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Sunday, March 5, 2006
When Bells Come Home (Sorta)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:04 pm

Via Reuters: AT&T agrees to buy BellSouth for $67 billion.

So SBC buys AT&T, which then acquires BellSouth. And, if memory serves, SBC also bought Pacific Bell a while back-so AT&T has gone from breakup to partial reconsolidation. Of course, telecom isn’t the same industry that it was in the 70s.

Still, interesting.

Filed under: The Economy | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, February 3, 2006
Unemployment: 4.7%
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:10 am

Via CNN: Unemployment rate of 4.7 percent lowest since July 2001

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly five years in January, the government reported Friday, as employers added a respectable 193,000 jobs to payrolls and paychecks increased more than expected.

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent from 4.9 in December, the lowest since 4.6 percent in July 2001, just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Economists had forecast that the rate would remain unchanged from December.

Good deal.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Greenspan’s Parting Gift
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:46 pm

As expected: FOMC Raises Fed Funds Rate to 4.5%

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Bernanke Confirmed
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:45 pm

Via Reuters: U.S. Senate confirms Bernanke as Fed chief

He was confirmed via voice vote.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Bernanke’s Turn
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:15 am

With the Alito vote complete, the Senate should now be voting on the new Fed Chariman: Senate aiming for midday vote on Bernanke for Fed

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Greenspan’s Swan Song
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:57 am

Via the BBC comes a report on the end of Greenspan’s run as Chair of the Fed, Greenspan tees up last rate rise, wherein we see that he will leave us a parting gift:

Analysts expect interest rates to rise by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.5%, the 14th increase in a row.

The CSM’s version of the story is here: Greenspan and rise of the central banker.

And the NYT discusses Greenspan’s replacement, Ben Bernanke: And in This Corner, Fed Choice Is Blip on Some Senators’ Radar.

The Senate votes on Bernanke today. The nomination is non-controversial and should sail through.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Friday, January 27, 2006
A Sloooow 4Q 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:36 pm

Via Reuters: Growth pace weakest in three years

The
Commerce Department said gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity within U.S. borders, expanded at a weak 1.1 percent annual rate in the October-December period — little more than a quarter of the third quarter’s 4.1 percent rate.

It was the weakest growth rate for any three months since 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002 and much below what Wall Street had anticipated, and initially sent stock futures and the dollar tumbling and bond prices soaring.

That is a surprising number, I must admit.

Although stock recovered after good earnings reports came out.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Tokyo Stock Market Sell-off
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:11 am

Via the BBC: Selling panic closes Tokyo market

Tokyo’s stock exchange closed early for the first time in its history on Wednesday, in a bid to head off a meltdown after a frantic day’s trading.

The move was sparked by heavy selling in shares following allegations of fraud at internet firm Livedoor.

Also, it seems, some of the sell-off was driven by bad news out of the US from Intel and Yahoo.

Markets in Britain, Germany and France didn’t have good days either:

London’s leading FTSE 100 index was quoted down almost 1% at 5,648.

Germany’s Dax index fell nearly 1.5% to 5,382, while the Paris Cac 40 index dropped more than 1% to 4,756.

Should be a fun day on Wall Street…

Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Friday, December 30, 2005
Kia to Bama?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:13 pm

Via WTVY in Dothan, AL/the AP: Alabama Courting Kia Plant

A story in this week’s Automotive News said the city of Decatur is one of four sites under consideration for the factory.

Other sites reportedly include Chattanooga, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Aiken, South Carolina.

[…]

Kia is owned by Hyundai, which has an assembly plant near Montgomery. Mercedez-Benz and Honda also build vehicles in Alabama,
and Toyota has an engine plant in Huntsville.

Alabama will produce about 760-thousand vehicles in 2006, and the industry employs about 50-thousand people in the state.

Hopefully the plant will come to Decatur-the economic impact of the Montgomery area of the Hyundai plant is evidence. And certainly, the state needs more industry.

Indeed, I am often struck how the structure of Alabama’s political economy has certain developing world flavors, not the least of which being the political dominance of land owners and agricultural interested (think: ALFA) despite the fact that they are not the dominant contributor to gross state product.

Nonetheless, many communities around the state would greatly benefit from a major manufacturing plant and the spin-off industries that come along with it. Not only does this infuse jobs, and therefore dollars, into areas that could use them, they also bring change and the chance for exposure to new ways of thinking.

I am also struck by the degree to which companies from what was not that long ago considered a Third World country (South Korea) is the source for economic largesse.

FYI: Decatur is in northern Alabama near Huntsville.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy, Alabama Politics | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Monday, December 5, 2005
UK Lowers GDP Growth Prediction
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:04 pm

Via the BBC: Brown halves UK growth forecast

Gordon Brown has said the UK economy is having a “tough year” and slashed his estimate of growth in 2005 to 1.75%, half his estimate in March’s Budget.

But the chancellor said the UK economy remained stable despite high oil prices and slower house price rises.

[…]

In his pre-Budget report speech, Mr Brown told MPs employment had grown and inflation remained low, and predicted economic growth of 2-2.5% next year and 2.75-3.25% in 2007.

Ouch. By comparison, the US economy is booming, despite all the ongoing negativity on that topic.

Filed under: US Politics, Global Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Sunday, December 4, 2005
Good Econ Outlook for ‘06
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:37 pm

Via the CSM: Next year’s economy: The forecast brightens

The economic gloom cast in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the subsequent run-up in energy prices are subsiding. In its place are brighter prospects for 2006, considered a year of slowdown just three months ago.

That means America could enter a fifth year of economic expansion with solid growth, nearly on pace with this year.

May it be so.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, December 2, 2005
Jobs News
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:51 am

Via Reuters: Job growth springs back after hurricanes

The U.S. job market sprung back last month from a hurricane-induced slowdown as nonfarm employers added 215,000 workers, according to a government report on Friday that showed the economy on solid ground.

All good. Of course, it is impossible to the have a jobs report without some caveats:

While the November employment gains were robust and widespread across industries, the report showed the job market has yet to fully recoup the ground lost since a series of hurricanes battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in late summer.

The department revised up its measure of employment for hurricane-ravaged September, saying payrolls expanded by 17,000 workers. Previously, it had reported they had shrunk 8,000.

However, job growth in October was a bit weaker than first thought as employers brought on only 44,000 new workers, not the 56,000 the department had reported a month ago.

Over the past three months, job growth has averaged just 92,000 a month, well below the 196,000 average for the first eight months of the year.

Of course, coupled with this: US economy roars despite hurricanes; growth upgraded to 4.3 percent, it is hard to argue that the economy isn’t healthy.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Thursday, December 1, 2005
Gas-o-nomics
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:17 pm

I have seen gas as low as $1.94/9 in the Montgomery area (as of today). Oddly, gas in Troy (about 38 miles south of Montgomery) is almost .16 more than in Montgomery (when comparing lowest price to lowest price). That is odd because in the seven and half years I have lived in the area, I have almost always been able to get the lowest price in Troy by a few cents.

On Wednesday the lowest price in Troy was $2.12 (and most stations were at $2.14 +). Half-way between Troy and Montgomery in Pine Level, AL the lowest price was $2.02, while in Montgomery one could have gotten it for $1.96 (at least based on what I saw yesterday).

And Riddle Me This, Batman: if Station A has gas at $1.96/9 a gallon and right across the street Station B has gas at $2.02/9 a gallon, who in their right mind gets gas at station B? Yes, station A is a regional chain and Station B is a national chain, but still: I don’t get it.

Filed under: General, US Politics, The Economy | Comments (10) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Monday, November 21, 2005
GM to Cut 30,000 Jobs
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:11 am

Via Reuters: GM to cut 30,000 jobs

General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM - news) will cut about 30,000 jobs, close or significantly curtail operations at 12 plants and cut the amount of vehicles it produces every year by 1 million as it attempts to cut costs by $7 billion.

The troubled automaker also said a recent agreement with the United Auto Workers union will allow it to cut health-care costs by about $3 billion annually.

Not a surprise, given that GM has been struggling.

This cut back is going to result in an increased discussion of national health care in the United States, on the predicate that US business has an unfair advantage vis-a-vis foreign produced automobiles since other countries subsidize business by providing health care.

Indeed, I heard a reference to Toyota not having to worry about such costs. However, that is not entirely true, as Toyota makes a lot of cars in the US and their employees don’t hop planes and go to Japan for health care.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, November 18, 2005
$2.09
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:10 pm

The lowest I have seen for a gallon of gas in some time.

I saw it today somewhere in Montgomery.

Filed under: The Economy | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
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