Archive for August, 2012

Leading Cities in Venture Capital

August 29, 2012

The geography of venture capital is changing. While Silicon Valley / San Francisco still hold the top spot by a very large margin, the Northeast has been making great strides and now the Boston-New York – DC corridor accounts for slightly more than half the total of The Valley. Although plenty of venture capital comes out of New York, the capital flowing into New York is a recent development. Were this to keep up, the megalopolis could become a serious contender in start-ups.

–From The Atlantic Cities

Home Price Index Increased in Every Market

August 29, 2012

The home price index increased in every market in June. The 10-city increased 3.3 points to 155.02 while the 20-city rose 3.24 to 142.21. This positive turn in the housing market also caused the 10-city and 20-city indices to have a 1-year increase for the first time since September 2010.

For more information on the upturn in housing, see our housing report.

–From Case-Shiller and The St. Louis Federal Reserve

GDP and Trash Production Indicate Downturn Ahead

August 24, 2012

This graph shows the relationship between rail carloads of trash and GDP. It’s not a leading indicator, but seems to be a coincident indicator if not slightly trailing. The trash data includes all garbage–demolitions, home trash, industrial garbage, and most other waste. The great advantage is that rail car data comes out weekly, while GDP comes out one month after the quarter ends, so there is a substantial lag.

As can clearly be seen in the rail data, the change in trash loads has dropped nearly 30% with a similar degree of severity as the 2008 recession, which fell more than 40% at its peak. If this is any indication, the 2nd quarter GDP figures may be down.


Gas Prices Increased 39 Cents Since the Beginning of July

August 21, 2012

Average US gas prices spiked over the last two months, rising 39 cents to $3.74 a gallon. They had been declining steadily since April. Compared to this week in 2011, prices are up 16 cents. Although part of the past week’s price spike was caused by the massive refinery fire in Richmond, CA, it does not account for the national average.

For more information, see our gasoline report.

–from the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Housing Starts Down 8,000 in July

August 17, 2012

Housing starts of new privately owned housing dropped 8,000 to 746,000 in July. Compared to 2011, new home construction is up 132,000, or 21.5% and they are up 39.2% over July 2010.  Although this month’s downtown is unfortunate, new home construction has risen substantially over the past two years. See our housing report for more information.

–From The St. Louis Federal Reserve

Every US State has an Obesity Rate of 20% or Higher

August 15, 2012

According to the CDC, data on obesity trends shows that at least 20% of the citizens of every state in America are obese. Overall, more than a third (35.7%) of all Americans are obese. By contrast, in 1990, most states had an obesity rate of 10% or lower. These rates are highly problematic. Indeed, the World Health Organization classified obesity as an official epidemic in 1997. These two graphs show the sudden and stunning rise in the overweight population.

–From and the CDC

High Frequency Trading Algorithms Vastly Increasing

August 10, 2012


This GIF shows the rise of high frequency trading by computer algorithm from January 2007-January 2012. As can clearly be seen, the volume has increased substantially, especially in the past year. The more interesting component is that of high frequency quoting. Every time the bandwidth to handle high frequency quotes is increased, the volume of quotes increases immediately, but the volume of actual trades has not increased substantially in comparison (see article). In other words, current electronic trading systems run at full capacity nearly all the time, leaving little room for error and costing a great deal in infrastructure.  Considering the catastrophic and instantaneous possibilities that can arise from computer software, much attention should be paid to high frequency trading in the coming years.

–From and The Atlantic

Unemployment Rate Increases to 8.3% in July

August 6, 2012

The unemployment rate rose .1% to 8.3% in July. The employment – population ration fell .2% to 58.4% while the labor force participation rate dropped .1% to 63.7% Often, when the unemployment rate rises, these numbers do as well. Because these rates lowered, it means there are fewer total people in the labor force and fewer of them are working.

Somewhat at odds with the other figures in the July release, total nonfarm payroll increased 163,000 jobs to 133.2 million. In addition, the median duration of unemployment fell an enormous 3.1 weeks.

For more information, see our Employment Report

–from The St. Louis Federal Reserve and the Bureau of Labor Statistics