Matt Kempner

Business columnist

Matt Kempner is the AJC’s sometimes irreverent business columnist, who enjoys finding  the twists behind our adventures with business, money and careers. Prior to his latest assignment, he wrote a regular column on intriguing entrepreneurs and reported on technology and energy. His career has included serving as a business editor and public editor as well as lots of reporting gigs, from business investigations to politics, government and the environment.  You can follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mattkempnercolumnist or on Twitter: @Mattkempner 

Latest from Matt Kempner

Georgia unemployment claims soar for federal workers during shutdown
 Unemployment filings by federal workers have surged in Georgia in the wake of the partial government shutdown. And those figures could rise even more as the closures persist.  Nearly 450 federal workers made new unemployment claims in the two weeks ending Jan. 5, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. That compares to almost 25...

Posted: a day ago

Unemployment filings by federal workers have surged in Georgia in the wake of the partial government shutdown. And those figures could rise even more as the closures persist.  Nearly 450 federal workers made new unemployment claims in the two weeks ending Jan. 5, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. That compares to almost 25...
Can federal shutdown workers get unemployment benefits? Yes ... and no
 Not all federal employees  who go without pay during the partial government shutdown will qualify for unemployment benefits, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.  Federal employees who are out of work due to the shutdown may be able to receive unemployment, said David Bennett, the Georgia Department of Labor’s communications...

Posted: 5 days ago

Not all federal employees who go without pay during the partial government shutdown will qualify for unemployment benefits, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.  Federal employees who are out of work due to the shutdown may be able to receive unemployment, said David Bennett, the Georgia Department of Labor’s communications...
Government shutdown: Employers confused by loss of background check
 The partial government shutdown has cut off U.S. employers from a federal system designed to help them avoid hiring immigrants not allowed to work in the nation. And that’s causing confusion for some employers in Georgia and around the nation. Georgia law requires most employers in the state to check new hires using E-Verify, the...

Posted: 6 days ago

The partial government shutdown has cut off U.S. employers from a federal system designed to help them avoid hiring immigrants not allowed to work in the nation. And that’s causing confusion for some employers in Georgia and around the nation. Georgia law requires most employers in the state to check new hires using E-Verify, the...
The year for Georgia farmers: ‘Man, it was gut wrenching’
 Many of the people in Georgia who grow your food and other essentials had a brutal run of it in 2018. Clay Pirkle, a cotton farmer from Ashburn, Ga., said it was the worst he’d ever seen. One of the state’s biggest vegetable farmers, Bill Brim of Tifton, said the same. Gary Black, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner, described...

Posted: 16 days ago

Many of the people in Georgia who grow your food and other essentials had a brutal run of it in 2018. Clay Pirkle, a cotton farmer from Ashburn, Ga., said it was the worst he’d ever seen. One of the state’s biggest vegetable farmers, Bill Brim of Tifton, said the same. Gary Black, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner, described...
Georgia pecan farmers face more than one hurricane’s worth of pain
 Pecans and pecan pie should be as tasty as usual for Georgians this holiday season. But behind the scenes, Georgia’s pecan farming business has been clobbered, and the beatdown isn’t over for one of the state’s biggest crops. Pecan prices have plummeted by at least a third for local farmers. Much of the state’s crop...

Posted: 22 days ago

Pecans and pecan pie should be as tasty as usual for Georgians this holiday season. But behind the scenes, Georgia’s pecan farming business has been clobbered, and the beatdown isn’t over for one of the state’s biggest crops. Pecan prices have plummeted by at least a third for local farmers. Much of the state’s crop...
Atlanta brick-and-mortar stores weather Amazon storm
 Atlanta shoppers who ventured out this holiday season might have noticed something: The imminent death of brick-and-mortar retail is greatly exaggerated. Toys R Us is gone. Sears is wheezing for survival. Many chains have scaled back stores as consumers buy more online. Some former shopping magnets are struggling: Chilly, partially...

Posted: 26 days ago

Atlanta shoppers who ventured out this holiday season might have noticed something: The imminent death of brick-and-mortar retail is greatly exaggerated. Toys R Us is gone. Sears is wheezing for survival. Many chains have scaled back stores as consumers buy more online. Some former shopping magnets are struggling: Chilly, partially...
In Buford, one family’s grip on power raises ethics concerns
 Tucked away in the northern reaches of bustling Gwinnett County, Buford has for years cast itself as both fiercely independent and a wholesome alternative to the rest of metro Atlanta and its apparently big-city ways. The community of 15,000 has become a magnet for families attracted by award-winning schools and a small-town feel...

3:40 PM Friday, Dec. 14, 2018

Tucked away in the northern reaches of bustling Gwinnett County, Buford has for years cast itself as both fiercely independent and a wholesome alternative to the rest of metro Atlanta and its apparently big-city ways. The community of 15,000 has become a magnet for families attracted by award-winning schools and a small-town feel...
VIDEO: Ted Turner sings at his 80th birthday party
 Ted Turner, who told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he is “still working” on making the world a better place, serenaded a crowd at his 80th birthday party in Atlanta on Saturday. The CNN founder, philanthropist and former media and sports mogul — whose birthday is actually on Monday — crooned on stage to prominent...

6:03 PM Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018

Ted Turner, who told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he is “still working” on making the world a better place, serenaded a crowd at his 80th birthday party in Atlanta on Saturday. The CNN founder, philanthropist and former media and sports mogul — whose birthday is actually on Monday — crooned on stage to prominent...
Amazon’s HQ2 decision highlights broader interest in urban, transit
 Amazon hasn’t disclosed why it rejected Atlanta. But, when choosing where to put its highly sought second headquarters, the tech giant emphasized what it liked about the two locations it eventually decided would share the prize and 50,000 combined jobs. Beyond the top draw of scads of talented workers, the tech giant cited the...

10:51 PM Friday, Nov. 16, 2018

Amazon hasn’t disclosed why it rejected Atlanta. But, when choosing where to put its highly sought second headquarters, the tech giant emphasized what it liked about the two locations it eventually decided would share the prize and 50,000 combined jobs. Beyond the top draw of scads of talented workers, the tech giant cited the...
Amazon headquarters decision: It’s not Atlanta
 In the end, Georgia didn’t convince Amazon that Atlanta is the best location for its second headquarters. Or even the second best. The Seattle-based tech giant made it official Tuesday, announcing that it will split its proposed $5 billion HQ2 project into two operations. One will be in New York’s Long Island City in Queens and...

12:05 AM Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018

In the end, Georgia didn’t convince Amazon that Atlanta is the best location for its second headquarters. Or even the second best. The Seattle-based tech giant made it official Tuesday, announcing that it will split its proposed $5 billion HQ2 project into two operations. One will be in New York’s Long Island City in Queens and...
It’s official: Amazon picks NY, Va. and even Nashville
 Georgia didn’t convince Amazon that Atlanta is the best place for the company’s second headquarters, missing out on tens of thousands of jobs, the nation’s biggest ever economic development prize and the growth headaches expected to have come with it. The Seattle-based e-commerce and tech giant made it official Tuesday,...

3:24 PM Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018

Georgia didn’t convince Amazon that Atlanta is the best place for the company’s second headquarters, missing out on tens of thousands of jobs, the nation’s biggest ever economic development prize and the growth headaches expected to have come with it. The Seattle-based e-commerce and tech giant made it official Tuesday,...