Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:10 pm
New property tax rates have been set in Springfield, Massachusetts. For the first time in many years, the rates for both homeowners and business property owners have been reduced, as property values continue to recover from the Great Recession
Rhode Island's governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first commerce secretary.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:05 pm
A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.
The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:50 pm
The Great Recession has widened the wealth gap among white, black and Hispanic Americans, with median net worth in white households increasing to 13 times that for African-Americans, a new Pew Research Center study shows.
The study also shows that from 2007 to 2013, the wealth of white households has grown to 10 times that of Hispanic households.
The effort to turn Hartford's historic Colt gun factory into a national park is continuing.
A century and a half ago, the Colt complex was where Sam and Elizabeth Colt made the revolver. Now, it's a fundamental part of the country's industrial history, and supporters want to turn it and some of the surrounding neighborhood into a national park.
Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 1:57 pm
Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring.
So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads.
Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 4:23 pm
As 2014 winds down, you might want to save that calendar hanging next to the fridge.
Maybe even frame it.
After so many years of misery for the middle class, 2014 is now looking like the one that finally brought relief. The November jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department, had blowout numbers showing a surge in job creation, an upturn in work hours and a meaningful boost in wages.
Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 2:33 pm
Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the United States was down about 7 percent from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak, but more purchases on Thanksgiving Day nearly made up the difference. Meanwhile, online retailers recorded double-digit year-on-year increases in sales.
ShopperTrak says Friday store sales hit $9.1 billion, but that shoppers spent $3.2 billion on Thanksgiving — a 24 percent increase for sales on that day from over last year. Overall, it represented a 0.5 percent drop from last year.
Women’s position in the workplace in Connecticut has improved significantly over the last 15 years, according to a new report. But the study, commissioned by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, says too many disparities still remain, particularly for women of color.
Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:41 pm
Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.
"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.
The two major candidates for Connecticut governor have clashed repeatedly in their debates over economic policy and jobs. But how far apart are they really in how they would tackle the pocketbook issues? Maybe not so far.
Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:47 pm
With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.
Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.
Sometimes called trams, sometimes called trolleys, the streetcar was once a primary method of transportation in many American cities. Nowadays, well, not so much. But as many metropolitan districts grapple with issues like traffic congestion and economic development, some have begun looking to streetcars as a potential solution.
Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 1:15 pm
Saying that he "clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences to Jean Tirole, who teaches at the Toulouse School of Economics. He studies oligopolies, markets that are controlled by a handful of powerful (and interdependent) companies.
"I was very surprised, I was incredibly surprised," Tirole said shortly after he received the phone call informing him of the win. "The honor... it took me half an hour to recoup from the call. I still haven't recouped yet."
It’s been years since the housing market crashed. But in that time, increased job insecurity and the rising cost of living have left many questioning whether the American dream of homeownership is still a practical one, especially for the nation’s low- and middle-wage earners.
Our beloved New England is filled with scenic coastlines, lobster pots and clam shacks, Green Mountains, White Mountains, and a long river valley filled with Yankees who take their long winters as a point of pride. We have history and culture all right here.
Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 1:36 pm
The U.S. may have added jobs to its payroll last month, but the losses are still huge in Atlantic City, N.J., where four casinos have closed this year. A fifth teeters, and more than 7,000 people — dealers, greeters, cooks and maids — have been laid off.
The job losses could mean a future of boarded windows and abandoned buildings.
In the 1970s, Atlantic City had lost the glitter of its golden years — the 1940s and '50s, when it was a favored summer spot with a broad beach, the Boardwalk, pastel resort hotels and the home of the Miss America Pageant.
Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 11:28 am
If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.
A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.
But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?
Public opinion polling has a pretty extensive history here in the United States. Since the 19th century, interest groups, researchers, think tanks, media outlets have all used polls to measure the favorability of a wide range of political, social, and economic issues.
Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 7:17 am
Rochester, N.Y., was once the imaging capital of the world, home to Kodak, Xerox and the eye care company, Bausch + Lomb.
Led by these companies, the manufacturing sector once employed 60 percent of Rochester's workforce. Now, that's less than 10 percent. And so, like many cities in this country, Rochester is trying to build something new from its manufacturing heritage.
If you want to understand the story of Rochester, says historian Carolyn Vacca, you need to come to High Falls, where from a bridge visitors see a waterfall and a panoramic view of downtown.
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:23 pm
The Federal Reserve's policymakers just eyeballed the economy and saw nothing new.
On Wednesday, they announced that wage and price hikes remain low, and that growth continues at a moderate pace. That means interest rates can stay superlow for a "considerable time," while the Fed's bond-buying program can wrap up next month, as expected.