Local (Alabama) Economy

Some Common Cents for June 23rd, 2017

June 26, 2017, by John Norris

This is sort of part one in an intermittent series. Recently, I received an email with a link to a study about the need for a consolidated form of government in the Birmingham metro area (MSA). For those of you not familiar with Birmingham, most of the suburbs have incorporated themselves. All of them have their own fire and police departments, and the larger, wealthier ones have their own school systems. Some of these cities/suburbs,...

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Norris: Federal Reserve is walking a tightrope

June 20, 2017, by John Norris

Last week, the Federal Reserve raised the overnight lending target rate between member banks by 0.25 percent, and said it wants to remove some of the stimulus it provided with its quantitative easing programs. Put another way, it wants to take some of the excess cash out of the banking system over time. To do this, it will sell some of its bond holdings, or simply not reinvest them as they mature. The cash it...

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Some Common Cents for June 2nd, 2017

June 5, 2017, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released The Employment Situation report for the month of May 2017. I will cut to the quick, and tell you it might be one of the more boring releases of its type I have ever read. So much so, I felt sorry for the folks who had to compile the data by the time I finished reading the thing. In a lot of ways, I found it...

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Some Common Cents for May 26th, 2017

May 26, 2017, by John Norris

This week, a reporter friend of mine asked my thoughts on the prospects of traditional banks and credit unions getting into, what can only be called, the payday lending space IF the Administration’s regulatory reform proposals get through the Congress. It seems some banks have made overtures about doing just that, but this is very anecdotal and far from the norm. Frankly, I am kind of professionally ambivalent on the matter, but I still gave...

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Some Common Cents for May 19th, 2017

May 19, 2017, by John Norris

This week, I had a brief discussion with a very bright individual regarding future economic growth and potential investment opportunities in the United States. His comments were in complete alignment with my thoughts: moving forward, there will be two types of companies which will matter: 1) disrupters, which are companies providing technologies, products, and/or services which fundamentally change our lives and how we conduct business, and; 2) base, which are those providing the essentials of...

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Some Common Cents for May 5, 2017

May 15, 2017, by John Norris

Years ago,  I tied myself in knots over little league baseball. Gosh, it seemed so important at the time, and my son was a pretty decent player. However, I resisted the siren song of hiring batting and fielding coaches for my son, despite much advice such things were absolutely necessary for his success. Perhaps he would still be playing the game had I done so. Only The Shadow knows, but I doubt it. My contention...

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Norris: Washington should focus on economic growth

May 1, 2017, by John Norris

A lot of folks have asked my opinion on the Administration’s tax reform proposals. I think I have surprised them with my less than sophisticated response: anything is better than doing nothing. As the old saying goes, if you are standing still, you are falling behind. In helping run a trust and wealth management department, our Byzantine tax code benefits me professionally. I couldn’t argue otherwise and keep a straight face. Folks will go to...

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Some Common Cents for April 14th, 2017

April 19, 2017, by John Norris

A couple of weeks ago, we raised a little cash in the vast majority of our client accounts. In the grand scheme of things, it was relatively minor across the board. While we would ordinarily send out an email detailing our actions, we didn’t this time as we didn’t want anyone to misprocess our actions as “the sky is falling.” Thus far, the trade has been mostly a wash in terms of overall portfolio performance....

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Column: Norris: Alabama’s economy is underperforming

April 4, 2017, by John Norris

According the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the Gross State Product for Alabama in 2015 was $178.566 billion, in constant 2009 dollars. That is a fancy way of saying when adjusted for inflation using 2009 as the base year. Using that same technique, it estimates our GSP was $171.723 billion in 2005. The good news is we have increased our economic output over the last decade. The bad news is we haven’t increased it by very...

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Column: Is Alabama letting money go?

September 1, 2016, by John Norris

About a decade ago, I made an evening presentation to a surprisingly large crowd in Guin, Alabama, about the potential economic impact Interstate 22 would have on Marion County. It was one the easiest talks I have ever done. After all, having access to the interstate system is better than not having it when it comes to attracting business. As I was leaving, a county commissioner grabbed me by the arm, and led me to a...

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