Monday Report
Sept Retail Sales - Declining US Dollar Part II December 10th , 2007

The Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Science Part II

Economic Notes:


SCORECARD - September Sales Taxes

Gross Taxable Retail Sales - September 2007

  • The "Top Ten" represent 45% of the Statewide market.
  • The "Top Twenty-Five" represent 2/3rds of all retail sales.
  • The "Top 20%" gainers include:
  • Orem holds #2!
  • Sandy slides up to #3 from #4!
  • West Jordan jumps back up to #8 from slipping to #11, and stays in the "$100 million Club"!
    1. South Jordan +46.8%
    2. North Salt Lake +28.3%%
    3. Draper +26.0%
    4. Centerville +22.7
    5. Vernal +20.3
  • The "Biggest Losers" include:
    1. Cedar City - 5.8%
    2. Murray -3.2%
    3. Lindon -1.5%

September 07 Retail Sales - Top 30 Cities (Large Monthly Filers Only)

Rank CitySep 2007 (000) % Change 07/06Mkt Share Sep 07 (% of State Total)
1Salt Lake City$414,138+10.8% 11.9%
2Orem $152,890+9.0%4.4%
3Sandy $152,541+9.1%4.4%
4West Valley$141,232+2.8% 4.1%
5Murray $128,047-3.2%3.7%
6South Salt Lake$126,569+3.9% 3.6%
7St George$124,760-0.8% 3.6%
8West Jordan$100,070+10.1% 2.9%%
9Ogden $94,458+1.5%2.7%
10Layton $93,178+5.6%2.7%
11Provo $92,308+11.0%2.6%
12Logan $55,145+1.9%1.6%
13Riverdale$54,958 +4.2%1.6%
14American Fork$51,754+8.6% 1.5%
15Draper $51,467+26.0%1.5%
16South Jordan$45,104+46.8% 1.3%
17Vernal $45,104+20.3%1.3%
18Midvale $45,073+4.3%1.3%
19Cedar City$40,306-5.8% 1.2%
20Taylorsville$39,92 5+16.7%1.1%
21Lehi $34,860+2.3%1.0%
22Lindon $31,415-1.5%0.9%
23Bountiful$30,063 +10.7%0.9%
24Cottonwood Heights$28,558+5.2% 0.8%
25Park City$25,807+2.3% 0.7%
26Tooele $25,585+10.8%0.7%
27Centerville$24,81 6+22.7%0.7%
28Springville$22,04 4+3.6%0.6%
29Spanish Fork$20,930+14.8% 0.6%
30North Salt Lake$19,450+28.3% 0.6%

  • The "Top 5" Major Sectors represent 50% of the market.
  • The "Top 5" gainers include:
    1. Hotel & Lodging +33.1%
    2. Construction +29.2%
    3. Health Services +27.8%
    4. Mining +27.6%
    5. Business Services +27.5%
  • Categories with declining sales were led by:
    1. Agri, Forestry & Fishing -29.4%
    2. Occasional Retail Sales -21.0%
    3. Retail Building & Garden -8.7%

Source: Utah State Tax Commission, December 2007

Decline in the U.S. Dollar (USD)

Less than six years ago, as Euro notes and coins were launched - the Euro was worth less than 90 US cents.

This week, as the Euro heads towards $1.50.

  • What does it mean to the US?
  • What does it mean to Utah?
  • Housing prices are falling
  • Commodity prices are rising
  • Most Fed watchers expect Bernanke will lower interest rates again
  • Thus putting increased downward pressure on the dollar.

Part II - Dave Wilcox, ERA

  • As losers, the commoner US citizens are going to take much deeper personal savings and retirement funds hits, even if the Fed steps in to salvage only the banks.
  • On the other hand, our dollar lower value might have some surprising results (too early to verify):
    1. We may attract more college/university students from abroad (?)
    2. Overseas investors may partner more heavily with US based technology products firms, even if the production cycle in the US lasts only a short time until moving quickly legally or illegally overseas.
    3. Frankly, tech transfer may blossom more and more for US firms, given the cheaper dollar, than we may imagine.
    4. Ultimately, we might secure some manufacturing opportunities ourselves, as the costs of overseas goods rise, coupled with ongoing quality of delivered goods issues.
    5. We are partially ahead of the game in pursuing cleaner, greener, less destructive environmental impacts. I think I see some major US envirotech firms moving to overseas business opportunities, while still remaining mostly US based.
    6. The US public is clearly moving toward favoring goods produced anywhere but Asia. I think we will focus more on lable reading and toward "North American goods. This can also mean that the Toyota business model will work best for other companies who decide to land in the US.
    7. The US is being drawn more rapidly into globalization than we generally accept. It's time we re- invented ourselves and stopped depending on our somewhat fraudulent banks as the only nexus with the world.
    8. We are still "the idea machine" of the world, even if we've lost manufacturing specialty and commodity production leaderships. Now is the launch point for a primary reinvention strategy - and I think our combined university research institutes and major R & D ventures have a potentially clearer track to the future than our currently lame Federal government political "leadership" and our financial institutions wish to acknowledge or invest in.
    9. U of U has attained some remarkable research leaderships in several specialties. It's more than cherry picking; it's about sustaining evolving specialties.
    10. I recall the Navy civilian scientists at China Lake in Ridgecrest, Calif. commenting constantly on the lack of evolving software specialties, given the enormous capacities of the next generations of affordable computers.
    11. I've also been surprised at the fantastic success of several Australian universities in launching and sustaining wildly successful "distance learning" programs from their campuses, now reaching virtually everywhere in Asia. at USC.

Source: Dave Wilcox, VP ERA, USC Economic Development Instructor, December 2007

This Weeks Leads

  • Speedee Oil Change & Tune-Up
  • Speedee Oil Change & Tune-Up operates 170 locations throughout CA, CT, LA, MA, ME, NC, NH, RI, SC, TX, VT and Mexico.
  • The automotive service centers occupy spaces of 3,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations and pad sites.
  • Growth opportunities are sought nationwide during the coming 18 months.
  • Typical leases run 15 to 20 year with three to four, five-year options.
  • Specific improvements are required.
  • Preferred demographics include a population of 25,000 within five miles earning $50,000 as the average household income.
  • Major competitors include Econo Lube, Jiffy Lube and Precision Tune.
  • A land area of 14,000 sq.ft. to 16,000 sq.ft. is required.
  • For more information, contact
    • John L. Williams,
    • Speedee Oil Change & Tune Up,
    • 1320 Willow Pass Road,
    • Concord, CA 94521;
    • 925-686-9411,
    • Fax 925-686-9415;
    • Email: jwilliams@speedeecorp.com; Web site: www.speedeeoil.com.


September Retail Sales

Declining US Dollar Pt. II

  • Who wins?
  • Who loses?
  • Nationally?
  • Utah?

The Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Science, Pt 2

Bob Springmeyer

Bonneville Research

  • The Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Science Part II
  • The Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Science Part II

    • You may be able to quote Shakespeare, but what are you like on Big Bang theory?
    • The Financial Times gives non-scientifically minded readers a leg up the tree of knowledge.
    • Can you distinguish molecules from atoms? Genes from genomes?
    • Do you know what makes an experiment statistically significant? If not, do you care?
    • Are you embarrassed by your scientific ignorance - or almost proud of it?
    • Beyond the intrinsic intellectual interest, there are myriad practical reasons why as many people as possible should have a basic knowledge of science. An obvious one is that a scientifically savvy population is less likely to fall victim to fraud and superstition, from astrology to quack cures. And when so many contemporary political issues (from global warming to embryo research) have a big scientific component, voters and politicians need to understand what is really at stake.


    • Evolution through natural selection remains as valid today as it was 150 years ago when expressed with great elegance by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species. The mechanism of evolution depends on the fact that tiny hereditable changes take place the whole time in all organisms, from microbes to people.
    • As a result of these random changes, each member of every new generation differs slightly from its predecessors. Most of the variations will have a neutral or negative effect on the organism's ability to live and reproduce, but occasionally a change enhances its ability to thrive in the environmental niche in which it finds itself. Such beneficial mutations tend to propagate through the population.
    • An important feature of Darwinian evolution is that it operates at the level of the individual. There is no mechanism for natural selection to change the species as a whole, other than through the accumulation of changes that lead to the survival of the fittest individuals.
    • The rate of evolution varies enormously between different types of organism and different environmental circumstances. It can proceed very quickly when the pressure is great, as, for example, with bacteria exposed to antibiotics, when drug- resistant mutations may arise and spread through the bacterial population within months.
      Why does it matter?
    • Evolution is coming under renewed assault, particularly in the US, from fundamentalist Christians who want creationism to be taught in schools. Although evolution has had virtually unanimous support from professional scientists for at least a century, polls show that American public opinion still favours creationism.
      What next?
    • Biologists still have to do a vast amount of work to pin down the history of evolution. Big questions to be answered include: how life started, why evolution accelerated rapidly during some geological periods and which factors gave rise to human intelligence.
      Fear factor: sticky palms
      Genes and DNA
    • Darwin could not understand the biochemical mechanism of evolution, but 20th-century genetics has shown that the basic unit of heredity is the gene, which is made out of DNA. We have two copies of each of the 20,000 or so human genes, one copy inherited from each parent; if one is defective, the other can usually fill in for it.
    • As Francis Crick and James Watson famously discovered in 1953, DNA has a ''double helix'' structure: two interlinked spirals of biochemical units called nucleotides. There are four nucleotides, known by their initial letters G, A, C and T. In a molecular model of DNA, they look like a twisted stepladder.
    • The genetic code is the same in all living creatures. It translates the sequence of DNA nucleotides into amino acids, the corresponding building blocks of proteins. (Proteins are the biological molecules that do most of the work in our bodies.) Random mutations in DNA, together with the genetic mixing that takes place through sexual reproduction, make possible the variations that drive evolution.
    • The nucleus of every human cell contains six billion DNA nucleotides packaged into 46 chromosomes, which together make up the genome.
      Why does it matter?
    • Now that the DNA sequence of the human genome is known, scientists are beginning to interpret the endless string of Gs, As, Cs and Ts - and discover how our genes interact with our environment to make us the people we are.
      What next?
    • The medical benefits of knowing the human genome are arriving more slowly than the enthusiasts led us to believe when the sequencing project was completed five years ago, but they are on their way. The destination is often called ''personalised'' or ''individualised'' medicine - tailoring our lifestyle and treatments to our genes.
    What's Next - Fear factor: mild tremors

    Source: Financial Times, London, 2007

  • Economic Notes:
    • US Business Confidence
    • Business confidence fell sharply again last week and is signaling that the U.S. economy is likely contracting. In the five years of the survey, respondents have never been as dour in their assessment of the economy's present condition or its prospects six months hence. Responses regarding sales strength, inventory investment, and office space all deteriorated. Businesses are more positive when responding to questions regarding payrolls and equipment investment. Confidence is stronger outside the U.S., but it has notably weakened elsewhere in the past couple of weeks. Sentiment is weakest among firms in housing and financial services, and strongest among high-tech businesses.
    • Productivity and Costs
    • Productivity growth for the third quarter was revised sharply higher. Nonfarm business productivity grew 6.3% (SAAR), compared to 4.9% in the preliminary release; the upward revision was larger than expected. The revision was due to a higher estimate of output. Growth in unit labor costs saw a large downward revision, from -0.2% (SAAR) to -2.0%; this was a larger downward revision than the consensus expected. The large revisions are good news on inflation, but are only temporary, given the current slowdown.
    • Factory Orders
    • Factory orders climbed 0.5% in October-a larger- than-expected gain. Durable goods orders were revised up to a 0.2% decline from the previously- published 0.4% drop. Nondurable goods orders (shipments) rose 1.3% on the strength of chemical products and petroleum and coal shipments. Despite the revisions, details on core capital goods orders and shipments remained weak over the month.
    • MBA Mortgage Applications Survey
    • Mortgage demand increased 22.5% in the week ending November 30. Purchase applications increased 15.2% and refinance applications increased 31.9%. The large increase in the number of mortgage applications is largely due to the comparison with the Thanksgiving holiday the previous week, but it is also in response to lower fixed rates.
    • Chain Store Sales
    • Chain store sales fell 2.0% in the week ending December 1, but year-over-year growth improved to 3.1%, the strongest growth since the week ending August 4 as sales have fallen in many years in the week after Thanksgiving due to seasonal adjustment difficulties. The ICSC reported favorable weather, but weak customer traffic and delayed holiday shopping.
    • Oil and Gas Inventories
    • Crude oil inventories plummeted by 8.0 million barrels for the week ending November 30, according to the Energy Information Administration, far exceeding expectations of a modest 0.8 million barrel draw. Distillate supplies rose by 1.4 million barrels, above expectations of a 0.3 million barrel decline. Gasoline supplies rose by 4.0 million barrels, well above expectations. Refinery capacity utilization was unchanged at 89.4%. Today's report is bullish.

    Source: Economy.com 2007

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