JT and I are devoting a portion of my weekly appearance to the Grand Forks Flood of 1997, and the business and economic consequences of the event. The consequences of some events are best understood with the perspective of time, and natural disasters are clearly this type of event. For today’s post I chose to look at unemployment, but in a slightly different way.
Last week on the Jarrod Thomas Show there was a caller suggesting some inconsistency between the data on Grand Forks sales tax and local economic events. I do not think this was an allegation of malfeasance, just that the numbers were not making sense. Sales taxes reached a record level in February of 2017, but the caller cited three factors seemingly at odds with this circumstance: Continue reading Comments about local sales tax
For the last few days I focused on state level tax data. The release of a new forecast and the general state of the forecast process promises many more posts to come on this topic. I thought for today I would turn toward a more local number. Grand Forks had its largest month for sales tax collections in its recorded history. What does this look like?
Just a few further thoughts, as yet completely unrefined, about the radio program today. The major discussion on the radio today was taxes. This is always an interesting topic because callers often provide multiple, and often contradictory, views of taxation. It is good that radio is not a visual medium (for many, many reasons) but the confused look on my face when listening to some of the callers would not be taken well I am sure.
Yesterday’s post (found here) mentioned Grand Forks retail and the fact that sales were behind last year’s level. As a recap, the accumulated total of monthly collections in 2016, when compared to the same month in 2015, were all lower, and in some cases by significant amounts. Collections from a few specific months were ahead of the same month the year before, but the accumulated total never got higher than 2015.
Since I am sure store closures is a story that will continue I took a look at some recent data regarding retail. It is also the case that my friend Richard Carpenter (whose blog I linked to in the past and you can find in the blogroll list) asked me about some of the numbers in this situation.
Clearing out more of the questions asked on the radio lately. The announcement of the closure of the Macy’s in the local mall set some callers into fits. Their issues and questions ranged from: Is this a harbinger of future closures in Grand Forks and/or Fargo; to: this mall has inadequate numbers of stores and the wrong kind. There were lots of other issues raised too, so let’s clear a few of these things up right now.
It is a fun time to be an economist with an interest in data, and it has nothing to do with election policies because, as we all know, those have nothing to do with data anyway (zing!). The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its GDP by Metro Area report this week (available here). The first question many would have is: why do we care about a report that covers 2015, that is in the past?
The local housing market in Grand Forks will soon be a major topic again with new findings released. I will wait to pass final judgement until research design is clear and we can evaluate methodology. There are a few things we should repeat so they are clear.