America has two basic economies, and the division increasingly defines its politics. One, concentrated on the coasts and in college towns, focuses on the business of images, digits and transactions. The other, located largely in the southeast, Texas and the Heartland, makes its living in more traditional industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to fossil fuel development. read more »
Keith Cline at Inc.com has a fresh look at one of the enduring, and perplexing, stories of 2011 — the skills shortage. Even with 13.3 million Americans unemployed, and millions more underemployed, there are industries severely lacking in skilled talent.
Cline provided five loose job titles/duties that employers will have a hard time filling as 2012 starts. Chief among them: software engineers and web developers. read more »
Like many other observers, we have found the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group to have made a convincing case for a fresh look at the feasibility of the California high-speed rail project. The group's report was issued as eleven House Democrats – eight from California – joined an earlier request from twelve Republican House members for an independent GAO investigation of the embattled project. read more »
As befits this time of year, our thoughts turn to the events that await us in the days ahead. Putting aside the major imponderable — the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections that inevitably will impact the federal transportation program —what can the transportation community expect in 2012? Will Congress muster the will to enact a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization? Or will the legislation fall victim to election year paralysis? What other significant transportation-related developments lie ahead in the new year? read more »
A congressional oversight hearing, focused on the concerns surrounding the troubled California high-speed rail project, cast new doubts on the likelihood of the project’s political survival. read more »
The Census Bureau released their yearly population estimates today. As noted by Wendell Cox, the estimates showed signs of the South's continued leadership in population expansion. While the overall numbers of people involved are much smaller, the Dakotas, in particular North Dakota, also showed signs of growth worthy of note. read more »
Bert Sperling just released a new list of “The Best Places to Hit Refresh” and perhaps surprisingly many are located in the much-ignored flyover states. According to the list, five cities throughout the Midwest and Great Plains perfect for those looking to start over. read more »
Illinois has become famous for producing Barack Obama, but now another sort of fame is in the news. The Illinois Policy Institute has come out with a devastating report on “the state of Illinois”:
Illinois residents are fleeing the state. When people leave, they take their purchasing power, entrepreneurial activity and taxable income with them. For more than 15 years, residents have left Illinois at a rate of one person every 10 minutes. read more »
A recent poll of 3,000 C-level manufacturing company executives found that 85% see certain manufacturing functions returning to the U.S., citing increasing costs overseas (37%), logistics/delivery demands (20%), quality issues (7%) and other reasons (37%).
New Internal Revenue Service migration data, compiled by the Tax Foundation, confirms that more people are again moving to Florida than are moving out. After a loss in the number of 30,000 domestic migrants ("exemptions") in 2008-9 as indicated on tax returns, Florida added 30,000 in 2009-10. This is still a far lower net migration than before the burst of the housing bubble, but is an indication that Florida has returned to growth. read more »