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Tag Archives: economics

CHINA: 8.5% DROP IS ‘BLACK MONDAY

Chinese stocks suffered their worst single-day loss in more than eight years, spurring a fresh phase of a global selloff that dragged the Dow Jones Industrial Average to an 18-month low. The Dow tumbled 588.40 points to 15871.35, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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FARM PROFITABILITY

According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, 79% to 86% of retirement, off-farm occupation, and low-sales farms are in the “red zone”, indicating a very low return to farming. The share of farms in the red zone drops rapidly for the remaining family farm types, those with moderate sales and higher.

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VANISHING WORKERS

The unemployment rate in many Midwest cities is falling as residents move away, retire or give up on finding a job. Today’s Wall Street Journal looks at two Illinois cities – Decatur and Rockford.

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RURAL POVERTY

The poverty rate for children under 18 living in rural areas stood at 26.2% in 2013, more than 4% higher than the metro child poverty rate of 21.6%, according to Census estimates.

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CHEAPER GAS EXPECTED THIS SUMMER

The Energy Department says drivers will see the lowest summer gasoline prices in nearly 6 years.  The national average price is expected to fall 32% from a year ago to $2.45 a gallon between April and September.

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YIELD CURVE

The yield curve for short- and long-term U.S. treasuries is fairly flat, which economists say is a sign that investors expect mediocre growth in the years ahead.

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SPENDING ON FOOD

The bottom 10% of Americans, by income, devote 42% of their spending to housing and an additional 17% to food–nearly 60% of their total spending, according to the Consumer Expenditures Survey. By contrast, the wealthiest 10% of Americans dedicate only 31% of their spending to housing and 11% to food–closer to 40% of total spending.

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CASH INCOME DOWN

After historically high average Net Cash Farm Income (NCFI) in 2012 and 2013, average NCFI is expected to decline 22.7% in 2014F – 15F for U.S. farm businesses (defined as farms with annual gross cash farm income greater than $350,000), the lowest level since 2010-11.

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MAINSTREET INDEX

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for March sank to 43.6, its lowest level since February 2010. Last month’s figure was 46.4.

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STRESS TESTS

The nation’s 2,036 farm banks will survive the downturn in the agricultural economy, according to a new report released Tuesday. The annual Farm Bank Performance Report says the banks benefited from several years of strong performance in the agriculture sector and have strong balance sheets.

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