Category Archives: Economy

Housing + Transportation Affordability Index

Source: Center for Transit Oriented Development, 2010

The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, was developed by CNT and its collaborative partner, the Center for Transit Oriented Development (CTOD), as a project of The Brookings Institution’s Urban Markets Initiative.

Americans traditionally consider housing affordable if it costs 30 percent or less of their income. The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, in contrast, offers the true cost of housing based on its location by measuring the transportation costs associated with place.

The first phase was released in January 2006 and specifically examined the variables that inform Housing + Transportation costs in St. Paul/ Minneapolis, MN. The key finding of this report is that location matters, and can affect the true cost of housing when transportation costs are factored in. For more information see The Affordability Index: A New Tool for Measuring the True Affordability of a Housing Choice.

The latest release in March 2010 expands the H + T analysis to over 330 metros in the U.S., providing coverage for more than 80% of the population in the U.S.

Projection of National Education Job Cuts for the 2010-11 School Year

Source: American Association of School Administrators, May 4, 2010

From the press release:
School administrators across the nation are faced with the possible reality of eliminating an unprecedented number of teaching jobs for the 2010-11 school year, according to a new snapshot survey of school superintendents released today by the American Association of School Administrators. School districts face a one-two punch of a tight economic environment at the state and local levels and the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars, which were instrumental in saving jobs in 2009.

AASA administered the new study, Projection of National Education Job Cuts for the 2010-11 School Year, to document state-by-state the prospect of personnel cuts for the coming 2010-11 school year. The new survey was in part triggered by AASA’s most recent economic impact survey, Cliff Hanger: How America’s Public Schools Continue to Feel the Impact of the Economic Downturn, which found that students and school systems across the nation are facing serious challenges as a result of the economic downturn, including the prospect of job cuts.

The Impact of the Recession on Employment-Based Health Coverage

Source: Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute, Issue Brief, no. 342, May 2010

From the press release:
Not surprisingly, the percentage of the nonelderly (under age 65) without employment-based health insurance coverage has grown during the recession, according to a study published today by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). But in addition, for those who still have employment-based health insurance, deductibles and co-payments for office visits also have increased.

Traversing the Fiscal Crisis: What We Can Learn from the Strategies of Local Governments with Aaa Bond Ratings

Source: Evelina Moulder and Ron Carlee, Public Management, Vol. 92 no. 4, May 2010

The January 15, 2010, headline in Bloomberg’s news and data information said, “Municipal Market Handles Biggest Week of Bond Sales in a Month.” During the past two years, volatility in the bond market and downgraded ratings for both the bond insurers and the bond issuers have had an impact on the municipal bond market. Although the majority of local governments responding to ICMA’s 2009 “State of the Profession” survey indicated that the bond market had not affected them, what does the future hold?

ICMA’s 2009 survey indicated that local governments across a wide spectrum are suffering from the economic crisis, with impacts varying for a wide variety of reasons. Of significance are the different approaches used to deal with the downturn. Local governments with Aaa bond ratings are managing the economic crisis differently from other local governments, survey data show.

This article examines the differences between the responding local governments with a Moody’s Aaa bond rating and other respondents. Moody’s has given Aaa ratings to 133 municipalities and counties, 45 of which responded to the “State of the Profession” survey. The responses of the 45 Aaa communities are compared with the 2,169 local governments that responded to the survey and do not have a Moody’s Aaa rating.

Generating Jobs through State Employer Tax Credits: Is there a Better Way?

Source: Jeff Thompson, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Political Economy Research Institute, Working Paper Series, no. 219, April 13, 2010

From the abstract:
The Governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and several other states have recently proposed employer tax credits as measures to fight high unemployment in their states. Such policies are also being considered at the federal level. In the Working Paper, Jeff Thompson and Heidi Garrett-Peltier present evidence that such policies, in fact, do little to increase aggregate demand, and instead only modestly reduce the after-tax cost of labor in an economy with high unemployment, falling wages, and weak demand They suggest a more effective approach to creating jobs in the states: increasing spending in labor-intensive sectors and programs that are matched by federal funds, such as Medicaid. These expenditures would be particularly effective if they were financed through temporary high-income tax increases.

Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Agencies

Source: American Public Transportation Association, March 2010

From the press release:
Public transportation systems are facing unprecedented funding challenges due to widespread declining state and local revenues, and have been forced to take a number of critical actions including: raising fares, cutting service, and laying off employees, according to a new survey released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

This report, Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Agencies, shows that since January 1, 2009, 84 percent of public transit systems have raised fares, cut service or are considering either of those actions. Fifty nine percent of public transit systems reported that they have already cut service or raised fares.

Service cuts that have been either implemented or will be considered for future action include: reductions in rush hour service (56%), reductions in off-peak service (62%), and reductions in geographic coverage (40%).

The severity of the funding situation is evident with seven out of ten public transit systems (69%) projecting budget shortfalls in their next fiscal year. According to the report, public transit systems have taken significant personnel actions to reduce spending. A total of 68 percent of public transportation systems have eliminated positions or are considering doing so in the future. Nearly half (47%) of public transit systems have laid off employees or are considering layoffs in the future.

In addition, more than half (54%) of public transportation systems responding have transferred funds from capital use to operations, thus aggravating efforts to keep systems in a state of good repair.

Attacks on the Public Sector

Source: Mike Prokosch, Labor Notes, April 25, 2010

From the Labor Notes 2010 conference’s breakout session, “Roots of the Public Sector Budget Crisis, Mike Prokosch of Massachusetts Community Labor United, in this segment, discusses the attacks on the public sector.

See also:
Economics the Led to Today’s Public Sector Crisis
How the U.S. Right Wing Frames the Economic Crisis

Cities Face Double Trouble

Source: Penelope Lemov, Governing, April 15, 2010

We’ve all heard the “good” news: The recession is over. Among the positive signs is consumer spending. U.S. retailers industry collectively reported a 9.1 percent sales increase at stores open at least a year, the strongest showing since 2000.

We’re all aware, too, of the bad news: States and localities are recovery-challenged. The problem for policymakers who would like to give states and localities a helpful push up the recovery ladder is that the troubles that bedevil those economies are not evenly distributed.