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  • Phantoms and Vampires

    Several months ago I wrote about a new utility program my family has joined that gives us more information about our electricity usage. So on Tuesday we received our bill for the mid-December to mid-January period. On the back of the statement was a helpful reminder about the "energy "vampires"...
  • Free Falling

    Another month and another abysmal report on the housing market. How bad was it? Total December housing starts dropped to a record low for the fourth consecutive month. For the year as a whole, housing starts plummeted below the previous low water mark set back in the dark days of the early 1980s recession...
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  • Quicksilver and Your New Light Bulbs

    A non-NEMA colleague recently told me that she had installed "some of those funny new light bulbs." According to NEMA Business Information Services, the U.S. market penetration of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) reached 25 percent recently. However, that number indicates that a majority of...
  • DICOS - Homeland Security Spending Keeps on Growing

    Global homeland security spending has received a major boost in light of recent international terrorist events, as countries look at new ways to thwart terrorists and secure borders. Spending in the industry is expected to triple to $178 billion by 2015. Security-related spending will include more sophisticated...
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  • Credit Stress Easing, but Risks Remain

    Thanks to the Federal Reserve's concerted effort to use its (seemingly infinite) balance sheet in order to smoke risk-averse investors out of their hiding places, many credit market indicators have improved. For example, the TED spread (the difference between interbank lending rates and [presumably...
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  • The Beleaguered Consumer

    Consumers have pretty much taken it on the chin for the past year or so. Plummeting home prices as well as hard-hit retirement accounts and stock portfolios have decimated household wealth. During the third quarter of 2008 alone, the net worth of U.S. households contracted $2.8 trillion (yes, trillion...
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  • Looking For a Job, Look to NEMA

    It seems as though I hear about more and more people losing their jobs every day. On top of that, most companies are not hiring new personnel. What do you do if you are looking for a job? Should you go to Monster , CareerBuilder , or Eicareers ? I have used Monster and CareerBuilder. It felt as if I...
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  • A Little Calm, Please!

    Retail sales tumbled in December, plunging by 2.7% from a month earlier. Naturally, the stock market cratered on January 14, the date of the data release, with the Dow Jones index sliding nearly 250 points and the S&P 500 off 29 points, or 3.4% Two thoughts come to mind. First, while the December...
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