Random Interesting Economic Facts

Nice find by Caleb White,

Morgan Housel from The Motley Fool published an article about economics facts.

Here are some of the most interesting ones:

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

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

10. From 1929 to 1932, the total amount of money paid out in wages fell by 60%, according to historian Frederick Lewis Allen. By contrast, from 2007-2009, total American wages fell less than 5%. What we experienced in recent years was nothing close to the Great Depression.

14. At the height of his success, Andrew Carnegie’s annual income was 20,000 times the average American’s wage, according to historian Frederick Lewis Allen. That’s the equivalent of about $720 million in today’s economy. In 2010, hedge fund manager John Paulson earned $4.9 billion, or nearly seven times what Carnegie earned in his prime. The key difference: Carnegie made steel to construct buildings. Paulson bought derivatives to bet against them.

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.

23. A rare 1-cent coin from 1793 recently sold for $1.38 million. That sounds amazing until you realize it’s an annual return of less than 9%, or about the same as stocks have produced historically.

31. PCs outsold Macs by nearly 60-to-1 in 2004. Last year, the ratio was closer to 20-to-1, according to analyst Horace Dediu.

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.

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.

63. According to the Economist, “The average life expectancy of public companies shrank from 65 years in the 1920s to less than ten in the 1990s.”

64. According to The New York Times: “In the last five years, the United States and Canada combined have become the fastest-growing sources of new oil supplies around the world, overtaking producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

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.

78. Ten years ago, people were stunned when overnight lending rates plunged to 2.5%. Today, that’s the yield on 30-year bonds.

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.

) 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.


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