Business memo 2/11

Monday, February 11, 2002

Day at the Capitol scheduled for Feb. 20

More than 300 business leaders and legislators from across the state are expected to attend the 11th annual Missouri Chamber Day at the Capitol Feb. 20 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.

Sponsored by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, the event features appearances by legislators and statewide elected officials, who will discuss business issues being considered by the Missouri General Assembly.

The purpose of Missouri Chamber Day at the Capitol is to provide employers and local chamber of commerce executives with a forum for discussing the business community's legislative priorities, and the opportunity to discuss those priorities with their legislators.

Cost for Missouri Chamber Day at the Capitol is $69 per person. For more information or to register, call Cynthia Bushmann at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce at (573) 634-3511, or e-mail cbushmann@ mochamber.org.

Worker productivity up in fourth quarter

Worker productivity grew briskly in the fourth quarter of last year as businesses coping with economic hard times slashed workers' hours by the largest amount in a decade and eliminated jobs.

The Labor Department reported last week that productivity -- the amount of output per hour of work -- increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the October-December quarter, up from a 1.1 rate in the previous quarter.

But the improvement came at a price. Businesses responded to slumping sales by sharply cutting back on their payrolls. That caused the total number of hours worked to drop at a faster pace than output, thus creating a rise in productivity.

Workers' hours in the fourth quarter fell at a 3.7 percent rate -- the biggest drop since the first quarter of 1991 -- and output declined at a 0.4 percent rate.

New local service provider to compete with Bell

Sage Telecom announced last week that it will begin providing telephone service to Cape Girardeau residential and business customers later this month. The company's entry into the local service market stems from the 1996 Telecommunications Act and rulings from Missouri Public Service Commission that have opened local telephone markets to competition.

Sage is based in Dallas, Texas, as has 275,000 residential and small business customers.

Seminar to focus on securing information

Two companies that specialize in network and data security will host a seminar , Feb. 26 at the Holiday Inn in Cape Gir-ardeau. Automation Services Co., Inc., and Secure Computing Corp. are sponsoring seminars to help people obtain a better understanding of security threats on data and network systems, understanding regulations that affect defense and learn about new technologies that minimize risk.

The keynote speaker will be FBI agent Dennis Rice. For more information, contact Automation Services Co., Inc., at 335-5157.

Cape County Farm Bureau receives Gold Star Award

Cape Girardeau County Farm Bureau has been recognized at Missouri Farm Bureau's 87th annual meeting for outstanding program achievements. President of the bureau, Tom Sachse, accepted the award for the county. The county achieved 2001 membership quota of more than 1,170 members, and 10 gold stars for excellence in several programs. Nearly 1,600 members and agricultural leaders attended the annual event.

-- From staff, wire reports

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