economy

No question, this was a traumatic, sad week because of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. It's not easy to turn to good news.

But putting grief aside for a moment, there were indeed positive developments for the country in recent days. With cheaper energy, more jobs and higher stock prices, most Americans have been seeing their financial situations improve. Here are some of this week's highlights:

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Several economic development projects are in the works in Murray and Calloway County. From an automotive parts manufacturer, to buildings equipped for potential use to road projects, there are several goals for 2015. We get a scan from Mark Manning, Murray Calloway Economic Development Corporation's Executive Director, on Sounds Good.

Each December, economists make predictions. And each new year, they get hit by unexpected events that make them look more clueless than prescient.

This year's bolt out of the blue was the plunge in oil's price, which no one saw coming.

Still, top economists' forecasts did get a lot right for 2014. One year ago, most were predicting healthy growth, tame inflation, low interest rates, rising stock prices and declining unemployment — and that's just what we got.

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

A report on the phenomenon known as "reshoring" — the opposite of offshoring — shows that while a growing number of companies are returning to the United States to do their manufacturing, the trend is smaller and less significant to the economy than it appears.

The November jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the U.S. job market continues to improve at a steady pace.

Here are the two big numbers from Friday's report:

Kentucky Economy Set to Close Strong in 2014

Nov 24, 2014

As the year comes to a close, state economists say Kentucky’s economy is reaping significant gains due to a steep drop in unemployment and a boost in jobs.

State House Democrats Unveil Agenda

Nov 6, 2014
Bud Kraft, LRC Public Information

Less than 24 hours after Kentucky voters maintained the 54-46 Democratic majority in the state House of Representatives, the chamber’s leaders announced their agenda for the 2015 legislative session. 

“We want to thank the voters for their support and for giving us the opportunity to move ahead with those ideas that are important to them and that help all Kentucky families succeed,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.  “Our Democratic caucus has made an effort in recent years to distance itself from the policies and gridlock we have seen coming from Washington, and the voters rallied behind that.”

http://www.kyenvironmentalfoundation.org/health-impact-assessments.html

The Kentucky Environmental Foundation has released its Health Impact Assessment for Paducah's Shawnee Fossil Fuel Plant. The report comes as the Commonwealth braces for new EPA regulations on coal plant emissions.  

iStockPhoto

Kentucky ranks in the top 5 of the best entrepreneurial climates in the nation according to an annual economic study.

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