This morning's Review-Journal contains a report that a number of small businesses whose enterprises are based upon tourism in local national parks and recreation areas are suffering due to the partial government shutdown. These businesses, who provide services such as bikes for tours of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and jeep tours of Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, have become victims of the closures of these areas.
First Monthly Decline in Retail Sales since October 2012 -
Consumers cooled spending in March as the impact of colder weather across the country and harmful fiscal policy, namely the payroll tax hike, caught up to the economy and weakened retail sales. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association, March retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and increased 1.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
"Retail is the vehicle that drives our economy, and the consumer dictates the speed," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "With consumer confidence low, Washington decision makers need to focus on a long-term, economic roadmap that creates fiscal certainty for American families. And we need policies that encourage job growth and capital investment by business generally and the retail industry specifically, an industry that supports one in four American jobs. Without either, economic recovery will continue to sputter along, and the consumer will keep their foot off the pedal."
March retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.8 percent adjusted year-over-year.
"The fall off in spending is no surprise," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. "A colder-than-usual winter, an anemic employment picture and delays in tax refunds impacted consumer spending across the board in March. While we remain optimistic that retail sales will grow modestly this year, it seems like the economy is off to a shaky start as we enter the second quarter. Improving housing prices and lower gas prices may help to offset the toll of increased taxes and sequester."
Other findings from NRF include:
* Building material & garden equipment and supplies dealers stores' sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted and decreased 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Electronics and appliance stores' sales decreased 1.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Furniture and home furnishing stores' sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* General merchandise stores' sales decreased 1.2 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 3.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Health and personal care stores' sales were decreased 0.3 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Nonstore retailers' sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 10.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
* Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores' sales decreased 0.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy. NRF's This is Retail campaign highlights the industry's opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities at home and abroad, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com
Monday, Sept 23 will mark one of the most meaningful days in the history of the US Securities industry. The implementation of Title II of the JOBS ACT, i.e., the removal of the General Solicitation ban, went into effect. This is perhaps the most important development with regard to this legislation to date, which was passed with bi-partisan support.
Construction of the Dakota Prairie Refinery began March 26 with a groundbreaking ceremony held by the developers, MDU Resources Group, Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P.
Construction of the diesel refinery, on a 318-acre site located west of Dickinson, N.D. is expected to take approximately 20 months. The refinery will process 20,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil. It will employ 400 to 500 employees during peak construction and about 100 employees when it is operating.
For veteran landman Dan Clancy, it took over six years to track down all the mineral ownership for one Bakken drilling project. The reason: Several variables make the process quite tedious and time consuming and one tract of land can have as many as 1,000 mineral owners, each of whom must be contacted ahead of leasing and drilling. In one case, he had to track mineral ownership in 100,000 acres and many of the owners only own a small fraction.
Construction employment increased in 145 out of 339 metropolitan areas between January 2012 and January 2013, declined in 141 and was stagnant in 53, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released recently the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that after years of declining construction employment contractors in some metro areas are beginning to worry about the availability of skilled workers now that they have resumed hiring.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103