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When to rent, when to wait—study details best month to sign lease

Written by The Business Journal Staff


Renters looking for the best lease rates for Fresno apartments have but a small window in winter to avoid costly premiums later in the year, according to a new study.


Renthop.com found that while nationwide, the best rental rates could be had between December and May, Fresno broke the trend in recent years with December typically having the best deals and February having the  worst.


According to data gathered from 2011 to the beginning of 2019, December apartment hunters here saw a 1.63 percent discount from average rents in the area. But by February, those rates had risen 1.96 percent above the average.


The website used adjusted net-median rental rates to account for changing housing inventory, including one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

The study noted that by and large, cities with higher costs of living experienced more dramatic swings between peak months and discounted ones. For example, Chicago, New York and San Francisco each had more than 4 percent differences between their highest and lowest months, while Los Angeles’ difference averaged 2.3 percent. Fresno’s was 3.6 percent.


Both New York and San Francisco had their cheapest renting months in December, while New York had its highest in July and San Francisco had its highest in June.


The rental listing website attributes these swings primarily to student housing and cold weather, explaining that apartment hunters tend to be less active in the cold winters, while students typically are settled in for the school year during that time.


Using this data, the website suggests renters who can get winter lease renewals should try for it.  When they do, they should avoid “non-standard lease terms” that would push renewals to the middle of the year.

Workers will lose out on $1.2 billion under Trump administration

overtime proposal

Calendar of Events

 News from EPI


In 2016, the Obama Labor Department issued a rule that would have raised the threshold under which almost all workers are entitled to overtime to $47,476 a year. But just before the rule was set to go into effect, a district court judge in Texas blocked the rule nationwide. In March of this year, the Trump administration released a proposal to set the threshold at $679 per week, or $35,308 for a full-year worker, in 2020. The adoption of this proposal would leave behind millions of workers who would have gotten new or strengthened overtime protections under regulations finalized in 2016.


In an updated analysis, EPI Policy Director Heidi Shierholz shows that workers will earn $1.2 billion dollars less a year under the Trump administration’s proposal than they would have earned under the 2016 rule. These annual earnings losses will grow to $1.6 billion (in inflation-adjusted terms) over the first 10 years of implementation due to the fact that the Trump administration proposal does not include automatic indexing.


“The 2016 rule’s threshold was painstakingly researched and economically justified,” said Shierholz, who served as chief economist at the Department of Labor during the 2016 rulemaking process. “Given how much in earnings workers will lose out on, and how many workers will be left behind under this proposal, we encourage the department to drop this rule-making and instead defend the 2016 threshold. The department’s new proposed rule—which is based on the notion that someone struggling on $35,000 a year is a highly paid executive who doesn’t need or deserve overtime protections—flies in the face of the principles embodied in the Fair Labor Standards Act and should be abandoned.”


Shierholz’s calculation includes both wages lost by workers who would have gotten new protections under the 2016 rule but would not get new protections under the Trump proposal, and wages lost by workers who would get new protections under either the Trump proposal or the 2016 rule but who would have gotten a larger raise under the 2016 threshold than under the 2019 proposal. The calculation does not include earnings losses by those who would have gotten strengthened protections under the 2016 rule but would not get them under the Trump proposal.

Experts discuss what might cause the next recession

and what our response should be

 April 18, 2019


News from EPI


Economists, policy experts, and activists discussed how to prepare for the next recession at an event hosted by the Economic Policy Institute with support from the Groundwork Collaborative. Christina Romer, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and a former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, delivered the keynote address.


“Policymakers’ actions influence when and whether we have a recession, and how destabilizing it will be for families and communities across the country,” said Angela Hanks, Deputy Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative. “Policies that make us more unequal, and those that make families and communities less economically secure only serve to worsen the impact of economic downturns. Our leaders should be investing in workers and communities now to ensure they are prepared to weather the effects of another recession.”


In new research presented at the conference, EPI Research Director Josh Bivens argues the United States is poorly prepared for the next recession, but not for the reasons policymakers and commentators commonly cite. Instead, Bivens argues political decisions, not economic constraints, underpin this lack of preparedness. Key policy shortcomings include the failure make progress in reducing inequality during the current economic expansion; the failure to tame the power of the financial sector; and the failure of most policymakers to recognize the clear evidence that that fiscal policy, particularly increases to public spending, is the most effective tool for ending a recession and aiding recovery. Bivens points out that the Trump administration has shown little interest in evidence-driven policymaking, and entering the next recession without smart and nimble macroeconomic managers in the White House is likely to hamper an effective response.


“There is a real possibility that the economy could slip into a recession in the next couple of years,” said Bivens. “Contrary to conventional wisdom, we have plenty of ‘space’ to use fiscal and monetary policy to fight the next downturn. The constraints are not high debt-to-GDP ratios or low short-term interest rates, but politicians’ unwillingness to provide the fiscal stimulus we’ll need.”


In a companion paper, Center for Popular Democracy Chief of Campaigns & Policy Connie Razza outlines the components necessary for advocates and policymakers to develop a blueprint for fighting the next recession and ensuring that the economy emerges as more just and equitable.


“As we prepare for the next recession, we need plans that consider more than economic multiplier effects,” said Razza. “Instead, we need to develop effective policy proposals and the political infrastructure to win them. Done right, this political infrastructure can help ensure that the recovery is broad-based and reduces rather than increases inequality along lines of income class, race, and gender.”


Video from the event can be viewed on epi.org.



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