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Economic Briefing Blog

Economic Indicator: Diminishing Housing Inventory a Sign of Recovering Market

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released data on new housing starts and building permits. Inventory is an important component of the construction data and recently, as the market has been recovering and completed homes have been selling relatively fast, the aggregate new housing inventory has been declining to some of the lowest levels on record.

Arts and “First Friday” Contribute to Overall Economic Activity in Missoula, Montana

Secretary Penny Pritzker’s visit to Missoula, Montana last week coincided with one of the community’s “First Friday Gallery Night” events. “First Friday’s” are part of a larger effort of the Cultural Council in Missoula to support the arts to benefit the community as a whole. These events include various art galleries, museums, and retail locations, and may feature musical performances, poetry readings, dance and lectures.

Quarterly Workforce Indicators Confirm Manufacturing Job Quality

Jobs in the manufacturing sector have long been considered “good jobs”—a source of above-average wages and benefits, full-time hours, and stable employment for millions of Americans—and previous work by the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) has demonstrated the quality of many manufacturing jobs.

An Education Lesson on Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates

Recently, I was looking into the cost of private elementary education and was surprised to see prices that seemed more like college tuition. As I recovered from the sticker shock, I wondered how the cost of these private schools compare with daycare costs, which, as most parents know, can also be quite shocking. But how can I compare weekly day care costs with annual private school tuition rates? To make matters more complicated, school tuition only covers the period from September to May, (i.e.

ACE: Political & Security Risks

In April, the Commerce Department developed the Assess Costs Everywhere (ACE) tool, which outlines the costs and risks firms need to weigh when considering the location of manufacturing operations and supply chains. Many of these are hidden or hard to quantify. This post, the eleventh in our series of blogs on ACE, explores one such area: political and security risks.

Assess Costs Everywhere: Regulatory Compliance Costs

The Department of Commerce recently introduced the Assess Costs Everywhere tool, which outlines the costs and risks U.S. firms need to weigh when considering location of manufacturing operations and supply chains. For example, these firms should consider, along with a whole range of costs, the extra resources they need to devote to comply with U.S. regulations on the importation of goods and foreign regulations on all aspects of business when operating abroad.

Comprehensive Revisions to NIPA: Reconsidering Treatment of R&D and Entertainment

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will release its comprehensive revision of the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) next week. Among other important changes to estimates will be how the statistical agency treats Research and Development (R&D) and calculates entertainment in measuring gross domestic product (GDP). The revision generally occurs every five years.

Interpreting Recent Trends in the U.S. Auto Industry

Assess Costs Everywhere: Intellectual Property Rights

The Department of Commerce’s Assess Costs Everywhere (ACE) tool helps firms estimate the costs and risks associated with locating operations or supply chains overseas. Today, we are focusing on intellectual property (IP) in our eleven-part series highlighting the relatively low costs and risks of keeping business right here in America. Be sure to check out earlier Economics and Statistics Administration blog posts here.

Assess Costs Everywhere: Texas Tea, Pennsylvania Pinot, and Other Inputs

As I flipped through the TV channels during my youth, a catchy tune often beckoned me “to listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed.” Jed and his fictional Clampett family got rich and moved to Beverly Hills, CA after selling the rights to drill for the Texas tea (crude oil) on their land. Yesterday’s yarns about petroleum parallel today’s narratives about natural gas. Natural gas has created billionaires in the Bayou and natural gas millionaires in Pennsylvania and other states with shale gas deposits.

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