Blogs

Infrasystems Build 21st Century Economies

Infrastructure investment has been a key driver of economic development throughout American history. In our country’s earliest days, the building of canals and turnpikes, followed by construction of railroads, greatly catalyzed expansion and development. Later, investment in electricity and telephone networks facilitated the development of vast expanses of the American landscape.  read more »

Auto Bailout: Follow the Money to House Votes

This probably won't shock you, but MapLight is reporting today that those House of Representatives members voting for the auto bailout received 65% more in campaign contributions from the auto industry than did those who voted against:

House Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of this bill, 205 voting Yes and 20 voting No (11 not voting). Democrats voting Yes received an average of $74,846 each, about 19% more than those voting No, who received an average of $63,140.  read more »

The Recession Hits the Plains

On Monday, Creighton University's Economic Forecasting Group released the latest installment of the Mid-America Economic Survey. The survey of supply managers in nine plains states has been conducted monthly since 1994 to "produce leading economic indicators of the Mid-America economy." The survey provides a snapshot of economic activity in the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.  read more »

Where is the financial bailout money going?

So far the Treasury Department has spread out $241 billion to AIG and 124 banks in mostly coastal states and Ohio and Indiana. Check out ProPublica's frequently updated map of financial bailout recipients. ProPublica is monitoring the bailout and offers an RSS feed and a bailout widget to keep tabs on where the money is going.

Here's some other financial crisis visuals:  read more »

The Transmission Infrastructure Dilemma

Last week, Bismarck, ND was host to the second annual Great Plains Energy Expo and Showcase. Hosted by Bismarck State College and Senator Byron Dorgan, the conference focused on North Dakota's growing energy industry, including the wind energy sector, with presenters such as T. Boone Pickens discussing the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.  read more »

Maps of United States Manufacturing and Finance Industry

For our War of the Regions piece I went through BLS data and calculated location quotients for a few key diverging industries, namely manufacturing and securities, commodities and investments side of the finance industry. These are the kind of numbers that really benefit from geographic visualization.

A LQ tells us not where the most jobs are in any given industry, but how much of a state's employment is clustered in the given industry.  read more »

European Housing Woes

While the decline in housing prices in America has been making news for some time now, less attention has been paid on this side of the Atlantic to the downturn in European housing. The housing market in Europe, much like that of the United States, "soared during the first half of this decade, rising far beyond the levels that you'd expect, based on traditional economic factors."  read more »

Down on the Farm

2007 was a good year for rural America. Driven by "bumper crops, strong demand, and high prices" in commodity markets, farmers across the United States enjoyed an "exceptional year". Strong conditions continued into the first half of 2008, spurring farmers to increase "purchases of capital equipment and household consumption," and fueling "double-digit percentage gains in cropland values," in many areas of the nation.  read more »

Geography of the US Auto Manufacturing Industry

Talk of bailing out US automakers has dominated the news recently, and we all know that means Michigan. Michigan is home to roughly a quarter of the country's auto manufacturing jobs, and the industry is in rapid decline there and in Ohio, but the state of automaking employment in the rest of the country may surprise you.  read more »

Mexicanizing oneself in Los Angeles

Working on a construction crew back in college with a few workers each from Mexico and Guatemala, I was amazed at the animosity between the two groups. They would joke, not good-naturedly, about how much cheaper the prostitutes were in the neighboring country or how stupid the other's politicians were. I traveled in Central America a few years later and found the same thing.  read more »