A New Perspective on California Wildfires, 2018

By Ryan Hanson

The California wildfire season of 2018 has been record-setting and thus far has scorched three times as many acres as were burned during the previous year. On August 7th, the Mendocino Complex, which consists of twin fires in northern California, became the largest fire in state history, covering 455 square miles, and is not expected to be fully contained until September. Map 1 shows the current perimeter of the fire north of San Francisco and Sacramento. There are 18 other fires currently burning across the state1 (see Map 2).

The Memphis IT Skill Shortage and Its Impact on Local Mid-Sized Firms

By Dennis Wilson, Ph.D., Senior Global Technology Researcher,  Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis

Recruiting and hiring technology professionals is challenging. There are special characteristics that define this segment of the labor market that relate to supply and demand, demographics, and constant changes in technology. According to a recent article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the dynamics of this labor market environment consist of:

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.


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.


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/]


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.