Headlines – week of December 13, 2009

December 21, 2009

Cities Where Housing Is on the Mend (from Forbes Magazine)

A recent article in Forbes identified areas of the country where housing prices have started to recover.

Forbes examined the number of loans that were foreclosed in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, then calculated the percentage of loans that are descending further into delinquency vs. those that are improving. The lower the deterioration ratio, the higher the ranking.

Here is the list of cities that fared best by that measurement and are recovering the most quickly:

1. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.
2. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
3. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
4. Buffalo, N.Y.
5. Knoxville, Tenn.
6. Raleigh, N.C.
7. San Antonio, Texas
8. Syracuse, N.Y.
9. Salt Lake City, Utah
(Tied)
10. Moline, Ill.
10. St. Louis
10. Wichita, Kan.
10. Rochester, N.Y.

Full Article

Federal Reserve Promises Low Rates (from the Associated Press)

Speaking before a recent gathering at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.  Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said that he could make no guarantees that the current economic recovery will last, but he promised to keep interest rates at low levels for “an extended period.”

But in its statement following the December 15th/16th of the , the Federal Open Market Committee indicated that it will eventually wring out excess liquidity in the financial system starting in discrete stages next year.

The committee said it will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent, and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.”

Full Article

Happiest States Revealed by New Research (from LifeScience)

Ever wondered if you’d be happier in sunny Florida or snow-covered Minnesota? New research on state-level happiness could answer that question.

Florida and two other sunshine states made it to the Top 5, while Minnesota doesn’t show up until number 26 on the list of happiest states. In addition to rating the smile factor of U.S. states, the research also proved for the first time that a person’s self-reported happiness matches up with objective measures of well-being.

Oswald and Stephen Wu, an economist at Hamilton College in New York, statistically created a representative American. That way they could take, for example, a 38-year-old woman with a high-school diploma and making medium-wage who is living anywhere and transplant her to another state and get a rough estimate of her happiness level.

Their results come from a comparison of two data sets of happiness levels in each state, one that relied on participants’ self-reported well-being and the other an objective measure that took into account a state’s weather, home prices and other factors that are known reasons to frown (or smile).

The self-reported information came from 1.3 million U.S. citizens who took part in a survey between 2005 and 2008.

The happiest states:

1. Louisiana
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Arizona
6. Mississippi
7. Montana
8. South Carolina
9. Alabama
10. Maine

Full Article

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