Business Briefs

Aug. 27, 2013 @ 11:22 PM

Biotech Center layoffs follow state funding cut

DURHAM –The N.C. Biotechnology Center, a Research Triangle Park-based nonprofit that works to promote biotechnology research and business in the state, is cutting grant and training programs and trimming staff in light of a 27 percent state funding cut.

The center is using layoffs, voluntary separations and keeping unfilled positions open. Seven workers were laid off Tuesday, bringing the center’s total staff count to 69. An additional round of layoffs is expected.

The center also is cutting some grant programs starting Sept. 1. It will honor awards that already have been made in the affected program areas.

Grant programs on the chopping block include the Education and Training Program that provides education enhancement grants, undergraduate resource fellowships and summer teacher workshops; some research grant and community and economic development grant programs; as well as business development programs, including the Small Business Research Loan program.

“It is difficult to shutter programs that are significant to our life science community,” said Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the center, in a statement. “Each of these programs had outstanding success metrics, leveraging additional investment and jobs. However, with limited resources, and with the legislature’s direction in the budget resolution, changes must be made.”

Social media marketing not yielding ‘concrete return,’ Duke survey finds

DURHAM-- A Duke University survey found that while chief marketing officers are increasingly allocating resources to social media, a smaller share saw a concrete return on this investment.

According to a Duke Office of News & Communications release, The CMO Survey found that 15 percent of 410 chief marketing officers surveyed by Christine Moorman, a professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, said they have proven quantitative impact on their social media marketing expenditures.

Another 36 percent responded they have a good sense of the qualitative impact, but not the quantitative impact. Forty-nine percent have not been able to show that their company’s social media activities have made a difference.

Despite this, marketers are expected to increase expenditures in social media from 6.6 percent to 15.8 percent over the next five years.

Marketers also are increasing efforts to collect data about online customer behaviors, according to the release. About 60 percent of respondents said they collected online customer behavior data for targeting purposes, and 88.5 percent are expected to increasingly do this over time.

Despite growing outcry about surveillance in both public and private sectors, privacy doesn’t seem to be a worry for marketers surveyed. Fifty percent of respondents had low levels of concern, while just 3.5 percent answered they were “very worried” about privacy.

June foreclosure rate falls in Durham-Chapel Hill

IRVINE, Calif. – The foreclosure rate fell in the Durham-Chapel Hill area in June compared with the same month last year, according to new data from CoreLogic.

The rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans in the area was 1.11 percent for the month, a decrease of 0.61 percentage points, according to CoreLogic, an information, analytics and services provider.

Foreclosure activity in Durham-Chapel Hill was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.49 percent for June.

Also in Durham-Chapel Hill, the mortgage delinquency rate declined, with 3.86 percent of mortgage loans 90 days or more delinquent, compared to 4.72 percent for the same period last year.