Super Bowl LII and Geo Scores for December 2017

Categories: Commentary |

Super Bowl LII and Geo Scores for December 2017

January 8, 2018

This week we bring you the December 2017 DIVER Geo Scores and, while others are trying to predict new issuance for 2018, we are coming out with our selections of the two final teams and the winner of Super Bowl LII. More on that in a bit. In addition to presenting the locations with the greatest moves year on year, we also present the top and bottom Geo Scores for States, counties and cities for December.

DIVER Geo Scores are designed to quickly communicate the overall economic health of a selected geographic area on a scale of 0 to 10. The Geo Score reflects the relative economic well-being of the location and is available for all States, counties, and approximately 350 of the largest cities. Calculations are released monthly and are based on multiple, meaningful economic and demographic data from the employment, income and housing categories.

Top/Bottom Movers at the State Level

The tables below highlight the States with the most meaningful moves (positive and negative) year on year. For the top States that had the most significant increases in their Geo Scores, the focus is on the top ten. These States all saw improvements in all categories, with Tennessee, Nevada, California and Florida seeing a more than 1% decline in unemployment and Washington seeing the largest housing price increase.

For bottom movers at the State level, our focus is on the bottom ten. The best we can say for these States is that their housing prices continue to rise (my concern re: the housing prices has been noted — anyone else?) New Jersey and Connecticut saw significant increases in unemployment (0.7% and 0.6%, respectively) while Wyoming and Kentucky saw the largest increase in foreclosures rates amongst this group. Wyoming saw the largest increases in poverty and tied for the greatest decline in labor force participation.

Top and Bottom State Geo Scores for December 2017

Below are the December 2017 Geo Scores (all can be found on our website).

County Level Geo Scores

At the county level, New Jersey took nine of ten counties with the greatest decline in the Geo Score year on year. The primary driver of the decline was related to employment data – rates going up and participation flat to down. Equally disturbing is the increase in foreclosure rates in seven of ten counties. Of course, the good news is housing prices (tongue in cheek). Despite otherwise poor economic data, prices kept chugging along.

Our list of top ten counties with the greatest increase in Geo Score has a decidedly western feel (other than Cumberland, PA and Mackinac, MI). San Juan CO, Mackinac MI, Clark ID, Garfield UT and Denali AK all saw average weekly wages increase by more than 15%. Denali, Mackinac and Coulsa, CA all saw significantly improved employment data.

Top and Bottom County Geo Scores for December 2017 – Below are the high and low Geo Scores for December 2017 (more can be found on our website). All are “10” or “0” so the ordering is not indicative of relative rank. ND continues to dominate on the positive side.

City Level Geo Scores

Among our top movers, Florida cities stood out this month with five in the top ten and several others hovering just outside the top ten. Improvement in unemployment was common among all in this grouping, with all but St. Petersburg and Cape Coral seeing increases in labor force participation. Housing data was improved across the board, not just prices, as were wages.

Seven of ten of the bottom movers suffered losses in labor force participation rates and nine of ten saw poverty rates on the rise. Despite the inexorable climb of housing prices across the board, we even had one city in this group that saw a decline in housing prices (Lawton, OK). Wages were generally flat, with the notable exception of Bloomington, IL which saw a 20% decline in wages over the one year period.

Top and Bottom City Geo Scores for December 2017

Below are the Geo Scores for December 2017 (more can be found on our website).

Super Bowl LII

Twelve teams from eleven States made it to the NFL playoffs. Vegas does their thing and Lumesis offers our perspective. How do we arrive at our picks? Using the Geo Score, of course. As a fun exercise, we looked at the states participating in the playoffs and rated their chances of winning the Super Bowl by their Geo Score performance. To arrive at our picks for the big game, we looked at two key numbers — the Geo Score of the State of each team (for Carolina we used NC, as its scores were higher than SC) and the year on year move. Once we compiled this data, we did some “number crunching” and came up with our picks along with the probability of each team winning the big game.

Our picks — based on the data alone: New England Patriots v. Minnesota Vikings with the Vikings taking the Lombardi trophy.

A special thanks to Jane Ma and Julie Wen for their always outstanding effort in pulling together our Geo Scores each month.

Have a great week.

Gregg Bienstock