Muni Commentary

Sue Childs

Recent Posts

DC Holding Strong Year-Over-Year

Posted by Sue Childs on Apr 2, 2019 11:11:01 AM

According to just released DIVER Geo Scores from Lumesis, Washington, DC continues to be the top state-level location in the US for the month of March. DC held the same distinction a year ago. The District has a Geo Score of 10, the highest score, which is based on multiple, meaningful economic and demographic datapoints from the employment, income and housing categories. DIVER Geo Scores are relative scores designed to quickly communicate the overall economic health of a selected geographic area on a scale of 0 to 10. Rounding out the top 5 for the month are North Dakota (9.8), New Hampshire (9.6), Colorado (9.4) and Massachusetts (9.2)

The Geo Scores also looks at cities and counties. While the State of California ranks 16th with an overall score of 7, the top three performing counties last month are in California: San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco, all with rankings of 10. Some of the State's cities are very strong performers as well.

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Topics: Financial and Demographic Trends Affecting the Mun, Geo Scores: The Changing Economic Health of US Mun

Does a Rising Tide Lift All?

Posted by Sue Childs on Oct 9, 2018 5:31:00 PM

This week we bring you the September 2018 DIVER Geo Scores.  In addition to our regularly collected data, the U.S. Census Bureau released 2017 poverty rates and most states showed decreasing rates year-over-year. But, before we assume that the rising tide is lifting all boats, some states and cities have weaker employment pictures (as reported last month) and increasing foreclosures.

DIVER Geo Scores are designed to quickly communicate the overall economic health of a selected geographic area on a scale of 0 to 10. The Geo Score reflects the relative economic well-being of the location and is available for all States, counties, and approximately 350 of the largest cities. Calculations are released monthly and are based on multiple, meaningful economic and demographic data from the employment, income and housing categories.

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Topics: Commentary

A Look at Labor and Foreclosure Rates

Posted by Sue Childs on Sep 12, 2018 4:49:00 PM

 

This week we bring you the August 2018 DIVER Geo Scores.  With jobless rates continuing to fall across the board, we will take a look at where the biggest improvements are and also how other factors like labor participation rates and foreclosure rates are negatively impacting certain areas of the country.

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Topics: Commentary

Public School Funding Goes Back to School

Posted by Sue Childs on Sep 4, 2018 5:24:00 PM

 

It’s that time of year again. With “Summer days driftin’away[1]” parents are spending money on clothes their kids will grow out of in a few months, and hotel magnates’ adult children are starting kindergarten to “prove to Dad that I am not a fool[2].”

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Topics: Commentary

Survey Results: August 2018 Issuer Survey Regarding 15c2-12 Compliance

Posted by Sue Childs on Sep 1, 2018 5:28:00 PM

In August 2018, Lumesis conducted a survey of municipal issuers regarding the management of their continuing disclosure obligations.  Our outreach was to a finite set of diverse issuers and obligated parties and over 200 responded to the ten question survey.  Below, we provide insight into the survey results.

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Topics: Commentary

An Even Higher Loyalty

Posted by Sue Childs on Apr 16, 2018 2:21:00 PM

 Hello Everyone, while there is a lot to cover on current events including tariffs with China, Paul Ryan going back to Wisconsin, and the supposed death of attorney-client privilege, this week here at Lumesis we thought it would be appropriate to look at marijuana sales tax revenues at the state level. While we won’t state whether we did or “didn’t inhale[1],” or if good people do or “don’t smoke marijuana[2],” or if we are simply “holding it for a friend[3],” we decided it would be better that if we were going to talk about this better to do so here rather than “somewhere else where something bad could happen[4].”

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Topics: Commentary

March 2018 Geo Scores and a Closer Look at Employment

Posted by Sue Childs on Apr 3, 2018 5:09:00 PM

 

This week we bring you the March 2018 DIVER Geo Scores, focusing on locations with the greatest moves year on year, as well as the top and bottom scores at the State, City, and County levels for the month of March. We also look at employment to examine whether the picture is as rosy as it seems.

DIVER Geo Scores are designed to quickly communicate the overall economic health of a selected geographic area on a scale of 0 to 10. The Geo Score reflects the relative economic well-being of the location and is available for all States, counties, and approximately 350 of the largest cities. Calculations are released monthly and are based on multiple, meaningful economic and demographic data from the employment, income and housing categories.

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Topics: Geo Scores: The Changing Economic Health of US Mun, Commentary

The Unequal Impacts of Trump's Tariffs

Posted by Sue Childs on Mar 19, 2018 5:47:00 PM

 

This week we take a closer look at President Trump’s recent imposition of tariffs and the potential impact on exporting states and key industries.

 On Thursday, March 8, President Trump signed proclamations imposing a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum which, at least temporarily, exempted NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico. The tariffs are slated to begin 15 days from the signing. This action by President Trump follows his campaign promises to implement a more protectionist trading regime (or put America first – political perspective dependent), a topic Lumesis’ Eli Molin explored just prior to the President’s inauguration. As the administration implements these tariffs and continues to renegotiate NAFTA , we will update Eli’s piece with new data and a refined focus as the specificity of the tariffs become more apparent.

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Topics: Geo Scores: The Changing Economic Health of US Mun, Legislation, Politics and the Bond Market, Commentary

Geo Scores for February 2018

Posted by Sue Childs on Mar 5, 2018 4:30:00 PM

 

This week we bring you the February 2018 DIVER Geo Scores, focusing on locations with the greatest moves year on year as well as the top and bottom scores at the State, City, and County levels for the month of February.

DIVER Geo Scores are designed to quickly communicate the overall economic health of a selected geographic area on a scale of 0 to 10. The Geo Score reflects the relative economic well-being of the location and is available for all States, counties, and approximately 350 of the largest cities. Calculations are released monthly and are based on multiple, meaningful economic and demographic data from the employment, income and housing categories.

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Topics: Geo Scores: The Changing Economic Health of US Mun, Commentary

Where To Go From Here? Municipalities in an Unfamiliar Housing Market

Posted by Sue Childs on Jan 2, 2018 4:55:00 PM

 This week we are going to dive deeper into a discussion of housing price trends and what a shift could mean for local governments’ finances. I wanted to start with and expand upon a comment that Gregg Bienstock made in his commentary on our November Geo Score update:

 “Among counties with the greatest decline in their Geo Score over the past year, many saw relatively decent unemployment results, but Big Horn, MT saw a significant jump in its unemployment rate. All but Warren, NJ, Big Horn, MT and Burlington, NJ also saw a decline in their labor force participation. Housing was a mixed bag, with all but Big Horn, MT seeing a rise in the foreclosure rate while all but Tazewell, IL saw rising housing prices (yes, I am still concerned about the seemingly endless rise in housing prices).”  (Emphasis mine.)

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Topics: Financial and Demographic Trends Affecting the Mun, Commentary