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Tidbits about the economy for Did-You-Know fans

By Dian Vujovich

Every now and then a list comes along that’s worth a read through for any number of reasons. Like, for instance, the one from The Motley Fool that arrived in my email last week.


Titled “100 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Economy” , complied by The Fool’s finance and economics columnist Morgan Housel, I’ve selected a number of entries and listed them by topic—something the author didn’t do. So here goes:


About stocks and the markets:


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


– 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 and Cisco, accounted for one-fifth of the index’s return.


– Delaware, a famous business haven, has more corporations than people — 945,000 to 897,000, according to The New York Times. One office building in Wilmington is home to more than a quarter-million registered businesses.


– 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.

– 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.


– A composite hedge fund index has returned 1.3% year to date as of July 11. The S&P 500 returned 8.3% during that time. People call the former “smart money.”


About the workforce:


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


– 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.


– 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.


About income and wealth:


– 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.


– Adjusted for inflation, the median average hourly wage was lower in 2011 than it was in 2001.


– From 1970 to 2012, median household income increased at one-tenth the rate it did from 1949-1979.


– Federal Reserve economist Bhashkar Mazumder has shown that incomes among brothers are more correlated than height or weight.


– In Russia, 0.00007% of the population (100 people) controls 20% of the wealth.


About government spending:


– Federal government spending declined year over year in the third quarter of 2011 for the first time since 1955.


– 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.


About future economic projections:


– 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. Most people are terrible at predicting the future — even (or especially) experts.


Read the full 100 list at : http://tinyurl.com/cpp889a

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