Lehigh Valley Arts Council Joins Americans For The Arts’ National Study Of The Economic Impact Of Spending By Nonprofit Arts And Culture Organizations And Their Audiences

Allentown, PA — The Arts in the Lehigh Valley mean business—and jobs. That is the message being delivered today by Lehigh Valley Arts Council who announced it has joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5, a national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. The research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education. It is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments.

As one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Lehigh Valley Arts Council will collect detailed financial data about our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as our theater and dance companies, museums, festivals, and arts education organizations. “Many people don’t think of nonprofit arts organizations as businesses,” said Mike Stershic, President of Discover Lehigh Valley, “but this study will make clear that the arts are a formidable industry in our community—employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, and helping to drive tourism.”

Lehigh Valley Arts Council will also collect surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event. Previous studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. Those studies have also shown that, on average, 32 percent of arts attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place, and that those cultural tourists typically spend nearly $40 per person—generating important revenue for local businesses and demonstrating how the arts drive revenue for other businesses in the community.

Surveys will be collected throughout calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017.

“Arts are key to the economic development in the Lehigh Valley and have never been more important,” says Randall Forte Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “Hundreds of creative industries, nonprofit cultural organizations, and thousands of individual artists of all disciplines—dance, musical, theatrical, visual, literary and media arts—are invested in our community.”

The 2010 economic impact study of the Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit arts industry revealed a $208 million industry—providing 7,114 full-time jobs and generating $21 million in state and local taxes annually. “Our Arts & Economic Prosperity series demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.” Complete details about the fiscal year 2010 study are available atwww.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.

Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide study partners are contributing both time and a cost-sharing fee support to the study. For a full list of the nearly 300 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study partners, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP5Partners.

About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.


Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
www.LVArtsCouncil.org / www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

Study: Mohegan Sun Arena Pumped $62 Million Into Economy In 2013

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, PA  — A new study reveals that Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza contributed $62.6 million to the economy in 2013, and expansion of the concourse is expected to pump in an additional $7 million this year.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance was contracted by the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority, the governing body of the arena, in May 2014 to conduct the study on behalf of the authority. The NEPA Alliance released the study Thursday.
The economic impact analysis considers three things:
The overall impact of the operations of the arena, which includes the impact from visitors traveling from outside the impact region (farther than 15 miles).

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news-news/153910780/

Experts Worry Stagnant Wages Are Delaying Economic Recovery

Editor’s note:  Came across this article right after I posted about grocery store price increases. They certainly speak to each other.

Jim Talerico got a $900 raise this year, but he isn’t happy about it.

“It’s a terrible wage,” said Talerico, a part-time faculty member in Robert Morris University’s English department. “Now I’m making a whopping $14,400.”

It was the first pay raise in 10 years for the 54-year-old Ingomar resident. Even with the $13,500 he earns from his other part-time teaching job at Community College of Allegheny County, he said a barista job at Starbucks looks tempting. At least it would come with benefits.

Working Americans have had to make difficult choices — from canceling doctor’s appointments to cutting their grocery budgets — as their paychecks barely keep up with the cost of living.

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic activity, and wage stagnation has been a stubborn problem that might be holding back the recovery as other measures such as unemployment improve.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6812082-74/percent-pay-employers#ixzz3FO9O6Fhr
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Mapping The Data: Minimum Wage Of $10.10/Hour Would Benefit 21% Of Workers In Lancaster County

Editor’s note:  This is a more in-depth article than the one below with some excellent graphs and charts showing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania and what the impact of raising the minimum wage would mean by county.  Well worth the read!

About one in five workers in Lancaster County would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, a new study shows.

That 21 percent amounts to 49,099 workers here, according to the Keystone Research Center study.

The research is being cited by a labor and community coalition, Raise the Wage PA, which will hold a rally in Penn Square at noon Thursday.

Lancaster County rates somewhat worse than the statewide figure of 19 percent and the urban-area figure of 18 percent, says the study.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/mapping-the-data-minimum-wage-of-hour-would-benefit-of/article_9ae665b4-d63a-11e3-88f4-0017a43b2370.html

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US Economy Grew At 3.2 Percent Rate In Q4

Seal of the United States Department of Commerce

Seal of the United States Department of Commerce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014.

The fourth-quarter increase followed a 4.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter, when the economy benefited from a buildup in business stockpiles.

For 2013 as a whole, the economy grew a tepid 1.9 percent, weaker than the 2.8 percent increase in 2012, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Growth was held back last year by higher taxes and federal spending cuts.

With that drag diminished, many economists think growth could top 3 percent in 2014. That would be the best performance since the recession ended in mid-2009.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140130_ap_ef9a502bf87446ee8b002fe557b26ec6.html#wThbbpJD49oI0jQw.99

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U.S. Economy Grows At Surprising 2.8 Percent Rate

Seal of the United States Department of Commerce

Seal of the United States Department of Commerce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate from July through September, a surprising acceleration ahead of the 16-day partial government shutdown. But much of the strength came from a buildup in company stockpiling.

Home construction also rose, and state and local governments spent at their fastest pace in four years. But businesses spent less on equipment, federal spending fell and consumers spent at a slower pace. All are cautionary signs for the final three months of the year.

Overall, growth increased in the third quarter from a 2.5 percent annual rate in the April-June period to the fastest pace in a year, the Commerce Department said today.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=518462

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves In February On Job Outlook

NEW YORK, Feb 15 (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment improved in February, buoyed by signs of increased hiring, though worries heightened about a decline in future income, a survey released on Friday.

The Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment rose to 76.3 from 73.8 in January, topping economists’ forecasts of 74.8.

The barometer of current economic conditions rose to 88 from 85, while the gauge of consumer expectations rose to 68.7 from 66.6.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-us-economy-20130215,0,6427243.story

House, Senate Approve ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Bill

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Well it’s about damn time!

WASHINGTON — Congress’ excruciating, extraordinary New Year’s Day approval of a compromise averting a prolonged tumble off the fiscal cliff hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on.  It also prevents House Republicans from facing blame for blocking tax cuts for most American households, though most GOP lawmakers parted ways with Speaker John Boehner and opposed the measure.

Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and debt.

Capping a holiday season political spectacle that featured enough high and low notes for a Broadway musical, the GOP-run House voted final approval for the measure by 257-167 late Tuesday.  That came after the Democratic-led Senate used a wee-hours 89-8 roll call to assent to the bill, belying the partisan brinkmanship that colored much of the path to the final deal.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=440254

Gas Prices Falling This Holiday Season

Falling gas prices have brought a little bit of holiday cheer at the gas pump where many in the region had grumbled while the price of unleaded hovered around the $4 mark.

The average price of unleaded regular has dropped to $3.75 a gallon in the Buffalo area, down from $3.89 a month ago, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas price trends across the country.  Nationally, the average price was down to $3.27 a gallon as of Saturday.

The downward trend can be attributed to two things, according to Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/business/sns-mct-gas-prices-falling-this-holiday-season-20121216,0,1755611.story

Americans Will Feel Paycheck Pinch As Payroll Tax Break Ends In January

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama isn’t talking about it and neither is Mitt Romney. But come January, 163 million workers can expect to feel the pinch of a big tax increase regardless of who wins the election.

A temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes is due to expire at the end of the year and hardly anyone in Washington is pushing to extend it. Neither Obama nor Romney has proposed an extension, and it probably wouldn’t get through Congress anyway, with lawmakers in both parties down on the idea.

Even Republicans who have sworn off tax increases have little appetite to prevent one that will cost a typical worker about $1,000 a year, and two-earner family with six-figure incomes as much as $4,500.

Why are so many politicians sour on continuing the payroll tax break?

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/10/social_security_tax.html

Target Steals Title Of ‘Cheapest’ From Wal-Mart

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  There is a very good video to watch if you click on the link below.

For the first time since October, Target gas reclaimed the title  of  “cheapest” from its fellow big-box retailer, Bloomberg reported, and the gap was the biggest its been in the two years the difference has been tracked.

That’s especially important in today’s economy, as cheap is exactly what consumers are looking for.  High unemployment, coupled with rising gas and food prices, means customers are as cash-conscious as ever.  And while retail sales finally improved in July, that was one of the first good signs for the sector in months.

Both companies have thus been trying to lure in those penny-pinching customers with discounts and slashed prices. The key to Target’s success in the pricing department  came from the addition of groceries to many stores, which cut into Wal-Mart‘s advantage on food prices.  The company has also added discount incentives through its REDCard.

Read more: http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=84caede6-927a-488e-842c-322ae9654306

The Three Statistics That Every Downtown Should Live By

Editor’s note:  This is phenomenal advice for all downtown shopping districts and their umbrella organizations i.e. Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority.

Lancaster and its James Street Improvement District are prime examples of living by these three simple rules!  I suggest a field trip for any struggling downtown merchants or downtown organizations who want to see what is possible!

I call this the 7-8-7 rule because of the three most important statistics that make a downtown a successful and vibrant destination. Think of your favorite destination downtowns. Are they beautiful? Do they feel safe? Are there things to do after 6:00 pm?

Read more: http://www.rogerbrooks.org/2012/04/30/the-three-downtown-statistics/

Glum Econmic News For June

The economic recovery slowed down in June.  Consumer spending fell by .02 percent, which can be blamed in part on rising gas and food prices.  Workers saw incomes rise by only .01 percent, the smallest increase in nine months.  On a positive note, personal savings rose 5.4 percent.

Hiring in June was at the lowest level in nine months.  Only 18,000 net jobs were added and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2%.

Some economic forecasters are lowering their outlook for economic growth in the second half of the year from 2.5 percent to 2.0 percent.

Exxon Reaps Record Setting Profits For First Quarter

Container of Gasoline

Image via Wikipedia

This is a big part of the problem with the economy.  Companies like Exxon are profiting on the backs of our economic recovery.  High gas prices have increased the cost of most items and taken a huge chunk out of the average American’s discretionary income.  Discretionary income is what American’s have to spend after paying taxes and bills.  Less discretionary income means people shop less, eat out less, take fewer trips, and cut back overall to close the ever-widening gap caused by rising gasoline prices.

So Exxon comes along and announces they made almost $11 billion dollars in profits for the first quarter after we just learned that economic growth was stunted, in part, from high gas prices.  I am not advocating a departure from capitalism, however in light of the recent economic downturn; maybe these behemoth companies might make a little less profit so the economy can recover!

What I find hysterical is that Exxon officials know this news will “P-O” the public and are wondering how to “spin” the negative effects of their greed.  You deserve all the negative publicity you get!

It Could Be A Shoppers Market This Holiday Season

With the Christmas shopping season fast approaching, it appears that consumers may be in the driver’s seat this year.  Retailers are positioning themselves to offer deep discounts in an effort to lure recession-weary consumers into parting with their cash.

Economic jitters are making people hold on to their money and only spend on essentials.  Back-to-school sales were great for the first two weeks of September, but then sales trailed off after consumers felt they had spent enough.  This is a sign that people are holding on to their money and resisting the temptation to spend excessively.

We are looking at a 2 – 3 percent sales growth this season.  4 percent is considered healthy, if inflation is low.

Many people are sticking to necessities and practical gifts this year.  Wal-Mart is following that trend this season.

Look for big sales and deep discounts this holiday season!

Merry Recessmas.