By Morgan Housel
April 5, 2012
In no particular order, here are 50 things about our economy that blow my mind:
50. The S&P 500 is down 3% from 2000. But a version of the index that holds all 500 companies in equal amounts (rather than skewed by market cap) is up nearly 90%.
49. According to economist Tyler Cowen, “Thirty years ago, college graduates made 40 percent more than high school graduates, but now the gap is about 83 percent.”
48. Of all non-farm jobs created since June 2009, 88% have gone to men. “The share of men saying the economy was improving jumped to 41 percent in March, compared with 26 percent of women,” reports Bloomberg.
47. A record $6 billion will be spent on the 2012 elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Adjusted for inflation, that’s 60% more than the 2000 elections.
46. In 2010, nearly half of Americans lived in a household that received direct government benefits. That’s up from 37.7% in 1998.
45. Adjusted for inflation, federal tax revenue was the same in 2009 as it was 1997, even though the U.S. population grew by 37 million during that period.
44. In November 2009, the nationwide unemployment was around 10%. But dig into demographics, and the rates are incredibly skewed. The unemployment rate for young, uneducated African-American males was 48.5%. For Caucasian females over age 45 with a college degree, it was 3.7%.
43. About the same number of people was awarded bachelor’s degrees in 2010 as filed for personal bankruptcy (1.6 million).
42. According to The Wall Street Journal, “U.S. refineries are producing more gasoline and diesel than ever. And Americans’ gasoline consumption is at an 11-year-low.”
41. Americans spend an average of 1.8% of their income on alcohol and tobacco. In the U.K., it’s 4.8%.
40. In 2009, 5% of Americans accounted for 50% of all health care costs.
Read the rest here.Comments »