New July 2015 DIVER Geo Scores

August 3, 2015

This week we review of our proprietary DIVER Geo Score, highlight the best and worst performing States and cities as well as provide you a link to get the scores themselves.

June Geo Scores

Last week, we released the most recent DIVER Geo Scores for States, counties and cities. The DIVER Geo Score represents a relative score of the economic health of a U.S. State, county or city. Based on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the best, this data is updated monthly and is calculated from multiple economic and demographic factors related to three primary data categories—employment, income and housing.

The DIVER Geo Scores are available here.


Over the last year, Kentucky has shown the largest improvement in its Geo Score.  As we discussed in a recent Commentary, a strong labor market has lead Kentucky to outperform the other Appalachian States of Tennessee and West Virginia, which are among the worst performing economies for the last year.

New Jersey’s economy continues to be a laggard.  High foreclosure rates and lagging housing prices have been a drag.

Delaware has shown strong improvement (+1.3) despite weakness in neighboring States:  Pennsylvania (-0.8), New Jersey (-2.0), Maryland (-0.5).  Healthy employment markets, above average income levels, and strong housing price appreciation have lead to above average performance.  Foreclosure rates slightly above national averages have been one area of weakness for Delaware.

Tennessee has performed worse over the last year than every State except New Jersey and West Virginia, so it is no surprise to see several of the Tennessee cities represented in the tally of underperforming cities.


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The city with the worst performance over the last year is Fayetteville, NC.  Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg and its economy has lagged as the US military has downsized.  One commenter referred to Fayetteville as a “one company town”.  An article in a local paper reflected the weakness:  “The Life of a Repo Man is Busy in Fayetteville”.

The economic growth of Florida’s cities is mixed:  Orlando and Miami have shown large improvement, while Fort Lauderdale has lagged.


In an upcoming edition of our Commentary, we will take a closer look at the local economies in Florida.

Puerto Rico: Is a Slowing Rate of Economic Decline Good News?

Based on an update to the Puerto Rico GDB Economic Activity Index  (EAI) released last week the economy of Puerto Rico continues to shrink, but at a slowing rate.  The GDB currently calculates two versions of the EAI. The “new” version, which the GCB claims will better handle seasonal factors, will replace the “old” version after this month.

The old index declined by -0.7% for the last year.


The new index outperformed the old index for the tenth month in a row.  It declined by only -0.4% over the last year.


The chart below demonstrates how dramatically Puerto Rico’s economy has underperformed.  It compares the EAI to the Federal Reserve Board of Philadelphia Coincident Index for various States.


Whatever happens to its debt situation, it is clear that Puerto Rico faces a tough slog to rejuvenate its economy.

Have a great week, 


Michael Craft, CFA