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Andrew C. Brod

Dr. Andrew Brod is the Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNCG's Bryan School of Business and Economics. He has served in that position since 1999, when CBER was first established. Dr. Brod was a faculty member in the Economics Department at UNCG from 1989 to 1999. Dr. Brod holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota and did his undergraduate work at the University of Illinois. His academic research has included work on industrial and environmental economics. His current research interests include regional economic development and the home furnishings industry. In addition, Dr. Brod writes a monthly column on economic policy in the Business Journal of the Triad and a quarterly column on furniture-industry economics in Home Furnishings Retailer. He was a regular columnist for the Greensboro News & Record from 1998 until 2008 and has served on a series of committees for the City of Greensboro, most notably the Living Wage Study Committee, which he chaired.

There are 154 included publications by Andrew C. Brod :

TitleDateViewsBrief Description
2006: Our Economy in Transition 2006 197 Another year has come to an end. Let’s get right to a list of the biggest economic stories of 2006.
After Dell, Triad Needs to Shake it Off and Move On 2009 275 When Dell Computer Corp. abruptly closed its facility in southeastern Forsyth County earlier this month, there were those around here who claimed to have seen it coming. But I’ll admit it — I was surprised.
Anger Over Time Warner Pricing Raises Questions 2009 234 Time Warner Cable has backed down, at least for now, from its attempt to introduce tiered pricing for Internet service in Greensboro. The company announced earlier this month that it would test the new pricing model here and in three other cities aro...
Another Chapter in the Dumping Saga 2007 259 As Sonny and Cher would say, the beat goes on in the war against Chinese imports of wood bedroom furniture.
Are Gasoline Prices a Factor in Home Furnishings Sales? 2007 224 Six months ago it was hard to imagine energy prices ever falling again. In July, after months of steady increases, the price of a barrel of oil hit a record $78. But by November, oil and gasoline prices had fallen by more than 20 percent. The decline...
Are Jobs Really Disappearing? 2008 203 Mark Twain once said: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” One of the things we all know for sure at what is probably the start of the Recession of 2008 is that the economy is losi...
Are Rising Interest Rates Bad? 2006 208 Sellers of durable goods from automobiles to home furnishings have been nervously watching the Federal Reserve for some time now. Since the middle of 2004, the central bank has raised the federal funds rate 16 times, from 1 percent up to the 5 percen...
The Aughts: Were They for Naught? 2009 243 It’s that time of year again, when columnists write their year-end reviews. But this is also the end of the decade, at least as it’s usually (and yes, incorrectly) reckoned. Here is a small sample of the most interesting economics stories in North Ca...
Ballpark Figures 1998 315 On May 5, voters in Forsyth and Guilford counties will decide whether they want to foot two-thirds of the bill for a new baseball stadium. I haven’t yet decided how I’ll vote, but I’m leaning towards “no” for one reason: Supporters of the stadium are...
‘Beach Plan’ Insurance Not Worth A Grain of Sand 2009 309 If you‘re like me, you learned only recently that North Carolina has a "Beach Plan." At first I thought it was a strategy for taking summer vacations, but it‘s actually a state-run insurance program for properties along the coast. And like so much el...
Beware of Experts on Utilities Commission 1997 223 A recent article, “Utilities panel faulted for political makeup” (A1, Sept. 27), described the growing discontent in the Triad business community over what is seen as the overly political nature of the N. C. Utilities Commission.
The Big Borrower: The United States Depends Too Heavily on Other Nations for Money and Brains 2005 492 Over the last couple of decades, much has been made of the “twin deficits” faced by the American economy. Usually the deficits people have in mind are the trade deficit and the government’s budget deficit. The pair grew dramatically during the 1980s,...
The Bush Tax Cuts 2006 285 Tax season is behind us for another year, so we now have a little time to reflect on tax policy. President Bush’s tax policy has been simple: cut taxes. In fact, his economic agenda has been little else than a series of tax cuts, so it’s not surprisi...
Bush’s Brilliant Strategy on Steel Tariffs: He Wins by Losing 2003 279 When the Bush administration imposed a tariff on imported steel in March 2002, I was astounded. The move was so brash, so baldly protectionist. I thought it was short-sighted, but I’ve changed my mind. I now think that it was brilliant. And if I’m ri...
Cap and Trade: The New Boogeyman In America 2009 248 We’ve seen the raucous town-hall meetings on health-care reform. But there’s another policy debate where strong language is the norm: cap and trade. Rush Limbaugh says it’s based on hoaxes. Sean Hannity calls it a “job killer.” Others call it sociali...
Capturing a Factory’s Final Days 1998 261 It has been said that when your neighbor loses her job, it’s a recession; when you lose your job, it’s a depression.
Caught in a Jam 2003 238 Is traffic congestion a problem or a solution? Think about it the next time you’re stuck in traffic, or waiting for a long red light to turn green. All those people, all those cars and SUVs, and they’re in your way! Is the sea of vehicles that impede...
The ‘China Price’ is Rising 2008 471 In recent years the phrase “China Price” has generated fear and loathing among American manufacturers, who are often pressured by distributors and retailers to match the low prices of Chinese imports. Most consumers haven?t heard of the China Price, ...
Can It be True? Growth of N.C. Manufacturing 2008 216 When government officials and economic developers devise transportation plans, one of the most important factors they take into account is manufacturing. But wait, isn’t N.C. manufacturing either going away or already gone? The answer is no, if you l...
Contemplating the Costs of Marijuana Prohibition 2005 684 A recent column in the online magazine Slate noted that economics is “not so much a subject matter as a tool kit.” The tools of economics are most often used to analyze markets and employment and production, but they can be applied to other areas as ...
The Costs and Benefits of a Living-Wage Ordinance in Greensboro 2000 253 There’s a proposal making its way to the Greensboro City Council about which you probably haven’t heard much. But you’ll soon hear more, because the proposal is a bit controversial. The proposal’s supporters hail it as an important step towards wage ...
The Death Penalty's High Costs and Dubious Benefits 2001 345 Every few years, the issue of capital punishment rises to the forefront of America’s consciousness. It’s back again.
Delayed Recession Might Make ’09 Interesting for N.C. 2009 478 It’s official. Earlier this month the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the non-government think tank that is the authoritative voice on the U.S. business cycle, announced that the economy had been in recession for a year.
Dell and the Incentives Game 2005 255 At long last, the Dell deal is a done deal. As nearly everyone now knows, Dell will locate its new manufacturing facility in southeastern Forsyth County, on land that Winston-Salem plans to annex. The site’s proximity to Highway 311 appears to make i...
A Different Perspective on the Economics of Y2K Fear 1999 237 When you saw the headline, you probably thought this column would be about the cost to the U.S. economy of fixing the Y2K computer problem. Or about the economic impact of the businesses eager to help protect us against computer failures and rampagin...
The Disappearing Dollar 2005 238 The dollar is getting weaker. When compared to other currencies such as the euro and the British pound, it’s lost about a quarter of its value over the last two years. In spite of a few minor surges this month, analysts expect the dollar to continue ...
Disaster in Slow Motion? 2008 232 Watching the U.S. housing market’s slide over the last couple of years has been like watching a large ship sink into the ocean. It’s been slow and excruciating, and it’s hard to know how to stop it. But at least an isolated ship sinking out at sea af...
Drivers Love their SUVs, but We’re Paying a High Price 2003 356 I noticed something about myself as I drove to Charlotte recently on I-85. When I was in the left lane and a car wanted to pull in front of me to join the parade of left-lane vehicles, I tended to let it in. But when a sport-utility vehicle, or SUV, ...
A Drop in the Bucket: Oil from Arctic Refuge Won’t Yield Much Relief 2005 229 What a difference a year makes! Last April I wrote a column that explained why gasoline prices had been rising for months. The reason was tight refining capacity in the U.S., combined with the complicated array of gasoline blends that refiners are re...
Economic Evolution and American Manufacturing 2003 267 About 1000 years ago, England was ruled by a king named Canute. By legend, Canute was a wise man who knew his limitations. When his flattering courtiers claimed that his power was so great that even the ocean would obey his command, he ordered that h...
The Economic Lessons of 2005 2006 222 The first of the year is an appropriate time to review and preview. After all, January was named for the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings, who was often represented with two faces, one looking backwards in time and the other looking ahead. So, ...
Economic Lessons of Black Tuesday 2001 331 The events of September 11 stunned and saddened the world. They also shook the American economy to its core. The initial economic effects of September 11 have been dramatic. The stock market fell sharply in the first week of trading after the attacks...
Economic Statistics Can’t Summarize All that Matters to Us 2001 246 The use of economic statistics is one of modern society’s great innovations. Few would claim that economic policy is always or even mostly objective, but its caprices and intrigues are barely noticeable in comparison to centuries past.
Economic Transition: Levying Taxes in the New Economy 2004 228 Better economic times are around the corner, but that can’t mask the historic and difficult transformation our economy is undergoing. Many have blamed our economic sluggishness on the 2001 recession, but that explanation goes only so far, and it has ...
The Economics of Immigration 2006 316 America has a conflicted attitude toward immigration. Of course we’re a nation of immigrants. Yet once one wave of immigrants is established here, it’s often suspicious of the next.
An Economist’s Perspective on “A Beautiful Mind” 2002 461 The Academy Award nominations are out, and they sure are predictable. As always, a movie about an economist picked up a number of important nominations. It happens every year!
The Economy: What Now? 2009 200 The roller coaster that is the recession of 2008-09 keeps careening along. April marks the recession’s 17th month, which makes it the longest one since the Great Depression. I don’t suppose anyone will be popping corks to celebrate this milestone.
Elections and the Cost of Accuracy 2000 212 Nearly two months ago I wrote in this space, “nobody really knows who our next president will be.” I was referring to the uncertainty generated by conflicting opinion polls right before the November 7 election. But to everyone’s surprise, that statem...
Eliminating Rental Tax Break Won’t Harm the Furniture Market 2000 268 Recently the Clinton administration proposed eliminating a tax break that benefits some homeowners in the Triad. Currently, income from renting one’s home out for 15 days or less in a given year is not subject to federal income tax. Under the proposa...
The End of the Dumping Saga... Or Is It? 2005 209 The Great Furniture Dumping Case of 2003-04 is over. In November the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its final anti-dumping duties on wood bedroom furniture imported from China. Last month the U.S. International Trade Commission made its final ...
Enjoy Low Gas Prices, Because It Won’t Last 2008 227 I have a question: Is this the same economy we had a few months ago? Back then the watchword was uncertainty, as it was unclear whether the financial crisis would spill over into the broader economy. Then financial-services companies started failing,...
The Ethanol Effect 2007 201 It seems that everywhere you turn these days, ethanol is being touted as the best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. Senate recently passed a bill calling for a huge increase in domestic ethanol production over the next 15 years. A...
The Ethics of Payday Lending 2002 344 I recently spoke to a church group about business ethics, and I discussed Leviticus 19:14, which tells us: “You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind.” Following tradition, I interpreted the word “blind” to represent an...
Even Simple Policies Can Be Screwed Up 2008 208 The subprime lending crisis that is still roiling financial markets was caused in part by excessive complexity. The securitization of mortgage loans was so complicated that it flummoxed regulators and rating agencies. But bad policy can happen even ...
Fantasy Should Not Be Mistaken For Reality 2010 334 I've always enjoyed fantasy literature that conveys a sharp political or social message. Among the classics of this subgenre are Thomas More's "Utopia," Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," and George Orwell's "1984."
FedEx is a Boost, Not an Economic Miracle 1999 288 No political debate is complete without a large dose of what we might call “dueling hyperbole.” This is especially true when the debate has to do with local economic development. Any project requiring public money or resources has supporters who port...
Free Trade: Problem or Solution? 2002 236 The debate over international trade is heating up again. The Raleigh News & Observer ran a series of articles this week about free trade and its effects on North Carolina, and its overall appraisal of those effects was clearly negative. For example,...
Furniture City in the Driver’s Seat 2007 393 What keeps an industry together in a particular region? What serves as the glue that prevents companies from drifting away to other areas? Historically, the answer was access to natural resources, proximity to markets, or the presence of cheap labor....
Furniture Dumping FAQ 2004 405 Last fall a group called the American Furniture Manufacturers Committee For Legal Trade filed an antidumping petition with the U.S. government. The group alleges that wood bedroom furniture made in China is being illegally “dumped” on the U.S. market...
Furniture Economics: The Battle of the Furniture Markets 2005 359 On April 14 the largest furniture exposition in the world will open for the first of its two 2005 engagements. Of course I’m talking about the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, North Carolina. For years the IHFM has been the place ...
Gasoline Prices and a Lesson in Murky Internet Populism 2001 307 The Internet is fast becoming the way America talks to itself. Its low cost and relative anonymity are lubricants that encourage communication, but not necessarily high-quality communication. The result is the stream of jokes, spam, urban myths, and ...
The Geography of Logistics 2008 622 At the end of the 19th century, the Triad's strategic location as a railroad hub helped trigger the growth of the region's textile industry. Today, as we experience another major economic transformation, our region's roads, rails and runways have onc...
Get Used to It: There’s No Going Back to Cheap Gasoline 2005 231 Whoa! I’ve never before channeled Keanu Reeves when writing about economics, but the Reevester’s signature line is the natural reaction to what’s been going on with gasoline prices. Last week at this time, retail prices were up nearly 50 percent sin...
Global Trade Helps More Than It Hurts 2003 240 Times are tough in the textile and furniture industries. Foreign imports, most notably from China, are dominating segments in both industries. It seems that every time one opens the newspaper, another factory is being closed and its jobs moved overse...
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly About Recessions 2001 234 The Triad continues to receive bad economic news. VF Corporation has announced that it will lay off about 13,000 workers nationally. Burlington Industries has filed for bankruptcy protection. And a steady stream of lay-off announcements has come from...
Grading the Gate City: Greensboro’s Economic-Infrastructure Scorecard 2003 233 I recently submitted my final grades at UNCG, and I'm still in a grading mood. The heat of summer is around the corner, and many of us are wondering when the local economy will heat up. So today I?ll assess the Greensboro economy and generate a score...
Greenbucks in Greensboro? An Odd Idea With Some Merit 2009 208 Buying local has long been a goal of those who pay attention to the environmental impact of their shopping decisions. During the Great Recession, the buy-local concept had been adopted by chambers of commerce hoping to reinvigorate sagging local econ...
Hannah Economics 2007 934 Americans love free enterprise and free markets. Americans hate free enterprise and free markets. No, I didn’t just contradict myself. I think both of these statements are right. Americans have conflicting views about prices and markets. Sometimes th...
Here’s Why Gasoline Prices Continue to Soar 2004 192 Few things get Americans more riled up than rising gasoline prices. I was going to write “high gasoline prices,” but whether gasoline prices are high is a separate question, and one I’ll address at the end of this column. In contrast, it’s undeniable...
Housing is a Drag 2007 243 This has been a year of surprises for those who thought the housing sector had nowhere to go but up. The cautiously optimistic forecasts of a year ago were proven wrong, as each new release of housing data was more depressing than the one before it. ...
The Housing Market: Bust… or Just Blah? 2007 230 Growth in home construction or sales is generally good news, as people buy furniture to fill up their new homes. Unfortunately, most of the news coming from the housing sector these days seems bad. Housing data is downright discouraging and housing e...
The Hurricane Effect 2005 282 Four years ago, soon after September 11, I was one of many columnists who speculated about the economic damage caused by the terrorist attacks. But in economic terms, the attacks had relatively little effect. The financial and trading companies that ...
Hurricane Floyd: Economic Boon or Bust for North Carolina? 1999 218 A few weeks ago, I saw an interesting story in the News & Record. The first sentence read, “A university economist said Tuesday the state’s economy may be helped by flooding in eastern North Carolina because natural disasters stimulate economic growt...
If City Won’t Follow Guidelines, then Why Adopt Them? 2000 220 Imagine that you’ve started a diet because you know you need to lose a little weight for your long-term health. But suppose you frequently break the diet when you’re tempted by tasty and fattening foods.
If Water Conservation is the Goal, Just Triple the Price 2002 223 My car is dirty. The sporadic rains of the last week or so haven’t washed away all of the road grime and bird poop. Under the current water-use restrictions in Greensboro, I can’t wash my car in my driveway, but I can go to a commercial car wash.
Iffy Data: Gray Areas in the Margin of Error 2009 239 When is a vacancy not a vacancy? That was the question raised recently when Forbes magazine released its ranking of the “emptiest cities in America,” the cities (actually the metropolitan areas) with the highest residential vacancy rates.
Impact Fees Hit Close to Home 2006 241 If a new residential development is built on the outskirts of an urban area, should local governments be allowed to levy extra fees in order to cover the cost of providing public services and building new schools? Or do such fees discriminate against...
Important Lessons from eBay about Business Ethics 2002 1702 The issue of business ethics is on a lot of people’s minds these days. Scandals at Enron and Worldcom got it started. Since then there has been a steady drumbeat of reports about corporate accounting irregularities, some of them serious. And there is...
The Incentives Game 2006 214 In the on-going debate over economic-development incentives, two arguments stand out. One argument, generally made by reluctant supporters of incentives, holds that in spite of the unsavory nature of the incentives game, no city or county can afford ...
Incentives Maneuver May Prove to be Savvy 2006 206 The Guilford County commissioners get a lot of ribbing, for hyper-partisan politics and occasionally for odd behavior. But on the issue of economic-development incentives (the targeted grants and tax breaks given to individual companies to locate and...
Invest in Bridges and Roads, not Rebates 2008 209 After much political wrangling, Congress passed an economic stimulus package this month. No one knows for sure whether the increasingly sluggish U.S. economy will dip into recession in 2008 or just grow very slowly, but Congress isn’t waiting to find...
Is Wal-Mart Good for America? Retailer Plays Tough but by the Rules 2004 370 Does anyone really like corporations? In America, the populist streak is never far below the surface, and corporations are always the target of some anger. Of course, the oil companies get more than their fair share, due largely to the peculiar Ameri...
It’s the Economy, Maybe: Economists Predict Presidential Winner 2004 185 Every four years, political-economic forecasters have their moment in the sun. Mostly economists by training, these analysts use statistical models to predict the winner of the presidential election on the basis of economic conditions. They collect e...
It’s Not Too Late—Yet—to Counteract Global Warming 2007 260 After years on the back burner of public policy, global warming is suddenly being taken seriously. The steady drumbeat of news stories about shrinking glaciers, migrating maple trees, and stranded polar bears is finally registering with people. The n...
It’s Time to Deregulate Taxi Service at Piedmont Triad Airport 2001 220 The pricing and selection of airline routes have been deregulated since 1978, resulting in lower airfares and more accessible air travel. To be sure, there have been problems with the way the federal government has implemented airline deregulation, b...
It’s Time to Turn Government Action Toward Inner City 1999 184 For the last few years, a debate has been raging in Greensboro: economic growth vs. our quality of life. A citizen’s group in the conservative northwest of our community puts “quality of life” in its name to oppose the FedEx hub. An anonymous graffit...
Joe Camel is Way More Cool than Attacks on Individual Self-Control 1997 335 I used to live in Minnesota, where a nice piece of legislation called the Clean Indoor Air Act restricts smoking in many buildings. When I first moved there, I assumed the main purpose of the law was to prevent second-hand smoke in indoor environment...
Lessons in Retailing: The Old and the New 2001 288 In 2000 two separate news stories about retailing were linked despite their apparent dissimilarities. The first story was the end of the bull market for so-called e-tailers, the Internet-based companies that sell everything from furniture to pet toys...
Let’s Focus on the Strengths of the Inner City 2002 253 For decades, the problems of America’s beleaguered inner cities have vexed policy makers. As suburban peripheries have developed and thrived, urban cores have been plagued by poverty, crime, drug abuse, and sundry other social ills.
The Logic of Email Stamps 2004 260 In the late 1990s, an email hoax made the rounds, scaring gullible people into believing that Congress was considering a bill that would charge us a nickel for every email sent. If true, the bill would have established a “postage stamp” for email. Bu...
Look Back at 1970s to Understand a Real Energy Crisis 2001 353 As I get older, I usually resist the urge to claim that what I?ve lived through was rougher than what?s going on today. For example, I never had to trudge through miles of waist-high snow drifts just to get to school. The towns where I lived as a kid...
Lure of ‘China Price’ Gets More Expensive 2008 346 In recent years the phrase “China Price” has scared American manufacturers, who are often pressured to match the low prices of Chinese imports. But now the China Price is rising. While the trend of outsourcing to China is unlikely to be reversed, it...
Manufacturing Rebounds But With Fewer Jobs 2006 210 Are things looking up in North Carolina’s manufacturing sector? According to an article in the Financial Times last month, they are. The article cites examples of manufacturing companies that are setting up shot in North Carolina. During 2005, there ...
Measuring “Mood to Market” of Furniture Retailers 2003 274 The spring edition of the International Home Furnishings Market opens on Thursday in High Point. As it does twice every year, the opening marks both a beginning and an end. It ends weeks of speculation in the furniture industry, as well as in cafes a...
Milestones in the Local Economy 2007 213 This is the 100th column I’ve written for the News & Record. Because I’ve done this only part-time, writing first occasionally and then monthly, it’s taken me 12 years to reach this mark. Much has happened in the economy since 1995, from FedEx to Del...
Mythbusting In A Time of High Gasoline Prices 2008 214 Oil prices have been rising steadily for six years, but only recently has the reality sunk in with con- sumers, business owners and politicians. Forking over $4 for a gallon of gasoline will do that. And now the media seem to be able to talk about l...
Myths about Tax Cuts 2003 240 “The trouble with most folks isn’t so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain’t so.” I was reminded of that quotation by 19th-century humorist Josh Billings as I watched President Bush sign his tax-cut-heavy Jobs and Growth Plan into...
N.C. Can Dodge California’s Power Pitfalls 2001 298 A bill was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would set a cap on wholesale electricity prices in western states for the next few years. The bill was introduced by a California Democrat and an Oregon Republican, so it appears to have a decent...
NASCAR’s Lesson to High Point 2007 362 The battle of the furniture markets continues, and so far no clear leader has emerged. The upstart Las Vegas market opens its fifth installment this month, and it continues to build new showrooms. Meanwhile, the High Point market appears to be going ...
Netheads are Looking to Take a Byte out of Telephone Callers 1997 207 It’s an economist’s maxim that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, that somehow nice things must be paid for by someone. But the allure of a free lunch is a powerful one. Two recent examples come to mind.
Not Making the Grade in North Carolina 2007 215 When the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River earlier this month, it got a lot of people’s attention. After all, it’s scary to imagine driving across a bridge and have it give way beneath you. It’s nerve-racking to watch d...
Off-Shore Furniture Plants Carve Niche in Domestic Market 2001 281 The home furnishings industry has seen better times. Manufacturing employment in the industry is down, profits are being squeezed, and nobody’s especially excited about the recent regional furniture markets.
Our Wired Inner Cities 2003 208 Two weekends ago the News & Record ran a section entitled “2003: The Agenda,” in which the editors and a collection of community leaders laid out their vision of what should happen in our community this year.
The Outcry over Outsourcing: Economy will Benefit in Long Run 2004 261 From time to time, a new catch-phrase dominates the public debate on economics, and usually it describes something that scares us. At one point during the 1990s, it seemed that all we heard about was “down-sizing.” The story was that companies were g...
Outlook for North Carolina’s Furniture Industry is Mixed 2000 267 The News & Record recently reported that the U.S. Census Bureau’s just-released Annual Survey of Manufactures had some sobering news for the textile industry in North Carolina (“North Carolina Leads Nation in Losing Textile and Apparel Jobs,” Nov. 20...
Payday Loans Provide Credit to People with Few Options 2006 856 Payday loans are, for all practical purposes, no longer available in North Carolina. Earlier this month the last three payday lenders operating in the state (Check Into Cash, Check „n Go, and First American Cash Advance), agreed to stop offering the ...
Pitch the Penny 2006 308 In 1982, the U.S. made a dramatic change in the composition of the one-cent coin, informally known as the penny. Pennies had always been primarily copper, except for 1943 when they were made of steel due to copper’s strategic importance during the wa...
President Skirted Economic Issues 2006 194 What’s the big news from the State of the Union speech? It’s not the economy, stupid. The interesting parts of the speech had to do with terrorism, civil liberties, and Iraq. The parts about the president’s economic agenda were pretty lame. And this ...
Presidential Economics: Al Gore in a Landslide? 2000 231 On Tuesday, voters will finally go to the polls and bring an end to months of campaign rhetoric, mud slinging, and ... opinion polls. Political consultants have been conducting so many polls over the last few months that it’s a wonder every person in...
The Price of Safety: Security Plans Could Hurt Economy 2004 221 A few weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 200 1, I wrote a column that listed some of the economic lessons we could learn from the attacks. I talked about shocks to the economy, consumer psychology, and the persistent myth that reconst...
Pricing, Not Policing, Will Limit Water Use in Greensboro 2007 228 Years ago the News & Record ran a brief wire story about “the thirstiest town in Kansas.” The small town of Rolla used over four times more water per person than the state average. The story didn’t explain the cause of Rolla’s “thirst,” but it noted ...
The Progress Paradox 2004 631 Does money bring happiness? Most people agree with the old saying that it does not, and yet you often hear them add, “but it doesn?t hurt either.” Is this really true?
The Realist’s View is that It’s Time to Buy Insurance Against Global Warming 1995 205 Is global warming a reality or not? That question has swirled through the scientific and government communities in recent years, with greenhouse doomsayers competing with greenhouse optimists for the public’s and Congress’s attention. The doomsayers...
The Reality of Tax Incentives 2000 284 One of the most vexing issues in economic policy is that of targeted tax incentives for private companies. Local economic developers tout the importance of incentives in attracting and retaining businesses, but taxpayer groups denounce the payment of...
Rebuilding the Iraqi Economy 2003 238 The war in Iraq is over already, and it was a hugely impressive showcase for just what the U.S. can do on the battlefield. But now comes the hard part: nation-building. George W. Bush ridiculed the concept during the 2000 campaign, and yet by underta...
Recent Troubles for Textiles Are Part of a Long-Term Trend 2002 230 The drumbeat of bad news from the textile and apparel industry is relentless. Last fall, Burlington Industries filed for bankruptcy protection, and both VF Corporation and Guilford Mills announced large lay-offs. Now Guilford Mills is struggling to r...
Recession 101 2009 610 It’s official. Last month the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the non-government think tank that is the authoritative voice on the U.S. business cycle, announced that the economy had been in recession for a year. It’s been a few years si...
Recession: When It’s Over, What’s Left? 2009 281 The thing about recessions is that they always end, and the end of the current recession is at hand. Whether that’ll happen next month or the month after, the worst of the recession appears to be over. So let’s take this opportunity to survey the wre...
The Red-Blue Divide 2004 213 The election of 2004 appeared to cement in our cultural lexicon the terms “red state” and “blue state.” For many people, the closeness of these last two elections has driven home the realization that people don’t elect the president; states do. Each ...
Redevelopment Cost Worth Small Price 1999 195 One of the hallmarks of economics is “efficiency,” the absence of wasted resources. It is a simple concept in theory, and it is often quite simple in practice. When free enterprise and competition serve the public good, the public can to some degree ...
Restoring Furniture: Senate Bill Addresses Loss of Jobs 2007 199 It’s not easy being a politician. Whether you’re a city council member or the president of the United States, when the people who elected you are in trouble, the instinct is to do something. This is especially difficult when the trouble involves the ...
Should Greensboro Set a Minimum Wage? 2007 230 Wages aren’t what they used to be. Wage growth in recent years has been slow, especially in manufacturing. Wage income now commands the lowest share of Gross Domestic Product on record. Clearly something should be done. But should that something be a...
Should North Carolina Refuse Stimulus Funds? 2009 193 The Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in Raleigh, recently released a study on the economic impact of the federal stimulus package on the North Carolina economy. The study’s main result was striking. Whereas the Obama administration expect...
Should We Confront Our Oil Addiction? 2006 199 In his State of the Union address last month, President Bush announced that “America is addicted to oil.” To some this was a remarkable statement given the president’s experience and connections to the oil industry. To others it signaled the start of...
A Sneaky Gasoline Tax? North Carolina’s Tax May be High, but the Formula isn’t Fiendish 2006 227 On January 1 the state of North Carolina raised its gasoline tax by 2.8 cpg (cents per gallon), to 29.9 cpg. The anger generated by the increase seems to be dying down, but there’s still a good deal of resentment.
So Far, High Hotel Prices Not Hampering Furniture Market 2003 348 The latest installment of High Point’s International Home Furnishings Market has ended. And now that our guests have departed, we can talk about something we might not want to discuss in front of them: the high cost of lodging during Market.
Social Insecurities 2005 218 President Bush says that the Social Security system is at risk and that dramatic reforms are needed in order to ensure its long-term health. This is a complicated topic, so let’s get right to it. What follows are a few of the most important things on...
Some Myths on FedEx, Home Values 2000 249 Whenever a new development is opposed by neighboring home owners, one of the opponents’ foremost claims is that the development will reduce residential property values. Sometimes the claims are borne out by the facts, sometimes not.
Some Perspective on Furniture Imports 2008 366 Last month the American Home Furnishings Alliance released new data on domestic production of household furniture. AHFA tracks domestic shipments, using U.S. census data to benchmark its figures. When new census information came out, AHFA recalibrate...
Sometimes a City Has to Have Fun 2000 208 Economics is an increasingly common tool in policy-making. Over the years, the federal government and many state governments have increased their use of cost-benefit analysis. Local governments have come to rely on studies that measure the economic b...
Stem-Cell Advantage 2006 280 One of the biggest challenges in economic development is the reality that magic bullets are rare. As a rule, the best policy lays foundations and invests in infrastructure. And that isn’t very sexy, is it?
Study Shows Failures in Incentives Programs 2009 217 Last month may have marked the beginning of the end of North Carolina’s uncritical embrace of fiscal incentives. The General Assembly has authorized the drafting of legislation that would curtail targeted incentives at the state level in favor of a g...
Survey Shows What Employers Want and City Needs 2002 247 The last few years have been interesting ones for workers in Guilford County. From 1998 through 2000, the annual average unemployment rate in the county was less than 3 percent. Occasionally during those years, the monthly rate fell below 2 percent. ...
The Survival of the Furniture Industry? 2009 633 The Great Recession of 2007- 2009 has almost certainly ended. It may be many months before the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authoritative voice on the beginnings and ends of recessions, makes its announcement. But when it does, my guess ...
Tariff on Steel is Sparking Trade War 2002 283 A good old-fashioned trade war is brewing. Trade wars never really went out of style, but in recent years they’ve been masked by concerns over non-trade issues such as labor standards and the environment. But in the latest round of disputes, the glov...
Tax Incentives Bring on the Prisoner’s Dilemma 1998 253 Tax incentives, the subsidies and tax abatements that are targeted at specific businesses, are big news these days. For many voters, the referendum on baseball in the Triad came down to whether or not public money should subsidize a private business....
Tax Those Gas Guzzlers, Don’t Nag the Rest of Us 1996 312 I was struck by the resigned mood of the N&R’s Oct. 5 editorial (“Will It Take Gas Lines to Remind Us to Conserve?”), which bemoaned the fact that people don’t buy fuel- efficient cars any more. If we really want to encourage conservation, there’s a ...
This Is What the Start of a Recovery Looks Like 2010 256 Bit by bit, the economy is moving along on the road to recovery. It’s a bumpy ride. Often it’s one step back for every two steps forward. But that’s a lot better than a year ago.
Time May be Ripe for N.C. to Increase Tax on Cigarettes 2004 204 It's budget time again in the General Assembly, and one of the proposals under consideration is an increase in the state?s excise tax on cigarettes. Only Virginia and Kentucky have lower taxes than North Carolina?s five cents per pack, and Virginia?s...
Time’s Up for Free Parking 2005 226 Everyone has an opinion about parking. Usually that opinion is that there isn’t enough of it. Rarely do you hear a complaint that there are too many parking spaces. We want parking to be available where and when we want it. If the only spaces at Targ...
Tobacco Road Faces New Dose of Challenges 2009 211 These are not the best of times for the tobacco industry. President Obama just signed legislation that would place tobacco products under the regulatory purview of the Food and Drug Administration. Among tobacco manufacturers, Richmond-based Altria G...
Triad Must Ask, “What Are Our Skills Clusters?” 2008 196 One of the most important terms in economic-development circles is ?cluster.? An industry cluster is a group of industries that are interrelated: they do business with each other, they use the same infrastructure, and they often hire the same types o...
Triad Should No Longer Play the Low-Wage Game 2002 200 Last week, WUNC-TV aired the “Triad CEO Forum,” a live broadcast from UNCG’s campus that featured business leaders from the Triad in a panel discussion about the local economy and its future.
The Urban Loop: Scenic Corridor or Billboard Magnet? 2002 1083 Tomorrow night the Greensboro City Council will vote a second time on whether there will be billboards along the Greensboro Urban Loop, also called Painter Boulevard. The Urban Loop will eventually form a 40-mile ring around the city of Greensboro.
Using Economics as a Moral Compass 2010 223 I recently came across a statement that caught my eye: "An economist is someone who believes as a matter of moral justice that the infant-mortality rate should be positive." Such provocative statements are love poems to economists. We like to see...
The Vegas Threat: High Point’s Furniture Market May Benefit from Competition 2005 383 This Thursday marks the official opening of the Spring 2005 edition of the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point. This is news to no one in High Point, as the downtown has been bustling for some time now as exhibitors put the finishing ...
War in Iraq Unlikely to be Shot in the Arm for Economy 2003 262 The clock is ticking, and war in Iraq seems imminent. Debates have been raging in the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but it appears that it’s only a matter of time before the United States follows through on President Bush...
We’re Middle of the Pack on Educational Attainment 2005 222 When economists talk about a region’s “economic drivers,” they’re often referring to certain strong industries or groups of industries. Such industry clusters arise because companies engaging in similar activities and hiring similar types of people c...
Weak Branding and the Rise of Furniture-Direct Stores 2004 829 In August Broyhill opened its first company-owned retail store in Blowing Rock, N.C. The store is the third Broyhill Home Collections outlet, following two independently owned stores in Arizona. The company expects to have 10 dedicated stores in plac...
What is the True State of U.S. Furniture Manufacturing? 2006 341 American furniture manufacturing has taken it on the chin over the last decade. Manufacturing jobs have disappeared as more and more production has moved overseas. Manufacturers that used to have simple organizations now must manage complex global su...
What Toll Roads Can and Cannot Do for North Carolina 2001 199 The North Carolina state House recently gave preliminary approval to legislation that would establish a new government agency to operate a network of toll roads. The stated objective of the proposed North Carolina Turnpike Authority would be to allev...
What a Year!: Economy Took Americans for a Rough Ride in 2008 2008 234 When it comes to the economy, what can one say about a year like 2008? I say we wish it well but be glad it’s over. Of course the biggest economic story of 2008 was the financial crisis and recession.
What a Year!: North Carolina Also Got That Sinking Feeling 2008 181 Most of the big economic stories in 2008 were national in scope. But a few state and local stories made headlines.
What’s Ahead for Chinese Imports? 2004 261 On June 18th the U.S. Commerce Department issued a preliminary ruling that China is dumping wood bedroom furniture on the American economy. In the April HFR, I wrote a Furniture Dumping FAQ. So here’s a follow-up FAQ on the ruling and what we can we ...
When Price-Gouging Is A Necessary Reality 2008 202 When it comes to gasoline, we Americans have a habit of losing our minds. If we’re not panic-buying due to false rumors, we’re demanding that government do something, anything, about high prices. We claim a heritage of capitalism and free markets, bu...
When the Subject is Gas, Politicians are Pumping a lot of Hot Air 1996 195 Mixing politics and economics makes for a strange brew sometimes. Congressional Republicans oppose an increase in the federal minimum wage because they claim it would distort labor markets. On the other hand, the recent run-up in gasoline prices has ...
Where is the Light at the End of the Tunnel? 2009 197 We’ve made it through March, the 15th month of this recession. If the recession lasts into May, it will be the longest one since the Great Depression. Is anyone having fun yet?
Who’s Going to Win? Look at the Economy 2008 221 On Tuesday, American voters will decide whether Barack Obama or John McCain will be the next president. Which issues will guide their votes? Voter motivations are complicated, but pocketbook issues are always part of the mix. In some years the econom...
Wholesale Silliness or Purposeful Policy? 2009 240 The deadline has passed in the General Assembly for bills that will not affect the state budget. One of the bills that didn’t make it would have expanded the ability of small brewers to distribute their own beers to retail outlets.
Why State Lotteries Aren’t Good Public Policy 2000 520 Throughout the South in recent years, Democratic governors have consistently differentiated themselves from Republicans on one very public issue: whether their state should operate a lottery.
Will Housing Take Furniture Down With It? 2008 220 2007 has been a year of surprises for those who thought the housing sector had nowhere to go but up. The cautiously optimistic forecasts of a year ago were proven wrong, as each new release of housing data was more depressing than the one before it. ...
World isn’t Flat 2008 454 New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s 2005 best-seller, “The World is Flat,” has conquered public opinion. Ask a group of business leaders if they’ve read his book, and nearly every hand will be raised. Among the portion of the general public wh...
Yes, Regionalism is Hard Work 2007 279 Economic development is complicated. Take, for example, the concept of regionalism. Nearly everyone agrees that cities and counties are best situated to compete in the global economy when they collaborate to improve the region as a whole.
Young People Not Fleeing, Census Shows 2001 286 In the last couple of years, it has become an article of faith in Greensboro that the city is losing young people and that its economy is not a good place for young professionals to live and work.