Time Magazine's Sam Frizell imagines that the American Dream has changed, in an article entitled "The New American Dream is Living in a City, Not Owning a House in the Suburbs." Frizell further imagines that "Americans are abandoning their white-picket fences, two-car garages, and neighborhood cookouts in favor of a penthouse view downtown and shorter walk to work." The available population data shows no such trend. read more »
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 290,000 more jobs in the US this month than there were last month. Twenty percent of those jobs were added by the federal government. While the federal government added 69,000 new jobs last month, every other level of government – including the post office – cut an average of 2,250 jobs. State governments were hardest hit last month, cutting 5,000 jobs. read more »
What started as a humble video segment for Reason TV has mushroomed into a lot of positive PR for Houston (and less than positive for Cleveland). It started with famous actor and comedian Drew Carey working with the libertarian Reason Foundation on a video series about saving Cleveland, his hometown. Houston is held up as a "best practice" example for land use regulation. There are lots of suggestions and positive comparisons to Houston on red tape (minutes 29:20 thru 32), zoning read more »
Barack Obama’s home state is in the news but not for positive reasons. Fitch downgraded Illinois debt. At the end of March, according to the Bond Buyer:
Fitch Ratings late Monday downgraded Illinois’ general obligation rating one notch to A-minus and warned of possible further action by leaving the state’s credit on negative watch ahead of $1.3 billion of short- and long-term GO issuance in three deals over the coming weeks. read more »
Thursday a man flew an airplane into the Austin, Texas, IRS Building. The Left claimed he was a “Tea bagger,” their vulgar term for Tea Partiers, apparently because he was anti-government. The Right claimed he was a whacky leftist, apparently because he was critical of Bush. A Muslim group claimed he was a terrorist, apparently because he wasn’t a Muslim.
They all miss the point, and quite frankly, the attempt to make political points out of personal tragedy is pretty disgusting. read more »
While California's much publicized budget battles have made the dire financial straights faced in Sacramento a topic of regular media conversation, other states are also experiencing major fiscal woes. According to experts interviewed by Crain's Chicago Business, Illinois currently finds itself in a state of de facto bankruptcy, with the state's ledgers appearing "to meet classic definitions of insolvency: Its liabilities far exceed its assets, and it's not generating enough cash to pay its bills." read more »
A recent report from the National League of Cities projects a grim financial situation for many municipal governments during the next three years. According to the report the municipal sector "likely faces a combined, estimated shortfall of anywhere from $56 billion to $83 billion from 2010-2012." Such shortfalls will be "driven by declining tax revenues, ongoing service demands and cuts in state revenues". read more »
First American CoreLogic, a real estate research company, recently released data on negative equity mortgages for the third quarter of 2009. The situation is stark. Nearly one in four U.S. mortgages (23%) is currently underwater, with the borrower owing more than the property is currently worth. read more »
The Windy Citizen pointed me at coverage of metro area job losses in the recession. Here is how the 12 cities I principally cover in this blog stacked up, sorted in descending order of percentage losses: read more »
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 »