Blog posts

  • Trouble Between EU and Russia Fails to Create Market for US Natural Gas

    May 29, 2014
    There have been hopes that troubles between the EU and Russia over Ukraine would produce a market for US natural gas, most likely in the form of LNG.  We have been skeptical of that from the beginning of the crisis, stating that the Russian oil and gas will flow through the Ukraine pipelines...

  • Retail Sales: A Closer Look at the Numbers

    May 15, 2014
    Retail Sales were in the news on Wednesday, and the headlines/lead broadcast comments were not encouraging.  The news anchor said retail sales were disappointing and probably related to weather (again with the weather!).  Retail Sales (excluding auto sales and not adjusted for inflation)...

  • Good News out of Europe

    May 1, 2014
    The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that business and non-business loan activity increased in the first quarter of 2014, and concurrently, an easing of lending standards in European Banks. The increase in loan demand was small at 2.0%, but a whole lot better than the -11.0% of the last...

  • Where is the Cheap Manufacturing?

    April 29, 2014
    A study by the Boston Consulting Group shows that traditional views on low-cost manufacturing are not true anymore. The last 10 years has seen a shift in the lost-cost advantage away from China. China is still ranked the lowest cost by some measures, but the all-in cost, including quality, has...

  • Margin Squeeze on Businesses

    April 24, 2014
    Rising costs are creating a margin squeeze on businesses.  We have been encouraging readers and listeners alike to take preemptive action against these rising costs, and hopefully, you have.  Act quickly if you have not because material and labor costs are going up.  According to the...

  • Taxes Do Matter

    April 22, 2014
    Romania, one of Europe’s growing countries, is cutting taxes to spur more growth.  They are planning on eliminating the business profits tax on profits reinvested into the country, lower the social security tax, and lower the value-added tax (VAT) on some foods.  Eventually it hopes to...

  • We Listened: Coming Improvements to the ITR Economics Trends Report

    April 15, 2014
    In May 2014, ITR Economics’ lead publication, the ITR Economics Trends Report, will be moving to a new all-digital platform.  The ease of accessibility and the benefits of flexibility found in a digital publication work to enhance the same insight and analysis you’ve come to expect from the...

  • France is Catching On

    April 11, 2014
    France has a new Prime Minister, Mr. Manuel Valls.  He spoke before France’s Parliament and announced that he will work to make their economy more competitive by cutting taxes and federal spending.  He said those spending cuts will not amount to austerity, but they will slow the rate of...

  • Examining CEO Wages

    April 10, 2014
    Do you remember last week’s USA Today headline article about CEO wages?  CEOs making $10 million a year?  Others were reported at earning over $100 million a year.  That’s right; I said “earning” because they are being paid to do a job.  Their pay is set by the Board of...

  • A Closer Look at the Job Numbers

    April 7, 2014
    The February-to-March increase in jobs, at 0.73%, was just shy of the upper-side normal trend characteristic and very consistent with March increases over the last four years.  I am bringing this up because some broadcast media were saying that the number was disappointing after the poor...