In BSW Blog, BSW Philosophy

Every week we sift through an immense volume of economic, financial, and investment data.  Below please find a few items that caught our attention and, we hope, also pique yours.

Someone’s back in the market . . . for a new car.

Can the Auto Industry help lead a revival in US Manufacturing and bolster US GDP?

-10.8 Years: Average age of cars and light trucks in the US, up from 8.4 years in 1996.  The current fleet of US cars is the oldest average age since researchers began tracking the statistic.   Source: R.L Polk & Co.

-13.6 Million: Most recent seasonally adjusted annual rate of light vehicle sales (November 2011).  The 30-year average is 14.7 million light vehicle sales annually. Source: BEA Fact Set

-$7,000: Amount of profit-sharing checks distributed to General Motor’s hourly-wage workers in the United States per following the company’s 2011 results — a new profit-sharing record for GM. Source: SF Chronicle


How goes housing? Well, nationally . . . . 

~600,000: New homes constructed in 2011.

~300,000: Approximate number for homes demolished each year for  whatever reason.

~1.2 million: Number of housing units needed each year to accommodate population growth (through births and immigration, net of deaths and emigration).

~1.5 million: Total housing units needed (1.2 million new + 300,000 replacements).

~40%: Percentage of housing demand being met by current new construction. Sources (All): NBLS & Census Bureau

As many BSW clients know, it’s a nice time to own apartments or be a landlord . . .

-$708: National average monthly rental rate. Source: Census Bureau

-$1,038: Average month rental rate in Boulder County — an all-time record. Source: Boulder County Business Report

But a bad time to be looking for a job . . . especially for young people.

-90%: Percentage of US metro areas that have failed to recoup the jobs lost during the recession, which supposedly ended in 2009 — underscoring the slow pace of the recovery. Source: Bloomberg

-45.7%: Percentage of young adults 18-24 who are unemployed — the highest rate since the government began tracking the data in 1948. Source: Pew Research

Politics, politics, politics . . . uggh.

-$60,000: What Newt Gingrich, who has been critical of fellow Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s track record at Bain Capital, was paid in 2010 to give a speech praising the private-equity industry. Source: Bloomberg


Economic Downers — mortgage losses and low rates.

-$72 Billion: Estimated costs from underwater mortgages and shoddy foreclosures at the biggest US banks, following the recent settlement of a 50-state probe into the industry’s lending and foreclosure practices. Source: Bloomberg

-0.59%: National average of interest rates on bank deposits at the end of December, down from 0.8% in January 2010. Source: Market Rates Insight

-53: Number of consecutive months of declining interest rates — the longest and deepest of the five periods of decline in the past 20 years. Source: Market Rates Insight

Australia: The Saudi Arabia of Rocks (per my 01.08.12 Portfolio Commentary)

-2,740: Number of Australians with assets greater than Australian $30 million (US$32.4 million).  Australia now has one of the highest concentrations of ultra-wealthy individuals in the world, one person in 8,155.  Due to the mining boom, many mine workers are also making more than AU$200,000 per year. Sources: Wealth X & NY Times

Despite having earned roughly US$1 million since he started, Australian miner and high school-dropout James Dinnison has no savings and doesn’t apologize. ‘The mines are so dull, that when you get back here, everything is stimulation and excitement.’ Click the picture for the full story.

 

Lottery Returns: Apparently recession-proof and maybe even counter-cyclical!

-$251: Average sum each American adult spent on lottery tickets in 2011 (up from $191 in 2010), totaling $59 billion.  Average return on this $251 spent? 53 cents.


And, finally, from the salvation and humor department . . .

Have a great weekend,

-David Wolf, Chief Investment Officer

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