8. We’ve become a Nation of Slobs, e.g. shorts and flip-flops are now fine for any occasion, people wear pajamas and slippers to the grocery store, even women like Oprah don’t bother to cover their cleavage any more, etc.
People spend weeks or months planning important events, such as vacations or weddings, using online websites like TripAdvisor. Why not something similar for funerals that must be planned in hours or days by grieving relatives?
“Pessimists may be paying too little attention to the strength of the underlying economic and social forces that generate innovation in the modern world, Both humanity’s capacity to innovate and the incentives to innovate are greater today than at any other time in history. As trade and globalization increase the size of the potential market for new products, the possible economic rewards for being first with an innovative product or process are growing rapidly.”
As a direct result of all the shale oil and gas activity in the Permian Basin area of West Texas, the economy of Midland, Texas is booming. The April unemployment rate in Midland fell to 3%, which is the lowest jobless rate in the nation for any of the 372 metropolitan areas. During just the month of April, 1,000 jobs were added to local payrolls in Midland (50 per day), and 400 of those jobs (20 per day) were in the booming “construction, natural resources and mining” sector. Over the last year, total employment in Midland has increased by almost 7% (and by 5,500 jobs) to a new all-time high of 85,400, and energy and construction related jobs increased by 14.4% (and by 3,100 jobs), also to a new all-time high (see chart above).
Along with the oil and gas boom, there’s an unprecedented construction boom taking place in Midland, and building permits in March skyrocketed to 347, which was a 580% increase from the level a year ago and established a new all-time record high.
Jobless recovery? Middle-class stagnation? Declining household income? Sub-par economic growth? Construction slowdown? None of that applies to Midland, Texas, the most economically successful metropolitan area in the country, thanks to the shale revolution.
“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
Larry Kudlow: Are the Obama scandals good for stocks?
Are Laffer: They’re terrific for stocks, Larry. We need a change in economic policy, and there is no better change than if we take the Senate in 2014, and then the presidency in 2016 – that would be phenomenal for stocks. This administration is bad for the economy, and it’s bad for stocks. When they trip, especially at the IRS, it just doesn’t get any better than that for the future of the country.
“We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they’re seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration’s credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don’t look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone.”
7. From today’s BLS report on state employment and unemployment: Oil-rich North Dakota led the US with the highest year-over-year job growth in April at 3.74%, and oil-rich Texas wasn’t far behind at 3.01%. Once again, North Dakota had the lowest state jobless rate in the country at 3.3% in April.
10. From NPR: In the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, voters will decide if two, town-owned wind turbines will be taken down. Dozens have complained of headaches, insomnia and other issues since the first turbine started spinning in 2010.
The Obamas and the Bidens released their 2012 tax returns on the White House blog today.Now that Biden’s tax returns are coming under public scrutiny, he and Dr. Jill Biden seem to be feeling a bit more charitable than the former, rather uncharitable Senator Joe Biden, whose tax returns probably received little attention, if they were even released at all.
To grasp the importance of the revolutionary change in oil and gas drilling sweeping across the United States -- and its significance for our economy -- just consider how far behind the rest of the world is lagging.