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States Competing to Lure Job Creators

America’s manufacturing comeback is in full swing – depending where you are. Some state governments are aggressively pursuing job creators, others are trimming efforts due to fiscal problems and still others have never effectively competed. Here’s the latest roundup.

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CEOs: Don’t Prepare the Pink Slips Just Yet

Conventional wisdom and common sense suggest that the greatest ongoing expense for most companies is labor. Keeping labor costs in line will maintain or even boost profitability, so that management fable goes. But more and more companies are concentrating an increasing portion of spend on third-party suppliers this “virtualizing” their operation rather than struggling with internal labor and physical overhead. This forces leaders to re-think what it means to be a “company.”

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Companies Are Dealing with Obamacare Complexities, Too

Right now most of the drama being generated by Obamacare has to do with the failure of the Healthcare.gov web site and the slow going in getting individual Americans signed up for insurance coverage. But make no mistake: Even though business got a reprieve in the onset of the legal mandates of the Affordable Care Act to next fall, business owners are currently in the throes of important business decisions being prompted by the new law – and by its intended, and unintended, consequences.

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Suppliers Assess Wal-Mart’s ‘Made-in-USA’ Parade

Wal-Mart is drawing all sorts of attention these days for its new commitment to purchasing American-made goods. But unlike decades ago when the retailing giant cajoled manufacturers to source their goods from China and other low-cost nations, this time Wal-Mart is responding opportunistically to a general made-in-the-USA resurgence that already was well underway.

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Research Reveals Outsourcing R&D Abroad Boosts Innovation

Businesses that outsource research and development (R&D) overseas are more likely to innovate than those who outsource at home, says new research. IBM’s strategy of building research capability in places like Switzerland, China, and India mirrors that of GE, Intel and others. Ordinarily the purpose of outsourcing R&D was cost reduction, but many are now doing it to boost innovation as well.

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More CEOs Get Impatient with the Government Shutdown

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is asking his fellow chief executives to push for an end to the gridlock in Washington, saying there needs to be a return of civility over partisanship. Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld compares the threat that the US might refuse to raise the debt ceiling to a “giant Taser” that will freeze confidence in the world economy, not just the U.S.

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