Rhode Island and Michigan showed solid improvement in labor markets in August, while Puerto Rico showed greater improvement in its unemployment rate than any of the 50 States, according to our proprietary measure of state economic health.
A budget compromise this year to reduce sequester cuts seems unlikely, and agencies like the Defense Department have fewer opportunities to reduce the impact of spending cuts.
While there are currently many reasons for municipal bond investors to fret, one measure of market sentiment is showing a high level of complacency.
Kentucky's economy has shown the largest year-over-year improvement in our economic health score, helped by a strong labor market. High foreclosure rates and lagging housing prices have dragged New Jersey to the biggest decline.
Bankruptcies in Detroit, Jefferson County, Ala., and three California cities helped spawn a new breed of activist judges, who may use Chapter 9 cases as the platform not just for reorganizing municipal debt, but also for helping set the stage for turning distressed cities around.
Beneath the surface of last week's data, which showed the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance was the lowest since 1973, are some dramatic changes, especially in energy producing states.
Food stamp participation is losing value as a poverty indicator amid the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
This week we look at trends in the DIVER Geo Score for the northeast United States and drill down into New England with a focus on New Hampshire and Vermont.
Amid a tough summer for municipal credits, the Supreme Court decision in favor of subsidies in the Affordable Care Act was good news for the health care sector.
Connecticut's economy has been improving over the past year, while New Jersey's has worsened, according to Diver Geo Scores. Meanwhile a change in Puerto Rico's economic activity index shows a better economy.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP attorneys take a look at the Securities and Exchange Commission settlements with 36 municipal securities underwriters pursuant to the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation initiative.
State Economic Indexes recently released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia show the difference between the worst performer and the best performer was more than a full percentage point.
In penalizing corporate wrongdoers with fines, the justice system is missing a crucial component of what criminal law is supposed to be about. Criminal law is supposed to address wrongs against society.
Modern transportation infrastructure is a critical building block to ensure that the US economy is in a position for long term growth and prosperity.
Oxford University professor Brent Flyvbjerg has concluded that about 90% of megaprojects do not meet expectations of costs or benefits, a phenomenon he describes as the megaproject paradox. His research has lessons for municipal investors.
State and private universities, local and state government agencies, and even the federal government have announced significant data breaches that compromised information and caused significant operational disruptions.
A new and better way to design financing plans that is faster, more transparent, robust and reliable.
Discount municipal bonds are much more sensitive to interest rates than reported by standard analytics systems. Investors who rely on these analytics will be in for an unpleasant surprise when rates rise.
While gross domestic product is a helpful measure of the rough size of a states economy and its various sectors, we prefer other measures.
With the labor force participation rate essentially unchanged from April to May at 62.9%, our survey shows significant local variation at State and county levels.
This week we review our proprietary DIVER Geo Score, highlight the strongest and weakest States as well as provide you a link to get the scores themselves. We also focus on the divergent economies of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
This week we examine whether private sector amateur economists are any better at predictions than the professionals.
Which local governments might use the bankruptcy option if Gov. Bruce Rauners bankruptcy bill is enacted?
Politics, public policy and public interest are the fundamental building blocks for public private partnerships in infrastructure.
There are compelling reasons to convert to a decimal system for rating municipal bonds from the current alpha-numeric rating scheme.
Continuing claims data and a recent Washington Post column shed light on economic dispersion around the nation. We also review the effectiveness of the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation program and the Government Development Banks index of Puerto Ricos economic health.
Signals from the Philly Fed Index show an increase in the dispersion of economic health among the States.
The Obama administration's proposal to create a new class of tax-exempt debt that is permitted within the context and requirements of public private partnership is a hopeful sign of a way forward in creating a new hybrid infrastructure financing model.
Our recently released proprietary DIVER Geo Score rank the strongest and weakest States, and show the Garden State, which once had one of the strongest state economies in the nation, has lagged.
This week, we chart the most recent State economic data from the Philly Fed, respond to a reader inquiry regarding our previous discussion of SLGS, and highlight a little noticed piece of Puerto Rico news from last week.
Data from the U.S. Treasury on State and Local Government Series Securities indicate the amount of pre-refunded bonds outstanding may be shrinking.
This week, we discuss a new measure of pension funding, examine the impact of oil prices on labor markets in oil dependent States and discuss changing levels of food stamp participation.
A review of our proprietary DIVER Geo Scores highlights the strongest and weakest States. And we provide an update to drought conditions in California and identify some states that face export challenges.
This week, we check in on how quickly States and cities are submitting their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report's and examine what the State filings are telling us regarding debt growth.
An examination of county level employment data shows some counties aren't participating in the reported national revival.
Although defaults have not yet occurred, it is not too early for holders to take a hard look at the applicable bond documents to evaluate their rights and leverage in the restructurings or refinancings that have begun and which may proliferate in the years ahead.
Some local governments may require extraordinary financial assistance from the Commonwealth, adding to pressure on its general obligations.
The most recent Mortgage Delinquency Rates highlight a wide dispersion across the nation, while analysis of municipal bond ratios to Treasuries shows munis may not be a "cheap" as you thought.
The Tax Reform Act for Puerto Rico presented by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla is the significant change Puerto Rico needs to stimulate the commonwealth's economic development and confront the Island's fiscal challenges.
Don't be surprised if some of these proposals ideas pop up in whatever tax legislative vehicle might start moving forward later in the year.
Given the magnitude and condition of U.S. infrastructure and the Federal push to "level the playing field" by expanding the availability of tax-exempt finance for public-private partnership procurements, the U.S. is poised to become a very active and substantial P3 market.
Texas biggest city takes a modestly positive step regarding its pension issues, while Connecticut is a notable underperformer in the most recent price data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Some pension obligation bonds can create a visible and fixed repayment plan to tackle the unfunded pension liability monster that is stealthily growing underneath the budget table of many state and local governments.
This weeks commentary starts with a review of Lumesis DIVER Geo Scores, highlighting the strongest and weakest states.
The dialogue over tax reform provides an opening for state and local governments to educate members of Congress and their staff about municipal bonds, how they work and what they do.
Circumstances have changed and a different approach to Puerto Rico debt is warranted.
Doubts as to the quality or effectiveness of Indiana's intercept program are misplaced.
Congress should end Puerto Rico's exclusion from federal bankruptcy protection but it's unfair to leave the territory's existing creditors in the lurch.
There are few lay-ups in muni bond investing, but jettisoning buy-and-hold for dynamic tax management may be one of them.
Discussion at a recent industry panel addressed possible impacts of the global economy on U.S. states and describe additional metrics to watch to monitor health of municipal pensions.