At long last, we’ve been treated to a streak of positive news on the U.S. economy. Job growth continues, with 227,000 added in February and 900,000 over the past five months; the application rate for jobless benefits now stands at a four-year low; and the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.0 to 8.3 in a year. And while the sharp decline in the unemployment rate appears to have slowed in the past three months, there’s even a silver lining there as more people resumed their search for work in the face of a better employment outlook (about 500,000 in February). It’s tough to argue that’s anything but good news.
Read more »
In its release of 2010 estimates for Monroe County, the Census Bureau confirmed what we perceive: We’re all worse off.
As year-to-year variation is less reliable, I compare the 2010 American Community Survey estimates to the 2000 Census—the “long form.”
- Median household income fell about 20% over the decade. Adjusted for inflation, the 2009 figure reported in the 2010 report—about $45,000—is 78% of the nearly $58,000 figure from 1999.
- Per capita income didn’t decline as much—about 9% to about $27,000 (from an inflation-adjusted $29,000).
- The increased incidence of poverty is also troubling:
- Family poverty rate from 8.2% to 11.1%
- Poverty rate for families with children under 18 rose from 13.1% to 18.6%
- Similarly, persons in poverty rose from 11.2% to 15.4% but children in poverty rose even more, from 15.5% to 22.2%
Read more »
New York swept the annual property tax competitions sponsored by the Census Bureau. Scored by the Tax Foundation, New York counties dominated the competition in the “property tax as a share of median home value” event, capturing all of the top ten places. Camden, New Jersey was pushed off the top ten after a spirited showing from New York’s Chemung County. Newcomer to the Top Ten, Chemung ranked #16 in 2007.
In the “property tax per dwelling” event, New York’s perennial champions, Nassau and Westchester counties, took the top two spots with Rockland and Putnam counties also placing. The remainder of the Top Ten was dominated by New Jersey, always a contender in the nation’s tax competition.
What a contest to win! Is there hope of ever losing this competition? What must we do to cut the cost of state and local government? Does it matter?
Read more »