The Latest Trending Economic, Environmental and Demographic News Curated for You By The Balmoral Group
The Balmoral Group provides practical, professional and precise Economics, Data Analytics, and Engineering Consulting services and is part of a globally integrated team.
This week we have pieces on global traffic data, inflation's cooling, Florida's Wildlife Corridor and more. The Balmoral Group had a fascinating cross-training discussion this week with the U.S. and AU offices together online to discuss our resilience project history and expertise. Keep an eye out for news on recent project wins and other highlights from The Balmoral Group on our LinkedIn page.
Our data visualization feature this week comes from USGS VizLab: they assembled a "Gages through the Ages" visualizer to show when and where streamflow gages have come and gone.
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Have a great weekend!
Global Traffic Scorecard
The 2022 scorecard analysis traffic conditions in more than 1,000 cities in 50 countries. The majority of urban areas saw increasing travel demand in 2022 with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and changes in telecommuting habits. Trips to downtown increased in all metro areas except for Los Angeles and office occupancy increased in 2022. In the U.S., the average economic cost of congestion was $869, a 54% increase over 2021 and on average, hours lost increase by 41%. Miami is the only metro area in Florida in the top 100 cities ranking, with 105 hours lost in traffic, a 59% increase vs. 2021and 30% increase vs. 2019. You can view the rankings and data for all the cities here
Florida Wildlife Corridor Approvals
$17.8 million in land-conservation deals to protect two properties were approved this week by Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet. The properties in Osceola and Marion Counties are part of the envisioned wildlife corridor and help carry out the 2021 Florida Wildlife Corridor Act. The Act calls for pumping $300 million annually to connect 18 million acres. A January 6th assessment by the Legislatures Office of Economic and Demographic Research said $33.37 million has been spent as of Dec. 30th from the annual appropriations for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Additionally, land considered adjacent to the corridor was approved for purchase; it involves 2,529 acres with a portion that is a buffer of the Avon Park Air Force Range. Read more at Florida Trend.
Washington State Snowpack - A Visual Journey
This map displays basin wide percent compared of normal snowpack for January of 2023 versus January of 2022 for the Washington State Basins. A typical snow season here lasts from October to May, with this season starting a little later than normal. This January has started out on a similar track as last year’s, with most basins at or over 100% of the median, with one of the exceptions being the North Puget Sound and South Puget Sound basins. As the state of Washington gets its water from snowpack and the amount it receives affects agriculture, fish habitats, irrigation, and even hydropower production. The snowpack is critical for recharging rivers and aquifers through the spring and summer. Therefore, it is important to understand shifts in patterns from year to year. See more at The Seattle Times
U.S. Inflation Cooldown
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index (PPI) fell to 6.2% in December compared to a year earlier, a marked improvement from the 7.3% reported in November and the peak of 11.7% in March. PPI measures prices paid for goods and services by businesses before final products reach consumers and is a key inflation metric. According to economists surveyed by Refinitiv, the latest PPI value was much lower than expected; the survey responses had forecast a 6.8% annual increase in December. The significant drop in energy prices over the last few months, 7.9% in December following a 3.2% decline in November, is driving the inflation cooldown. Read more here.
Hertz Bringing EV's to Denver
Hertz is partnering with Denver, and hopefully more cities in the future, to expand its EV infrastructure. This partnership will benefit rental car drivers and encourage them choosing EV rentals as there will be more options for charging. Hertz hopes to add 5,000 EVs to its Denver fleet, and their partner, BP Pulse, will add EV chargers to the Denver International Airport. Underserved communities will also be a focus of EV infrastructure expansions. In addition to bringing infrastructure to underserved communities, Hertz will also provide training to the city’s technical high school, and summer job opportunities through Denver’s Youth Employment Program. Denver’s mayor, Michael Hancock, has stated the city’s goal is to reduce carbon emission by 80% by 2050, and to completely electrify the city’s own buildings and fleet by the end of this decade. Hertz hopes to create similar deals with other cities around he country. Hertz Brings EVs to Denver.
Data Visualization of the Week
Streamflow Gages Over the Years
USGS VizLab has a fun data visualizer on streamflow gages in the U.S. from 1890 to 2020. There are several dynamic maps and figures where you can see where and when streamflow gages have come online. By 1900 there were 129 streamflow gages, and by 2020 there were over 8,500 gages across the U.S. The visualizer page notes that in 1995 was the year that real-time data delivery began. See all the visuals at USGS Gages Through the Ages.