Headlines – Week of January 23, 2011
January 31, 2011
U.S. has best employment outlook in 12 years
According to recent survey from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), economists are more hopeful about overall economic growth, the job market and demand for companies’ products and services by many measures than they have been since the start of the Great Recession.
The survey found that business decisions are now being driven by the fundamentals of an improving economy.
The quarterly survey includes the views of 84 economists for private companies and trade groups who are NABE members. The data are reported by broad industry groups. Many results are expressed as Net Rising Index, or NRI – the percentage of panelists reporting better outlooks minus the percentage whose outlook is bleaker.
The number of economists who saw hiring by their firms increasing over the next six months was 42 percent, compared with 7 percent who expected to lay off workers. The NRI of 35 was the highest in the 12 years that the question has been asked.
The survey predicted more layoffs were expected in the transportation, utility, information and communications sectors.
All major industry groups saw more demand for their products and services, the sixth straight quarter of positive results. Demand grew by slightly less than in the previous quarter, but has held relatively steady since last spring, the NABE said.
Eighty-two percent of the economists expected the nation’s economy to grow by two to four percent in 2011, up from 54 percent in October. The latest government data had the economy growing at a 2.6-percent annual rate in the July-September quarter.
Florida Economist Fishkind: ‘We’re in recovery’
Economist Hank Fishkind of Fishkind & Associates recently spoke at the 2011 Economic Forecast Breakfast sponsored by Whitney Bank in partnership with the Economic Development Council, Manatee Chamber of Commerce. At the event Fishkind told the group that Florida’s recovery is in its early stages even if it doesn’t seem like it to some people.
Calling it the “worst recession, probably, since the Great Depression, and at least the worst since 1975,” Fishkind said, “This is the recovery – right now,” Fishkind said. “The momentum is growing.”
As evidence of the ongoing recovery, Fishkind pointed to recent improvements, including:
- Job growth in the tourism and convention industries
- Job growth in education
- Strong retails sales at the close of 2010
- Consumer belief that it’s safe to spend money
- $500 billion boost from a 2 percent cut in payroll taxes
Fishkind also expects retirees to return to Florida’s warm shores, but “there is a discernible lag between recovery and population growth,” Fishkind said. “It takes time for people to realize there is a recovery.”
For a true turnaround, however – the kind that everyone sees and appreciates – Fishkind says the state must wait until 2012.
Record Foreclosures in 2010
RealtyTrac reported that more than 3.82 million foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 2.87 million U.S. residential properties in 2010, an increase of nearly 2 percent from 2009 and an increase of 23 percent from 2008. Some 2.23 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 45) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 2.21 percent in 2009; 1.84 percent in 2008; 1.03 percent in 2007; and 0.58 percent in 2006.
Nevada retained the distinction of having the most foreclosed properties in the nation. More than 9 percent of Nevada housing units (one in 11) received at least one foreclosure filing in 2010, giving it the highest state foreclosure rate for the fourth consecutive year despite a 5 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from 2009. Arizona came in second for the second year in a row, with 5.73 percent of its housing units (one in 17) receiving at least one foreclosure filing in 2010, and Florida was next, with 5.51 percent of its housing units (one in 18) receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year.
RealtyTrac reported that total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity, triggered primarily by the continuing controversy surrounding foreclosure documentation and procedures that prompted many major lenders to temporarily halt some foreclosure proceedings (Robo signing)
Posted by Scott R. Lodde