A Brief on the Benefits of a College Education

The most important impact of a university occurs from the changes it makes in the lives of its students. Because of their education, college graduates are more likely to be employed and earn higher incomes than are non-graduates. Nearly all people with a college degree are employed, with only a small percentage unemployed in any economic period.  Unemployment rates rise for everyone in a deep recession, but college graduates always have an advantage even in weak labor markets.

Risks are Large, but the National Economy is Expected to Grow in 2019

By John Gnuschke, Ph.D., Director
Sparks Bureau of Business & Economic Research, The University of Memphis

After eight years of steady but anemic economic expansion, relatively stronger rates of economic growth are expected in 2019 because of the federal tax cut and deficit spending injections of 2018.  But, risks loom large and without more fundamental changes in the economy, growth forecasts will gradually revert toward the mean annual increases experienced since the Great Recession ended. 

Local Economic Growth Expected to Continue for the Remainder of 2018

By John Gnuschke, Ph.D., Director and Jeff Wallace, Ph.D., Research Professor
Sparks Bureau of Business & Economic Research, The University of Memphis

The outlook for the Memphis MSA for the remainder of 2018 is for continued economic growth, income, and job creation because of the steady expansion of the national economy. Historically, the Memphis economy expands during periods of sustained national economic growth.  Therefore, the stronger the nation grows, the stronger the Memphis economic expansion will be in 2018 and into 2019.  Stronger growth will be met with stronger expansion plans by businesses in both Memphis and the nation.

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Quarterly Analysis on Memphis Area Real Estate

Memphis Retail:  Evolution Not Extinction — A Look at Disruption, Trends, and Innovation in Retail

By Shawn Massey, CCIM, CRX, CLS, ALC*

Much has been written about the “Retail Apocalypse” and the demise of bricks and mortar that is simply not justified by the actual numbers.  How this negative view of retail has evolved can be traced back to a few sources that have twisted the news and have focused on the retail of the past and not on the future of retail development and the evolution taking place within the industry.

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Prospects for Improving Real Estate Cycle Conditions for Memphis Area Commercial Real Estate

By Richard D. Evans, PhD.

Emeritus Professor of Economics and Real Estate, University of Memphis Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Director of Real Estate Research and Director of Revenue Forecasting

Glenn Mueller’s Real Estate Cycle Monitor rates real estate cycle conditions for five Memphis commercial property types. Quarterly cycle reports, covering more than fifty major markets for five property types, are free‒with the latest issue emailed November 27, 2017. [Real Estate Cycle Monitor. Black Creek Group, https://blackcreekgroup.com/insights/market-cycle-reports/]

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Say No to Tax Cuts

By Elena Delavega, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work, The University of Memphis

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”  Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935).

I happen to like civilization, and as a reasonable person and responsible adult, I understand that it is important to pay for the things we like. The thing about civilization is that it is not possible to limit it to a few. Either we live in a society in which the benefits of civilization accrue to all, or we don’t really live in a civilized society. Ultimately, if the social infrastructure is not there for all, it is not there at all. We cannot stay in our gated enclaves forever.

We Are Not Lost – Amazon Gave Us a Map

By John Gnuschke, Ph.D., Director,  Sparks Bureau of Business & Economic Research
The University of Memphis

Memphis is a long shot in the race for the location of the second headquarters of Amazon, but sometimes long shots win. However, win or lose, Amazon has given Memphis a great gift--a map that will define the future of the city.  Follow the map and the city either wins this race or the next one.  Don't follow the map and the city will be lost and disappointed. 

Memphis Has Brains

By David Taylor

This week Bloomberg released its 2017 Brain Drain and Brain Concentration Index for U.S. Metro Areas. For the Brain Drain Index metro areas were assessed on their “drain”, or loss of advanced degree holders, white-collar jobs, STEM pay, and net business closure. The Brain Concentration Index used concentrations of full-time STEM workforce, advanced degree or Science & Engineering undergraduate degree holders, and net business formation.

Hurricane Harvey and Gas Prices

By Dr. Jeff Wallace

Over 45.0 percent of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity is located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (see: https://www.eia.gov/special/gulf_of_mexico/).   Accordingly, it is not surprising that hurricane season brings with it great risks to fuel supplies and, therefore, prices.  When hurricanes strike the Gulf region, specifically with regard to gasoline prices, the relevant questions to be answered are how much will prices rise and for how long? As seen in the linked-PowerPoint, we explored this issue in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, just as prices were beginning to rise.  We show that price impacts of hurricanes are likely to be short lived (less than one month) before prices return to their prior trend levels.  As is becoming evident with newer data, gasoline prices have already begun to drift lower towards prior levels (see https://www.gasbudy.com and https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/data.php#prices).

Hurricane Harvey and Gas Prices