NDN Blog

Next Economy Notes April 6

The big news of the day: The domestic economy added 120,000 jobs in March. Although the new jobs number significantly underperformed most projections, the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 8.2%.

The uptick in gasoline prices is one of the major anchors on household finances. Regardless of what you year from a politician on the matter, a variety of global factors are driving gas prices higher.

Looking for a new gig in the next economy? Not surprisingly, most analysts say you should try to get on board with a tech startup - after all, Innovation Infrastructure is one of the pillars of the Next Economy.  Here's a list of some of the hottest startups.  I can personally vouch for Warby Parker as I am wearing their glasses as I type this.

From the home region of your Next Economy Director, the Appalachian Prosperity Project recently published a plan to develop Southwestern Virginia's entrepreneurial ecosystem

That's it from here today.
If you're in DC, you should swing by our offices for a lunch panel on consumers and energy.

Enjoy your weekend.

Next Economy Notes April 5

Some quick items of interest regarding the Next Economy:

-A new Gallup poll indicates hiring conditions are at their best levels since the late summer of 2008.

-The Starbucks job creation campaign now has the backing of Banana Republic and Google Offers.

-Congratulations to Delaware Governor Jack Markell for spearheading a fantastic new initiative that helps small businesses gain access to private capital.

-Jared Bernstein corrects the record on clean energy jobs.

-Accelerating Energy Leadership takes energy politics in a new direction.


A Pacific Plan for Jobs

Yesterday brought exciting news from the west coast.

The states of Washington, Oregon, and California - plus the Canadian province of British Columbia - announced an ambitious plan for regional job creation.

Under the umbrella of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, the states hope to accelerate the emerging global clean economy.

Immediate actions include expansion of building retrofits and electric vehicle infrastructure.

Additional actions will fall into the market opportunity areas of Clean Energy Supply, Energy Efficiency, Clean Transportation, Environmental Protection and Resource Management, and Knowledge and Support.

The American West has long been a leader in the clean economy, so it serves as no surprise that their regional leaders understand and embrace the economic impact of developing clean tech markets.

NDN applauds this innovative leadership.

Hopefully, this will serve as a model for other regions in the US.

Economists: Recovery Beating Our Predictions

According to a survey of economists conducted by the Associated Press, our economic recovery is ahead of schedule.

The U.S. economy has been improving steadily for months. Industrial output jumped in January after surging in December by the most in five years. Auto sales are booming. Consumer confidence has reached its highest point in a year. Even the housing market is showing signs of turning around.

Economists predict an unemployment rate of 8.0% by November. Although that number is still high by historical standards, it is significantly lower than earlier predictions of 8.4%. 

Overall, the trends noted in the survey above corroborate other measures of economic recovery. 

Two Promising Economic Signals

Two quick notes on the economy:

1) Wall Street just had its best February in 14 years.

2) The number of people seeking unemployment benefits is at the lowest point in four years.

We're experiencing more than just flickers of economic hope - private sector employment has grown for 23 straight months and the overall economy has grown for ten straight quarters.

Although no one would say our economy has recovered, major indicators are trending in the right direction.

In Appreciation: John Fernandez

A kindred spirit in creating the Next Economy is moving to a different chapter of his career.

NDN thanks U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Economic Development John R. Fernandez for his years of service in the name of job creation.

Assistant Secretary Fernandez is a friend of NDN and a pioneer in developing the bottom-up economy. His commitment to job creation and innovation have played a critical role in rebuilding our economy. Assistant Secretary Fernandez has been - and will be - an ally of NDN regarding local and regional economic development – a concept that we believe is of tremendous importance to creating the Next Economy.

We wish him luck moving forward and we hope to continue working with the Obama Administration to create the Next Economy.

Economic Confidence Best in a Year

According to the latest economic tracking poll from Gallup, U.S. economic confidence is trending upward - and is at the highest point in the last year.


Americans have grown steadily more positive about current economic conditions since last August, when the budget battles, stock market declines, and fears of a double-dip recession sent economic confidence to a low for the year.

The pronounced increase in economic confidence so far in 2012 is largely driven by a sharp increase in consumers' feelings about the U.S. economy's future direction. The percentage of Americans saying the economy is "getting better" increased to 42% last week, while the percentage saying it is "getting worse" fell to 54%. Both of these measures are at their best levels since the 43% "getting better" and 52% "getting worse" of the week ending Feb. 13, 2011. In a separate question, consumers' "poor" ratings of the economy, now at 41%, are at their lowest level in a year.

Although the 'getting better/getting worse' numbers aren't perfect, these numbers are inching into positive territory and corroborate the developing narrative that our economic recovery is finally starting to take hold.


Microfinance for Microbrews

This post combines two of my favorite things: job creation and beer. Even though there are signs of life for the economy overall, we still have a long way to go regarding job creation.
Frustrated by inaction, some very prominent American brands have undertaken new and interesting campaigns to create jobs.
You've probably heard of the job creation effort undertaken by Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network. But the Starbucks effort isn't alone.
Samuel Adams, the venerable Boston-based brewery, started their own small business microfinance effort in 2011.
Called Brewing the American Dream, the program provides low-interest loans of up to $25,000 to food and beverage based small business owners.
In an environment where banks have tightened lending significantly, $25,000 can be the difference between expanding a business and going out of business.
To date, the program has created 728 jobs. Cheers to finding new solutions to create jobs!

Supporting President Obama's Vision for the Next Economy

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers.

NDN applauds the economic vision presented in President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

We are especially pleased in light of the ground breaking economic research we are undertaking with our Next Economy Partnership Project. 

Based on our research, we believe President Obama’s perspective represents what the public wants - optimizing entrepreneurship to create jobs.

One of the most critical elements of the President's proposal is investing in America's most important resource: our workforce.

To maximize the Next Economy, we need to invest in education and workforce training so there are smart, trained workers to fill the new 21st century jobs.

Building the next economy - an economy built on the jobs of the future, like advanced manufacturing and clean energy - is tremendously important for the future of the middle class.


Quick Hits: NY Governor calls for 'Energy Highway'

As noted here, in his 2012 State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his plan to rebuild New York's economy through public-private partnerships.

Highlights include:


An "Energy Highway" System to Power New York's Economic Growth: a private sector- funded $2 billion "Energy Highway" system will bring renewable energy from  Upstate and Western regions to Downstate NY where energy demand is highest. The plan also calls for the repowering of old and dirty plants to stop pollution in urban neighborhoods. 

Invest in Solar While Protecting Ratepayers: the new NY-Sun Initiative is meant to expand solar production in the state while keeping costs down. 

NY-Sun will help increase competitive procurement of large, commercial-sized solar projects and expand rebate programs for residential and commercial small-to-medium systems. The program is designed to quadruple annual solar installations by 2013. 

Expedite On-Bill Financing for Consumer Energy Efficiency Upgrades: this statewide program that allows homeowners to pay for energy efficient upgrades as part of their monthly utility bill, begins this month. 

Master Plan for Energy Efficiency in State Facilities: To promote energy efficiency, save taxpayer money, create jobs, and reduce pollution, NY has developed a master plan for accelerating energy retrofits in state facilities. 


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