The FDIC’s quarterly banking profile, providing data for quarter 2, was released today. The number of 2010 United States bank failures will likely exceed the 2009 failures, the FDIC reported. This was as I reported in this space back in May. Thus far this year there have been 118 bank closings, which compares to about… Read more

I just finished California Crack Up by Joe Matthews and Mark Paul.  For me, the book was not quite fulfilling, and it took determination to read the final 30 pages or so.  There was some inconsistency.  The authors argue that Proposition 13 led to a concentration of power in Sacramento, but only a few pages… Read more

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released their second estimate of United States 2010 second quarter Gross Domestic Product today. The revised estimate of 1.6 percent real GDP growth is much lower than the initial estimate of 2.4 percent, but some commentators spoke of this release in favorable terms, as it was higher than pre-release estimates… Read more

The July California jobs report shows continued weakness for the Golden State’s labor markets. Annualized month-on-month job growth declined 0.8 percent. Year-on-year job growth also declined 0.8 percent, and the unemployment rate held at 12.3 percent. The unemployment rate remains almost 300 basis points higher than the United States unemployment rate. To some extent, as… Read more

Last winter I gave a forecast to the agents of a commercial real estate company.  The forecast was necessarily negative, but it was well received by the agents.  The company’s president was another matter.  He was downright angry.  I wasn’t optimistic enough.  A very similar vignette played itself out when I gave a forecast to… Read more

It’s not everyday that Greg Mankiw and Paul Krugman agree.  When they do, it’s worth thinking about.  Here are their blog posts: Krugman & Mankiw. The topic is a Taylor Rule, which is a method, proposed John Taylor, for determining what Fed Policy should be.  That is, what is the interest rate that the Fed… Read more

Every morning I have this little battle with myself.  Will I listen to music, news, or business news?  I know I should do one of the latter two, but I really like music.  Mostly, I’m weak.  I listen to music.  Today though, I listened to the business news, and now I’m sorry I did. Some… Read more

The Center for Responsible Lending has published a report “Dreams Deferred: Impacts and Characteristics of the California Foreclosure Crises”. I focus my comments on two of the points made in their report. According to their data and analysis, houses purchased in California from October 2006 to November 2009 were relatively small homes, median size of… Read more

Well, this is interesting.  It seems that the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit against New Jersey for securities fraud in marketing its debt.  Their problem was that they neglected to report some pension liabilities. I doubt that California has made that mistake, but State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer, has been very aggressive in attempting… Read more

I was at a meeting this morning with with people from across the economy.  We had a farmer, an accountant, a banker, two city economic development people, a university dean, and more.  While the meeting had another purpose, we ended it by going around the room and having people tell us how things were going… Read more