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Economic Forecast: Mixed Signals by Dennis Boone
Chris Courtwright, Kansas Legislative Research Department
Forecast: Partial clearing, with one dark cloud ahead

The Kansas Legislative Research Department was still framing last-minute analyses for the Legislature’s 2012 session when the Boeing Co. dropped its bomb: It would eliminate 2,100 jobs in Wichita by moving aircraft production closer to the Everett, Wash., headquarters.

“Things have changed in the last 24 hours with this Boeing thing,” Chris Courtwright said, brandishing a refined sense for understatement. Boeing’s announcement covers just part of the picture, he said, citing the potential for “an ancillary impact on the mom and pop machine shops that sell widgets to Boeing, Beech and Cessna.” Those suppliers could see an additional 2,100 jobs wither. The impact will be felt not just in income tax collections, but sales taxes as consumers in the state’s largest city tighten belts in response.

Shortly before that gut-punch, Courtwright’s department had improved its forecast for the state heading into 2012. Other indicators—the oil and gas industry and agriculture, in particular—marked the economic growth of Kansas over the previous two years, Courtwright said. But forecasters still anticipated that the rate of growth would decelerate as spring approached, given spikes in energy prices, continuing upheaval in the Middle East and the European debt crisis. “We still anticipate modest growth in the national and state economies” for 2012, he said, with state GDP of 4.3 percent for the year.

Global Economy Unprepared for Disaster
The global economy could withstand widespread disruption from a natural disaster or attack by militants for only a week as governments and businesses are not sufficiently prepared to deal with unexpected events, a report by a respected think-tank said.

Green Builders Press for Accurate Appraisal Values for Energy Efficient Homes
As the real estate market has declined, so have appraisal values. Appraisers, once seemingly over-eager to ratchet up home values for everyone's benefit but the homeowner, have apparently put it in reverse, hurting builders more than any other group. NAHB, the National Association of Home Builders, has been pressing the industry to make a change.

AIA Announces Top Ten Green Building Projects for 2011
The Committee on the Environment (COTE) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
announced the 2011 top 10 green building projects.

Green Building Owners Get Help Tracking Performance
"The Building Performance Tracking Handbook" was developed by the California Commissioning Collaborative with funding from California's Energy Commission and can be applied to commercial buildings throughout the country.

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