Economics

Top Producer US Exports Oil to United Arab Emirates

For the first time, oil has been exported from the United States to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE has been one of the world’s leading producers of oil, which has financed the urban centers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with their spectacular architecture. This is an indication of the rise over the past decade of the United States as a fossil fuel producer.  read more »

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The Branding Benefits of Being an Amazon Finalist

When Amazon’s list of 20 cites that will move forward was announced, I noted that cities like Indianapolis and Columbus win just from making the cut. You could also add Nashville and Raleigh to that list.

I’m just following up with some brief evidence of how this played out. First, the New York Times coverage of the Amazon cut list selection led with an image of downtown Indianapolis and also featured a large picture of Columbus, Ohio.  read more »

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Amazon HQ2 First Cut Designed to Keep America Guessing

Amazon released its first cut of 20 cities in the bakeoff for its new 50,000 job HQ2, down from 238 initial bids submitted.

It’s hard to know exactly how to interpret this, but one takeaway is that Amazon wants to keep us guessing about where they are heading. There are bigger cities and smaller cities, high cost cities and low cost cities, red state cities and blue state cities, cities in every area of the country, etc.  read more »

Good News for Detroit: Truck Production Transfer from Mexico

The Wall Street Journal reports good news for Detroit, with a somewhat rare expansion of production in Detroit (specifically in Warren, suburban Macomb County). Fiat Chrysler will be moving some of its truck production to Warren from a plant in Saltillo, Mexico, creating 2,500 new jobs. The Detroit move is to be contrasted with the near monopoly that Southern states have enjoyed in attracting vehicle manufacturing by foreign suppliers.  read more »

You Can Grow Your Own Way

A confluence of potent forces is creating an era of localism and decentralization across the planet making local decision-making and action more important than ever before. This is particularly true in the economic realm, where cities and regions must take full advantage of their unique combination of resources, culture, infrastructure, core competencies in industry and agriculture and the skills of entrepreneurs and workers.     read more »

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 »