Arkansas apparently tracks the national trend on rising home prices, though the number of home sales fell in July and August, the Arkansas Realtors reports.
The number of sales statewide dropped, year-to-year, by 1 percent in July and 5 percent in August. But average sales prices rose year-to-year by 13 percent in July and 10 percent in August.
The Arkansas unemployment rate held steady in August, at 7.3 percent, but the total workforce dropped slightly.
The Arkansas Arts Center has laid off three marketing employees in favor of outsourcing the work to Stone Ward. Leslie Peacock's Eye Candy blog has the details.
THE job numbers in recent months have been disappointing, encouraging Republicans who hope that the slow pace of recovery will cause voters to reject President Obama.
But buried in the numbers was one accomplishment that serves only to emphasize how poorly the American economy has performed since 2000. The pace of creation of jobs in the private sector during the current administration is now greater than the pace in either of President George W. Bush’s terms in office.
More inconvenient facts for those who live in the reality-based world. The faith-based liars of the Romney/Lyin' Ryan campaign will find them no obstacle. They'll have a re-spin quicker than you can run a three-hour marathon.
I fear the market may take back today what it gave yesterday. From CNN:
The U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in August, down from 141,000 in July, the Labor Department said today.
The report is well below forecast and another sign of a fragile economic recovery. Economists polled by CNNMoney were expecting 120,000 jobs to be added.
Economists say at least 150,000 jobs must be created each month simply to keep pace with the growing population.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1% from 8.3%.
White House response:
The New York Times takes an in-depth look today at whether the story of luring foreign car manufacturers to the U.S. could hold a lesson for bringing tech manufacturing (think iPads and other consumer electronics) to the U.S.
For years, high-tech executives have argued that the United States cannot compete in making the most popular electronic devices. Companies like Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, which rely on huge Asian factories, assert that many types of manufacturing would be too costly and inefficient in America. Only overseas, they have said, can they find an abundance of educated midlevel engineers, low-wage workers and at-the-ready suppliers.
But the migration of Japanese auto manufacturing to the United States over the last 30 years offers a case study in how the unlikeliest of transformations can unfold. Despite the decline of American car companies, the United States today remains one of the top auto manufacturers and employers in the world. Japanese and other foreign companies account for more than 40 percent of cars built in the United States, employing about 95,000 people directly and hundreds of thousands more among parts suppliers.
It's a complicated topic. Tariffs, trade practices, tax breaks, work ethic and lots more figure. But it's important as the U.S. gropes with ways to enhance the manufacturing sector.
The U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July, better than expected, but the unemployment rate still rose a tick, to 8.3 percent.
I'll play Krugman: Imagine how things would have been without the too-small, Republican-curtailed stimulus. Subtract a horde of auto workers, for starters.
The unemployment rate was down to 7.2 percent in June from 7.3 percent the month before.
A new Brookings Institute report describes a slow, uneven recovery in the country's 100 biggest metro areas.
It's another downer for us. The individual rankings put the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway area at 100th on the list. It was compiled by combining the rate of improvement in four key areas: 1) percent employment change, 2) percentage point change in unemployment rate, 3) percent change in gross metropolitan product, and 4) percent change in house prices.
Nowhere to go but up.
The Arkansas unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent in May, from 7.2 percent in April, though the workforce gained about 200 jobs.
It is not a good time to be a working stiff.
Median family income is declining and the median net worth of American families has plummeted, thanks largely to the housing debacle. Education debt now exceeds cumulative debt on cars. And on it goes.
While the numbers are already 18 months old, the survey illuminates problems that continue to slow the pace of the economic recovery. The Fed found that middle-class families had sustained the largest percentage losses in both wealth and income during the crisis, limiting their ability and willingness to spend.
Joe Nocera, inspired by a new book by Tim Noah on income inequality, decides maybe unions aren't such a terrible thing after all.
Union representation of workers has steadily declined to about 12 percent of the workforce (though with an even punier representation in Arkansas, the "union bosses" remain a sure applause line for wingnut Arkansas Republicans.)
“Draw one line on a graph charting the decline in union membership, then superimpose a second line charting the decline in middle-class income share,” writes Noah, “and you will find that the two lines are nearly identical.” Richard Freeman, a Harvard economist, has estimated that the decline of unions explains about 20 percent of the income gap.
This makes perfect sense, of course. Company managements don’t pay workers any more than they have to — look, for instance, at Walmart, one of the most virulently antiunion companies in the country. In their heyday, unions represented a countervailing force that could extract money for its workers that helped keep them in the middle class. Noah notes that a JPMorgan economist calculated that the majority of increased corporate profits between 2000 and 2007 were the result of “reductions in wages and benefits.”
Where'd the lost wages go? You know the answer to that one. Fatter-than-ever executive paychecks.
Nocera thinks liberals need to rethink joining labor's side. Some liberals — with a choice between labor and multi-millionaire executives of poorly run corporations intent on damaging political agendas — never left.
PS — Gene Jeffress, 4th District Democratic congressional candidate, sent out a photo today of his visit to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers hall to pick up a contribution.
Read Paul Krugman. Governments don't rev up the economy by spending less. The family analogy doesn't apply.
The answer is that an economy is not like an indebted family. Our debt is mostly money we owe to each other; even more important, our income mostly comes from selling things to each other. Your spending is my income, and my spending is your income.
So what happens if everyone simultaneously slashes spending in an attempt to pay down debt? The answer is that everyone’s income falls — my income falls because you’re spending less, and your income falls because I’m spending less. And, as our incomes plunge, our debt problem gets worse, not better.
Players: Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Film Commission, Northwest Arkansas Council.
I await details with interest. In Arkansas, the invocation of the magic words "public/private" generally means taxpayers soon will be asked to provide the money while private interests will soon start calling the shots, often with scant accountability.
Louisiana's popularity for film production is invariably mentioned when movies come up. It's been driven by enormous taxpayer handouts. Some think they cost far more than they produce in benefit to the state. There's no doubt there's been some wild exaggeration about the Louisiana work.
Just for the record: The Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank whose rankings are generally taken as gospel by those who think income, sales and property taxes are too burdensome, has something to say about film industry incentives.
Film tax credits fail to live up to their promises to encourage economic growth overall and to raise tax revenue. States claim these incentives create jobs, but the jobs created are mostly temporary positions, often transplanted from other states. Furthermore, the competition among states transfers a large portion of potential gains to the movie industry, not to local businesses or state coffers.
I could be getting ahead of myself. It could be that Arkansas's new alliance won't be looking for public money or public subsidies through preferential tax treatment. Maybe private industry has raised a substantial sum of venture capital to spur economic development (think Silicon Valley) and the state has promised to be as encouraging as possible with quality education for a digital world and public infrastructure attractive not only to the movie industry but the world at large. Yes, maybe that's it.
UPDATE: Looks like the headline news is a website with information on locations, incentives, available workers and other info friendly to film production.
News release follows:
The lead of the Arkansas Realtors Association report on April housing sales:
The number of homes sold in Arkansas decreased by 10 percent over a year ago while the average price of those homes sold rose by 8.3 percent. The average price of the homes sold in the 43-county area surveyed by the Association increased from $138,642 in April 2011 to $150,153 in April 2012.
"It is interesting to see that although the number of units sold for April fell in Pulaski, Washington and Benton Counties the price per unit increased-a whopping 26.6% in Washington and 11.5% in Benton County," said Amy Glover Bryant, Director of Communications for the statwide association. "According to some of the Realtors I've spoken to over the last week, this could be indicative of a number of things. It is possible that some of the excess inventory has been sold off, that there are fewer foreclosures or that the higher priced homes are selling better. They've also mentioned that in many cases they are getting multiple offers on the same listing. All in all, this month's stats bode well for sellers."
Or who knows what?
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