Catching up on a week in numbers

I was told my blog here needs more white space.  I am not sure this post will be an improvement, but here are some random hits from numbers talked about over the last week and a half.

So if I were Allegheny County and I were doing my due diligence defending itself in almost any appeal of a commercial property valuation I would start with this chart which is awfully clear. Since I am pretty sure real estate is a very fixed-cost investment… a roughly 25% decline in vacancy rate has to have a much bigger percentage gain on net profits for almost every office rental in the county. It is a remarkably positive trend no matter.

One of my first posts here some years ago mentioned the likely displacement of local bingo hall revenue that will result from the then notional casino.  Those stories have begun.  Trib: Alle-Kiski area bingo halls feel burned.

Speaking of casinos… the Cleveland casino is now slated to open May 14th.   When there will also be a casino in Lawrence County I just don’t track enough to know.

So you might read this story on the latest from the Pittsburgh pension fund and think things are good: Pittsburgh’s pension fund shows some recovery.  Of course if you do the division the numbers work out to the pension fund being up by just under 3%. See the problem?  Consider it was a great quarter for the markets and the Dow was up over 12% over the same period.  So if my math is right and if  you presume this trend continues unabated the pension fund will be fully funded in just over 4 years. That’s great.   Of course it also would mean that the Dow would be hitting 70,000 or so at the same time.   Hmmm….

Did you know the Pirates are setting attendance records?  and h/t to Otis White for pointing out what may be required reading here from on what some are computing as the “Psychic Benefit” of professional sports.  Double Yoi$

obligatory mention of Marcellus Shale.. and following up on the post last week of how the government once tested atomic bombs for fracturing shale for natural gas extraction.  I see that the upcoming big shale conference is at the Greenbrier.  What is the Greenbrier known for?  It was the fallback captial if the US congress needed to evacuate Washington and continue operations even in the event of nuclear war.  Dots?

On Marcellus is an insightful article from the Towanda Daily Review about how Chesapeake recently sent a letter out explaining they are going to be taking out of royalty payments the costs of getting the gas to market.. and what will really hit the bottom line for some folks is that that they are going to do so retroactively going back more than a year. So when you couple the retroactive amount with the record low price of gas to begin with.. I am thinking some folks are not going to have any royalty payments for some time??  and you gotta love the company’s only non-comment on their letter to land-owners… it says their letter is “self-explanatory”.  That PR consultant deserves a bonus.

But hey, Chesapeake has some big cash issues..  I guess it is only fair to pass some of those troubles on to the landowners. Moving on……

In a new analysis the Pittsburgh region gets an ‘A’ for the degree of white-Latino residential segregation here.  Sort of..

I’m just connecting dots in my head.. but Port Authority transit cuts imminent..  Downtown office vacancy low and declining…  big retail like Macy’s Downsizing.  It all comes together for me in this story out of Cleveland.

and last, but not least…  h/t to Bram for pointing out the WashPo’s coverage on the state of cupcakism in the US.   Remember it was not long ago that we were so desparate for some ’sign’ of change in Pittsburgh that we obsessed on the metaphor of what the cupcake craze’s arrival in Pittsburgh meant. and yes, it was an obsession.

last last…  and the best local economic news I read is that someone is at least thinking of saving HEMAP.

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