Economist: Auto industry could create the next recession

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit will once again give car lovers reasons to brave the crowds and the cold, such as a chance to see the 2020 Ford Shelby GT 500 in the steel flesh.

But the auto show’s backstory is clouded by potential economic stumbling blocks at every corner — ranging from pinched pocketbooks to stormy trading on Wall Street to a highly volatile trade war between the United States and China, among other countries.

It’s possible that “the auto business will create the next recession, not housing,” Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, told a group of journalists gathered Sunday morning in Detroit for the auto show preview.

The social and emotional skills we owe our children

A growing body of evidence, culminating in a major report released yesterday, confirms that preparing students for success in school, career, and life requires educating the “whole student,” inclusive of crucial social and emotional skills in addition to education’s traditional focus on academic instruction. The report, From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, issued by the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD Commission), compiles decades of research and reports on two years’ worth of conversations, meetings, and site visits that the SEAD Commission conducted across the United States, connecting with students, parents, educators, community leaders, and other experts.

Research and on-the-ground experience confirms that cognitive, social, and emotional development are inextricably linked. Children with more developed social and emotional skills are more adept at paying attention, setting goals, persevering, thinking critically, and problem solving. They act with responsibility, honesty, and integrity. They’re more empathic and compassionate. And their grades, graduation rates, and post-secondary outcomes improve. Longitudinal studies also show students with these skills thrive later in life at work and become successful members of society.

The Moving Target: U.S. Automakers Are Never ‘Saved,’ Just Reprieved

Last week, during an interview on the public radio show The Takeaway, I fielded an intriguing question. “We’ve been trying to quote, unquote save the auto industry for years now… In your estimation are we trying to save something that’s just never going to be saved?”

I gave a technical answer. But I keep thinking about the subject. It does seem like U.S. automakers get reprieves. But they’re never saved, per se.

Gundlach warns U.S. economy is floating on ‘ocean of debt’

Jeffrey Gundlach said yet again that the U.S. economy is gorging on debt.

Echoing many of the themes from his annual “Just Markets” webcast Tuesday, Mr. Gundlach took part in a roundtable of 10 of Wall Street’s smartest investors for Barron’s. He highlighted the dangers especially posed by the U.S. corporate bond market.

Prolific sales of junk bonds and significant growth in investment-grade corporate debt, coupled with the Federal Reserve weaning the market off quantitative easing, have resulted in what the DoubleLine Capital boss called “an ocean of debt.”

After a boom year for new natural gas plants, renewables set to retake the lead

In 2019, more renewable energy will be added to the grid than fossil fuel-based energy, according to estimates from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That had been the trend between 2013 and 2017, but last year new natural gas-fired power plants outpaced renewable additions to the grid. As a result, US carbon emissions increased, notably from the power sector, despite the rapid retirement of coal plants and a growing consciousness about the necessity of low-carbon energy.

EIA expects 2019 to be a more modest year for new energy capacity compared to 2018, with only 24 gigawatts (GW) of total capacity additions predicted for 2019 compared to the 34GW of capacity additions predicted for 2018. In 2018, EIA predicted that 21GW of natural gas plants would come online, with roughly 11GW of new renewables coming online, making 2018 the first year since 2013 in which renewables didn’t make up the bulk of the new capacity added in the US.

Opinion: 2018 was a good year for Central Florida. Good things are ahead in 2019

At the beginning of each new year, we pause to reflect on the previous year. We recall significant events. We share memories. And we generate new ideas and plans for the future.

In 2018, we saw significant national events in mid-term elections, destructive wildfires and hurricanes, positive economic growth, and the appointment and confirmation of a new Justice on our U.S. Supreme Court. In Florida, we elected a new governor and a new U.S. senator. And we faced both loss from Hurricane Michael and gain in our state’s economic indicators, including high numbers in employment and the addition of new jobs. Finally, in Central Florida, we elected new legislative and county leaders, expanded our footprint in the defense and space industries, and began to address issues important to our local communities such as public safety, transportation, water quality, and infrastructure needs. Such efforts are of course ongoing.

11 Commercial Real Estate Lessons To Learn From Amazon’s HQ2 Announcement

In December 2018, Amazon made its long-awaited announcement of where its second headquarters location would be. Much to the competing cities’ surprise, the e-commerce giant chose to split “HQ2” between Long Island City, New York and Arlington, Virginia.

Since the announcement, there’s been much speculation about the impact on the real estate and job markets in these two cities, especially since Amazon is planning to invest $2.5 billion in each location. We asked experts at Forbes Real Estate Council what they believe commercial real estate investors can learn from the announcement and its implications for local markets. Here’s what they had to say.


AI Will Create Millions More Jobs Than It Will Destroy. Here’s How

In the past few years, artificial intelligence has advanced so quickly that it now seems hardly a month goes by without a newsworthy AI breakthrough. In areas as wide-ranging as speech translation, medical diagnosis, and gameplay, we have seen computers outperform humans in startling ways.

This has sparked a discussion about how AI will impact employment. Some fear that as AI improves, it will supplant workers, creating an ever-growing pool of unemployable humans who cannot compete economically with machines.

This concern, while understandable, is unfounded. In fact, AI will be the greatest job engine the world has ever seen.

Is Florida losing its headquarters mojo?

Former Florida Gov. Rick Scott famously spent some time the past eight years calling businesses in Ohio, Michigan and other snow belt states during heavy storms.

The pitch was simple: Ditch the snow and relocate your corporate headquarters to Florida, where the winters are pleasant — and there’s no state income tax.

That HQ trick, minus the snow and gubernatorial phone call, has now been played on Florida. For starters, the state’s multiple bids to land the ballyhooed Amazon HQ2 project fizzled. Only Miami made the final 20. Other proposals, from Tampa, Orlando and north Manatee County, didn’t gain any traction with the online retail giant.

Amazon’s HQ2 search should inform millennial housing search

The much hyped Amazon search is over and the winners announced. New York City and Arlington each won half of HQ2. Millennials need to take a page from Amazon’s playbook and conduct their own search for their best place to work and live. Many of the cities overlooked by Amazon deserve a close look by prospective first-time homebuyers (FTBs). These cities offer something that coastal markets currently can’t: affordable entry level homes.

A new study from the AEI Center on Housing Markets and Finance ranked the affordability of 50 large metropolitan areas in the U.S. for FTBs. Specifically, the study calculates the median home price to income ratio by using over 2.7 million FTB loan transactions to obtain actual 2017 home prices and incomes of borrowers.