Economics

Little Housing Boom on the Prairie

The great North Dakota boom, driven by oil development and strong agricultural markets, has continued to put the state at the top of economic growth rankings. The state can now add "housing growth" to the list.

As the region's oil industry expands and matures, the market for more permanent housing solutions has heated up. According to recently released Census data, North Dakota led the nation in housing growth in 2012, increasing its supply of housing by 2.3% in just one year. Overall national growth was 0.3%.  read more »

A Fly-Over State Change of Mind

Google the phrase “fly-over state.” You will find some unkind and a few nasty characterizations of the states that occupy the middle of the country. Nobody goes to these boring, unremarkable places with their ignorant people, uncultured lifestyles and awful weather. "Fly-over states" are where people never actually go but just fly over to get from the East Coast to the West Coast where the interesting places are.  read more »

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Interactive Data Visualization: The Connection Between Manufacturing Jobs and Exports

By Hank Robison and Rob Sentz

We recently observed that there are only about 50 manufacturing sectors out of 472 (6-digit NAICS) that actually gained jobs over the past 10 years. This made us wonder because we keep hearing that manufacturing output is actually improving. Politicians and policymakers tend to assume that an uptick in output would naturally result in an uptick in employment. So we investigated.  read more »

Wind Energy is Not Just Hot Air

Anaheim Convention Center, Southern California, last week was a hot bed of one of the ultimate forms of renewable energy. The “fuel” used by wind turbines (really the wind) is free for the 30 year life span of the windmill installation, is considered inflation proof, and is 100 % domestically available.

Just a brief walk through the trade exhibition convinces any visitor of European as well as Chinese commitment to wind energy. One guest speaker, Ted Turner put it: “Just do not look at the next 30 years, look for at least a few hundred years of human energy needs.”  read more »

Transportation Infrastructure: Yankee Ingenuity Keeps California Moving

A friend was explaining some philosophy to me the other day and he used an analogy to make his point: If you can get a cannibal to use a knife and fork, is that progress? Of course, the answer is "no". So when I heard the next day that transportation infrastructure performance in the US improved significantly at the height of the worst recession since the great depression I had to ask: is that progress?  read more »

The Tax Cut that Killed California?

I studied with the Austrian economists at New York University. The Austrian school of economics (as contrasted to Keynesians or Chicago school economists) work with a theory about business cycles that essentially starts from the understanding that what appear to be almost mechanical, regular ups and downs in the economy are actually caused by the periodic disappointment of the expectations of entrepreneurs. The alternative is to suggest that business owners periodically and collective wake up stupid one morning and start making a lot of bad decisions.  read more »

Urban Economies: The Cost of Wasted Time

Much has been written in recent years about the costs of congestion, with ground breaking research by academics such as Prud'homme & Chang-Wong and Hartgen & Fields showing that the more jobs that can be accessed in a particular period of time, the greater the economic output of a metropolitan area.  read more »

Riding Out the Recession in the Forty Strongest Metropolitan Economies

A few days ago BusinessWeek released a list of the top 40 metropolitan economies based on data compiled at the Brookings Institution's Metromonitor project. But, as many old media sites tend to do, they've locked the list behind a slow-loading slide show in a cheap attempt to drum up page views. Many of the commenters to the original article couldn't even find the list.  read more »

Mapping Industry Employment Trends by State

Mark Hovind at Jobbait.com has released another fascinating set of maps and data on industry employment trends by state over the past few months. Here's a taste:

The maps below show the employment trends by state and industry sector for the 12 months ending June 2009 (July will be available August 21). Green is growing faster than the workforce. Grey is growing slower. Red is declining. Black is declining more than 8%.  read more »

Decline in Construction and its Effect on Gender

Unemployment in the construction sector increased by 79,000 in June, according to a report The Associated General Contractors of America released earlier this month. Over the past year, that number has grown to 992,000.

Even more alarming is the disparity between the construction worker unemployment rate, over 17.4 percent, and the national average for all sectors, around 9.7. Construction employment is crumbling before our eyes.  read more »