Jonathan D. Miller

Executive Bio

Jonathan Miller is a partner and co-owner of Miller Ryan LLC, a strategic marketing communications consulting firm to the financial services and real estate industries. Miller has more than 25 years of communications and marketing experience in the real estate industry, counseling many leading executives. For the past 15 years he has also authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) premier annual industry forecast and speaks extensively on suburban and urban issues. He is also author of ULI's Infrastructure 2008: A Global Perspectives, a major analysis on the looming changes facing the

U.S. on infrastructure and land use issues. He has led marketing/communications teams at Equitable Real Estate, Lend Lease, and GMAC Commercial Mortgage (Capmark Finance), overseeing re-branding programs for those firms as well as for COMPASS, Boston Financial and Amresco when they were acquired by Lend Lease. He has extensive crisis communications and corporate-change experience. Miller graduated with honors from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and earned a law degree cum laude from American University. Contact Jonathan Miller.

  • Mixed Messages

    The stock market and number of food stamp recipients (nearly 48 million Americans) hit new records at the same time—both new highs, just as unemployment ticks down to 7.7% and private hiring kicks up—notably in construction. The payroll tax gnaws at weekly pay checks and it’s too early to understand the impacts of federal government spending cuts (sequester)—at least scattered layoffs and furloughs particularly but not exclusively in the public sector. The Fed keeps interest rates low, because the bankers do not see enough evidence of economic improvement, and the big commercial banks pass their stress tests—what a surprise. Instead of hiring, companies feel compelled to return excess cash to shareholders in record dividends or undertake stock buybacks—they can stay more profitable if they keep lean and do their hiring in cheaper overseas markets. The nation’s household wealth has been restored thanks to the recent stock market boom and improvement in the housing market—some folks are at least feeling more affluent. Consumers seem to be borrowing again to buy things after paying down debt. But wages are not going up appreciably and the benefit burden keeps shifting to workers. At least health care costs are not increasing as much as they had been.

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  • Yahoo and Office Demand

    Office building owners, struggling with relatively anemic demand, may find some measure of comfort in Yahoo’s decision to rein in its work-from-home employees and mandate their return to the cube-world. Is this the start of a trend reversal that could increase occupancies and buoy rents among office tenants? Probably not, although the Yahoo move may give some CEOs in other companies pause about letting home-officing get out of hand.

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  • Lawyering—Not What It Used To Be

    Have you followed the recent commentary about law schools in crisis? The three-year curriculum is too long, the cost-benefit isn’t there except for tenured law professors, graduates emerge with enormous student debt, there are too few jobs, and far fewer that pay well. Law schools are talking about changing curriculums, possibly cutting a year out. The dirty little secret is—many intelligent college grads could pass the bar exam after taking one of those intense prep courses, certainly without all the law school course padding.

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  • Is Slow Growth Sustainable?

    The unemployment rate inches back up close to 8%, GDP sinks into negative territory for the fourth quarter 2012, and the stock market heads for new highs as its price-earnings ratio stands at a rather lofty 22. Huh? Are we fooling ourselves again?

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  • Top of the Market?

    That looks like a top of the market price for the Sony Building in the heart of Manhattan’s Midtown. Sure it’s a trophy building near the most prime locations in one of world’s best (and certainly America’s top) real estate market(s). But paying $1.1 billion at a time when rents appear to have crested is a swallow hard proposition.

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  • Safe Harbor for Now

    My trip to Israel this week (for a speech to Israeli investors in U.S. real estate) reinforced the view that offshore investors see the U.S. as their only sure shot safe haven. Israelis generally have proved extremely savvy investors and the group of over 120 I met with had little interest in Europe—still viewed as a basket case economy—and apparently even less in China and other parts of Asia—not transparent enough.

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  • Digging Deeper

    At least initially the stock market skyed higher over Congress’s down-to-the-wire fiscal cliff vote, but really does raising taxes and putting off dealing with deficit cuts for another two months diminish uncertainty and discomfort about the future course of the U.S. economy? Reality needs to hit home.

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  • Only Ourselves to Blame

    Long before Newtown and the ongoing wave of mass shootings gripping the U.S., the fiction of safe suburbs versus dangerous cities had been upended. The urban white flight of the 1960 and 1970s stopped and even reversed in recent years as 24-hour cities appeared safe and secure, especially in upscale neighborhoods. Today young families may move out of cities back to suburbs, looking for better public schools, but today they rarely leave out of fear of violence or for a safer environment.

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  • Snake Oil Anyone?

    While our economist friends thought hiring activity would be much more vigorous than it was, they also predicted no way the unemployment rate would go down in the anticipated numbers—wrong again.

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  • Going Nowhere Fast

    The economic numbers are almost beside the point aren’t they? If we are not technically back in recession, realistically we are. And we really haven’t been out of recession since the crash.

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