- Treasury Budget
- The unified budget deficit for December was $84
billion, close to the CBO's estimate of $83 billion.
Through the first three months of fiscal 2009 the
budget deficit was $485 billion, 350% larger than at
the same point in fiscal 2008. Purchases of stock in
banks as part of the TARP program have greatly
added to the deficit this fiscal year.
- International Trade (FT900)
- The U.S. trade deficit substantially narrowed to
$40.4 billion in November. The consensus had
expected a much smaller narrowing to $51.5 billion.
This marks the fourth straight month of declining
gross exports and gross imports.
- Producer Price Index
- Producer prices for finished goods gave up
ground for the fifth month in a row in December, falling
by 1.9% in response to weakening demand. The
decline in top-line producer prices continues to be
largely driven by falling prices for energy products,
which dropped by 9.3% on the month. When food and
energy prices are excluded, core inflation remained
positive at 0.2%. Although core prices for finished
goods have not begun to fall, core prices among
intermediate and crude products both fell sharply for
the third month in a row.
- Import and Export Prices
- Import prices declined 4.2% in December
because of a sharp drop in petroleum prices. The
smaller than expected decline follows a downwardly
revised 7% drop in November (previously -6.7%).
Import prices have declined for five consecutive
months as both the U.S. and global recessions
intensified in the fourth quarter. With import prices
falling, the Federal Open Market Committee will leave
its target rate near historic lows for most of this year.
- Business Inventories (MTIS)
- Total business inventories declined 0.7% in
November, undershooting expectations for a milder
decline. Retail inventories were the only new data in
this report, falling 1.7%. However, dismal sales
continue to contribute to gains in the inventory-to-
sales ratio, which increased to 1.41, a multiyear
- Job Openings and Labor Turnover
- JOLTS data confirm the bleak labor market
situation. In November, gross hiring fell sharply, to 3.5
million from 4.2 million in October. The number of job
openings dropped as well, from 3 million to 2.8
million. However, separations remained virtually
unchanged-4.3 million workers left their jobs for
various reasons. The hire rate fell to 2.6%, compared
with 3.4% in November 2007, while the separation
rate at 3.2% was actually lower than a year ago
- Employment Situation
- As expected, 2008 ended on a bleak note for the
labor market. Payroll employment declined by 524,000
jobs in December, slightly more than expected.
Losses for November and October were much greater
than the preliminary data had indicated as well; an
additional 154,000 jobs were subtracted from the total
in those months. As a result, 1.5 million jobs were lost
on net during the fourth quarter. Over the course of
2008, payrolls shrank by 2.59 million jobs. Meanwhile,
the unemployment rate, calculated from the
household survey, rose to 7.2%, while the rates for the
prior two months were revised higher-to 6.8% for
November and 6.6% for October. The revision to
previous months was due to new seasonal factors.
U.S. unemployment last topped 7% in the early
- Jobless Claims
- Initial jobless claims increased by 54,000 to
524,000 for the week ending January 10. This was
more claims than expected, though still considerably
less than December's high. Generally, it is difficult to
infer the state of the labor market from claims
readings around the holiday season. It will likely be
several more weeks before claims are consistent with
other labor market indicators. Overall, labor market
trends have been pointing to persistent weakening.
- MBA Mortgage Applications Survey
- In the week ending January 9, the MBA indices
showed mixed results. The composite market index
increased 15.8% to 1,324.8. This was driven by an
increase in the refinance index, which rose 25.6% this
week to close at 7,414.1. In contrast, the purchase
index fell 14.1% to 295.8, despite a decline in contract
- Retail Sales (MARTS)
- Total retail sales continued to plunge in
December, down 2.7% in total and 3.1% excluding
autos, far worse than expected. Further, November
declines were revised down. Total sales fell 2.1%
(originally down 1.8%), and sales excluding autos fell
2.5% (originally down 1.6%). Declines in December
were widespread, although they were led by gas
stations. Building supply stores, clothing stores,
department stores, and restaurants also saw sales
plunge as consumers cut spending aggressively.
Core sales fell 1.5% and were revised from a gain of
0.3% to a decline of 0.2% in November.
- Chain Store Sales
- Chain store sales tumbled 2.3% in the week
ending January 10, more than reversing the prior
week's gain as consumers remain very hesitant to
spend. The year-ago decline expanded to 2.2%, the
largest decline in decades. The ICSC noted fewer gift
card redemptions and unfavorable weather as drags
in the week.
- Oil and Gas Inventories
- Crude oil inventories increased by 1.2 million
barrels during the week ending January 9, according
to the Energy Information Administration, below
expectations of a 2.2 million barrel build. Distillate
inventories surged by 6.4 million barrels, dwarfing
expectations of a 1.1 million barrel increase. Gasoline
inventories rose by 2.1 million barrels, also
surpassing expectations. Refinery operating capacity
rose from 84.6% to 85.2%. Total domestic petroleum
demand fell appreciably. This report points to lower oil
- Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
- Working gas in underground storage decreased
by 94 billion cubic feet during the week ending
January 9. The consensus estimate was for a decline
of 106 billion cubic feet.
THIS WEEKS LEADS:
- Alta Mere, Milex and Mr. Transmission
- Moran Industries, Inc. trades as Alta Mere, Milex
and Mr. Transmission at 190 locations
- The centers, offering automotive repair,
services and accessories, occupy spaces of 2,500
sq.ft. to 5,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations and strip
- Plans call for six openings throughout the
existing market during the coming 18
- Typical leases run five years with three,
- Specific improvements are
- Preferred demographics include a
population of 100,000 within three miles earning
$50,000 as the average household income.
competitors include Aamco, Meineke, Midas and All
Tune & Lube.
- A land area of 0.5 acres is required
for freestanding locations.
- For more information, contact
- Moran Industries, Inc.,
- 4444 West 147th
- Midlothian, IL 60445;
- Web site:
- Dutch Bros. Coffee
- Dutch Bros. Coffee operates 138 locations
throughout AZ, CA, CO, ID, OR and WA.
- The drive-
thru coffee shops occupy spaces of 377 sq.ft. in
freestanding locations and pad sites.
opportunities are sought throughout the existing
markets during the coming 18 months.
leases run 10 years.
- Specific improvements are
- Preferred demographics include a
population of 50,000 within five miles earning $50,000
as the average household income.
competitors include Starbucks.
- The company is
- A land area of 10,000 sq.ft. is
- The company will also consider locating
in second generation sites.
- For more information, contact
- Dutch Bros. Coffee,
- PO Box 1929,
- Grants Pass, OR, 97528;
- Web site:
- Retail Sales to Rebound in Second
- Public Policy Initiatives
- Utah Construction - 2008
- Economic Notes
- This Weeks Leads
UTAH CONSTRUCTION - January -
|County||Total Value Construction
($000)||% Change 2007-08|
Source: University of Utah BEBR, January 2009
|Public Policy Initiatives
Montana Passes Healthy Montana Kids Plan
In November, Montana residents overwhelmingly
passed Initiative 155, which establishes the Healthy
Montana Kids plan to expand and coordinate coverage
for uninsured children under Medicaid and SCHIP.
The plan calls for: 1) raising income eligibility levels
for children under SCHIP and Medicaid; 2) simplifying
transitions between the public coverage programs;
and 3) enhancing the use of community-based
organizations to enroll eligible children. The initiative
is estimated to cost the state $20 to $22 million for the
first year, which would bring in additional federal
matching funds. The state portion would come from a
share of Montana's insurance premium tax.
The Healthy Montana Kids plan is expected to
extend Medicaid and SCHIP to about 30,000 Montana
children through age 18. This could expand
Medicaid/SCHIP for children by nearly 50 percent and
cover the vast majority of uninsured children in the
state.  Medicaid coverage would expand from
current family income limits of 100 to 133 percent of
the FPL to about 185 percent of the federal poverty
level (FPL).  Income eligibility for the state's SCHIP
would expand from 175 percent to 250 percent of the
The plan also calls for a single point of access for
members of both Medicaid and SCHIP, promoting
easier movement between the programs. It provides
presumptive eligibility, meaning that children would be
covered while awaiting final eligibility determination.
Further, the state will enhance use of 'enrollment
partners' such as health care providers, schools, and
community-based organizations to help identify and
enroll eligible children in Medicaid and SCHIP.
Source: The Commonwealth Fund,
WI - Doyle Announces 'Transportation to Jobs'
Grants.Gov. Jim Doyle announced $4.8
million in grants to help low-income workers
throughout the state overcome transportation barriers
to employment as they struggle to provide for their
families and get ahead. "These grants provide critical
support to organizations across the state that help
hard-working Wisconsin families get to their jobs,"
Governor Doyle said. "In these tough economic times,
I am pleased that we are continuing this successful
initiative and further investing in programs that
strengthen our economy and help low-income
families get ahead."
MD - O'Malley Launches Web Site to Increase
Govt. Transparency.Gov. Martin O'Malley
announced the launch of a new state Web site aimed
at providing public accountability for state spending.
The Web site, created and maintained entirely with
Maryland Department of Information Technology
resources and staff, provides a searchable format
which displays state payment data, capturing the
name of the payee receiving payment, location of the
payee by ZIP code, amount of the payment and the
name of the state agency making the payment. "This
new tool will allow the public to see first-hand where
tax dollars are spent, ushering in a new era of
government accountability and transparency to
Annapolis that has become a hallmark of our
administration," said O'Malley.
MA - Patrick Unveils Push for Wind Power.
Wind turbines would increasingly dot the
Massachusetts landscape under a plan unveiled by
Gov. Deval Patrick to ramp up the state's reliance on
wind power over the next dozen years. Patrick said
Tuesday he wants the state to be producing 2,000
megawatts of wind electricity annually by 2020,
enough to power 800,000 homes - or about 10
percent of the state's current energy needs. Patrick
said that increasing reliance on wind power will lure
businesses and jobs to the state and help make
Massachusetts a leader in clean energy technology.
CO - Ritter Welcomes New Solar Energy
Facility. Gov. Bill Ritter and U.S. Senate
appointee Michael Bennet celebrated with Colorado
State University-Pueblo officials as they made a
ceremonial switch to solar-powered energy. The
system will provide more than 10 percent of the
university's future power needs. It is among the
largest solar energy systems on college campuses in
the United States. "This is part of changing the future.
This is part of us thinking different about how we
consume energy," Ritter said.
KS - Sebelius Offers Clean Energy
Proposals.Gov. Kathleen Sebelius released
proposals on the eve of a new legislative session to
encourage renewable energy, create green jobs and
curb the state's reliance on carbon fuels. Among the
proposals Sebelius issued are stricter energy
efficiency standards for new government buildings,
and a system that would allow Kansas citizens with
wind turbines or solar panels to sell excess power
back to utilities.
MI - Granholm Welcomes GM Battery
Production.Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm praised
General Motors' (GM) plans to begin battery-pack
production in Michigan at the first lithium-ion battery
assembly facility operated by a major automaker in
the United States. The GM news comes just days after
an announcement by A123 Systems that it plans to
establish a manufacturing center in southeast
Michigan for lithium-ion advanced storage systems.
VA - Kaine Unveils Green Jobs, Tax Credit
Plan.Gov. Timothy M. Kaine proposed several
pieces of legislation designed to promote green jobs
as part of his "Renew Virginia" initiative. r Kaine made
his announcement from the headquarters of Solar
Services Inc., a Virginia Beach company that installs
solar panels."Creating green jobs and a renewable
energy sector of the Virginia economy is one way we
can create opportunity from our current economic
challenges," Governor Kaine said. "With this package
of bills, not only will we be able to create jobs for
hardworking Virginians, but we will be taking proactive
steps to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and
improve our environment."
WI - Doyle Extends Tax Credits for Small
Business.Design Specialties Inc. in
Milwaukee will receive $81,000 in Community
Development Zone tax credits from the Wisconsin
Department of Commerce to help the company pay for
its new manufacturing facility and headquarters
recently built on Milwaukee's far northwest
side. "Despite these difficult economic times it's
important we continue to invest in growing companies
like Design Specialties," said Gov. Jim Doyle.
WI - Doyle Announces Bipartisan Partnership.
Gov. Jim Doyle and Gov. Tim Pawlenty are
looking into buying items such as software and
bulldozers together. They're also interested in sharing
helicopters, patrol boats on the rivers that separate
them and possibly administrative services for state
licenses, prisons and adjoining harbors in Duluth,
Minn., and Superior, Wis. Working together could lead
to significant savings for both states - including a bulk
discount of almost $1 million on road salt alone.
Doyle said in Madison that the savings could be tens
of millions of dollars long term. He said he expected
there to be some short-term immediate savings.
|Retail Sales to Rebound in Second Half '09: ICSC
U.S. retail sales will fall in the first half of this year
but should rebound in the second as an expected
government stimulus package lets consumers return
to discretionary purchases, according to the
International Council of Shopping Centers' chief
On a conference call on Thursday, Michael
Niemira said he expected total U.S. retail sales,
including food services, would fall 5 percent in the first
half of the year but then rise 2.7 percent in the second
Excluding food services sales, retail sales will fall
6.1 percent in the first half and advance 2.7 percent in
the second half, he said.
Source: ICSC, 2008
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