2011 August 19 | timiacono.com

Job Creation by State in 2011

Gallup’s latest Job Creation Index shows where jobs have been created and destroyed in the U.S. this year and it should come as no surprise that the Midwest energy and agriculture boom along with the Washington money printing and borrowing boom have led to strong job growth in those regions. But, what’s driving the job gains in South Carolina and Georgia?

Other than categorizing them as “commodity states” and noting they rank 8th and 10th, respectively, there is no further discussion about job growth in the deep South, so, it will remain a mystery. I can’t think of anything other than tobacco, though I don’t claim to know much about the region. Anyone?

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How They Do Things in Helena

Montana’s Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer offers up this New York Tims op-ed in the hope that elected officials in Washington might follow the state’s lead in pinching pennies, or, in the case of the nation’s capital, pinching billions.

Cutting Costs the Montana Way

WITH the debt crisis and the weakening economy fresh on their minds, most Americans have probably concluded that government, as a rule, cannot manage money responsibly. But it can. Just look at Montana.

For six years it has been one of the only states in America with a budget surplus: this year it is a record $433 million, proportionally equivalent to a federal surplus of $858 billion. Thus we’ve been able to cut taxes, invest in education and infrastructure and keep essential services intact. We recently got our first bond rating upgrade in 26 years.

And we’re not simply riding the Western energy boom. The recession has driven unemployment to 7.5 percent, and while we’ve had a great run with oil, coal and gas, royalties from these commodities account for only 9 percent of our budget surplus.

How do we accomplish what the federal government cannot? I like to say we run government like a ranch. In ranching – my old job – you either pinch pennies or go belly-up. We do the same in government. Perhaps Washington can try it.

For one thing, we challenge every expense. If it isn’t absolutely necessary, we eliminate it. When the recession came we found $80 million in savings, which helped us avert a budget crisis. Little things added up: we renegotiated state contracts, cut our energy consumption by 20 percent, auctioned off state vehicles and canceled building projects and computer upgrades.

I don’t know how other state legislatures work, but, I was quite surprised to learn that, here in Montana, these elected officials meet for only 90 days every two years – in the most recent case, from January to March this year after the 2010 elections.

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Don’t Cross the Streams

You don’t see this very often, but, last night the Kitco three-day gold chart showed one of those unusual patterns where, with only a tiny little exception there on the lower right, the spot gold price never fell below the level of the prior day, what is referred to around here with a Ghostbusters reference (see this video for a complete explanation).

Obviously, this only happens when prices are making big, steady moves either up or down and, after a little pull-back this morning (yes, $40 moves down are now referred to as “a little pull-back”), it would appear that the same pattern will be repeated today.

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Friday Morning Links

MUST READS
Stock markets fall over economic fears – BBC
Gold continues its meteoric rise – MarketWatch
JP Morgan Joins the GDP Downgrade Party – WSJ
U.S. Growth Estimate Cut at Citigroup – Bloomberg
European bank stocks swoon to 29-month low – Reuters
Bond markets signal ‘Japanese’ slump for US and Europe – Telegraph
S&P Investigation Lends Credence To Financial Crisis Report – HuffPost
The Real Reason the SEC Has Been Shredding Documents – Washington’s Blog
Larry Summers’s Bad Math Is S&P Informed Opinion – Bloomberg
Hey, Rick Perry: Printing Money Is Patriotic – Atlantic
Is the Fed Treasonous? – Lew Rockwell
Perry’s Public Service – WSJ

MARKETS/INVESTING
Oil falls to near $81 on global growth slowdown – AP
Gold rallies to new record, equity rout persists – Reuters
The Stock Market Plunge by the Numbers – Fiscal Times
Gold Landscape Is Changing For Southeast Asian Countries – Kitco
Historic day: 10-year Treasury yield falls below 2% – LA Times
Five money moves ‘Dr. Doom’ is making now – MarketWatch
Gold bubble: What goes up should come down – Commodity Online
‘Unmitigated Bear Market’ Will Continue: Gartman – CNBC
Insight: The madness of Wall Street – Reuters
Sure Looks Like 2008 – MACROStory

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Bank of America to cut 3,500 more jobs – AP
Is This A Second Great Depression – Or Worse? – Baseline Scenario
How Hitler and FDR actually ended the Great Depression – Washington Post
Where Are The Space Aliens When You Really Need Them? – Decline of the Empire
Shoppers will see higher prices for back-to-school shopping – Washington Post
Chavez Emptying BOE Vault as Venezuela Brings Back Its Gold – Bloomberg
Putin Calls U.S. ‘Parasite’ as Russia Buys More of Its Debt – Bloomberg
Housing Affordability Overwhelmed by Lack of Confidence – WSJ
China to skip U.S. Fed’s Jackson Hole meet: sources – Reuters
Inflation May Embolden Foes of Fed Stimulus – Bloomberg
Double Dip More Likely. Pressure on Fed Rises – Fiscal Times
Fed Asset Buys Give Stocks A Boost — And A Hangover – IBD

 
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