Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
… investigation conducted by Tufts University researchers Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta led to the conclusion that the TPP, if enacted, would result in the loss of three-quarters of a million jobs through 2025, including 448,000 jobs to be lost in the U.S. alone. Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia would each suffer jobs losses in the tens of thousands. The Tufts report concludes:
“The TPP would lead to higher inequality, with a lower labor share of national income. We expect competitive pressures on labor incomes, combined with employment losses, to push labor shares of national income further down, redistributing income from labor to capital in all countries. In the USA, this would exacerbate a multi-decade trend.”
⇧ Now comes the hard part: Winning approval for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement | Miami Herald
17 paragraphs pretty much clearly designed to favor the TPP and 3 rather general paragraphs about controversy? Then it ends on this notion:
“With trade issues there are always concerns, but the important point with TPP is that the benefits outweigh the negatives,” Okaniwa said.
Talk about keeping the readership in the dark!
⇧ Technology still changing the way people buy and sell real estate | News OK
… on the horizon is 3-D cameras and virtual reality. Already in practice today, companies like Matterport are allowing property to be filmed with 3-D cameras and allow prospective buyers to take virtual tours, scroll around and virtually move freely within the property, all online.
Furthermore, virtual reality headsets can be used to digitally reconstruct these real-world spaces offering a never-before-seen level of immersion and realistic sense of being in the space.
The adoption of such technology is being driven by the millennial generation, the current majority of homebuyers, at 32 percent, according to a 2015 study by the National Association of Realtors.
Sellers are smart to adopt new technologies and connect with millennials in the way they like to communicate. They don’t want to talk on the phone; they want to text and view online showings. They want actual video over Ken Burns-styled photos in virtual tours.
They don’t even want to get up to go to the front door; they’ll look at their smartphone to see who’s there.
⇧ New Plans to Unmask Secret Buyers Rattle Real Estate Power Players – Property Lines – Curbed
The rules will go into effect on March 1 and last until August 27. The fact that the government would target two specific markets, and for such a short period of time, says the feds are likely casting for potential criminality—or they are simply trying to scare away some prospective buyers.
“This seems like a test,” said Jeff Miller, a broker in Miami Beach with Brown Harris Stevens Zilbert. “Time will tell.”
⇧ Paterson auctions off liens on 71 vacant properties for $1.2M – News – NorthJersey.com
“We’re happy to get the revenue, but the real prize will be when these properties are fixed up and brought back to life,” said Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres after the auction. “The key will be when they’re back on the tax rolls moving forward.”
⇧ Employment Situation Summary
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.9 percent ….
The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was little changed. The employment-population ratio (59.6 percent) changed little over the month but was up by 0.3 percentage point since October.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours in January.
… average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents to $25.39.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +252,000 to +280,000, and the change for December was revised from +292,000 to +262,000.
⇧ January hits new record low in the Arctic | Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis
January Arctic sea ice extent was the lowest in the satellite record, attended by unusually high air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean and a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) for the first three weeks of the month. Meanwhile in the Antarctic, this year’s extent was lower than average for January, in contrast to the record high extents in January 2015.
If El Nino keeps up and we have an even hotter summer, wow!
⇧ Dollar tumbles as Fed rescues China in the nick of time – Telegraph
The US dollar has suffered one of the sharpest drops in 20 years as the Federal Reserve signals a retreat from monetary tightening, igniting a powerful rally for commodities and easing a ferocious squeeze on dollar debtors in China and emerging markets.
The closely-watched dollar index (DXY) has fallen 3pc this week to 96.44 and given up all its gains since late October. This has instant effects on the world’s inter-connected financial system, today more geared to the US exchange rate and Fed policy than at any time in modern history.
David Bloom, from HSBC, said the blistering dollar rally of the past three years is largely over and may go into reverse as weak economic figures in the US force the Fed to pare back four rate rises loosely planned for this year.
Well, the Fed could actually take the opposite view a bit. A weaker dollar will give them more running room to tighten since US goods and services will be cheaper to sell overseas: a heating economy. A weaker dollar is inflationary too. It won’t buy US consumers cheaper gas though: weakening the economy. It cuts both ways, and the consumer-gas price is only one variable of many.
⇧ Despite a Short Breakeven Horizon, Millennials May Still Have Reason to Rent | Zillow Porchlight
Nationally, it takes less than two years for buying a home to be a better decision than renting it ….
⇧ Why Some Real Estate Losses Will NOT Reduce Your Taxes
Believe it or not, there are times when a loss on your real estate or business may be useless in reducing your taxes. Here are some examples to take note of.
⇧ Deutsche Bank’s troubles unmask bigger risks | afr.com
At the Deutsche Bank annual meeting in Frankfurt in 2015 a disgruntled investor got up in front of the microphone and asked the board of directors if there was a financial scandal the bank wasn’t involved in.
⇧ Rubio For The Rich – The New York Times
… this is a tax cut not just for the rich, but for the very, very rich, with essentially nothing for the vast majority of Americans. And there is, as Barro says, absolutely no reason to believe that there would be large economic benefits from this giveaway.
Trickledown does not work! That’s a proven fact. We’ve had tax cuts on the superrich, and we’ve not had a rise in the living standard of typical workers but the opposite. Workers were much better off in terms of their share of the national pie when taxes on the rich were at their highest back in 1950.
⇧ Construction Unemployment Rose in January
“Contractors have been wrestling with shortfalls in appropriately trained workers. The implication is that more people are beginning to realize there are growing opportunities to find work in the industry. It is also likely that the rising unemployment rate is a reflection of large numbers of dislocated energy workers now looking for work in occupations where their skill sets translate.
“There are also reasons to place less weight on weakness in nonresidential job creation in January,” said Basu. “First, seasonal factors wreak havoc on construction data this time of year. Second, much of the weakness was in heavy and civil engineering, which by most accounts can look forward to a brighter future, given recent federal funding commitments.”
⇧ Antelope Couple Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for the Arson of Their Home | USAO-EDCA | Department of Justice
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An Antelope couple was sentenced today [Thursday, February 4, 2016] by Chief United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 15 years in prison each for four felony counts related to the arson of their former home and home-based business, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
⇧ Researchers find source of 1964 devastating Alaska tsunami – US News
The U.S. Geological Survey says undersea landslides in water up to 1,150 feet deep triggered a tsunami that killed 23 people in the Prince William Sound village of Chenega ….
⇧ 7 Arrested in Georgia Arson, Insurance Fraud Scheme – Walkileaks
Each suspect is facing numerous charges including first degree arson, insurance fraud, theft by deception, identity fraud, forgery and making false statements.
⇧ Penn. Encourages Homeowners to Look at Private Market Flood Coverage
In announcing the new webpage, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller said Pennsylvania homeowners, who may be facing steeply rising premiums under the the National Flood Insurance Program, may be unaware that they can get private market flood coverage — in many cases at substantial savings as compared to the NFIP coverage.
⇧ The Growing Set of Metro Areas With Unemployment Under 3% – Real Time Economics – WSJ
Twice as many metro areas now have unemployment rates under 3% compared with a year ago.
The number of metro areas with ultralow jobless rates more than doubled to 25 in December, according to the Labor Department. Those tight labor markets have drawn nearly 58,000 new workers, bringing their total labor force to 4.33 million.
While last year saw the second-highest level of job creation since the recession, pockets of pain remain. Some 1.87 million workers face a job market with unemployment of at least 10%.
⇧ Distressed sales still a big part of housing market – Sun Sentinel
Even with the real estate market recovering, more than a quarter of all South Florida home and condominium sales in 2015 involved a distressed property, a new report shows.
⇧ Mayor Proposes Doubling Seattle Housing Levy as Homelessness Crisis Grows – Homelessness – Curbed Seattle
The four levies that voters have previously-approved ($50 million in 1986, $59 million in 1995, $86 million in 2002 and $145 million in 2009) have helped to create over 12,500 affordable apartments, help provide down-payment loans to over 800 first-time homebuyers and provide rental assistance to over 6,500 households.
⇧ Orange County, North Carolina Tackling Housing Affordability Challenges | Sustainable Cities Collective
Orange County took steps to alleviate the affordable housing shortage in October 2015, issuing the largest bond in county history—a $125 million bond with $120 million going towards repairing county school buildings and $5 million going towards affordable housing. If voters agree, the bond money could help support housing programs, providing incentives that will help increase the housing stock for residents who are getting pushed out. Other solutions include mixed-income apartments, land bank models allowing for future building projects, and development of innovative design options for manufactured housing or tiny homes.