Archive for March, 2012

World Income in PPP Dollars. Where Do You Stack Up?

March 30, 2012

This chart shows the world’s monthly wages in purchasing power parity US dollars. If you click through the image, you can enter in your wages and compare them within your country and across the world. Give it a try!

It’s worth noting that although average wages are fairly high, median wages are much lower. The average is pulled up, of course, by the extreme wages of the world’s super-rich. For example, the average US wage listed here is $3,263 a month, but the median US wage is only $2,197 per month.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claim Dropped 3,500 Last Week

March 29, 2012

Initial unemployment claims dropped 3,500, or .9%, to 365,000 last week. This brought down the 4-week moving average to 359,000. The week of March 12 was revised up by 20,000 claims.

Natural Gas Prices Halved Since March 2011

March 28, 2012

US natural gas nearby future prices have precipitously declined since last March. Due to the extremely mild winter, US natural gas inventories stockpiled and the price dropped to the record low seen in the chart.

Nearly All Home Price Indices Dropped in January

March 27, 2012

The 10-city index fell 1.24 points, or .8%, in January 2012 while the 20-city dropped 1.15 points or .8%. The only cities with an increase were Phoenix which is up .93 points (.9%), Washington which is up 1.24 points (.7%), and Miami which is up .89 points (.7%). The biggest declines were San Francisco falling 3.25 points (2.5%),  Portland dropping 2.80 points (2.1%), and Chicago slipping 2.08 points (1.9%).

For more information, see our Home Price Index Report.

Why Do US Gas Prices Vary So Much?

March 27, 2012

Among other things, taxes:

Click through the images to read more.

After 79 Years, Prohibition Still in Effect in More Than 200 US Counties

March 23, 2012

This maps shows the wet, “moist,” and dry counties in America.

–From the BBC

Unemployment Claims Down 5,000 Last Week

March 22, 2012

Initial unemployment claims dropped 5,000, or 1.4%, to 348,000 last week. Although this drop is yet another week of good employment news, it looks even better compared to the last few years. This week’s claims are down 11.7% over this week in 2011 and an incredible 24.3% lower than March of 2010.

The last time weekly claims were this low was the week of February 11-15, 2008. In other words, unemployment has spent another week at pre-recession levels.

–from the St. Louis Federal Reserve and the Bureau of Labor Statistics

American Retirement Saving — Is It Enough?

March 22, 2012

Housing Starts Down 1.1% in February

March 21, 2012

Housing starts dropped 8,000, or 1.1%, to 698,000 in February 2012. Starts are up 34.7% over last February and 15.8% over two years ago. In addition housing is down 69.3% from it’s pre-burst peak, reached in January 2006.

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

February Consumer Price Index at 228.4, Up .9 Points

March 16, 2012

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased .9 points in February to 228.4. This is an increase of 2.9% over February 2011 and a 5% increase over two years ago.

The CPI of gasoline tells a much different story, however. The gas CPI is up 14.3 points, or 4.9%, to 305.1. However, even with the rapidly rising gas prices it is still 12.6% lower than last February.

For more information see our CPI Report and our Gas Report.

-From the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the St. Louis Federal Reserve