London-based CVC Capital said on it’s website it and LA-based Leonard Green Partners have an agreement to buy the shopping club for more than $52 a share. It’s too early to tell what if any changes are in store for BJ’s workers and shoppers in Conn.
Archive for June, 2011
The American consumer is like a tired rock climber, perched halfway up a mountain face. They can either summon the strength to climb up to the top, or edge down and find a ledge to rest on, or fall….
The U.S. Commerce Department reported American spending stalled in May as incomes only edged slightly higher. However, the personal income and outlays report would be more valuable if it had more detail on what Americans are spending on.
Here’s the synopsis from Commerce on the May numbers:
“Real disposable income increased 0.1 percent in May, in contrast to a decrease of 0.1 percent in April. Real PCE decreased 0.1 percent, the same decrease as in April.”
Spending on services was up, according to the report, but it’s unclear what services Americans are buying. The question is if this is turning into a subsistence/debt-based economy for the vast majority of households, whereby they are spending their shrinknig or stagnate incomes on energy, food and debt service.
Per capita income and more details on spending patterns will help clarify this.
Well, once again our state got hammered in an economic poll, this time it’s the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. The Nutmeg State was 43 in economic performance and 35 in economic outlook.
I’ve been told by credible statistical and linquistic experts that “index” is a derivation of an old French word meaning, “I gotta get this data to fit my theory.”
Actually, this study by Arthur B. Laffer, one of the the fathers of supply-side economics, does a decent job of laying out some questions for lawmakers to ponder as they deal with deficits and an ugly economy. This is why the American Legislative Exchange Council is involved in the report, dubbed Rich State, Poor States.
But what would a policy report be without some sort of ranking and the study relies on the last decade of data to determine who is tops and who is nots, or nuts.
Connecticut was found lacking on the key areas of job, migration and per capita income growth. Non farm employment in the state is down 3.8 percent from 1999, its net migration is down 100,055 in a decade and per capita income is up 39.9 percent in a decade.
So of course Wyoming, which ranked first, is far better than Connecticut. Per capita personal income grew there a whopping 70 percent.
Now, Connecticut’s per capita income is $36,459, according ot the U.S. Census Bureau. Wyoming’s is $26,925, or about $100 lower than the nation’s per capita income.
There’s also quite a difference in population between the two states. Fairfield County by itself has a bigger population than Wyoming. The gist being that a growth of 36 percent in this area of the nation, isn’t too bad.
There is an interesting graph related to a passage warning against class warfare. The chart depicts the income tax rate on the wealthiest in America and what share the they pay of Federal Taxes.
In the 1980, the top tax rate was 70 percent and the top 1 percent of earners paid about 20 percent of all taxes. Since taxes have been trimmed for the wealthy to a top tax rate of 35 percent, the top 1 percent have ended up paying 41 percent of all taxes.
But aren’t the rich paying more of the taxes because they have more than ever? Meaning, doesn’t the top 1 percent have more of the pie than they ever did? So it would make sense, if they’re incomes continued to grow, while other tax bracket incomes flattened out the uber wealthy would pay more of the taxes?
There is a lot in this report and I think its worth reading, though the rankings seem a bit old fashioned in this day and age.
Here’s a link:
Connecticut shed 2,900 jobs in May, but the the Labor Department said a revision of April’s numbers uncovered an additional 500 jobs, briging last month’s gain to 8,400.
According to the report, releasedd at just after 2:40 p.m. June 16, the retailers cut 1,300 jobs in the month of May, with professional and scientific employers, educational services and arts and recreation employers each cutting 1,000 or more.
This is a preliminary report, so some businesses might have missed the reporting deadline.
The biggest single gain was in Government, which added 2,300 jobs in May.
The casinos, run by the tribal governments, are included in this figure.
The unemployment rate stood 9.1 percent in May, which is identical to the U.S. rate.
For May, the nation reported a gain of 54,000 jobs.
Coldwell Banker released new data on affordability this morning. While Greenwich remains the most exclusive and unaffordable market in Connecticut it has yet to claim the top spot nationally.
Here is the release from the realty group.
New Britain is Connecticut’s Most Affordable Market; Greenwich Tops the State’s Most Expensive List
RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (June 15, 2011) – Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today released its Home Listing Report (HLR), a snapshot survey of listing prices for four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in more than 2,300 North American markets. The survey reviewed 59 real estate markets in Connecticut and found New Britain led the list of most affordable markets in the state, with an average home listing price of approximately $165,310 for property listings meeting the subject home criteria. The report identified Greenwich as the state’s most expensive market, where the average four-bedroom, two-bathroom home has a listing price of $1,154,293. The difference of nearly $1 million between most expensive and most affordable Connecticut housing markets is just one of the many findings in this comprehensive market report. Compared to the national average of $293,251, the average four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Connecticut overall was $451,012.
“This report clearly illustrates the local nature of real estate. Connecticut has a range of housing markets and overall has a higher average home price than other parts of the country because of our stronger economy and higher employment numbers,” said Cathleen Smith, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y. “Greenwich, which is among the most expensive housing markets in the nation, continues to be a desirable community because of its close proximity to jobs, its picturesque neighborhoods and its top-performing schools.”
The Coldwell Banker HLR provides the average home listing price of four-bedroom, two-bathroom properties on coldwellbanker.com that were listed between September 2010 and March 2011 from more than 2,300 North American markets. Markets included in the U.S. report were required to have at least 10 properties fitting the above criteria within the relevant timeframe.
“This year’s home listing report is by far the most in-depth local market source of data that Coldwell Banker has ever released,” said Jim Gillespie, chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “We’ve included nearly ten times more markets than ever before, which gives us unmatched real estate insight into thousands of North American cities. For instance, we can see that there are 775 U.S. markets averaging $200,000 or less for these types of aspirational homes. We know that home buying remains a deeply personal lifestyle decision, and we believe that reports like this, along with trusted real estate agents, will help to today’s buyers make smart decisions.”
The Connecticut markets featured in the 2011 Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report are:
The national Foundation for Credit Counseling has tapped into a way to make its opinion poll on financial literacy relevant this week — calling fathers financially illiterate.
The press release headlined, “FATHER KNOWS BEST – OR DOES HE? Survey Reveals Definite Lack of Financial Skills,” regards the NFCC’s poll on financial literacy.
The poll itself asks people where they learn about finance and how they rate themselves.
The leap to calling into question Dad’s financial skills comes from eight percent of respondents. NFCC puts it like this, “men were four times as likely as women to give themselves failing grades for their knowledge of personal finance, eight percent versus two percent, respectively.”
So, eight percent of men admit they’re lousy and that equates to dads. Here’s the main question, are all eight percent fathers? Is this eight percent of all fathers? If so, then does that mean that 92 percent of fathers are average or better?
Anyway, I think blasting dads before Father’s Day is a lousy thing to do.
The survey itself does offer some interesting stats, though the conclusions, like the one about dads seem like a leap.
About 42 percent of respondents said they learned about finances from their parents. And, according to the survey, 41 percent of adults gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on financial acumen. The survey said last year, just 34 percent graded themselves so harshly. As a result, the NFCC says this is a sign parents are ill prepared to to teach their children sound financial principles. (Of course 59 percent, the majority graded themselves with a B or higher.)
That may or may not be the case. The truth is that the economy has blasted families for years in this country and forced more than a few to confront the reality that they were carrying too much debt and that they’re financial plans had more holes than Swiss cheese. If you haven’t hit a problem in this financial downturn and learned a lesson from the tough times, you’re better than me.
Gauging any group’s financial literacy through an opinion poll is probably misguided, but as a whole of perception in the country, it might be useful when weighed against data on foreclosures, late payments and profit from investments.
And despite recent improvements, there are tough lessons yet to be learned in kitchens everywhere.
Anyway, my dad and mom, taught me lots of lessons about finance. Among them was to know the difference between what you need and what you want and whether you can afford both. And knowing that comes down to a simple evaluation. You look at what it costs for what you need, home, food, transportation plus some savings for down the road, and whatever you have left is for what you want.
Hackers have stolen more credit card data, this time about 200,000 accounts from Citi.
And regulators are once again saying the banks need to improve security.
AP’s Kelvin Chan has a good piece on this on today’s CTPost.com.
“Federal regulators have taken notice and are asking banks to improve security.
“Both banks and regulators must remain vigilant,” said Sheila Bair, chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She said federal agencies, including the FDIC, are developing new rules to push banks to enhance online account access.”
For the rest of the article, visit http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Hackers-nab-card-data-from-200-000-Citi-customers-1418101.php.
Foregive me, but weren’t banks supposed to have done this already? As I recall mroe than a few years ago, banks were gearing up to prepare to roll out higher security measures for online access. They were supposed to have thumb drive-enabled security and other measures in place, I thought by now. Too inconvenient, I guess.
Those demands for changes came in the wake of a rash of lost, hacked and data that was even just sold to fake companies in 2005. The big name back then was data aggregator Choice Point. But several banks got hit when back up tapes went missing that provided lots of private information on customers.
So, here we are today.
I guess the question is, given the continuing problem, what role should regulators play in this? Maybe they shouldn’t play any at all?
A company that loses data will eventually lose customers and then it won’t be such a big problem, unless a regulator steps in, props up that bank and assures customers everything is cool as a cucumber.
Maybe a better response would be to turn the matter over to law enforcement who could determine if there was negligence on the bank’s part.
I’m not saying there was negligence. I’m sure the hackers had a real tough time breaking in and getting this information
A cab broke down on State Street and Park Avenue in Bridgeport Monday morning. Traffic was building up at the busy corner, yes there are such things in the Park City. Then, a man in a white T-shirt and shorts came over, talked to the cab driver and pushed the car out of the way.
Traffic began flowing again, but a curious thing happened. The cabbie talked to the good Samaritan “Sam”, who offered a shrug, walked behind the cab and started pushing it further down the street. He pushed that vehicle down State to West Ave and then down Prospect to the under pass. That’s about .35 miles. The cabbie said he had broken down at this spot and called the tow truck that said it would be there in an hour. He got the car started in the meantime, moved and then stalled again on State. So he asked the Sam to push him back to the spot where the tow was coming.
Sam explained somewhere on West Avenue why he pushed the car.
“No one was doing anything,” he said. “They were all just sitting there watching.”
It’s an interesting thought in this day and economy.
Been hearing chants of a failing economy and concerns about a new recession or worse. And sure, there are definitely reasons to be pessimistic. Employment growth slowing, debt ceiling roulette in D.C., QE3, volatile energy prices, stocks diving, war, cancerous cell phones …
But, with all due respect to the experts who spend a lot of time watching the economy and betting, I mean investing, in business, I gotta figure the mathematics involved in creating a predictive model will always be jinxed because such a model can’t account for people willing to do things.
People like Sam, who are willing to jump into a street after dropping their kid off at daycare and pushing a cap more than a quarter of a mile just to start things moving.
Just a thought and a forced allegory on a Monday.