This is my year in review post. Over the next couple of weeks, my posting will slow down dramatically and unless something very interesting comes up locally I will likely focus in other directions.
Well, it has been a good year generally in a macro economic sense in the US. Joblessness is declining and there is enough economic activity that we might actually see a rise in interest rates. There has been more trouble outside the US with all the problems of Greece dominating the first half of the year. China and parts of South America have had a bumpy ride as well. The global economic news has been on a lower tier due to the war in Syria, ISIS and all the terror attacks.
One of the major shifts in the world has been the change in the price of Oil and Energy prices in general. The US became a net Energy exporter a couple of years ago. Now the US is back being the largest Crude Oil producer as well. OPEC (especially Saudi Arabia) has not lowered production and this has led to a dramatic drop in Crude Oil prices. This trend shows no end in the near term. Many countries that depended on Oil revenues are now troubled. Russia, Mexico, and Venezuela are all examples of resource dependent economies. In many ways, this is good news for the US consumer as lower energy prices should mitigate any inflation. The biggest impact will be in alternative and greener energy. As Energy prices decline, it will become harder to economically justify investments in Green Energy.
I want to start my local economic review by a sour note, especially given my posts over the last month or so. The local, larger technology firms are not in the best of shape. I really want to see a diversified economy in the North Bay but if you read over my posts on the tech earnings, the best I can say is that none of them are likely to go out of business anytime soon. They are not really poised for large growth and we have a paucity of local technology startups at the moment.
On a better note, the transportation upgrades are progressing nicely. 2016 ought to see us with both the 101 expansion complete and the SMART Train in action. I am skeptical on the SMART Train, but we shall be able to judge for ourselves in about a year. There is talk about an upgrade to the terminal at the Sonoma County Airport to be able to attract more commercial air travel. We have yet to see the emergence of an East – West flight from the runway expansion. It is possible that upgrades to the Terminal is a gating factor.
It has been raining so I am hopeful for some relief of the drought that has been happening. But it is early in the season and too soon to know. Housing is still very tight and the Lake County fire did not help. It will probably be about a year before those folks have rebuilt and they have to live somewhere. But large scale development in Rohnert Park looks like it might ease the shortage some.
As I did with my November Newsletter, my December Newsletter will be out near the Holidays to give you something to read in your downtime. Have a great day!
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