- International Business Confidence
- Gobal business confidence began 2009 as dark
as it has ever been. While sentiment has improved a
bit during the last two weeks, it remains near record
lows. Businesses are nearly equally pessimistic
across the globe and across all industries. Hiring
intentions have turned particularly negative in recent
weeks. Pricing power has collapsed, suggesting that
deflation is a significant threat. The global recession
is intensifying according to the business confidence
- Semiconductor Billings
- Global semiconductor sales fell by a massive
8.2% m/m in November to $20.8 billion on a three-
month moving average basis. In annual terms, sales
fell by 9.9%. This is considerably weaker than typical
seasonal trends, if not for falling memory chip prices,
annual sales would be stronger.
- Factory Orders (M3)
- Factory orders fell 4.6% in November following a
downwardly revised 6% decline in October
(previously -5.1%). This marks the fourth consecutive
decline in factory orders. Orders excluding
transportation declined 4.2% compared with October's
5.1% drop. Unfilled orders notched their second
consecutive decline in November. The decline in
factory orders is a clear indication that troubles in
manufacturing are intensifying.
- Job Cuts
- December job cut announcements portend
another poor month for the labor market. The number
of announced job cuts declined in December to
166,348 from 181,671 in November. However, the
number remains elevated, and the fourth quarter cuts
of more than 460,000 were the highest since 2001.
For the year, companies and nonprofits eliminated 1.2
- Jobless Claims
- Initial jobless claims decreased by 24,000 to
467,000 for the week ending January 3. This was far
fewer initial claims than expected, though the number
was not out of the ordinary considering the time of
year. Holidays have been known to make claims more
volatile than usual. Labor market trends have been
generally pointing to persistent weakening.
- Monster Employment Index
- The Monster Employment Index gave up 12 points
between November and December, falling to 131.
This decline placed the index on par with its April 2005
level. The index fell 22% from a year ago in December,
unchanged from November's rate. The decrease in
help-wanted advertising was felt in all nine census
divisions and in all but two of the 20 industries tracked
by Monster. The large decline in the index affirms the
mostly negative expectations for another dismal
employment report for December.
- Construction Spending (C30)
- Total construction spending for November 2008
came in at $1.078 trillion, a 0.6% decline from the
revised October total of $1.085 trillion and a 3.3%
decrease from November 2007. Nevertheless, this
decline was less than expectations. As in the previous
month, private construction fell substantially, the main
component of the decrease being residential
construction. Private nonresidential construction and
public construction registered slight increases from
November totals. The recession is pushing down
residential real estate construction but has only
slowed nonresidential construction thus far.
- Pending Home Sales
- he pending home sales index fell 4% in
November to 82.3, well below expectations for a
modest increase. The decline places the index at both
a new cycle low and 5.3% below its year-ago level.
The preliminary index value for October was revised
down significantly, from 88.9 to 85.7. The sharp
decline in pending sale contracts suggests that falling
house prices and lower interest rates are failing to
attract buyers, and that existing-home sales will fall
further through January.
- Case-Shiller Home Price Indices
- The housing market's performance remains grim,
with house prices falling across all regions, according
to the third quarter Fiserv Case-Shiller house price
indices. The CSI price index declined on a quarter-
over-quarter basis in all nine Census divisions. Prices
in the Pacific West and Mountain states fell the fastest.
Moreover, the price decline accelerated in the third
quarter compared with the second. The West South
Central held up the best. The decline in the national
house price index also accelerated in the third quarter
compared with the second.
- MBA Mortgage Applications Survey
- The MBA market composite indices ended mixed
for the week ending January 2. The purchase index
showed a healthy 7.3% increase for the week,
whereas refinancing euphoria started to subside as
the refinance index fell by 12.3% for the week. Overall,
the market index was down by 8.2%. Nevertheless,
the fall in contract rates has led to an upward trend in
the purchase index for the past month that is a small
glimmer of hope in the currently depressed housing
- Chain Store Sales
- Consumers cut back severely again in December
although results were lifted from November by
calendar effects and easier comparisons. Chain store
sales fell 1.7% for the month according to the ICSC,
compared with November's 2.7% decline. Combined
sales fell 2.2% in the two months, the biggest decline
in the history of the series back to 1970. Excluding
Wal-Mart, sales tumbled 4.3%. Gasoline prices again
were a significant drag on sales for the month,
undermining sales at warehouse clubs. The few
bright spots were discounters that sell food and drug
- Consumer Credit (G19)
- Consumer credit balances fell by a much larger-
than-expected $7.9 billion in November, to a total of
$2.571 trillion. This drop was the largest recorded
decline in the level of consumer credit, even
exceeding August's steep decline.
- Oil and Gas Inventories
- de oil inventories increased by 6.7 million barrels
during the week ending January 2, according to the
Energy Information Administration, far surpassing
expectations of a 900,000 barrel build. Distillate
supplies increased by 1.8 million barrels, surpassing
expectations of a 1.1 million barrel increase. Gasoline
inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels, also
surpassing expectations. Refinery operating capacity
jumped from 82.5% to 84.6%. Total domestic
petroleum demand fell. This report points to lower oil
- Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
- Working gas in underground storage decreased
by 47 billion cubic feet during the week ending
January 2. The consensus estimate was for a decline
of 79 billion cubic feet.
THIS WEEKS LEADS:
- The Limited Too and Justice
- Tween Brands, Inc. trades as The Limited Too and
Justice at 900 locations nationwide.
- The stores,
selling apparel, swimwear, sleepwear, sportswear,
accessories and footwear for girls aged seven to 14,
occupy spaces of 4,100 sq.ft. in community malls and
- Growth opportunities for the Justice
brand are sought throughout the existing market
during the coming 18 months.
- For more information, contact
- Tween Brands, Inc.,
- 8323 Walton
- New Albany, OH 43054;
- Web site:
- Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries
- Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries operates
locations throughout AL, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL,
IN, KS, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA,
SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, WV and Washington,
- The casual restaurants occupy spaces of
1,200 sq.ft. to 2,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations,
endcaps and inline spaces.
- Growth opportunities
are sought throughout Manhattan, NY during the
coming 18 months, with representation by Branded
- For more information, contact
- Branded Concept Development,
East 23rd Street, 6th Floor,
- New York, NY 10010;
- Web site: www.fiveguys.com.
- Faconnable operates four locations throughout
CA, FL and NY.
- The stores, offering upscale
apparel and accessories for men, women and young
boys aged six to 14 years old, occupy spaces of 4,500
sq.ft. in upscale regional malls and street fronts.
- Plans call for five openings nationwide during
2009, with representation by The Greenberg Group.
- Preferred cotenants include Burberry, Ferragamo,
Saks, Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuittan and Hermes.
- For more information regarding Faconnable,
- Steven Greenberg,
- 1200 West
- Hewlett, NY 11557;
- Web sites:
- Monro Muffler
- Monro Muffler Brake, Inc. trades as Monro Muffler
at 568 locations throughout CT, DE, IN, MA, MD, ME,
MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT and WV.
- The automotive services centers occupy spaces of
4,500 sq.ft. to 8,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations.
- Growth opportunities are sought throughout the
existing markets during the coming 18 months.
- Typical leases run five to 15 years.
demographics include a population of 25,000 within
three miles earning $40,000 as the average
- Major competitors include
Midas, Tire Kingdom, Goodyear and Bridgestone.
- For more information, contact
- Monro Muffler Brakes, Inc.,
Holleder Parkway, Rochester, NY 14615;
- Web site:
Note: The following is clearly written for
nonprofits, but much is applicable to all entities
including public organizations
A 360-Degree Look at the Organization:
Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us
The 360-Degree Look doesn't replace systems for
getting ongoing feedback. But the information you
gather may help you decide to offer more fish dishes
or pay more attention to the coffee being hot enough.
You might change the way the dinner shift turns over.
You might think to point out on your menu that you
don't use any trans fats, and to frame a restaurant
review for your front window. And remember that you
can't please everyone. Aristotle also said, "A great city
is not to be confounded with a big one."
Here's to a good year for all of us.
Source: Board Café - Blue Avacado,
- Who should judge if a meal is good? The cook?
The nutritionist? The restaurant critic? Aristotle had a
good answer long ago: "The guest is a better judge of
the feast than the cook."
- There are 360 degrees in a circle, and the 360-
Degree Look places the organization at the center of
the circle and looks at it from the viewpoint of its many
constituencies. In particular, the 360-Degree Look
helps compensate for the board's limited view of how
well the organization is functioning. There are several
reasons for this limited view. First, board members
often have only a little time each month to spend on
their volunteer board commitments. Second, board
members are often unfamiliar with the program area
of the organization, whether that is pesticide research,
early childhood development, or nursing home
standards. Hopefully, board members do know about
the needs and desire of the organization's
constituents, but that may not be the case. Finally,
board members often receive most or all of their
information from the organization's executive -- not
entirely a bias-free source.
- Time for a Fresh Perspective?
- In a 360-Degree Look, the board and the staff
management team seek feedback from those who
stand around the outside of the circle as well as
inside it: clients, the community, volunteers, donors,
funders, and staff. While such a project might be seen
as threatening or overly time-consuming by staff, it's
an infrequent project, done perhaps every five years,
or when a fresh perspective is wanted. Having it led by
a board-staff task force can alleviate staff fears and
create a precedent for such board-staff teams. Like
any project, a 360-Degree Look can get bigger and
bigger; keep it modest and do-able.
- The following steps can be considered as
examples of ways to obtain input from a variety of
constituents and sources:
- Clients or patrons (the diners)
- Program evaluation techniques are designed to
determine the impacts of particular program
interventions. A 360-Degree Look is more exploratory,
more holistic, looking for how patrons and clients feel
about what we do, and seeks unexpected insights.
Consider holding one or two focus groups with clients
or patrons, facilitated by an experienced focus group
leader, where they can give feedback on current
services and unmet needs. A more extensive
client/patron survey can involve a written
questionnaire, a telephone survey, or in-person
interviews. Even as few as five or ten open-ended
interviews can be provide new, valuable insights.
Some example questions:
- How did you first hear about Spruce?
- What was your first contact with Spruce like?
- What makes it difficult for you to use Spruce's
services / attend Spruce's performances? What
bothers you about Spruce?
- What do you wish that Spruce did that it doesn't do
- Spruce is thinking about asking patients for
donations by mail / changing the matinee ticket price,
etc. What would your reaction be to something like
- Staff (the kitchen and wait staff)
Consider asking staff to anonymously complete a
short questionnaire to learn more about how they see
the organization's strengths and weaknesses. Make it
clear that this survey is one of the ways, not the only
way, that the board is conducting the assessment.
While a full report probably shouldn't be given to all
staff, the staff will appreciate hearing back some of the
highlights from what you find. Here are some sample
How much do you agree or disagree with the following
- The Spruce Organization (fictitious name)
consistently does quality work.
- I am proud to be an employee of this organization.
- I am embarrassed to be an employee of this
- The duties of my job are clear to me.
- I have confidence in the staff leadership of this
- Most of the time, I have enough time to complete
my work assignments.
- I worry that our financial situation is unstable.
- I am respected by my supervisor.
- I am respected by people who report to me.
- Our organization does too much/too little/the right
mix. Please comment.
- Donors and volunteers (the friends)
Staff and board members can conduct telephone
interviews with major donors and key volunteers,
asking for feedback on how well the organization
involves and informs them, and seeking perceptions
about the organization's effectiveness. Here are some
- How did it come about that you are a donor to
Spruce [or a volunteer with Spruce]?
- You have many choices in where to make
donations [or volunteer]. What made you choose
Spruce as one of those places?
vHave we thanked you appropriately? Too much? Too
little? On time? Did you appreciate the framed poster
we sent, or did you think it was an unnecessary
- Have our staff been appropriately responsive to
you, in giving you information about Spruce's
procedures, organization, or clients? What, if anything,
do you have questions about?
- If there were one thing you would like to see
Spruce change, what would it be?"
- Foundation, corporate, and government
funders (the financiers)
- Board members can conduct a series of
interviews with foundation and government program
officers, in which a board member asks, for example,
for comments on the quality of written proposals
submitted, quality of communication and interaction
with the agency, the organization's reputation in the
community, and suggested areas for improvement or
change. Here is an excerpt from a sample interview
- "As you know from the letter you received last
the Spruce Organization is conducting a 360-Degree
Look at our organization. I'm a board member of
Spruce, and I want to ask you a few questions . . .
- How well acquainted are you with Spruce's
programs and operations?
- What do you think Spruce does very well?
- Are there some activities you think we do poorly,
that should be discontinued, or that need
- How would you characterize the quality and
promptness of our proposals and reports?
- From your direct interactions with Spruce, what is
your general impression?
- If there were one thing you would like to see
Spruce change, what would it be?"
- Independent program and management
evaluators (the nutritionists and the restaurant critics)
- In addition to an annual audit by a certified public
accountant, the board can contract with consultants to
assess an aspect of the organization's programming
or management. Such consultations can involve
different components, such as an examination of
personnel procedures or an analysis of organizational
compliance with relevant regulations. Professional
program evaluators assess human service and other
types of programs both to find ways that the programs
can be improved and to determine the outcomes of
the agency's services and the impact on clients and
the community. Facilities consultants evaluate your
facilities to be sure they meet your needs today and in
the future. Arts consultants look at the artistic quality
of an organization and compare its strengths and
weaknesses to others. Remember that restaurant
critics aren't always right, but if they have a complaint it
may be something that's easy to fix.
- What's on the web about our organization?
- Do a Google or Yahoo search on the name of your
organization. Look at your Form 990 to see what
you've told the IRS and the public. See whether and
how you have been rated by one of the online charity
rating agencies. Create a Yahoo Alert or Google Alert
and get emails every time your organization is
mentioned on the web.
- Using the Information
- The committee or task force that has led the 360-
Degree Look has the important responsibility of
making sense of all the material. For example,
interviews with funders may reveal that grant reports
are well written but often late; the executive director
should have this feedback. There may be patterns of
satisfaction and dissatisfaction among staff that can
be useful planning information for the management
team. An idea for change can unexpectedly show up
from several different kinds of people -- such as a
desire for an organizational name change -- and
should be taken seriously by the board as a
suggestion. The interviews may show that the
organization is gaining or losing luster in the
community; such a finding may bear further
- The committee can make its report to a board
meeting, perhaps with the staff management team
present. Present it in sections and after each section,
ask for reactions and ideas: is there something we
should look into more closely? How can we celebrate
- Proceed with Caution
- The information gathered in a 360-Degree Look
needs to be used with care. The staff needs to hear
critical as well as positive comments from clients, but
they may not need to hear the exact wording of an
overly harsh statement by an obvious crank. In
addition, a 360 Look is not the same as an evaluation
of the executive director. The information gathered
may be best used in organizational planning, and only
used in a secondary way in the executive director's
Promote School Safety!
Safe Schools/Healthy Students
- POSTED: 12/30/2008
- FUNDING SOURCE: Dept. of Education
- ELIGIBILITY: LEAs, charter schools that are
considered LEAs under state law, and IHEs
- $ AVAILABLE: $30,900,000
- GRANTS AVAILABLE: 28
- MAX GRANT SIZE: $2,250,000
- DEADLINE: 3/4/09
- CONTACT INFORMATION:
- DESCRIPTION: Funds for integrated,
comprehensive community-wide plans to implement
varied activities that will create safe and drug-free
schools and promote healthy childhood development.
|Working with clients to make good things happen!
Bonneville Research is a regional consulting firm
focused on consulting services to state and local
governments including economic analysis for real
estate development, public-policy analysis, tourism
and economic development.
Since its founding in
1976, Bonneville Research has completed
assignments throughout the intermountain west
yielding unmatched experience in high quality public
policy analysis and economic analysis.
Helping Clients Succeed
Our services include:
- Financial Analysis
- Business License Studies
- Impact Fee analysis
- Urban Renewal & Redevelopment
Analysis and Budgets
- Strategy and Policy Analysis
- Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis
- Statistical and Survey Research
- Public Sector Mission
Each of our studies is tailored to address
the unique needs of our clients and their communities.
Successful client work requires a
superior team of
outstanding people working fluidly together.
Bonneville Research is the one firm with
the experience and expertise to help
governments and nonprofit organizations
We work to help clients achieve enduring
and improve the communities in which we
If we can help, please call or email us at: