The shock surge in US car-loan delinquencies gives a clue why the Fed is treading carefully even in a booming economy

In his State of the Union speech this month, US President Donald Trump cited low unemployment and positive growth in manufacturing jobs as evidence of an “economic miracle” underway in America.

But the Federal Reserve, which is pausing its plan to raise interest rates for now, is most likely using other yardsticks to gauge US economic health.

Business Insider

Wage Stagnation Is One Disease With Many Causes

One of the most vexing and puzzling problems in the U.S. economy is wage stagnation. There are many proposed culprits — globalization and foreign competition, the decline of unions, automation, outsourcing and industrial concentration. Plenty of high-quality research is being done to disentangle these causes. But stepping back and looking at the history of wages in the U.S. over the past half-century provides a few clues — as well as raising some intriguing mysteries.


Amazon drops New York City as one of its new headquarters locations, will not reopen search

Amazon has dropped New York City as one of its new headquarters locations amid fierce backlash, a stunning reversal, and says it will not search for another location.

The online retailer has faced opposition from some New York politicians, who were unhappy with the tax incentives it was promised.

Amazon said Thursday it will continue to build out offices in Arlington, Va., and Nashville, Tenn.

Tech trainers bolstered by recent corporate headquarters announcements

MEMPHIS, TN — Tuesday’s announcement of FedEx Logistics pending expansion and move to downtown Memphis will likely provide more chances for tech employment in the Bluff City.

That means area training programs are hoping to place even more graduates.

This announcement is particularly exciting for us and the students we serve,” said Robert Montague, Executive Director of Tech901.

Tech901 is a tech training ground, whose mission is equipping students with the skills they need to get certifications in a variety of tech functions – from data security, project management, and more.

Four Key Concepts to Maximize Incentives

As those in the economic development sector (should) know, no two projects are the same, no two locations are the same, and no two incentive programs are the same. From target incentives to key players involved in the deal — and everything in between — numerous factors determine the success or failure of a project. While there are a multitude of decision points involved in every site selection project, below are four key concepts to help maximize return on investment and project success.

Ensure Your Project Is Competitive by Starting Early
Traditionally, the competitive nature of a project has been the first requirement in the legislation, policy, guidance, rulings, and applications of nearly every incentive program; yet somehow, it is often overlooked. In reviewing the myriad of text that surrounds most negotiated incentives currently available, the language generally states that the project “must be competitive” and does not say that the project “must have been competitive at one time but not necessarily now.” The latter is an exaggeration but does occur.

Area Development

Large Natural Gas Producer to Pay West Virginia Plaintiffs $53.5 Million to Settle Royalty Dispute

The second-largest natural gas producer in West Virginia will pay $53.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company was cheating thousands of state residents and businesses by shorting them on gas royalty payments, according to terms of the deal unsealed in court this week.

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. agreed to pay the money to end a federal class-action lawsuit, brought on behalf of about 9,000 people, which alleged that EQT wrongly deducted a variety of unacceptable charges from peoples’ royalty checks.

DropBox Buys Wurtland, Kentucky, Manufacturing Plant for Homeland Security Project

Shipping container modification and customization company DropBox Inc. received an approximately $2.15 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security contract to build container-based scanning units to detect nuclear materials entering US ports, a project expected to create up to 30 full-time jobs at its facility in nearby Wurtland, Kentucky.

According to state officials, DropBox recently received the contract through the DHS’ Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office to assemble two On-Dock Rail Straddle Carrier Portal (ODRSCP) units. Those will be installed at Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, New Jersey. to scan incoming shipping containers for dirty bombs or other potential weapons of mass destruction. Company leaders anticipate additional contracts could be awarded in the future to outfit ports throughout the US with the new technology.

Area Development

This town was built by a coal company. Now it’s leading an energy efficiency program.

After years of work, the town of Benham in Harlan County has received $200,000 for an energy efficiency program that residents hope could bring jobs and a better quality of life for this old coal camp community.

The program, called Benham$aves, allows homeowners to install energy efficiency measures in their homes and pay the cost from savings on their electric bill.

Lexington Herald-Leader

How Bad Is America’s Infrastructure Crisis? Maybe Not As Bad As It Seems.

Just how bad is America’s infrastructure crisis?

The talk in Washington these days leaves little doubt that our country’s roads, bridges, pipes, tracks and wires are all in serious trouble. A national group of civil engineers grades the United States’ infrastructure as a D+. Governors, mayors and transportation advocates repeat the same message of near-failure, especially as they try to convince Congress to pass a major infrastructure package.

The best U.S. cities for jobs right now

The U.S. job market is continuing to stay strong across various industries, in large part due to a 4.0% unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate at 63.2% (its highest mark since 2013).

And the top city for jobs in the U.S. currently is Scottsdale, Arizona, according to a recent study by WalletHub. Of the 182 cities ranked, Scottsdale tied for the highest annual median income —a factor that was adjusted for cost of living — at $72,455, compared to the U.S. average of $53,482 a year.

WalletHub calculated the best U.S. cities for jobs by analyzing 30 different factors including employment growth, unemployment rate, employment outlook, job security, access to employment benefits, median annual income, average work plus commute time, and housing affordability. Together, these were used to compile a ranking system.