Monday, March 14, 2011

The SBA and atrabilious

Gloomy or Ill-tempered.
From Latin atra bilis (black bile), translation of Greek melankholia.
You have NO reason to be atrabilious.

Spring is in the air.

SBA 7(a) loans can now go up to $5,000,000.

504 loans can actually refinance debt.
SBA LIBOR Base Rate March 2011 = 3.26%
SBA Fixed Base Rate March 2011 = 6.20%
504 Debenture Rate for February
The debenture rate is 4.22% but note rate is 4.285% and effective yield is only 6.071%.
Is this economy making you atrabilious?

Last month, employers in the U.S. added 192,000 workers. Maybe even more.

This gain in payrolls for February follows a 63,000 increase in January. Originally the Labor Department had said January jobs had increased by only 36,000. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was also revised up from +121,000 to +152,000.

So far so good, right?

Industrial production however decreased 0.1 percent in January 2011 after having risen 1.2 percent in December. The capacity utilization rate edged down to 76.1 percent. The capacity utilization rate measures the amount of a plant that is in use. This gauge averaged 80 percent over the past 20 years, signaling there’s enough spare plant equipment and space to prevent bottlenecks that would push prices higher.

Keep your eye on Thursday’s release from the Federal Reserve on Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization.

Here is what capacity utilization rates have done:

1997- 83.6
1998- 83.0
1999- 82.4
2000- 82.6
2001- 77.4
2002- 75.6
2003- 74.6
2004- 79.2
2005- 80.7
2006- 82.4
2007- 81.5
2008- 79.9
2009- 69.9
2010- 74.8
2011- 76

What does all this mean?

I don't know.

One of the Federal Reserve’s favorite gauges of the economy is the capacity utilization rate. The Federal Reserve watches capacity utilization rates to see if production constraints are threatening to cause inflationary pressures. Bottlenecks or shortages often lead to inflationary pressures that would drive prices even higher. Several analysts have pointed to a rate between 81% and 82% as a tipping point over which inflation is spurred.

Capacity utilization at 76% is still far below normal - and well below the the pre-recession levels of 81.2% in November 2007.

That means we still have a long way to go before interest rates really start to go up. The Federal Open Market Committee meets on Tuesday.

Daylight Shifting Time meant that the sun did not rise this morning until 7:08. It will take 46 days for the sun to rise at 6:08 like it should. What a perfectly horrible way to ruin dawn surf patrols. Opps, I’m being atrabilious.

These late mornings mean people can sleep in after Evacuation Day this Thursday. Evacuation Day? Don’t I mean Saint Patrick’s Day? Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday celebrating the patron saint of Ireland who banished snakes from the island, but post-glacial Ireland never actually had snakes.

In America, the fervor for Saint Patrick’s Day as a celebration did not really occur until March 17th, 1776 when the 11-month siege of Boston ended. The Continental Army placed captured cannon from Fort Ticonderoga onto Dorchester Heights in South Boston. To prevent what would have been an inevitable slaughter of his troops, British General Howe agreed to retreat to Nova Scotia via his ships without setting the city on fire as he left. That the Americans were able to drive off several thousand hardened troops and 1,100 loyalists with only a few warning shots fired and no loss of life or property was a major accomplishment and was Washington's first victory of the war. It was a huge morale boost for the new country, as the city where the rebellion against England started was the first to be liberated. Boston was never attacked again. The ensuing years recognized March 17th as Evacuation Day.

Irish American Catholics, perhaps confused by too much Guinness, mistook the revelry as a celebration of Saint Patrick instead of Evacuation Day.

Happy Evacuation Day!

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