Bloomberg with a nice article about the continued increase in prices for higher ed, as well as the increasing rate of student defaults. I believe that someone or some company, very soon, is going to develop an alternative to traditional higher ed that offers a similar education and a similar “signalling” effect to employers of graduates at half the price of traditional higher ed. This will cause havoc in the field of education, like what Toyota and Nissan did to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in the 70s and 80s.
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Not surprising that San Francisco voted overwhelmingly for Obama, although the magnitude for Obama was significant at 83%. I wonder if there are any other cities or counties in America that voted as overwhelmingly for Obama. I also wonder which cities or counties voted most overwhelmingly for Romney.
Also of interest was turnout in San Francisco at 56%, which seems low to me. We are looking into historical turnout nationwide and how it compares to the recent election. Almost half of those who voted in San Francisco did so by mail, which seems like a big number and I’m curious as to how that compares to the past. My sense (unconfirmed) is that vote-by-mail has been increasing, which is unusual given my other suspicion (mostly unconfirmed) that snail mail has been losing share to e-mail in the last 15 years. I think likely that the voters who prefer vote-by-mail to physically going to a polling station would prefer online voting even more so, but online voting is not available.
Follow up #1: Politico has a great site with election information by county. I looked at one state and found a number of lop-sided counties for Romney, but was also interested to find a number of lop-sided counties for Obama in Alabama. http://www.politico.com/2012-election/results/president/alabama/
Among major global industrial nations, the US is projected to have significantly lower production costs than its competitors. According to the Boston Consulting Group study, the US is expected to have a cost advantage over manufactured good exports of 5% to 25%. In addition, the cost gap of producing $1 worth of goods between China and the US is expected to shrink from twelve to 7 cents.
–from The Financial Times
Canada’s initial 2011 census data was released today. Canada’s population increased 5.9% in the past 5 years to 34,482,779. The country’s center of gravity is continuing the slow shift westward–provinces East of Ontario account for 30.6% of the population while those West of Ontario now make up 30.7%. For more information, check out the visual census.
-From Statistics Canada
Disposable personal income increased $47 billion dollars to $11.6 trillion dollars in December 2011. This increase comes after a $4 billion dollar decrease in November. Disposable income has been above pre-recession levels since February 2011, but was plateauing until this large one-month increase. Real disposable personal income increased $34.2 billion to $10.16 trillion. This is also a substantial increase over November, but just below the recent real high of $10.17 trillion reached in June 2011. Hopefully, this signifies a continued increase after nearly a year of near-flat disposable income increases.
-From the St. Louis Federal Reserve
According to data released today, the interest on required balances and excess reserves stands at 0.25% as of January 16th, 2012.
The rate has remained constant since December of 2008 , taking a steep fall from 1% in November 2008.
-From the St.Louis Federal Reserve.
As per data released today, the Prime Bank Loan Rate stood at 3.25%. This rate is charged by banks from their most credit worthy customers. The Prime Bank Loan Rate has remained at 3.25% since January 2009. Interest rates are currently at very low levels over the last two decades, perhaps in an effort to encourage borrowing and business activity.
-Reported from the St. Louis Federal Reserve.
As reported today, Commercial Paper Outstanding stands at $959.3 Billion as of Dec 28th, 2012.
Commercial Paper Outstanding was at $2,200 billion at around the end of 2007 when the economy was in an expansion mode and is currently at less than half the previous level.
Commercial paper, used by corporations to meet short-term financial obligations is less that the levels in 2007, probably due to a slowdown in the economy.
Reported from the St. Louis Federal Reserve.
The ten-year treasury constant maturity rate stands at 1.94% as of Dec 20th, 2011. This rate is currently at one of its lowest points since 1960.
These treasury rates may have intentionally been kept low to increase money supply.
- Reported from the St.Louis Federal Reserve
The NAHB homebuilder index increased to 21 this month from 19 in November. Any value below 50 is considered a negative outlook of home-building. The index is at its highest point since May of 2010. This is third month of increases in a row.
–From the NAHB