no doubt escalated even more in the two years since the BLS figures were reported.
  • The Creeping Currency Crisis: For the past few years, U.S. elected officials and corporate executives alike have groused that China keeps its currency artificially low to boost its exports, while also reducing U.S. imports. The U.S. trade deficit with China has soared, growing by $20.2 billion in August alone to reach $143 billion so far this year. The currency debate will be part of the discussion when U.S. President Barack Obama visits Chinastarting Monday. Because China’s yuan has strengthened so much, goods made in China may not be the bargain they once were. Those currency crosscurrents aren’t a problem with the U.S. and Mexico, however. As of Monday, the dollar was down about 15% from its March 2009 high. At the same time, however, the Mexican peso had dropped 20% versus the dollar. So while the yuan was getting stronger as the dollar got cheaper, the peso was getting even cheaper versus the dollar.
  • Trade Alliance Central: Everyone’s familiar with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  But not everyone understands the impact that NAFTA has had. It isn’t just window-dressing: Mexico’s trade with the United States and Canada has tripled since NAFTA was enacted in 1994. What’s more, Mexico has 12 free-trade agreements that involve more than 40 countries – more than any other country and enough to cover more than 90% of the country’s foreign trade. Its goods can be exported – duty-free – to the United States, Canada, the European Union, most of Central and Latin America, and to Japan.

In the global scheme of things, what I am telling you here probably won’t be a game-changer when it comes to China. That country is an economic juggernaut and is a market that U.S. investors cannot afford to ignore.  Given China’s emerging strength and its increasingly dominant financial position, it’s going to have its own consumer markets to service for decades to come.

Two Profit Play Candidates

From a regional standpoint, these developments all show that we’re in the earliest stages of what could be an even-closer Mexican/American relationship – enhancing the existing trade partnership in ways that benefit companies on both sides of the border (even companies that hail from other parts of the world).

In the meantime, we’ll be watching for signs of a resurgent Mexican manufacturing industry that’s ultimately driven by Chinese companies – because we know the American companies doing business with them will enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Since this is an early stage opportunity best for investors capable of stomaching some serious volatility, we’ll be watching for those Mexican companies likely to benefit from the capital that’s being newly deployed in their backyard.

Two of my favorite choices include:

  • Wal Mart de Mexico SAB de CV (OTC ADR: WMMVY): Also known as “Walmex,” this retailer has all the advantages of investing in its U.S. counterpart – albeit with a couple of twists. Walmex’s third-quarter profits were up 18% and the company just started accepting bank deposits, a service that should boost store traffic. And while the U.S. retail market is highly saturated – which limits growth opportunities – there are still plenty of places to build Walmex stores south of the border. After all, somebody has to sell products to all those thousands of workers likely to be involved in the growing maquiladora sector.
  • Coca-Cola FEMSA SAB de CV (NYSE ADR: KOF): Things truly do go better with Coke – especially higher wages and an improved lifestyle. According toReuters, Mexicans now consume more Coca-Cola beverages per capita than any other nation in the world. The company just posted a 25% jump in its third-quarter net earnings, aided by a strong 21% jump in revenue. Coca-Cola FEMSA continues to experience strong growth from its Oxxo convenience stores, and strong beer sales, too. And all three product groups are logical beneficiaries of strong maquiladora development and the growing incomes and rising family wealth that will translate into higher consumer spending in the immediately surrounding areas.

Source: Keith Fitz-Gerald is the chief investment strategist for Money Morning and The Money Map Report.

whoever is trying to bring you down

whoever is trying to bring you down

New HomePath.com in Spanish to Help Hispanics Buy Homes

Fannie Mae Launches New HomePath.com in Spanish Aimed at Helping More Hispanics Buy Homes

Interactive Tools and Information Designed to Guide Potential Homeowners Through Homebuying Process and Prevent Foreclosure

Fannie Mae Launches New HomePath.com in Spanish Aimed at Helping More Hispanics Buy Homes

Fannie Mae Launches New HomePath.com in Spanish Aimed at Helping More Hispanics Buy Homes

Fannie Mae announced the company launched a Spanish version of its HomePath.com website designed to help more potential homeowners who speak Spanish purchase Fannie Mae-owned properties.

The new website in Spanish mirrors the English version of HomePath.com featuring an interactive search tool of Fannie Mae-owned properties nationwide, details about HomePath® financing, a mortgage payment calculator, property alerts, as well as information on foreclosure prevention and the Making Home Affordable((SM)) program.

Through HomePath.com, potential homeowners can access a database that includes a wide selection of homes from around the country – including the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico – which can be purchased directly from Fannie Mae. Properties include detailed information and photographs of single-family homes, condominiums, and town houses located in a variety of neighborhoods.

“HomePath.com is a great resource that can help people find a lifelong home for themselves and their families,” said Fannie Mae Executive Vice President, Terry W. Edwards. “The website has a wealth of information to inform and guide potential homeowners through the process of buying a Fannie Mae-owned property.”

The new release of HomePath.com in Spanish is part of a continuous effort aimed at improving access to information and resources which play a vital role in aiding both English and Spanish-speaking populations in the U.S. purchase homes, while helping minimize the impact on communities hit by foreclosures.

For more information about HomePath, please visit www.HomePath.com and click “En Espanol”, or for direct access to the website in Spanish, visit www.es.HomePath.com.

Fannie Mae exists to expand affordable housing and bring global capital to local communities in order to serve the U.S. housing market. Fannie Mae has a federal charter and operates in America’s secondary mortgage market to enhance the liquidity of the mortgage market by providing funds to mortgage bankers and other lenders so that they may lend to home buyers. Our job is to help those who house America.

Making Home Affordable is a trademark of the United States Department of the Treasury and is used under license.

SOURCE Fannie Mae

Hispanics Celebrate Christmas In Uncertain Economic Times

The Heart of the Holidays

Hispanics Celebrate Christmas In Uncertain Economic Times

Hispanics Celebrate Christmas In Uncertain Economic Times

When it comes to the holidays, Hispanic families have always relied on traditions to celebrate the season. Whether attending Posadas, preparing special family recipes, or just getting together to share memories, traditions strengthen family ties and make the season more special. And during this recession, more than half (52 percent) of Hispanics feel that holiday traditions become more important in difficult economic times, according to a new survey* commissioned by Sears.

“This holiday season more than ever, Americans are getting creative with how they will make the most of, and, celebrate their holidays with everything from adopting new traditions to altering the way they shop,” said Don Hamblen, Sears’ chief marketing officer. “Sears is a company known for its long-standing traditions so we understand just how important traditions are to families. Whether it’s a new twist on an old favorite or something entirely new, Sears continues to look for ways to bring value to our customers this holiday season by helping them create and keep family traditions.”

Nearly all Hispanics (94 percent) plan to practice new traditions, especially when it comes to the gifts they will give. Among those practicing new traditions:

  • Nearly three in five (59 percent) will set a price limit on presents
  • Others will use a grab bag approach (20 percent) or give gifts from a whole group of people to share the costs (15 percent)
  • Many (48 percent) also plan to alter the way they shop this holiday, taking advantage of everything stores have to offer, such as:
    • Sales and coupons (91 percent)
    • Layaway plans (33 percent)
    • 0% financing options (23 percent)
    • Shop at discount stores (81 percent), and
    • Venture out to shopping malls on “Black Friday” (57 percent)

No matter what changes they will make, many Hispanics admit that a holiday without traditions would be worse than a holiday without gifts (52 percent)

This year, the celebrated Sears Holiday Wish Book, a long-time shopping tradition for families to make their Christmas wish lists, is being spiced up with the launch of an interactive, online version available at www.sears.com/wishbook. And for those consumers planning to buy more group gifts this year, the Sears Give Together program offers an easy way for them to do so.

Another long-time tradition, Black Friday, is made easier this year with Sears’ “Black Friday Now!” doorbusters – providing earlier savings on everything from home electronics and kitchen and housewares to jewelry and apparel – on each of the five consecutive Saturdays leading up to Thanksgiving. Sears also offers layaway, which is available both in-store and online, enabling customers to reserve holiday gifts, including Black Friday Now! doorbusters, pay for them over time and pick them up right before the holidays.

ShopYourWay(TM) serves to change traditional holiday shopping altogether by giving customers a wide-variety of new, convenient ways to shop. Sears ShopYourWay offers personalized and convenient shopping options which allows for shopping to revolve around the customer 24/7. With convenient options such as Web2Store and Sears’ Personal Shopper, customers can get what they want, when they want and how they want when they shop in store or online.

For more information, visit www.sears.com.

*An online survey of 400 nationally representative Hispanics ages 18 and older

About Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes approximately 929 full-line and approximately 1,200 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through sears.com, landsend.com, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands’ End — among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the nation’s largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at www.sears.com or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at www.searsholdings.com.

About the Survey

The Sears Holiday Traditions Survey was conducted by Kelton Research between Oct. 16, 2009 and Oct. 22, 2009 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the Hispanic U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than three percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

SOURCE Sears Holdings

Photo courtesy: iStockPhoto

Hispanics Minding Money in Downturn No Sacrificing Pleasures

Tough times call for tough decisions, but Latinos are finding ways to mind their budgets while still spending on the small pleasures and privileges they consider vital to their happiness and well-being.

Hispanics Minding Money in Downturn Without Sacrificing Pleasures, Research Finds

Hispanics Minding Money in Downturn Without Sacrificing Pleasures, Research Finds

C&R Research recently polled its LatinoEyes panel to assess behaviors by the “majority minority” during the recession, and found that “the recession has forced Hispanics to rethink what’s luxury and what’s necessity,” explained Angelina Villarreal, a C&R vice president. “What we’re seeing is that while this group is budget-conscious, its members don’t want to give up their quality of life.”

C&R, in its sample of 825 panel participants, found that the most recession-impacted segments were Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Central Americans; 58 percent reported that the recession had a significant impact on their lives.

However, a majority of Hispanics, particularly the young, was unwilling to relinquish cell phones (69 percent), and 81 percent (notably Mexicans) couldn’t do without driving their cars. Paid television services remain important to 67 percent, mostly the older generation, and the home Internet connection, particularly among fluent bicultural Hispanics, is maintained by 65 percent.

While nearly half of those polled said they were clipping coupons and buying clearance clothing, over three-fourths of Latinos are still spending on dining out or ordering in and going out for entertainment or to the movies, but with less frequency. And nearly three-fourths of the women in this sector haven’t let the downturn affect their purchasing of personal care products.

“Hispanics are trying to make do — maybe better than make do — if they can without abandoning their favorite products, entertainment, restaurants, and services,” Villarreal said. “And it looks like they’re succeeding.”

Chicago-based C&R Research is one of the nation’s largest, independent full-service research firms. Since 1959, it has provided custom-designed qualitative and quantitative research for a wide variety of business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients. Their specialty research expertise includes youth, boomers, parents and shoppers. In addition,( )C&R’s consultancy division, LatinoEyes, specializes in the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets. Its research team has a deep understanding of both the U.S. and Latino cultures.

SOURCE C&R Research

‘Frente a la Crisis – Facing the Crisis’

Economy crisis impact on Latinos examined in new Radio Bilingue series

Families across the nation are feeling the dire effects of the current economic crisis but probably none more so than Latinos, who may be the hardest hit by job loss, home foreclosures, loss of health insurance and deeper poverty – topics that are the focus of a new national series by Radio Bilingue: Frente a la Crisis/Facing the Crisis.”

Economy crisis impact on Latinos examined in new Radio Bilingue series

Economy crisis impact on Latinos examined in new Radio Bilingue series

This comprehensive, multimedia series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The California Endowment. Frente a la Crisis/Facing the Crisis” takes an inside look at the effects of the economic crisis in the Latino community, and is airing on Satelite Radio Bilingue’s nationally-distributed news and talk services, Linea Abierta and Edicion Semanaria de Noticiero Latino.

Linea Abierta broadcasts daily at noon and Edicion Semanaria airs weekly on Fridays at 4 p.m. — each featuring weekly episodes of the series over a twelve month period that began in September.

Linea Abierta broadcasts weekly talk shows on the economy, featuring roundtable discussions and interviews with newsmakers, and Edicion Semanaria airs in-depth feature reports, on issues ranging from health insurance loss, to accessing food to green jobs.

In addition, the national coverage will include visits by the Linea Abierta team to the epicenters of the recession to broadcast stories from the communities hardest hit by the economy. The live broadcasts will portray on the national airwaves outstanding efforts at the local level, including community-organizing initiatives, citizen ideas and government programs to help workers and homeowners get out of the economic crisis. The network’s online platforms also are being used as part of the informational media campaign.

In Central California — ground zero for joblessness and foreclosures in the nation — the project includes a specialized look at the impact of unemployment on Latinos through live talk shows, promotional spots and educational messages on employment issues and services.

Radio Bilingue is working with community partners to connect Spanish-speaking Latinos with resources to navigate the unemployment insurance system, apply for benefits, learn about eligibility requirements, emergency compensation, extended benefits, reemployment services, self-employment and small business help.

Funds are provided by: The California Endowment, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, James Irvine Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and ZeroDivide Foundation.

www.radiobilingue.org

Source: Radio Bilingue

Hispanics Preparing for Retirement Face Significant Challenges

New Study Reveals Significant Challenges Hispanic Americans Face in Preparing for Retirement

New Study Reveals Significant Challenges Hispanic Americans Face in Preparing for Retirement

A new report released today demonstrates that Hispanic Americans face greater challenges in obtaining a secure retirement than the average population. The paper, prepared by the Hispanic Institute think-tank and the Americans for Secure Retirement (ASR) coalition, finds that the unique challenges include a general lack of retirement preparation, less access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, lower levels of personal savings and inadequate financial literacy.

The report concludes that Hispanic Americans need to consider multiple retirement vehicles to supplement Social Security and to bridge the gap in access to employer plans. Options such as lifetime annuities can minimize financial risks and provide the means to both build retirement savings and secure guaranteed income that will last as long as they live. Access to such a source of guaranteed lifetime income to supplement Social Security is a critical part of planning for a secure retirement.

“While our research found that Hispanics face greater challenges in preparing for retirement than the average population, with the right tools to properly prepare for retirement, these obstacles can be overcome,” said Gus West, Board of Directors Chair for Hispanic Institute.

Significant findings of the study include:

  • Only 41 percent of Hispanic workers say they have saved money for retirement.
  • Only 25.6 percent of Hispanics are covered by employer-sponsored retirement plans, compared to 42.5 percent of whites and 40 percent of African-Americans.
  • Of the Hispanics receiving Social Security benefits, almost 80 percent rely on these benefits for at least 50 percent of their retirement earnings.
  • Among people 65 and older receiving Social Security, on average Hispanics receive about $2,124 less in earnings than non-Hispanics.

Between 1979 and 1999, middle-class Hispanics households increased nearly 80 percent. In the same period, the group of Hispanic households earnings between $40,000 to $140,000 grew to include about one-third of the total Hispanic households nationwide.

Today, the U.S. Hispanic population makes up about 48 million people; by 2050 that number will increase to 132 million, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the total U.S. population. Due to the growing Hispanic population, an average longer life expectancy, and because only 16 percent of the population is in their pre-retirement years, Hispanics will make up a significant number of those entering retirement in the future.

“Since two-thirds of Hispanics are employed in the service-related field, which generally does not offer employer-sponsored retirement plans, many hard working Hispanic Americans may not have the proper nest egg to retire. It is imperative that their savings are managed and invested in a secure plan that assures income for life,” said Brent Wilkes, Executive Director of League of United Latin American Citizens.

Legislation currently being considered in Congress would create tax advantages for the purchase of an annuity and the conversion of a portion of an individual’s savings into a lifetime retirement income stream. The Retirement Security Needs Lifetime Pay Act, H.R. 2748, in the U.S. House and the Retirement Security for Life Act, S. 1297, in the U.S. Senate, would create a tax exclude from taxes a portion of the annual income received through an annuity, increasing accessibility to lifetime annuities as a retirement option and creating significant tax savings for middle-income Americans.

“Congress needs to pass this legislation to encourage the greatest accessibility possibility to multiple retirement savings vehicles that tackle the income side of the retirement problem,” said Bill Waldie, Chairman of ASR.

The Hispanic Institute nonprofit organization formed in 2005 to provide an effective education forum for an informed and empowered Hispanic America. Americans for Secure Retirement is a broad-based coalition of more than 50 organizations who are united in their commitment to raise awareness of the retirement challenge facing all Americans.

To view the complete Hispanic and Retirement: Challenges and Opportunities report, please visit www.paycheckforlife.org.

SOURCE Americans for Secure Retirement

Census Preparation Activities Lagging Behind in Philadelphia

Pew Report Examines Census Preparations in Philadelphia and Other Major Cities

A new study from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative finds that Philadelphia is lagging behind other major cities in mounting the kind of local outreach and awareness campaign for the 2010 Census that many experts consider important for achieving a full count.

Pew Report Examines Census Preparation Activities in Philadelphia and Other Major Cities

Pew Report Examines Census Preparation Activities in Philadelphia and Other Major Cities

The study,Preparing for the 2010 Census: How Philadelphia and Other Cities Are Struggling and Why It Matters, looked at the preparations of Philadelphia and 10 other major cities for the 2010 Census. These include the five cities with larger populations than Philadelphia–New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix–and five chosen for their similarities to Philadelphia and their experience in dealing with the Census–Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

The report finds that almost all of the cities studied have less money and fewer staffers for this Census than they did in 2000.

“Census preparation really matters,” said Thomas Ginsberg, project manager of Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative. “The outreach efforts are a cross between an election campaign and a municipal self-promotion drive, with very real ramifications that will be felt for the next 10 years.”

Philadelphia officials are planning to announce their local outreach campaign soon. And officials interviewed for the study say they are confident of their ability to catch up and conduct an effective outreach effort. In addition, they have launched the city’s first-ever challenge to the official population estimates the U.S. Census Bureau issues each year. The challenge, if fully accepted by the bureau, would produce a number showing that Philadelphia’s population is now growing after six decades of decline.

Seven of the other 10 cities had appointed or hired Census coordinators by last summer and had launched their citywide coordinating committees by early October. The other three–Boston, Chicago and Detroit–already are lined up to receive considerable financial and organizing support from local and statewide donor networks established specifically for the Census.

Preparingforthe 2010Census lays out what is at stake for cities: Without strong outreach and technical preparation by cities, the Census Bureau may have trouble improving its urban counts over previous Censuses and raising the below-average rate at which residents participate in its official once-a-decade count. That could lead to greater undercounts of certain groups or an entire city, which in turn would affect the population basis on which billions of tax dollars will be distributed over the coming decade and by which legislative seats–federal, state and local–will be allocated in 2011.

The stakes are particularly high in Philadelphia and other big cities that have high concentrations of the hard-to-count groups, including renters, immigrants, African Americans and Hispanics. According to an analysis conducted for the Philadelphia Research Initiative by Temple University statistician Eugene P. Ericksen, the Census Bureau likely undercounted Philadelphia’s population by an estimated 8,326 people a decade ago, or about 0.5 percent. Many of the other cities included in the report had similar or larger estimated undercounts.

About $430 billion in federal funds were distributed to local governments and residents in fiscal 2008, the last year for which such numbers are available, based at least in part on Census data. Analysts at the Brookings Institution say that Philadelphia and its residents received about $2,796 per capita, through Medicaid, housing vouchers, transportation funding and other programs. Due to the ways that the funding formulas work, the amount of money that would be generated by counting additional Philadelphians would be less than $2,796. But how much less is hard to say. It would depend on numerous factors, including the demographic characteristics of the individuals.

Apart from outreach campaigns, the study found that all 11 cities, including Philadelphia, have been participating in the voluntary technical Census Bureau programs that many experts consider more important to achieving a full count. The programs include a massive updating of household addresses, through which the cities submitted more than 1.5 million new or corrected addresses for the bureau to target next spring.

“For Philadelphia, a significant impact of the Census results could be in terms of the city’s psyche and its ability to promote itself. The city would get a lift if the headcount in 2010–or the challenge being launched over the recent population estimates–shows a population gain,” said Ginsberg. The count in 2000 was 1,517,550, and the most recent estimate was 1,447,395. The city’s challenge contends the recent figure should have been 1,536,171, higher than either previous figure. The Census Bureau is expected to rule on the city’s figure by the end of 2009. Pew’s research found that many cities have no plans to appropriate any public funds specifically for Census preparations; this is the case in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh, although all of those cities, including Philadelphia, expect to make use of existing staff and resources with some staff help from the Census Bureau. A decade ago, the city put in $200,000 and received $165,000 in philanthropic donations.

The shortfalls are leading many cities to rely on unpaid volunteers and grassroots organizing even more than in the past. City officials in Philadelphia are still hoping to receive funds from private sources. The William Penn Foundation has committed $12,350 for data analysis; city and Census Bureau officials held an initial briefing with other potential local funders in late September.

About the Report

To prepare this report, Thomas Ginsberg, project manager of Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative, studied numerous reports about the Census and talked to officials at the Census Bureau, independent experts and officials in Philadelphia and the 10 other cities. The report includes independent work done by Eugene P. Ericksen of Temple University, a nationally-recognized expert in assessing the accuracy of the Census, and by the Brookings Institution.

AboutThe PhiladelphiaResearch Initiative

The Philadelphia Research Initiative was created by Pew in fall 2008 to study critical issues facing Philadelphiaandprovideimpartialresearchandanalysisforthebenefitofdecisionmakers, thenews media and the public. The initiativeconducts public opinion polling, produces indepth reports, and publishesbriefsthatilluminatefrontand-centerissues.

AboutPew

The PewCharitableTrusts(www.pewtrusts.org) isdrivenby the powerofknowledge tosolve today’s mostchallengingproblems. Pewappliesarigorous,analyticalapproachtoimprove public policy, inform the publicandstimulate civic life. Wepartnerwithadiverse range ofdonors,public andprivate organizationsandconcernedcitizenswhoshare ourcommitmenttofactbasedsolutionsandgoaldriven investmentstoimprove society.

SOURCE Pew Charitable Trusts

Hispanic Scholarship Fund P&G Pledges $1.5MM

Scholarship applications now available until Feb. 2010

Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) are pleased to announce that P&G is awarding $1.5 million under the company’s Live, Learn and Thrive(TM) global cause to support HSF, the leading Hispanic organization devoted to awarding university scholarships. The grant will be provided over the next four years to support scholarships to increase participation from Hispanics in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, as well as sponsoring educational outreach programs.

This contribution will help award 192, $2,500 scholarships to eligible Hispanic students nationwide in the next four years. Thanks to the support of companies like Procter & Gamble, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has given over 90,000 scholarships to students in need worth over $250 million in the past 34 years. Two-thirds of these students were the first in their families to go to college.

“Through the Live, Learn and Thrive Scholarship program, P&G is enabling a cadre of academically talented, low income, first in family to attend college students complete an important new step in realizing the American dream. And, by focusing on STEM majors, P&G is strategically investing in future career paths destined to assure continued success and leadership of our country in this ever competitive global economy. We salute P&G and the scholars!” said Frank D. Alvarez, HSF President and CEO.

While Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority in the United States, they unfortunately are not keeping up when it comes to educational attainment: according to HSF, Latinos have the lowest high school and college completion rates of any racial or ethnic group, registering a 23.8 percent high school dropout rate, the highest of any major racial or ethnic group (ages 16 to 24), compared to 7 percent for non-Hispanic whites. Moreover, as per data from the Census report Educational Attainment in the United States: 2008, out of the total population, only 13 percent of Hispanics 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, as per data from the report.

In addition, data from the study, “Confronting the ‘New’ American Dilemma, Underrepresented Minorities in Engineering: A Data-Based Look at Diversity,” from the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) reveals that the number of minority students pursuing STEM degrees and careers has flattened out or even declined in recent years: out of the 6,404 doctoral degrees in engineering awarded in 2006, only 98 went to Latinos and Latinas.

Following its commitment to advance the Hispanic community, P&G has been a long-standing corporate partner of HSF for over 30 years and has donated more than $3,000,000 to help educate future Hispanic leaders. Under its global Live, Learn and Thrive(TM) cause, P&G aims to contribute to the success of Hispanic students and even make higher education a more realistic goal by helping build a pool of exceptional talent and empowering possible future employees, who will continue to enhance the company’s dedication to cater to the needs of its consumers.

“At P&G, we believe in having a workforce and business partners that reflect the markets and consumers that we serve, and to fully value and learn from all of their experiences, insights and talents so we can meaningfully improve the lives of our communities. As part of our efforts to improve life for children and youth, we’re proud to make this Live, Learn and Thrive(TM) grant in recognition of the programs HSF delivers on behalf of Hispanic students,” said Edgar Sandoval, P&G’s General Manager, North America Marketing.

Sandoval, a former recipient of an HSF scholarship while he was pursuing his engineering degree, was inducted into the prestigious Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) Alumni Hall of Fame as the “Inspirador” (the motivator), in recognition of his personal achievements and the hard work and sacrifice made in pursuit of a college education. His scholastic success testifies to the great positive impact that an HSF scholarship can have in a student’s life.

This year’s Alumni Hall of Fame Gala took place in New York on Sept. 30th, and was hosted by Natalie Morales, NBC’s “Today” Co-Host and National Correspondent. Created in 2002, the HSF Alumni Hall of Fame honors Hispanics who demonstrate the power of higher education and highlights how attaining a college degree can change individual lives and society as a whole for the better. As an inductee, Sandoval will join a select group of Latino professionals who have been recognized, including former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza and Time Warner Vice President Lisa Quiroz.

HSF’s scholarship application period is now open and will run until Feb. 28th, 2010. General application requirements include having a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and be pursuing or planning to pursue their first undergraduate or graduate program. For more information on how to apply for these scholarships, please visit www.hsf.net

About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Founded in 1975 as a not-for-profit, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is the nation’s preeminent Latino scholarship organization, providing the Latino community more college scholarships and educational outreach support than any other organization in the country. During the 2007-2008 academic year, HSF awarded almost 4,100 scholarships exceeding $26.7 million. In its 33-year history, HSF has awarded in excess of 86,000 scholarships, worth more than $247 million, to Latinos attending nearly 2,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For a scholarship application or more information about HSF, please visit: WWW.HSF.NET.

About Procter & Gamble and Live, Learn and Thrive.

Three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Gain®, Pringles®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, Braun® and Fusion®. The P&G community includes approximately 138,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide. In these countries and beyond, P&G is committed to improving lives for children in need through its global cause, Live, Learn and Thrive. Every day P&G Live, Learn and Thrive(TM) is helping children get off to a healthy start, receive access to education, and build skills for life. Please visit http://www.pg.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G, its brands, and Live, Learn and Thrive.

SOURCE Procter & Gamble

Infinity Insurance Joins the Fight Against Unemployment

California’s unemployment rate reached 11.9% in July and continues to climb. The state’s Hispanic community has been hit even harder. Some estimates forecast a jobless rate as high as 18% for this group by the end of the year.

Infinity Insurance is launching a free job search assistance program titled “Monarca,” designed to help workers in the hardest hit communities in Southern California find jobs. The program seeks to pool resources from local small businesses and organizations to connect out-of-work people with employment opportunities.

Programa Monarca officially launches on Labor Day September 7th and offers a range of free services including:

  • Job searching assistance
  • Help filling out job applications
  • Resume and cover letter writing support
  • Printing and faxing
  • Interview preparation and coaching

Programa Monarca is inspired by the Monarch butterfly, famous for its lengthy annual migration between Mexico and the United States. “Monarch butterflies symbolize hard work, persistence and the strength of community,” said Tania Calderon of Crown Reinas Insurance, one of many local Infinity independent insurance agents supporting the cause.

For further information on Programa Monarca, call 1-800-863-5930 or visit ProgramaMonarca.org. Businesses wishing to participate in the program should contact Janndee Evans at 1-562-653-2211

Source: Infinity Insurance

Prescription Assistance Partnership Prepared to Help NJ Workers

The ‘Help Is Here Express’ bus tour will be stopping in New Jersey throughout the week of August 9-15 at various cities in order to help uninsured and financially-struggling New Jersey residents access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. With the state’s unemployment rate now hitting 8.8 percent — compared to 5.1% a year ago — the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) bus tour is raising awareness of patient assistance programs among state residents who face layoffs and loss of health care benefits.

The PPA, a nationwide effort sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies, provides a single point of access to more than 475 patient assistance programs that help those who are uninsured or struggling financially. Nearly 200 of the programs are provided by pharmaceutical companies.

The “Help Is Here Express” bus will be at the following New Jersey locations:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

WHEN: 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Crawford Rodriguez Elementary School

1025 Larsen Road

Jackson, NJ 08527

Monday, August 10, 2009

WHEN: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: NJ STEPS

14 South Clifton Avenue

Lakewood, NJ 08701

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Neighborhood Health Center

1700 Myrtle Avenue

Plainfield, NJ 07063

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Neighborhood Health Center

250 Second Street

Elizabeth, NJ 07206

Saturday, August 15, 2009

WHEN: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Shappell Park

427-429 South Main Street

Phillipsburg, NJ

“The PPA, so far, has helped well over 239,000 New Jersey residents find out if they may qualify for free or discounted medicines and as we move forward into 2009, the assistance is still available,” said PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. “That’s good news for the citizens of New Jersey, where there are more than 400,000 people out of work.”

Patients who qualify for help from the PPA’s participating patient assistance programs have access to more than 2,500 brand-name and generic prescription medicines. In addition, the PPA provides information on more than 10,000 free health care clinics in America and has connected more than 281,600 patients with clinics and health care providers in their communities.

Patients seeking help from PPA can call a toll-free number (1-888-4-PPA-NOW) to talk to a trained operator or access the PPA Web site (www.pparx.org). It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to find out if someone may qualify for free or discounted medications.

To help spread the word about the assistance available, the PPA’s “Help Is Here Express” buses continue to visit communities all over the country with trained specialists on board to provide information on how to access patient assistance programs. All 50 states and more than 2,500 towns and cities have been visited so far, and nearly 6 million patients have been helped nationwide since the PPA began in April 2005.

“At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades, the PPA has become an important lifeline for a growing number of patients,” PhRMA’s Tauzin said. “Millions of Americans have been added to the jobless rolls over the last several months and there could be a sharp increase in the number of our citizens losing health care benefits.”

“PPA is currently helping thousands of people every day,” Tauzin added, including those who need treatments to fight such debilitating chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

On a national level, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance is represented by Emmy-winning syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, named PPA’s national spokesman in January 2006. In addition, nationally recognized Telemundo talk show host and author Mayte Prida leads the PPA’s Hispanic outreach effort.

“Since January 2006, I’ve been traveling the country talking about the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, urging people to pick up the phone, log on to the Web site or visit the big, orange PPA bus to see if they may qualify for assistance,” said Williams. “As a patient who must cope every day with the effects of multiple sclerosis, I understand only too well the importance of having access to the medicine you need.”

More than 1,300 national, state and local partners are working with America’s pharmaceutical research companies to spread the word about the program. Trained specialists work with doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and community groups, educating them on the process and use of the PPA’s easy-to-access Web site and toll-free number.

To find out if there are patient assistance programs that may meet their needs, patients should call toll-free 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) to speak with a trained specialist or visit www.pparx.org.

Source: Partnership for Prescription Assistance