July 7, 2016
By Vincent Fraley As the Class of 2016 transforms into the latest crop of young professionals joining the workforce, forgive them any bewilderment. Economists make much of today's shifting business headwinds, so millennials are understandably unsure of what type of economy they are entering. There's Airbnb and the "share" economy; Uber and the "gig" economy; China and the "command" economy. The gurus of Silicon Valley and their hoodie mantras have upended traditional models of management, opening up communal workspaces as quickly as they tear down hierarchies.
June 13, 2016 |
Building contractor Angelo Perryman's summer project gives new meaning to the term "fast-track construction. " That's because his company, Perryman Building and Construction Services Inc., has less than six weeks to turn the entire Wells Fargo Center and its parking lots into what amounts to a pop-up city for 50,000, including the 6,000 delegates and 15,000 journalists, at the Democratic National Convention starting July 25. As part of the...
June 6, 2016 |
Clarification: An earlier version of this story included an incomplete total for Citizens Bank loans. The nation's surviving banks have gotten good at squeezing higher profits from the slow-growing U.S. economy. That doesn't mean they like it. The Goldilocks economy - not cold, but not too hot - has made Americans restless, fueling aggressive political talk that adds more heat than light to the national discussion, says Bruce Van Saun , chief executive of $140 billion- in-assets Citizens Financial Group . Citizens is the nation's 12th-largest bank and the newest to become a public company, since its 2014-15 spin-off by Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland . "I'd like to see the presidential candidates focus on what they are going to do to increase the growth rate," Van Saun tells me between staff and client meetings at Center City's Loews Hotel, a former headquarters of the defunct Philadelphia Savings Fund Society , one of Providence, R.I.-based Citizens' predecessors.
May 23, 2016 |
Higher inflation "has been set in motion," James Marple , senior economist for TD Bank Group , tells clients in a new report. Oil prices bounced back up 70 percent from May to February; he expects they'll rise modestly into next year, boosting price levels generally. Higher prices aren't all bad: "Wage pressures have been building," too, Marple adds, with median pay for people with jobs up 3 percent over the past year, faster than economic growth. Berwyn-based food analyst Jonathan Feeney tells his clients at Athlos Research to brace for rising prices on foreign grain, meats, and sweeteners.
May 1, 2016 |
I'm looking at economist Kevin Gillen's recent take on New Jersey's economy and housing outlook, and the first thing that comes to mind is the New Jersey Turnpike. Are you as blown away as I am about how easy it is now to navigate the turnpike from Exit 8 to Exit 4, and vice versa, since they finished the reconstruction? It's just mind-boggling, not having to wait 45 minutes while a zillion cars, trucks, and buses from six lanes try to merge into three, or ease from three lanes into six. I just wish the outlook for the economy and housing that Gillen recently presented to the Atlantic Builders' Conference was as positive.
April 25, 2016 |
JONES TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Gus Trejo, a career oil-and-gas driller from South Texas, moved his family to Pennsylvania in 2010, betting that the emerging Marcellus Shale gas industry would provide long-term security. "Retirement is what I was thinking," he said. Trejo supervised three drill rigs in this remote corner of Elk County for Seneca Resources Corp. until the industry crashed last year. He now manages one site, Seneca's sole remaining rig in the entire state. He's glad just to still be employed.
April 11, 2016 |
First in an occasional series. The products aren't especially noteworthy: ice cream and cheesecake, steak and actuators. But where they're sold is: China and South Korea, Russia, India, and the Middle East. Those are some of the faraway destinations that Bassetts Ice Cream, Classic Cake, Harold Beck & Sons Inc., and Rastelli Foods Group have turned to for customers. In doing so, these businesses are contributing to the Philadelphia region's $32 billion in annual exports, making it the 10th-largest U.S. export economy.
March 7, 2016
Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone, and the likely presidential candidates for each party look even more likely. No matter who wins the nominations, we need to start thinking about how to evaluate the candidates' economic strategies. Right now, those policies consist of not being a lightweight and not being a socialist. But eventually, policy will be discussed, and judging the validity of the ideas is not as easy as our political "leaders" imply. What seems logical may be nothing more than faulty thinking.
March 7, 2016
Has America's job market broken? Are we becoming a nation of part-timers? Of underemployed young people and can't-afford-to-be-retirees stitching together low-wage workweeks? That's one view of a "gig economy," in which - except for company owners - all our cars are taxis, our homes are hotels, and none of our weekly hours qualifies for company benefits. So we have to buy high-deductible health plans on the not-so-free market? "Gig work reflects the more flexible or fragmented work arrangements of many in today's labor market," namely Uber and Lyft drivers, TaskRabbit "freelance laborers," Upwork free-lancers, and Etsy salespeople, writes John Silvia, the Pennsylvania native who serves as chief economist at Wells Fargo & Co., in a recent report on the "gig" economy.
February 28, 2016
It is shocking, at least to me, that businessman Donald Trump appears on track to be the Republican nominee for president. Sen. Bernie Sanders' success in the Democratic race is equally surprising. Both candidates seemed on the far fringes of the presidential race just a few months ago. What's going on? "It's the economy, stupid. " There's no dispute that our economy has made big strides since the Great Recession. Businesses have added jobs for a record six consecutive years, and unemployment has fallen below 5 percent, which is roughly consistent with a full-employment economy.