Saturday, July 21, 2012

100 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Economy

Morgan Housel relates some interesting numbers.  Here are some of them.

1. The unemployment rate for men is 8.4%. For married men, it's 4.9%.

2. The unemployment rate for college graduates is 3.9%. For high school dropouts, it's 13%.

3. According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2010, "for every 1% decrease in shareholder return, the average CEO was paid 0.02% more."

7. China's labor force grew by 145 million from 1990 to 2008. The entire U.S. labor force today is 156 million.

8. In 1998, oil industry executives told Congress that oil would average $10 a barrel for the following decade. In reality, it averaged $44.9 a barrel.

9. In 1999, one of the best years for the market ever, more than half of stocks in the S&P 500 declined. Two companies, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and Cisco, accounted for one-fifth of the index's return.

12. China's working-age population is expected to shrink by more than 200 million between now and 2050. The U.S.' is expected to rise by 47 million.

16. In Russia, 0.00007%  of the population (100 people) controls 20% of the wealth.  [talk about the 1%..]

19. For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, California will spend $8.7 billion on prisons and $4.8 billion on its UC and state college systems.

24. The U.S. makes up less than 5% of the world's population, but a third of the world's spending on pharmaceuticals, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare.

25. Average monthly rent in New York City ($2,935) is about the same as the nationwide average monthly income ($3,052).

27. In 1929 -- the golden year before the Great Depression-- 60% of American households earned a wage below what Brookings Institution economists classified as "sufficient to supply only basic necessities." Well over half the country lived in poverty, in other words. One-fifth of households earned half the poverty wage.

30. Since 1994, stock market returns are flat if the three days before the Federal Reserve announces interest-rate policy are removed.

33. If you earn minimum wage, you'll need to work 923 hours to pay for a year at an average public four-year college. In 1980, it took 254 hours.

43. Ten percent of Medicare recipients who received hospital care made up 64% of the program's hospital spending in 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal.

45. As a percentage of GDP, government spending was higher in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan than it will be this fiscal year (23.5% vs. 23.3%, respectively), according to data by the Tax Policy Center.

46. More government jobs were eliminated on net in 2010 than in any other year since at least 1939. As a percentage of government workers, the decline was the largest since 1947.

47. According to Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois, the added weight carried by vehicles due to obesity in America consumes an additional 938 million gallons of gasoline a year.

48. The median American family's net worth fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finance. That erased nearly two decades of accumulated wealth.

49. According to UCLA: "Only 3.1 percent of the world's children live in the United States, but U.S. families buy more than 40 percent of the toys consumed globally."

51. A study of retired investors between 1999 and 2009 showed those who hired a stockbroker underperformed those managing their own money by 1.5% a year. "Fees accounted for only about half the gap," writes Jason Zweig of The Wall Street Journal.

60. Since 1968, the U.S. population has increased from 200 million to 314 million, and federal government employees have declined from 2.9 million to 2.8 million.

61. According to the Boston Consulting Group, manufacturing wages, benefits and taxes are $22.30 an hour in America, compared with $2 an hour in China. But since American factory workers are more productive, China's effective labor costs are only 55% lower than Americans, and may drop to less than a third later this decade.

65. As of June 2011, 32% of American homes were cellphone only, up from 17.5% in 2008, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

66. Solar panel prices have plunged 82% since 2009, according to Bloomberg.

71. In 1989, the CEOs of the seven largest U.S. banks earned an average of 100 times what a typical household made. By 2007, more than 500 times.

72. In 1990, the three largest U.S. banks held 10% of the industry's assets. By 2008, the top three controlled 40% of the assets.

73. Clean water and sewers were voted "the greatest medical advance" since 1840 by readers of the British Journal of Medicine.

75. America is home to less than 5% of the world's population, but nearly a quarter of its prisoners.

79. In May this year, the Dow fell 18 days and rose four days -- the worst combination since 1903. It never posted two consecutive gains, likely for the first time ever.

81. According to John Cawley of Cornell and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University, obese people incur annual medical costs $2,741 higher than non-obese people, or almost $200 billion nationwide.

82. According to economist Christina Romer, real GDP per capita in American grew 0.58% a year from 1800-1840; 1.44% from 1840-1880; 1.78% from 1880-1920; 1.68% from 1920-1960, and 1.82% from 1960-1991.  We not only grew richer, but at an increasing rate.

83. In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office estimated federal tax receipts would be $3.4 trillion in 2012. In reality, they'll be around $2.5 trillion.

86. According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, 80% of all income growth from 1980 to 2005 went to the top 1% of wage earners.

88. If you're fed up with unemployment caused by offshoring, you'll love this: According to a 2006 Government Accountability Organization study, the processing of unemployment insurance claims are partially offshored in several states.

90. We tend to underestimate how powerful the agriculture boom has been in the last century. The 1952 book The Big Change describes life in America in the year 1900: "In most parts of the United States people were virtually without fresh fruit and green vegetables from late autumn to late spring."

92. According to biographer Ron Chernow, John D. Rockefeller's net worth peaked at $900 million in 1913. That equaled 2.3% of the U.S. economy. A comparable net worth today would be $340 billion, or eight times richer than Warren Buffett.

94. According to Morgan Stanley, 9% of all S&P trading volume is in Apple stock. One in 25 of all hedge funds has more than 10% of their fund in Apple.

96. America is aging. Older workers (age 55+) are about to overtake younger workers (age 25-34) for the first time.

97. According to the Pew Research Center, every one of the eight largest EU nations ranks Germany as the hardest working  -- except for Greece, which ranks itself as the hardest working. Five of the eight rank Greece as the least hardworking.

98. In 1900, the standard American workweek was 10 hours a day, six days week. Historian Frederick Lewis Allen notes in a 1952 essay: "If anybody had suggested a five-day week he would have been considered demented."

99. Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) claims 100 billion friend connections have been made on its social network. That's about the same number of humans that have ever lived since 50,000 B.C., according to the Population Reference Bureau.

For more on the recession's impact on the economy, check out my latest e-book, 50 Years in the Making: The Great Recession and Its Aftermath for your iPad, Kindle, on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It's short, packed with information, and costs less than a buck.

***

[8/3/12] The economy has added 4 million jobs since February 2010, when the jobs market bottomed. But that's just 46% of the 8.78 million jobs lost between February 2008 and the 2010 low. About 4.5 million private-sector jobs were added in that period, which means public-sector employment fell by a half million. Most of that is in the state and local government sectors, primarily in education.

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