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Tag Archives: economics

JOB SKILLS

Want a job that promises a living wage and a good shot at a middle-class life? Learn Microsoft Excel and other basic digital skills. “Effectively, entire segments of the U.S. economy are off-limits to people who don’t have basic digital skills,” the report from Burning Glass Technologies notes.

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SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Apple will replace AT&T as one of the members of the Dow 30 Industrials index. AT&T has been a member of the Dow since the early 20th Century.

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AG CONTRIBUTIONS

A new study of agriculture in Illinois shows agriculture is a critical component of Illinois’ overall economic well-being, contributing about $120.9 billion of total economic output — more than several other Illinois industries, including the financial, transportation and construction industries.

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FOOD DOLLARS

The share of disposable personal income spent on total food by Americans fell from 17.5 to 9.6%, as the share of income spent on food at home fell between 1960 and 2007.

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SHIFT IN JOBS

The New York Times reports the types of jobs that pay middle-class wages have shifted since 1980. Fewer of these positions are in male-dominated production occupations, while a greater share are in workplaces more open to women.

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HOME OWNERSHIP

The nation’s homeownership rate peaked in 2004 at 69.0 percent. Since then, the overall rate has fallen by 4.5 percentage points to 64.5 percent in 2014. Among householders in their thirties, the rate fell by more than 10 percentage points during those years.

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FARMLAND PRICES

Farmland values declined in parts of the Midwest for the first time in decades last year, reflecting a cooling in the market driven by two years of bumper crops and sharply lower grain prices, according to Federal Reserve reports released last week.

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FARMLAND VALUES HURT BY DROPS IN CORN & SOYBEAN PRICES

Farmland values in the Corn Belt dropped for the first time in 28 years, according to a report Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  The states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin saw farmland values drop 3 percent in 2014, due in large part to the drop in soybean and corn prices.

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NET FARM INCOME

USDA’s Economic Research Services estimated Tuesday (ERS) that net farm income will fall from $108 billion last year to $73.6 billion in 2015, a decline of almost 32 percent. Net farm income reached a record high of $129 billion in 2013.

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STATE OF RETAIL

Amazon has taken over from Walmart as the catalyst for changing retailers’ behavior, according to a new new study by Constellation Research. It is no longer simply about low prices; it is about access to apparently unlimited options for products.

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