Analysis Brief – November 22, 2013

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Winter Conference Notes

Presentations from NC Metro Mayors Coalition Conference

US Conference of Mayors Publishes Metro Economic Report

This report, released earlier this month, looks at the growth in metropolitan area economies with respect to time and their share of overall state growth. This summary, published Wednesday in the News & Observer, offers a highlight at the report’s findings:

The breakdown in North Carolina shows that the Charlotte metropolitan area is responsible for 25.5 percent of the state’s economy. Raleigh-Cary (13.5 percent) and Durham (8.7 percent) metro areas generate a total of 22.2 percent. I combined them because they make up the Triangle, and it makes more sense to treat them as a single economic entity. So right there, the Triangle and Charlotte are nearly half the state’s economy.

The Triad weighs in at 13.1 percent (Greensboro, 8.1) and Winston-Salem (5.0); Fayetteville has 4.1 percent, and Wilmington has 3.4.

Brown/Bryson: Economic Growth May Cool Off Some

Wells Fargo Economist Michael Brown, who will present an outlook during the upcoming Winter Conference on December 13th, hosted Wells Fargo’s November Economic Outlook video with Global Economist Jay Bryson. Both individuals shared updates to their group’s forecast, anticipating some cooling in overall economic growth for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. They anticipate an annual growth rate around 2%, with national job growth averaging less than 200,000 jobs per month.

Wells Fargo Economics will also host their 2014 Economic Outlook Conference Call at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 12th. A summary of this call will be posted to the NCLGBA website on December 13th.

Employment Growth Trickle Continues, Wages Rise

Those able to find and retain work are at least seeing some growth in their pay checks, according to October employment and wage data released by BLS. The US labor market saw an increase of 202,000 jobs in October, while average raised were a little more than 2% higher than a year ago.

Earlier this week, BLS reported the Consumer Price Index dropped 0.1% in October, mostly the result of lower gasoline prices. The baseline measure of inflation, the CPI was up 1% compared to a year ago. The variance suggests workers could expect so increase in purchasing power and capacity to save, which could help offset the impact of personal inflation and debt deleveraging on the consumer spending side of overall economic activity.

Transportation-related expenditures have a volatile, bipolar impact on the economy at the present time. Lower gas prices negatively imapct retail sales, with gasoline sales activity down almost 7% over the 12 months prior to this September. At the same time, vehicle sales are up 4% compared year-to-year.

Another Month of Cooling for Home Sales

Existing home sales declined 3.2% in October, the second consecutive month for a drop off in activity. The October shutdown of the Federal Government, and its impact on delaying review and processing of applications for funding through Federal mortgage programs, may have effected sales in the short term. Overall, annual sales trends still remain above 5 million homes, with active inventories (2.1 million) close to pre-recession levels.

Small Businesses OK with Present, Don’t Like Future

“Wells Fargo’s Small Business Index fell 1 point to 24 in the fourth quarter. The present situation index rose 3 points, reflecting improving revenue, while the expectation series fell 4 points, reflecting headline concerns.”

Lacker Addresses Outlook in Asheboro

This Thursday, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker visited Asheboro SCORE to present a national economic outlook for the coming year. Click here for the text (video or audio likely to come soon).  Here are some themes and predictions from his speech:

  • Lacker reduced his GDP growth estimate from 3% to 2%, though he does see reasons for continued optimism
  • At the same time customers are scaling back and deleveraging, lenders are showing more unwillingness to extend funds.
  • Business investment is being held back due to public policy uncertainty.
  • Productivity growth is unlikely to change much, averaging roughly 1 percent per year.
  • Employment growth remains hard to forecast, though Lacker still predicts consistent growth at 0.9%. Increased hiring costs resulting from ACA implementation, along with skill “mismatch” in several parts of the country will serve to hinder positive growth potential.

Looking Back…

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy. Below is a radio special produced in the week following his death, providing a perspective of these historic events as they happened.

Leave a Reply