Monday Report
Global Unemployment and Productivity February 23rd, 2009


Public Policy Initiatives


  • Global Business Confidence
  • Businesses remain darkly pessimistic across the globe. If there is a distinction it is that Asian businesses are a bit less negative than businesses everywhere else. Sentiment is weakest among those who work in government, but it is poor across all industries. Businesses remain very negative on everything from sales to hiring and investment. Pricing power has evaporated with about one-third of respondents saying they are cutting prices for their goods and services.
  • The Conference Board Leading Indicators +0.4%
  • The Conference Board index of leading indicators surprised on the upside in January, jumping 0.4%. However, for the second straight month, the increase was too narrowly based to suggest that a bottom is coming into view. Even so, only five of the other nine components contributed negatively, reinforcing our belief that the downturn is no longer intensifying.
  • Import and Export Prices -1.1%
  • Import prices declined a smaller than expected 1.1% in January, following December's downwardly revised -5% (previously -4.2%). Import prices have declined for six consecutive months, bringing year- over-year growth to -12.5%, the greatest contraction on record. The persistent decline in import prices will heighten concerns that the economy is headed toward a deflationary trap. The Federal Reserve will respond by pumping more liquidity into the banking system and increasing rhetoric on the importance of price stability.
  • PPI +0.8%
  • Producer prices for finished goods rose for the first time in six months during January (0.8%). The increase in top-line producer prices was led by rising prices for energy products, which bounced back a bit after falling rapidly at the end of 2008. When food and energy prices are excluded, core inflation remained positive at 0.4%. Although core prices for finished goods have not begun to fall, core prices among intermediate products fell sharply for the fourth month in a row.
  • Industrial Production-1.8%
  • Total industrial production fell 1.8% in January, and manufacturing output fell 2.5%, with significant downward revisions to prior months. Although recent reports show somewhat less of an inventory overhang, the amount of destocking needed is still substantial. An inventory correction looks set to reinforce weakness in demand to keep manufacturing output declining for at least the next few months.
  • Jobless Claims 627K
  • Initial claims for jobless benefits remained at 627,000 for the week ending February 14, exceeding expectations for a small decline. Continuing claims rose by 170,000 to 4.987 million for the week ending February 7, setting another new high. The labor market is clearly weakening rapidly.
  • New Residential Construction (C20) -17%
  • January was another bad month for homebuilders, with housing starts dropping to a new postwar low. Housing starts declined to 466,000 annualized units, a 17% decline from December and worse than expected. The Census Bureau revised December starts slightly upward. Permit issuance was down as well in January compared with December. Exceptionally weak demand is constraining homebuilding. Slower construction will help clear the housing market of excess inventories and set the stage for stronger activity down the line, but in the meantime, the economy is suffering from dismally weak residential construction.
  • MBA Mortgage Applications Survey +45.7%
  • In the week ending February 13, the MBA market index rose 45.7% to 875.3. Driven by declines in contract rates, both parts of the composite index also increased this week. The purchase index rose 9.1% this week to close at 257.3. Meanwhile, the refinance index finished at 4,472.9, a 64.3% increase over the previous week. Once again, 30-year fixed rates are below 5%.
  • Chain Store Sales +0.9%
  • Chain store sales rose 0.9% in the week ending February 14, lifted by favorable weather, discounting and Valentine's Day. The year-ago decline shrank to 0.9%, the smallest decline in six weeks, as a result of the gain. Despite the improvement, sales are still falling, a sign of very restrained spending.
  • Oil and Gas Inventories -200kb
  • Crude oil inventories fell by 200,000 barrels during the week ending February 13, according to the Energy Information Administration, falling well below expectations of a 3 million barrel build. Gasoline inventories unexpectedly rose by 1.1 million barrels. Distillate inventories fell by 800,000 barrels, in line with expectations. Refinery operating capacity rose to 82.3% after falling sharply to 81.6% last week. Total domestic petroleum demand rose. This is the first bullish report in months.
  • Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report - 24bvf
  • Working gas in underground storage decreased by 24 billion cubic feet during the week ending February 13. The consensus estimate was for a decline of 57 billion cubic feet.


  • Trader Joe's
  • Trader Joe's operates 300 locations nationwide.
  • The specialty supermarkets, offering organic produce, pizza, imported cheeses, as well as general grocery items, occupy spaces of 10,000 sq.ft. to 14,000 sq.ft. in inline spaces of mixed-use, specialty and strip centers in addition to freestanding locations.
  • Growth opportunities are sought throughout the existing market during the coming 18 months, with representation by IDS Real Estate Group.
  • A land area of 1.75 acres is required for freestanding locations.
  • Preferred demographics include a population of 100,000 within a four-mile radius.
  • For more information, contact
    • Silva Zeneian,
    • IDS Real Estate Group,
    • 515 South Figueroa Street, 16th Floor,
    • Los Angeles, CA 90071;
    • Web site:


Improve Wind Energy!

20% Wind by 2030: Overcoming the Challenges

  • POSTED: 12/30/2008
  • FUNDING SOURCE: Golden Field Office
  • ELIGIBILITY: Nonprofits, for-profits, and public agencies
  • MAX GRANT SIZE: $500,000
  • DEADLINE: 3/3/09
  • DESCRIPTION: Grants for a wide array of near- to medium-term actions to significantly accelerate use of wind energy technologies.

Improve Student Preparation for Math and Science!

Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program

  • POSTED: 2/11/2009
  • FUNDING SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • $ AVAILABLE: $1,000,000
  • DEADLINE: 3/11/09
  • CONTACT INFORMATION: s/oppDTFH61-09-RA-00003-cfda20.200- instructions.pdf
  • DESCRIPTION: Grants to improve the preparation of students, particularly women and minorities, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through curriculum development and other activities related to transportation.

Encourage Foreign Visitors!

Sports, Cultural and Youth Visitor Program

  • POSTED: 2/12/2009
  • FUNDING SOURCE: Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (BECA)
  • ELIGIBILITY: Nonprofit and public agencies
  • $ AVAILABLE: $1,130,000
  • MAX GRANT SIZE: $1,130,000
  • DEADLINE: 4/2/09
  • DESCRIPTION: One grant to assist the Office of Citizen Exchanges in the implementation of several short- term, high-visibility cultural, sports, and youth exchanges taking place during calendar year 2009 and 2010.

Homebuilder confidence inches up

US homebuilder confidence ticked up slightly from last month's record low in February but sentiment remains near its historical nadir.

The National Association of Homebuilders' index of homebuilder sentiment rose from 8 to 9 in February, confounding expectations that it would remain unchanged. That number is 87 per cent below the peak of hopefulness reached in June 2005, when the index rose to 72. A reading of more than 50 indicates "good" conditions.

"Clearly, the market for new single-family homes remains very weak," Joe Robson, NAHB chairman, said. But "we are certainly hopeful that the newly passed economic stimulus bill, which includes some favourable elements for first-time home buyers and small businesses, will have a positive impact". Sentiment inched up every-where in the US except the north-east, where it slipped by a point.

Sales expectations for the next six months fell to a new record low this month as rising foreclosures and distressed sales are undermining home values, said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 45 per cent of resale transactions in December were distress sales at discounted prices.

Falling home prices have succeeded in luring bargain-hunting buyers.

The NAR said this month its closely watched index of pending home sales - deals that have been signed but not completed - rose by 6.3 per cent in December from the previous month, rebounding from a record low.

"The magnitude of the housing bubble was unprecedented, and the corrective process promises to be a long and painful one," said Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist at MFR. "It is hardly surprising that builder sentiment is absolutely abysmal."

A lack of homebuilder confidence signals that housing starts will continue to de-cline, he said. January government data showed new residential building in the US hit a record low in 2008.

Housing starts for the year fell 33 per cent to 904,300 homes, after tumbling 25 per cent the previous year as the US entered a deep recession. Builders broke ground on fewer new homes in December, leaving the month's seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction at 550,000.

Source: The Financial Times Limited 2009


  • Global Unemployment and Productivity Rankings
  • Public Policy Initiatives
  • Economic Notes
  • This Weeks Leads

  • Global Unemployment Rates - 2008 and Projections for 2009 & 2010

    Percent of Labor Force

    Country20082009 (p)2010 (p)
    Spain10.914.2 14.8
    Turkey9.710.5 10.6
    Hungary7.98.9 9.2
    Slovak Republic9.79.4 9.0
    Portugal7.68.5 8.8
    France7.38.2 8.7
    Iceland2.87.4 8.6
    Germany7.4 8.18.6
    United Kingdom5.56.8 8.2
    Greece7.68.0 8.2
    Italy6.97.8 8.0
    Belgium6.87.4 7.8
    Ireland5.97.7 7.8
    Sweden6.17.0 7.7
    Poland7.27.1 7.6
    United States5.77.37.5
    Canada6.1 7.07.5
    Luxembourg4.5 6.57.0
    Finland6.26.5 6.8
    New Zealand4.05.4 6.0
    Austria4.95.7 6.0
    Australia4.3 5.36.0
    Czech Republic4.55.2 5.5
    Denmark3.1 4.04.5
    Japan4.14.4 4.4
    Mexico4.1 4.64.4
    Switzerland3.5 3.94.2
    Netherlands3.1 3.74.1
    Korea3.23.6 3.6
    Norway2.63.0 3.3
    • Source: OECD Economic Outlook 84 database, 2009

    Labor Productivity - 2008 and Projections for 2009 & 2010

    Percentage from pervious year

    Country20082009 (p)2010 (p)
    Slovak Republic4.93.1 4.5
    Czech Republic3.13.1 4.4
    Korea3.52.6 3.4
    Poland1.72.1 3.0
    United Kingdom0.10.7 2.8
    Turkey1.50.9 2.5
    Australia0.4 1.11.9
    Greece1.91.5 1.9
    New Zealand0.31.0 1.8
    Finland0.40.3 1.6
    France0.30.3 1.4
    Switzerland-0.1- 0.41.4
    Germany0.1 0.01.4
    Spain1.21.3 1.4
    Hungary3.20.8 1.3
    United States1.60.0 1.1
    Iceland0.1- 4.20.9
    Austria0.3- 0.20.9
    Japan0.80.6 0.8
    Italy-1.0- 0.60.7
    Netherlands0.8- 0.10.7
    Mexico0.6 0.10.6

    • Source: OECD Economic Outlook 84 database, 2009

  • Public Policy Initiatives
  • CO - Ritter Creates Board to Oversee Stimulus Spending.Gov. Bill Ritter has created a new board to oversee how Colorado spends its federal stimulus money. Ritter said he has appointed his economic development director, Don Elliman, to lead the group. The board will be composed of another dozen people from state government and Colorado's business community. Ritter said the group will answer questions about how the money will be spent but said that information probably won't be known until federal agencies establish their rules.
  • DE - Markell Announces Boost for Electric Car Company.Gov. Jack Markell announced that the Delaware Economic Development Office will give a $94,140 grant to AutoPort, Inc., for a project designed to retrofit existing gasoline-powered Toyota Scions so they can run on electric battery power. Markell's office described it as one step in his "economic prosperity" plan that puts a clean environment at the heart of economic development efforts.
  • WV - Manchin Positioning State as Leader in Energy.West Virginia is well positioned as the nation moves toward alternative energy, clean-coal technology and a lesser dependence on foreign oil, national energy and mining officials say. West Virginia moved forward with its own energy plan Thursday as state lawmakers introduced Gov. Joe Manchin's Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act. It calls for 10 percent of the state's energy to come from alternative or renewable sources by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025. "Right now we're 99 percent dependent on coal in the form that we burn it in right now," Manchin said. "We know that we have to change, and we can make it much better." http://www.dailymail.902190654
  • WY - Freudenthal Works to Increase Power Lines.Gov. Dave Freudenthal plans to meet with federal officials in Washington to urge the construction of more power lines and to push for the state's involvement in any federal coal research projects. Freudenthal said he wants to learn about the Obama administration's support for developing clean coal technology. Wyoming is the nation's largest coal- producing state. "If they're going to open that up, we want to be part of that discussion through the School of Energy Resources and our partnership with General Electric," Freudenthal said. 3.html
  • NJ - Corzine Participates in Health Care Discussion.Gov. Jon S. Corzine addressed AARP members in a unique news conference where they were featured in front of a live audience at AARP's state office. "As the economic meltdown continues, and unemployment rises, our nation's broken health care system will worsen as tens of thousands, if not millions, more will lose insurance around the nation," said Governor Corzine. "Today, we have a new partnership with Washington that recognizes there is a huge cost for doing nothing to repair that system -- for individuals, for businesses, for the economy, for the state, and for the future of the nation. We must work together to develop substantial, meaningful, comprehensive health care reform."
  • NC - Perdue Announces Leader of Office of Economic Recovery and Investment.Gov. Beverly Perdue announced that Dempsey Benton, the former secretary of the state Health and Human Services Department, will lead the state new Office of Economic Recovery & Investment and provide accountability for use of NC's stimulus money. "This money and these programs must be put to use quickly and effectively to create jobs, provide important services and get our economy moving again," Perdue said in the news release. "Dempsey Benton brings the skill and experience to oversee this important effort. He will bring the transparency and accountability to this office that our citizens expect."
  • AR - Beebe Promises College Tuition Aid to High School Students.Gov. Mike Beebe told Little Rock Hall High students that they don't have to be wealthy to attain a college education, but if they prepare in high school and apply for college, the state will help eliminate logistical and financial barriers. "You don't have to be rich to go to college, and you don't have to have all your money set aside already to go to college," Beebe said at an event kicking off the "Say Go College Week" campaign in the state's high schools. "We have a variety of aid opportunities," the governor said, citing about 20 different funding programs. "Part of the problem is sometimes they are hard to understand and hard to access. We are going to fix that. We are going to simplify that process where it will not be your problem, and you won't have to worry about that."
  • DE - Markell Makes Green Jobs a Priority. Gov. Jack Markell announced that Delaware will be the only state participating in a national project that puts green jobs at the top increase incomes, productivity and competitiveness. The state will implement strategies that reduce energy costs for businesses, making them more competitive, and for homeowners, returning dollars to the local economy. It will also implement strategies to help Delaware's existing businesses become participants in the green economy, and it will create a workforce trained to power green industries in Delaware, such as electric- vehicle manufacturing and the constructing of parts for wind turbines.
  • NJ - Corzine Praises Recent SCHIP Expansion.Gov. Jon S. Corzine said the recent reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program mirrors one of his top priorities for the state: ensuring health care for all children. Corzine said "ensuring that children have access to health insurance so they have a healthy start in life" has been one of his top priorities as governor and through SCHIP and NJ FamilyCare, "we are making great strides to reach these children and we will continue our outreach efforts to enroll every eligible child."
  • NM - Richardson to Introduce Stronger Ethics Reform Bills.Gov. Bill Richardson announced that he would introduce legislation this week to ban campaign contributions from corporations, contractors and lobbyists. A second piece of legislation his office will introduce will require contractors to register with the state and disclose information such as campaign contributions. "I'm proud of the reforms we've enacted since I've taken office, including gift limits, public financing for appellate judges, and a ban on contractor campaign contributions during the procurement process," Richardson said. "I'm urging lawmakers to expand on those reforms and to break the logjam that has blocked our past efforts to create strong and meaningful ethics laws." http://newmexicoindependent.-government-record


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