Denning, a Rhode Island native who graduated from LaSalle Academy in Providence, began his career at Stonehill in 2000 as director of campus ministry, moving on to vice president for mission, in which he was charged with enhancing the Catholic identity at the school. Stonehill was founded in 1948 by the Congregation of Holy Cross.
"I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to lead Stonehill," Denning said in a prepared release. "Its mission provides each student with a learning experience that transcends the classroom for the good of the broader community and fosters a hunger to build a more just and compassionate world."
He added that he had a "desire and passion to work on building Stonehill's strengths and meeting the challenges that confront the college's community of scholarship and faith."
Denning is a trustee of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., another institution founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross. He received a bachelor's degree from Tulane University and his master's of divinity from the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto. He is a candidate for a doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts Boston.]]>
The group announced Friday that Rhode Island ranks third among 20 other states and Washington, D.C., for highest percentage of jobs lost from April 2012 to April 2013.
The Ocean State trailed Vermont, which experienced an 11.3 percent decrease, or loss of 1,700 jobs, and South Dakota, which experienced a 9.6 percent decrease, losing 2,100 jobs. Illinois lost the most jobs, down 12,900, followed by Ohio, which declined by 9,200.
During the same period, 29 states experienced growth in construction jobs. Hawaii led all jurisdictions in the percentage of new construction jobs, growing 11.5 percent, or by 3,300 jobs, followed by Alaska at 9.1 percent and Louisiana with 8.1 percent. California added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months, 44,800, followed by Texas with 41,500 jobs.
More recently, between March and April, the AGC noted that construction employment declined in 32 states and the District of Columbia. In Rhode Island, the industry experienced a 3.3 percent decrease in construction employment, a loss of 500 jobs.
Association officials noted that construction demand in a number of states appears to be slackening amid federal construction spending cuts and relatively weak private sector demand.
"The industry shows signs of recovering but employment growth continues to be uneven, with some areas seeing stronger gains even as others continue to contract," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, in prepared remarks. "In addition, recent federal construction spending cuts amid still modest private sector growth is making it hard for the industry to recover in more areas."]]>
The 12-week fall session begins Aug. 26, which prepares emerging businesses to develop their product, test through target groups, all the while meeting with Betaspring mentors. The accelerator's offices in Providence's Knowledge District include work space for all participants, and the program also has the potential to provide seed capital. The formal end of the program includes a pitch session to potential investors. And it is a process that has worked.
So far, 72 companies have participated in Betaspring, and 58 are still active, with funding of about $25 million following the graduates.
Recent Betaspring graduates that have been in the news include: TennisHub, which took the technology special award at the recently concluded Rhode Island 2013 Business Plan Competition; Splitwise, which made an appearance on Bloomberg Television; Socialping, which found its way into TechCrunch; and KnowYo (formally prepmatic), which graduated a year ago and was judged to have the best presentation at this year's Launch event in Silicon Valley in March.
Betaspring's most recent launch event, held May 2, was covered by the Boston Globe, which headlined the piece "A few start-ups worth keeping on the radar."]]>
Northrop Grumman Corp. climbed 3.8 percent after increasing its share-buyback program by $4 billion. Boeing Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. added added more than 2 percent to pace gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. J.C. Penney Co. slid 3.7 percent after its first-quarter loss widened.
The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 1,658.59. at 11:55 a.m. in New York. The equity benchmark is heading for a 1.5 percent weekly gain. The Dow advanced 61.95 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,295.17, a fresh record. Options contracts on stocks, exchange-traded funds and indexes expire today, leading investors to adjust their holdings of some securities. Trading of S&P 500 stocks was 3.4 percent higher than the 30-day average at this time of day.
"You've got the leading indicators helping the market today," Thomas Nyheim, a Wilmington, Del.-based fund manager for Christiana Trust, which oversees about $16 billion, said in a phone interview. "We're seeing good signs for the economy, you're getting this grinding, slow growth that just keeps coming out."
The index of U.S. leading indicators climbed in April, a rebound from March that suggests the world's largest economy may be poised for further expansion. The Conference Board's gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months climbed 0.6 percent last month after falling a revised 0.2 percent in March that was steeper than previously reported, the New York-based group said today
Consumer confidence rose in May to the highest level in almost six years as an advancing stock market and cheaper gas prices helped lift Americans' outlook on the economy. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose to 83.7 in May from 76.4 the prior month, a report today showed.
The U.S. bull market has entered its fifth year. The S&P 500 has surged 145 percent from a 12-year low in 2009, driven by better-than-estimated corporate earnings and three rounds of bond purchases from the Federal Reserve.
The rally pushed 193 stocks in the S&P 500, or 39 percent of the gauge, to their highest levels in at least 52 weeks on May 15, the most in Bloomberg data going back to 1993.
About 90 percent of stocks in the benchmark index traded above their average prices from the past 50 days as of yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, approaching the two-year high of 93 percent reached in January.
Financial and industrial companies increased 1 percent for the biggest gains among 10 groups in the S&P 500 today. JPMorgan Chase added 2 percent to $51.99, the most since June 2007.
Boeing, the world's largest plane maker, rose 2.5 percent to $98.99, the highest since October 2007. United Technologies Corp., maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Otis elevators, advanced 1.7 percent to a record $96.80.
Northrop Grumman climbed 3.8 percent to $82.01. The weapons maker said it will add $4 billion to an existing $1 billion share-repurchase program and retire 25 percent of its shares outstanding by 2015.
Automaker shares jumped 2.5 percent as a group, the most among 24 industries in the S&P 500. Ford Motor Co. added 3 percent to $15.08. European Union car sales rose in April for the first time since September 2011, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said Friday.
J.C. Penney dropped 3.7 percent to $18.09 after its first-quarter loss widened as the department-store chain works to rebound from former CEO Ron Johnson's failed makeover. CEO Myron Ullman, who took the position back from Johnson last month, has been increasing promotions to revive sales while pursuing a $1.75 billion loan.
Nordstrom Inc. retreated 1.3 percent to $60.36 after the retailer posted first-quarter revenue that trailed analysts' estimates and cut its sales forecast for the year.
Brocade Communications Inc. slumped 4.3 percent to $5.50 after the maker of network equipment said it expects third-quarter adjusted earnings of 11 cents to 13 cents a share, trailing the average forecast of 15 cents by analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Autodesk Inc. tumbled 9.8 percent to $35.88 for the biggest decline in the S&P 500. The maker of engineering-design software said it sees full-year revenue growth of 3 percent, lower than its February forecast of 6 percent.]]>
The Business Unusual National Challenge is an initiative of ArtsFwd, which centers on "next practices" for arts leaders. Through the challenge, ArtsFwd hopes to "crowdsource bright minds in and outside the arts sector to tackle the most significant challenges facing organizations today." The organization is interested specifically in contributing to what it calls adaptive challenges, or those with "no obvious solution, no set procedures and no recognized experts."
In WaterFire's case, the challenge revolves around developing a new business model that gets more of WaterFire's beneficiaries to contribute, so that it can continue to create cultural and economic impacts for the community and inspire its visitors.
WaterFire's goals include:
Overcoming the public good/free rider effect that threatens its sustainability
Developing a business model that has new, diversified revenue streams captured from the value WaterFire creates for a wide range of beneficiaries, many of whom can afford to reinvest at appropriate levels in the artwork
Producing more public art events that add vibrancy and economic impact to the community
According to a press release, "WaterFire is an admission-free event that has very real costs to produce. And while nearly everyone loves it, a incredibly small percentage actually support it. We need to work together to figure out a way to increase those numbers or long-term sustainability will be challenging."
If the organization wins the Business Unusual Challenge, it would receive a package of grants and resources worth $35,000 to prototype an approach to its challenge.
In order to advance to the final round, WaterFire needs the public to cast online votes in its favor. The organization is asking that supporters vote daily online through Friday, May 31.
To help voters remember, WaterFire is offering to send daily reminder emails that contain a link to the voting page. Those who sign up for the emails will also be entered to win the opportunity to participate in lighting WaterFire with a guest, a Brazier Society experience for two, or a framed photo of WaterFire signed by WaterFire creator and artistic director Barnaby Evans.
The winner will be announced in the fall.
Those interested can cast votes at artsfwd.org/challenge-wfp.]]>
Nevada retained the top spot, with an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, a one-tenth of a percentage point drop from March. Rounding out the first five on the list were Illinois (with a rate of 9.3 percent), Mississippi (9.1 percent), California (9.0 percent) and North Carolina (8.9 percent). New Jersey, at 8.7 percent, was right behind Rhode Island. The national, seasonally adjusted rate was 7.5 percent for the month.
Rhode Island's decline of 1.8 percentage points from April 2012 to last month was driven both by an increase in the number of people working in the state of 2,700 (to 467,400) and a drop in the size of the labor force in the state of 700 (to 558,200).
The Ocean State continues to lag the unemployment rate in New England, according to the BLS, which posted a seasonally adjust rate in April of 6.8 percent, a drop of four-tenths of a percentage point from April 2012. Only the West North Central (5.4 percent) and West South Central (6.3 percent) census divisions did better than New England for the month. Of the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific division turned in the worst performance, posting an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in April.
Leading the way for the northeast corner of the nation was Vermont, with a jobless rate of 4 percent in April, followed by New Hampshire (5.5 percent), Massachusetts (6.4 percent), Maine (6.9 percent) and Connecticut (8 percent). The United States' lowest unemployment rate was reported by North Dakota, at 3.3 percent.]]>
"There are a lot of people that used the bikeway on the Washington Bridge to travel between home and work, or for leisure and exercise on a daily basis," said Robert Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. "Having a signed alternative route now keeps this connection active, and allows riders to more easily travel between East Providence and Providence, and the East Bay to the Blackstone Valley."
According to RIDOT, the new signed bicycle route uses the Henderson Bridge and a new extension of Waterfront Drive in East Providence to keep bikers rolling. Although the Henderson Bridge has bicycle lanes and signage, previously, no formal route had been identified to connect the bridge to the East Bay Bike Path following the Washington Bridge closure in July 2012.
RIDOT closed the former bikeway on the bridge to rehabilitate the structure and to build a much wider bike path and linear park. When it opens next year, RIDOT says, it will feature a separate bikeway and walking path, scenic overlooks, park benches, flag poles, decorative lighting and landscaped planters. The project also calls for restoration of the historic, multi-arch granite façade of the Washington Bridge and two operator's houses from which an original drawbridge was controlled.
The new linear park is known as the George Redman Linear Park, after the East Providence resident who was instrumental in making the East Bay Bike Path a reality 25 years ago. Redman died in August 2012.
Additional information, including links to route maps and Bike to Work Day events in Providence and Newport can be found on RIDOT's website at www.dot.ri.gov/bikeri.]]>
With the economy creating an average of 208,000 jobs a month since November, 69 percent of those surveyed call the recovery "sustainable" while 27 percent anticipate a new recession within two years, according to the global poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers.
"I expect growth to accelerate," said respondent Brandon Fitzpatrick, 35, a portfolio manager for D.B. Fitzpatrick in Boise, Idaho. "Consumers' balance sheets are improving, and consumption is set to pick up."
The prospect of increasing energy independence, a rise in home values after years of decline and a pause in the partisan budgetary battles in Washington are driving investor sentiment.
Real estate, the epicenter of the 2008 financial crisis, is a big part of the optimism. Even after Wednesday's reported drop in April's housing starts, homebuilders began work on 853,000 new homes, up 78 percent from the April 2009 low. After watching the housing crash erase more than $7 trillion worth of wealth, homeowners have recovered about $2 trillion in real estate holdings, according to Federal Reserve data.
In the poll, 71 percent of Bloomberg customers say the recent home-price increase in major U.S. markets is evidence of a genuine recovery in values; 21 percent say it's a sign that a new bubble is inflating.
"Anyone who isn't long real estate housing is a moron," said Stan Jonas, 64, managing partner of Axiom Management Partners in New York, speaking before the April figures were released.
If the poll consensus is correct, the expansion will eventually exceed the 58-month length of the average postwar recovery, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Equity markets reflect the optimism: The Standard and Poor's 500 Index has risen 25 percent over the past year, including 16 percent in 2013.
The poll was taken as the $85 billion government spending cuts known as sequestration are starting to bite. After growing at a 2.5 percent rate in the first three months of 2013, the economy will slow to a 1.6 percent pace in the current quarter, according to forecasts by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Global investors have noticed. By a 49 percent to 40 percent margin, they say the sequestration has had a negative effect upon the U.S. investment climate.
With President Barack Obama's administration mired in controversies over the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department seizure of Associated Press reporters' telephone records, and the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack, the economic brightening provides the president some good news.
Obama's 58 percent favorability rating is its highest in the Bloomberg customer poll since January 2010, though among U.S. respondents the president draws only 35 percent. Thirty-seven percent of global respondents have an unfavorable view. Fifty-two percent say they are optimistic about Obama's policies, compared with 42 percent who say they're pessimistic.
"President Obama has benefited from tough decisions taken early in his first term with regard to the stability of the U.S. financial sector," said Nessan O'Carroll, 40, co-head of emerging markets derivatives risks solutions for Mizuho Corporate Bank in London. "This has allowed the U.S. to get back on the growth-trajectory path much more quickly."
Investors also applaud Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Board chairman, who has driven the total assets on the central bank's balance sheet to more than $3.3 trillion in a bid to boost economic growth. By a 76 percent to 20 percent margin, those surveyed give Bernanke a favorable rating - and unlike the president, there is little difference between the views of investors in the United States and elsewhere.
"The sustainability of the U.S. recovery is contingent on the continuing easy-money policy at the Fed coupled with a softer line on spending cuts out of Washington," said Patrick Smith, 47, chief investment officer of Granite Springs Asset Management in Summit, N.J.
With inflation readings virtually flat - the core consumer price index is up just 1.7 percent over the past year and the Fed's preferred inflation gauge up just 1.1 percent - the central bank is unlikely to end its monetary stimulus anytime soon.
Staying the course
"Until inflation moves meaningfully back toward the Fed's long-run 2 percent target, it will be too soon to expect the Fed to taper - let alone end - its purchases," Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists wrote in a May 16 report.
Investors aren't preoccupied with political developments in Washington. Asked about the repeated confrontations between the president and Congress, 57 percent say the brawling isn't affecting their investment decisions, while 38 percent say they would normally invest more in the U.S.
"The political fights in Washington were inevitable when President Obama won last November and the Republicans kept control in the House," said Fitzpatrick. "Financial markets understood this from the beginning, which is why they have been little affected by the squabbling."
Not everyone is convinced of the recovery's staying power. Jonathan Sadowsky, 42, a portfolio manager with Vaca Creek Asset Management in Santa Monica, Calif., said "the lack of quality job and wage growth" along with insufficient investment may ultimately hobble the rebound.
Fedor Bizikov, a senior portfolio manager at GHP Group in Moscow, says he expects weakness in Europe and elsewhere eventually to spread to the U.S. and spark a new recession. "Unemployment is still high in terms of underemployment and declining labor-participation rate," he said.
April's 7.5 percent jobless rate was higher than the 25-year average of 6 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A reminder of the economy's continued frailty came Wednesday when the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for initial jobless benefits unexpectedly rose to 360,000 from 328,000 the week before.
Since the recession's end in June 2009, the economy has expanded at an annual rate of 2 percent. After slowing this quarter, it's expected to accelerate to a 2.9 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
"Momentum is building, and the U.S. is again taking a lead in the economic cycle," said Francis Infante, 62, treasurer of Caixa Geral de Depositos in London. "Asia is slowing down and the EU is still trying to find which way to go."
The survey of 906 Bloomberg customers was conducted by Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based pollster. The results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.]]>
The unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points from 9.1 percent last month and fell 1.8 percentage points from April 2012.
The national unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points in April to 7.5 percent.
There were 49,400 Rhode Islanders without jobs in April, down 1,700 people from the 51,100 unemployed in March and 9,700 fewer than the total unemployed in April 2012.
The 508,900 Rhode Islanders with jobs in April represented an increase of 1,200 people from last month and 9,100 from April 2012.
Also driving the drop in the unemployment rate was the continued decline in the size of the state labor force, which shrank by 700 people from March to 558,200 people.
The 467,400 non-farm jobs based in Rhode Island in April rose by 500 jobs from the revised March total of 466,900.
April job gains were led by the accommodation and food services sector, which posted an increase of 500 jobs in April.
Manufacturing employment increased by 400 jobs due to hiring of workers making durable goods.
The professional and business services sector gained 300 jobs in April thanks to hiring by landscapers and employment services.
Both health care and education services added 300 jobs from March to April, while "other services" gained 200 jobs and the arts and entertainment sector added 100 workers.
Those job gains were offset by an unexpected 500-worker monthly decline in the construction industry in April, a time when building projects are typically ramping up.
Retailers shed 400 jobs from March to April, while financial services dropped 300 jobs, transportation lost 200 jobs and wholesale trade lost 200 jobs.
Government employment was flat.
While the number of Rhode Island manufacturing jobs grew in April, the average manufacturing wage of $18.89 per hour declined 8 cents from March.]]>
The foundation collected $38.5 million in gifts and donations in 2012, drawn from 1,286 fund accounts held by individuals and organizations --; a 46 percent decrease from 2011, yet still its third most successful year.
From its investment returns as well as new contributions, the foundation was able to distribute $30.5 million in grants on the year, its most ever. In addition, its investments were augmented by an additional $36 million from other sources, something the foundation attributed to its "reputation as a trusted grantmaker known for responsible decisions."
One-thousand, three hundred and thirty-three organizations benefited from the foundation's grantmaking, the highest total receiving help in the nonprofit's 97-year history.
Of the $30.4 million total grants disbursed, $12.5 million were directed by the foundation's staff and directors to Rhode Island-exclusive recipients. The highest grant award per sector (a total $7.5 million) went to human services, which includes grants to organizations such as Children's Friend, Rhode Island Kids Count and the Women's Resource Center.
Donor-directed grants, totaling $17.9 million, were distributed to groups within and outside of Rhode Island. The majority of these grants, nearly $16 million, went to local causes. Seven percent of the foundation's grants, approximately $2.1 million, went to out-of-state donor-associated groups, some based in Arizona and Florida.
According to the report, the foundation's investment returns remain among the top quartile for foundations and endowments of less than $1 billion in value, including a 10-year average annual return of 8.4 percent, compared with the top quartile for similar organizations of 8.1 percent.
"2012 was a transformative year for The Rhode Island Foundation," President and CEO Neil D. Steinberg said in remarks within the report. "We expanded our reach beyond the traditional community foundation scope of grantmaking and building philanthropic capital to partner with, support and work to inspire the community in new ways."
The year saw the first grants made to Rhode Island Innovation Fellows, two of whom received a commitment of $300,000 over three years to "develop, test and implement innovative ideas with the potential to dramatically improve any area of life in Rhode Island." The foundation recently made its 2013 awards to two new innovation fellows.
Steinberg and the organization spearheaded the Make It Happen RI initiative, which brought together private-sector leaders to generate ideas for how to activate the state's economy, resulting in a commitment of $1 million by the foundation to fund projects. So far, a dozen have been funded.
Related to the impetus for Make It Happen, the foundation established the Civic Leadership Fund to help finance activities, such as the Make It Happen event, raising $173,604 during the year for it.]]>