Carpe Diem

Friday afternoon links

1. Rail traffic for the week ending December 22: Carloads of Lumber +23%, Oil +71.5% and Motor Vehicles +23%, all vs. the same week last year.

2. U.S. oil production for the week ending December 21 increased by 19.5% vs. last year to almost 7 million barrels per day, and is the highest output since March 1993.

3.  Pending home sales increased in November for the third straight month and reached the highest level in two-and-a-half years.

4. There is so much activity in the Eagle Ford Shale area of Texas that you can see it from space at night.

5. The Cost of Health Care: 1958 vs. 2012.

6. Taxi business in North Dakota is booming, thanks to the oil boom.

7. WSJ’s tough quiz on business news in 2012.

11 thoughts on “Friday afternoon links

    • but what does that really tell us?

      if we replace cars of coal with cars of crushed rocks, that is a reduction in the value of items shipped.

      you need to be a bit careful looking just at rail car counts.

      one container of intel chips is worth a lot more than a whole train full of sand.

  1. Oil production up nearly 20 percent in one year….this is a remarkable tribute to the private sector, which doe smote with less every year…

    I wonder if this huge production of oil could allow, at long last, the desubsidization of Rural America.

    While Perry extols the oil biz in North Dakota (as do I), in just one year farmers in that state collected $1 billion in federal cash subsidies….and the state is one of the most heavily subsidized of any state, due largely to the fact it has two Senators and a population of well under one million…Really North Dakota should be a state, but a federal Bureau of Land Management range, and largely converted back into buffalo country…which would happen under free markets…..

    • You mischarcterize North Dakota, the eastern part contains some of the best wheat land in the world in the Red River valley, where industrial farming was invented in the 1880s. Once you get west of Bismark, then yes the land goes to pasture only as ag land, so yes it might make a Buffalo range (as it was). Recall that the bonanza farm was invented on the Northern Pacific lands with up to 8000 acres in the 1880.

  2. #7, WSJ Tough Quiz:

    My score 13/30. I would have gotten a 50% if I knew more about the epic term of Duke Energy CEO, Bill Johnson.

    Q. 16 asks how long Mr. Johnson served as CEO and Q. 17 what his exit package from that position was.

    The answers are one day and $100.5 million. Acutally, Mr. Johnson served less than three hours as CEO according to this article. Duke’s board might have been concerned about cost overruns at another utility that Johnson headed, so he was canned. This should not be an issue now as he heads the federal government’s Tennessee Valley Authority.

  3. Regarding being able to see the activity in oil shale area of Texas from space. If you look at Eastern Montana/Western North Dakota you can see the same kind of activity.

    • Sadly, what you can’t see are actual economic profits from the producers. If you step back and look at the SEC filings you find that the shale industry cannot self finance its gas production projects and has to depend on further loans and the hype that brings in investors to purchase the new shares being issued in order to close the financing gaps. Like most American economic activity, the shale business depends on the Fed manipulating rates lower by monetizing the mountains of debt that the government keeps issuing in order to keep the game going for a while longer. The fact that high IQ people like Mark keep missing the clues should be a worry to most readers who expect to get useful ideas from the reading material that is offered.

  4. Funny how you are missing the obvious signs of trouble yet again. Pangloss could have learned a thing or two about blind optimisms from you Mark.

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