Analysis Roundup for August 10, 2012

NCLGBA will post a collection of topics discussed in economic reports of note from financial institutions and government agencies on a regular (not necessarily weekly) basis. ¬†Here is what we’ve found recently:

US Census Bureau
Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State-Administered Defined Benefit Data Summary Report: 2011 (Click Here for PDF Report) (Click Here for Website)

Based on self-reporting of states for their administered pension funds, North Carolina ranks 7th best in the country among states, with funds matching 94.4% of the State’s actuarial obligations for employees. ¬†Only 15 states achieved obligation coverage of at least 85%.

Nationally, state-administered pension fund assets grew 14.6% in 2011, totaling $2.5 Trillion. Their national obligation coverage is approximately 75% (i.e., approximately $833 Billion Underfunded).

Given the variances in self-reporting due to differences in actuarial methods and assumptions for investments and costs of employee benefits, survey results are likely to change significantly over time as new GASB standards for reporting actuarials and obligations are implemented.

Wells Fargo Economics Group
Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary (Click Here for 8/10 Commentary)

Agency reports this week on trade balance, hiring plans and productivity point to emerging strength within the national economy. Volatility in Europe eased through most of the past week, while reports of dwindling demand for goods from China are creating concern in Asia and elsewhere. Growth for the remainder of the year in the US is projected to be less than 2% of GDP, impacted significantly by cutbacks in personal consumption.

Crop Production Report (Click Here for PDF)

The impact of severe drought is now being more accurately quantified with respect to anticipated crop yields. Corn and soybean production are expected to drop 12% and 13% respectively compared to last year. This will likely keep futures prices elevated and have an impact on the price of any products that utilize these common staples (fuel, clothing, food, etc.).

Domestic cotton production, on the other hand, is expected to grow 13%. As a result, prices for this commodity have returned to normal levels have severe spikes last year, providing revenue potential for North Carolina farmers.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Regional Profiles, 2011 (Click Here for Site)

The Richmond Fed updated these overviews for District, State, Metro and County-level economic performance this week.

Click Here for Richmond District Profile

Click Here for North Carolina Profile

The Richmond Fed also produces a monthly “Snapshot” report of economic indicators for the District and its member states (including North Carolina), which were last updated last Friday.

Highlights from these profiles and the Snapshot of North Carolina will be featured in the a future Analysis Roundup.