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Economic Indicators: Reason For Hope?

Gas prices may be up, but one important economic indicator is also up this year, at least in Madison County: home sales. According to the Maris Market Reports, provided periodically by the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors, units sold in Madison from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 totaled 1,735, up by 16 homes from the 2018 year-to-date total of 1,719. It’s not much, but at least it’ s not dropping. The median price of homes sold in Madison County is also up, from $143,584 in 2018 at this time, to $151,837. The average number of days that houses remained on the market before being sold was less impressive, but not bad, going from 69 in 2018 to 77 in the first 6 months of 2019. Neighboring counties show a similar trend.

In case you missed it, the economic analysis site 24/7 Wall St. recently ranked states according to the best and worst economies. There is no shortage of state-by-state comparisons out there, but this one really is worth having a look at. USA Today ran an updated story about the study on July 13, called “The states with the best and worst economies.”

Ranking at the top: Colorado, Massachusetts, Utah, New Hampshire, Washington, Hawaii and Oregon. Ranking at the bottom, beginning with the worst: West Virginia, Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Kentucky.

Missouri was at No. 38, Indiana at No. 30, Wisconsin at 18, and Illinois at 37. We’d be higher if not for the “outbound migration,” a slow growing GDP, and the eighth-highest unemployment rate in the nation — though 4.4 percent isn’t horrible. On the positive side, the study notes, is a typical income level for Illinois households that’s  $3,000 higher than the U.S. average, and a poverty rate (12.6 percent) that is lower than the national rate (13.4 percent). Illinois residents are also more educated, with 34.4 percent having attained a bachelor’s degree, compared to only 32 percent nationally.

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