Friday, November 30, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/30/12


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/30/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • New home sales in October dip by 0.3% from September but 17.2% above October 2011
  • Pending home sales rose by 5.2% in October to 104.8, the highest level since March 2007
  • S&P Home Price Indices rise for sixth consecutive month
  • Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rises to highest level since February 2008
  • 3rd quarter 2012 GDP rises to 2.7% from 2.0% in second estimate
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/28/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/28/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • FHFA House Price Index up by 4.0% over last year
  • Leading Economic Index rises for second consecutive month
  • Consumer confidence treads water in November as consumers await news on "fiscal cliff" agreement
  • Durable goods orders rose slightly in October
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 41,000 in latest report following previous spike due to Hurricane Sandy
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!


Happy Thanksgiving from The Housing Chronicles Blog and MetroIntelligence!  In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation's first Thanksgiving. Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619.

The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

Here at Housing Chronicles, you may have noticed that we like our statistics.  So, in honor of Thanksgiving 2012, here are some interesting stats about the day:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/21/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/21/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Existing home sales rose by 2.1% in October as inventory falls to 5.4-month supply
  • Builder confidence rises by five points in November to 46
  • Building permits in October rise by 2.7% over September and by 29.8% since October of 2011
  • Housing starts in October rise by 3.6% over September and by 41.9% since October of 2011
  • Some fun statistical facts about Thanksgiving 2012
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Registration now open for the 2012 Riverside San Bernardino Economic Forecast Conference


Registration is now open for the 2012 Riverside/San Bernardino Economic Forecast Conference!  As in years past, MetroIntelligence has written the sections on residential and commercial real estate for the conference book handed out to all attendees.  Discounts available for clients and blog readers!



2012 Riverside/San Bernardino Economic Forecast Conference
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Ontario Airport
222 North Vineyard Ave
Ontario, CA 91764

Registration and Breakfast: 7:00 AM
Program: 8:00-11:00 AM
Tickets:
$110 /Individual
$85 /Discount Affiliate Rate
$650 /Table of 8
Seating is limited so register today!
Use code metrorsb12 to save $25 on registration! 

What's next for the Riverside/San Bernardino, California, and U.S. economies?

Where are housing prices heading and how fast will they get there?

Employment is recovering slowly in Riverside/San Bernardino. What is the latest jobs forecast for 2013?

Which of Riverside/San Bernardino's industries are poised for growth?

For over 40 years, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been in place as a statewide policy of environmental protection. Has the process become abused? Or is it working the way it should?

Is CEQA really one of the greatest barriers to investment in the state as some critics claim? Is economic growth being affected?


Will removing or altering CEQA protections threaten California's environment? How can that be prevented?


Featured Speakers
Christopher Thornberg
Principal
Beacon Economics
International and U.S. Forecast
Jordan Levine
Director of Economic Research
Beacon Economics
California and Riverside/San Bernardino Forecast
Honorable Michael J. Rubio
California State Senator, 16th District
Keynote Address
Use code metrorsb12 to save $25 on registration!

Builder confidence rises by five points to 46

The confidence in the nation's home builders continues to improve, with NAHB's Housing Market Index rising to 46 in November.  The magic number to reach is 50.  More from the press release:
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes posted a solid, five-point gain to 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for November, released today. This marks the seventh consecutive monthly gain in the confidence gauge and brings it to its highest point since May of 2006.

“While our confidence gauge has yet to breach the 50 mark -- at which point an equal number of builders view sales conditions as good versus poor -- we have certainly made substantial progress since this time last year, when the HMI stood at 19,” observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “At this point, difficult appraisals and tight lending conditions for builders and buyers remain limiting factors for the burgeoning housing recovery, along with shortages of buildable lots that have begun popping up in certain markets.”
 You can read the entire release here.

Existing home sales and prices rise in October

According to the NAR, existing home sales rose by 2.1% from September to October as prices rose for an eighth consecutive month to $178,600 (up 11.1% from a year ago).  From the press release:

Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, while home prices continued to rise due to lower levels of inventory supply, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million in October from a downwardly revised 4.69 million in September, and are 10.9 percent above the 4.32 million-unit level in October 2011.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,600 in October, which is 11.1 percent above a year ago. This marks eight consecutive monthly year-over-year increases, which last occurred from October 2005 to May 2006.

Distressed homes - foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts - accounted for 24 percent of October sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 12 percent were short sales), unchanged from September; they were 28 percent in October 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in October, while short sales were discounted 14 percent.

Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 1.4 percent to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.4-month supply 4 at the current sales pace, down from 5.6 months in September, and is the lowest housing supply since February of 2006 when it was 5.2 months. Listed inventory is 21.9 percent below a year ago when there was a 7.6-month supply.

You can read the entire release here.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/19/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/19/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • CPI rose by 0.1% in October, core prices up by 0.2%
  • Industrial production declined in October, largely due to Hurricane Sandy
  • Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook survey reports negative impact from Hurricane Sandy
  • Empire State Manufacturing Survey reports modest decline in November for fourth consecutive month
  • Initial unemployment claims spike by 78,000 in latest report, mostly due to impact from Hurricane Sandy
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

November column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

My column for the November issue of Builder & Developer magazine is now posted online.

For this issue, entitled "Where Will the Boomers Live?,"since I had already written this year about issues including single-person households, multi-generational households and Millienials, I wanted to also write about the very important cohort of Baby Boomers, how they're saving for retirement, and where they expect to live.  An excerpt:
Fortunately, Pulte Homes’ Del Webb subsidiary, which has long had its own army of market researchers, has been conducting its own Baby Boomer survey since 1996.  For these surveys, the company separates out younger Boomers (those turning 50 years of age in the next year) and older ones (about to turn 64), and separates them into four groups:  younger Boomers, older Boomers, boomers who were 50 in 1996 and were about to turn 65 in 2010, and current residents of Del Webb communities, most of whom were age 60 to 76.

Some of the differences between the surveys of 1996 and 2010 are striking. Compared to 50 year-olds in 1996, today’s younger Boomers plan to retire four years later (age 67 vs. 63) and are half as likely to be prepared for retirement (16% vs. 34%).  Over four in ten think they’ll never be financially prepared to retire, and nearly four in ten haven’t started to save for it...
To read the entire column, click here.


To read the entire November 2012 issue in digital format, click here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 in Review: All Signs Point to a Rebounding Market

Last year at this time, I wrote about a housing rebound that had been delayed due to a combination of poor consumer confidence, tighter credit standards, stubbornly high unemployment and foreclosures that continued to hammer prices.  Yet what a difference a year makes!

To be sure, we do continue to muddle along with a level of economic growth that is much lower than what we’d expect, but that’s largely because of the cuts in the public sector.  And yet, contrary to what you might have heard in this year’s election season, growth in the private sector alone continues more or less at an average pace – it only seems slow because it grew much faster following previous recessions.

Fortunately, the housing market itself seems to be on its own trajectory, and continues to heal after the worst downturn since the Great Depression. For the month of September, seasonally adjusted annual new home sales rose by 5.7% over August totals to 389,000 units, and are up by 27.1% year-over-year.  At the same time, median prices are up by 11.5% over the last year, while inventory fell from 4.7 to 4.5 months.

Not surprisingly, builders are in a very good mood over this trend, with the NAHB Housing Market Index (HMI) rising for the sixth month in a row through October to 41 – the best showing since June of 2006.  They should be happy:  according to the Wells Fargo/NAHB Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), a combination of lower prices and rock-bottom interest rates meant that 74.1% of potential homebuyers nationally could afford the median-priced home during the third quarter of 2012, up substantially from the last trough of 40.4 noted in the same quarter of 2006.

The number of markets on the First American/NAHB Improving Markets Index (IMI) rose for the third straight month in November to 121 versus just 30 a year ago. The stock market has certainly taken notice, with the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index, which tracks seven public builders, rising by 80% from January through November of 2012 and by 134% since August of 2011.

Existing home sales are also on the mend, dropping slightly in September from August totals, but still up by 11% year over year.  With fewer distressed sales in the mix, prices have also rebounded by 11%, while inventory has fallen to 5.9 months – the first time in several years that this index has fallen below 6.0 months.  Even better, the average time it takes to sell an existing home has fallen from 101 to 70 days.

Of course builders are celebrating by pulling permits and starting new homes.  In September, they pulled a seasonally adjusted annual total of nearly 895,000 units, for an increase of 11.6% over the previous month and 45.1% over the same month of 2011.  Housing starts also rose impressively to 872,000 units per year in September, for an increase of 15% since August and by about 35% year over year.

It’s certainly not just home builders who are more confident, it’s the entire construction industry.  Through September 2012, construction spending in the U.S. rose by nearly 8% over the past year to an annual total of $851.6 billion – the highest level in almost three years.  And, according to the findings of the most recent Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2013 report issued by PwC US and the ULI, modest gains in leasing, rents and pricing will gradually extend across all U.S. market for all sectors.

To be sure, there remain some considerable concerns and uncertainties which lie ahead, most of which are not under the control of builders and developers.  While half the country licks its wounds following the latest Presidential election, all of us hope that we can avoid the much-discussed ‘fiscal cliff’ (which is actually more of a hill because the impact to the recession would be gradual and not sudden should Washington gridlock continue through January).  Still, given that 70% of U.S. construction spending is for non-residential projects, any abrupt pull-back in government-funded projects or immediate tax increases could have an outsize impact on the industry.

For now, there are multiple signs pointing to the long-awaited housing rebound.  During their years in hibernation, most builders had to improve their designs and green building techniques in order to compete not just with cheaper and older homes, but even the homes they built themselves during the boom years. Despite the pain and toil that entailed, something tells me they’re now more than ready to put those lessons to good use.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/16/12


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/16/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Retail sales dipped in October due to Hurricane Sandy but still 3.8% above same month of 2011
  • Producer Price Index fell by 0.2% in October after rising in both August and September
  • Business sales up by 1.4% in September as inventories rise by 0.7%
  • Mortgage applications rose by 12.6% in latest survey as both purchase loans and refinances rebound
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/14/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/14/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Mortgage delinquency rate declined for third consecutive quarter in Q2 2012
  • Buyers of foreclosures can expect a 7.7% discount according to Zillow analysis, down from a peak of 23.7% in 2009
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Housing Chronicles thanks our veterans

Yesterday was Veterans Day (but the national holiday is today), and The Housing Chronicles Blog, as well as MetroIntelligence, would like to thank our veterans for their sacrifices on behalf of the U.S. 

So just what is the history of Veterans Day?  World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” (Read more...)

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/12/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/12/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Consumer confidence climbs to five-year high in November
  • Wholesale sales in September up by 2.0% from August as inventories rise by 1.1%
  • Trade deficit fell by 5.1% in September
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Friday, November 9, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/09/12


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/09/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Improving Markets List rises for third consecutive month to 125
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 8,000 in latest report
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/07/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/07/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Home prices decline by 0.3% between August and September but still up by 5.0% over previous year
  • Service sector economy grew at slower pace in October
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Monday, November 5, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/05/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/05/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Unemployment remains stuck at 7.9% as 171,000 jobs added in October; totals for September and August revised upwards
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 9,000 in latest report
  • Manufacturing sector activity expands for second consecutive month in October
  • Mortgage applications fell by 4.8% in latest report but purchase loan applications rose by 1%
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Guest Post: Make the Most of a Move

The following is a guest post by writer Sam Peters on how to Make the Most of a Move:

If you're planning to move to a new home, you want to make the moving process as seamless as possible. Hiring a professional team of movers is a good first step. However, hiring a team to load up every single possession into a moving van will take time and cost you extra money. To make your next move easier, read ahead for a few easy tips to help you get rid of unnecessary items and deal with the possessions that still have value.

Bedroom
Start removing clutter in the bedroom by sorting through old clothes. If you have a few pieces you haven't tried on lately, check to see if they still fit. If these clothes no longer fit, you can get rid of them by donating them to a thrift store. Your bedroom may have also accumulated some trash or broken items. While sorting through your bedroom, throw away any items you come across that you no longer want.

Kitchen
Your kitchen is probably full of appliances and cookware that you never use. For example, a guest at your wedding may have given you a juicer that you only used once. If you plan to host a garage sale, your working kitchen appliances might be the main attraction. You can also sell any other unwanted kitchen items, such as cookie sheets or baking pans.

Living Room
If you've accumulated more living room furniture than your new house can accommodate, consider getting rid of some unnecessary furnishings. Your living room decorations might feel old and dated, so you should consider buying new decorations after you move into your new home. This is also an excellent time to go through your old collection of books and movies. If you've purchased an e-reader, you can eliminate many of your old books.

Get a Storage Unit
After you've finished going through your unnecessary belongings, you may still feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you own. You can take advantage of a self-storage unit during your move to help you clear out some space. Using a self-storage unit gives you time to move your possessions into your home gradually and you won't feel rushed to fit everything in at once. If you take your time moving in, you can smoothly arrange your living space exactly how you want it.

The Advantages of a Moving Company
Hiring a moving company can take a lot of the work out of the moving process. These professionals are well-skilled and know how to securely load and unload your treasured possessions. You won't have to do the majority of the back-breaking work that moving usually involves. You can even hire a moving company to move your belongings to a self-storage unit.

Although moving is a tricky and difficult task, there are plenty of ways to make it easy. Start by carefully sorting your possessions, one item at a time. You can use a self-storage unit and a professional moving company for more help on your next move.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 11/02/12


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 11/02/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Private sector employment rose by 158,000 jobs from September to October
  • Planned job cuts surge by 41% in October but YTD layoffs well below last year's pace
  • Construction spending in September up by 0.6% from August and by 7.8% from Sept. 2011
  • Consumer confidence continued to improve in October
  • Labor productivity rose by 1.9% annual rate during 3Q2012 even as compensation rose by 1.8%
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.
Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Economist gives Obama a tepid endorsement

I thought this was interesting -- in one of the most tepid endorsements I recall reading for a political candidate, the economics-centric The Economist magazine has decided to support Obama.  Not because Obama has done a great job with everything, but because they just can't figure out who Romney is. Some key excerpts from the endorsement:
Mr Obama’s first term has been patchy. On the economy, the most powerful argument in his favour is simply that he stopped it all being a lot worse. America was in a downward economic spiral when he took over, with its banks and carmakers in deep trouble and unemployment rising at the rate of 800,000 a month. His responses—an aggressive stimulus, bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, putting the banks through a sensible stress test and forcing them to raise capital (so that they are now in much better shape than their European peers)—helped avert a Depression. That is a hard message to sell on the doorstep when growth is sluggish and jobs scarce; but it will win Mr Obama some plaudits from history, and it does from us too...

No administration in many decades has had such a poor appreciation of commerce. Previous Democrats, notably Bill Clinton, raised taxes, but still understood capitalism. Bashing business seems second nature to many of the people around Mr Obama. If he has appointed some decent people to his cabinet—Hillary Clinton at the State Department, Arne Duncan at education and Tim Geithner at the Treasury—the White House itself has too often seemed insular and left-leaning. The obstructive Republicans in Congress have certainly been a convenient excuse for many of the president’s failures, but he must also shoulder some blame. Mr Obama spends regrettably little time buttering up people who disagree with him; of the 104 rounds of golf the president has played in office, only one was with a Republican congressman.

Above all, Mr Obama has shown no readiness to tackle the main domestic issue confronting the next president: America cannot continue to tax like a small government but spend like a big one. Mr Obama came into office promising to end “our chronic avoidance of tough decisions” on reforming its finances—and then retreated fast, as he did on climate change and on immigration. Disgracefully, he ignored the suggestions of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson deficit commission that he himself set up. More tellingly, he has failed to lay out a credible plan for what he will do in the next four years. Virtually his entire campaign has been spent attacking Mr Romney, usually for his wealth and success in business...

Mr Obama’s shortcomings have left ample room for a pragmatic Republican, especially one who could balance the books and overhaul government. Such a candidate briefly flickered across television screens in the first presidential debate. This newspaper would vote for that Mitt Romney, just as it would for the Romney who ran Democratic Massachusetts in a bipartisan way (even pioneering the blueprint for Obamacare). The problem is that there are a lot of Romneys and they have committed themselves to a lot of dangerous things...

Mr Romney’s more sensible supporters explain his fiscal policies away as necessary rubbish, concocted to persuade the fanatics who vote in the Republican primaries: the great flipflopper, they maintain, does not mean a word of it. Of course, he knows in current circumstances no sane person would really push defence spending, projected to fall below 3% of GDP, to 4%; of course President Romney would strike a deal that raises overall tax revenues, even if he cuts tax rates...

However, even if you accept that Romneynomics may be more numerate in practice than it is in theory, it is far harder to imagine that he will reverse course entirely. When politicians get elected they tend to do quite a lot of the things they promised during their campaigns. Fran├žois Hollande, France’s famously pliable new president, was supposed to be too pragmatic to introduce a 75% top tax rate, yet he is steaming ahead with his plan. We weren’t fooled by the French left; we see no reason why the American right will be more flexible. Mr Romney, like Mr Hollande, will have his party at his back—and a long record of pandering to them...

This newspaper yearns for the more tolerant conservatism of Ronald Reagan, where “small government” meant keeping the state out of people’s bedrooms as well as out of their businesses. Mr Romney shows no sign of wanting to revive it..

We very much hope that whichever of these men wins office will prove our pessimism wrong. Once in the White House, maybe the Romney of the mind will become reality, cracking bipartisan deals to reshape American government, with his vice-president keeping the headbangers in the Republican Party in line. A re-elected President Obama might learn from his mistakes, clean up the White House, listen to the odd businessman and secure a legacy happier than the one he would leave after a single term. Both men have it in them to be their better selves; but the sad fact is that neither candidate has campaigned as if that is his plan...

The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.
 Like I said, tepid.  You can read the entire article here.