Economics

A Look at the Information Sector

Between economic development strategies targeting software firms, the deflation of the tech bubble, talk of "broadband," and recent consternation about failing publishing business models, we seem to hear a lot about the information sector. Recognizing that, it's interesting that the information sector only comprises about 2.2% of total employment in the US.

On top of that, after a big decline since the tech bubble peak in 2001, in February the sector has receded to just more than 2.9 million jobs, a level not seen since April 1996.  read more »

Visualizing our 2009 Best Cities for Job Growth Rankings

Here's some great maps of our annual Best Cities Rankings created by Robert Morton at Tableau Software. Robert used their software tool to plot a color coded point for each city in the rankings by size group, and immediate geographic patterns emerge:  read more »

What About Carmen?

The national conversation in the wake of President Obama's introduction of a mortgage relief plan has centered on "fairness" and the conditions to qualify for a mortgage modification. This misses the point. The effects of "innovative" mortgage products were felt far more broadly than the relationship between a single buyer (responsible or not) and his particular mortgage broker (despicable or not). To illustrate the point, meet Mrs. Conservative And Responsible Mortgage Neighbor ("Carmen" for short).  read more »

Is Texas Really on the Brink?

I recently recieved this this link to a short essay and some stats titled "Texas on the Brink". I thought I'd share my response with you:  read more »

Subjects:

Deconstructing the Meltdown, National Job Losses by Sector

Here's a look at national employment change in the United States over the past 10 years. Nonfarm employment peaked in the US in December of 2007 at 138.1 million jobs. After a record loss of 598,000 jobs in the last month, we're now at 134.5 million. Thats a loss of more than 3.5 million jobs over the past year. Conveniently, 3.5 million jobs is exactly what Obama administration economists plan to create or save with the stimulus package.  read more »

The U.S. is Inherently Prosperous

Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill has both policy makers and the public wondering what the bill will actually manage to stimulate. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, a recent study shows that left to fend for itself, the United States is inherently prosperous.

The Legatum Prosperity Index recently released a study of the most prosperous nations, measuring economic growth and quality of life. The study found that the U.S. – despite its current economic situation – ranks fourth out of 104 nations.  read more »

State Budget Woes

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights the increasingly precarious fiscal situation faced by state governments confronting the ongoing economic downturn. According to CBPP, "at least 44 states faced or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this and/or next year, and severe fiscal problems are highly likely to continue into the following year as well."  read more »

Subjects:

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 »

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 »

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 »