Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
We measure consumers’ use of cash by harmonizing payment diary surveys from seven countries. The seven diary surveys were conducted in 2009 (Canada), 2010 (Australia), 2011 (Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands), and 2012 (the United States). Our paper finds cross-country differences — for example, the level of cash use differs across countries. Cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. We also find that the use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-of-sale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.
NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2013.
Also in today’s release is a list of the top 25 2013 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2013.
For 2013, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were (total thefts in parentheses):
1. Honda Accord (53,995)
2. Honda Civic (45,001)
3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (27,809)
4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (26,494)
5. Toyota Camry (14,420)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,347)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,911)
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (9,272)
9. Toyota Corolla (9,010)
10. Nissan Altima (8,892)
2014 Retail Credit Card Survey data
Higher APRs, more use-anywhere cards and fancier, tiered rewards are now prominent features of retail store credit card programs, according to the 2014 CreditCards.com Retail Credit Card Survey.
The chart below provides details of the 61 retail credit cards issued by the 36 largest retailers in the U.S. that offer cards. Both the retailers’ store-only cards and their general use (co-branded) cards are included.
Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics
- Oliver and Amelia were the most popular first names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2013. Amelia has been in the top spot since 2011 while Oliver replaced Harry, the top name in 2011 and 2012.
- In England, Amelia was the most popular name in all regions and Oliver was the most popular name in five out of the nine regions.
- In Wales, Oliver was the most popular name, replacing Jacob, while Amelia has been the most popular name since 2012.
- Oscar and George replaced Alfie and Riley in the top 10 most popular names, climbing from number 17 to 7 and number 12 to 10 respectively.
- Poppy replaced Lily in the top 10 most popular names, climbing from number 13 to 7.
The journey to digital business is the key theme of Gartner, Inc.’s “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014.” As the Gartner Hype Cycle celebrates its 20th year, Gartner said that as enterprises set out on the journey to becoming digital businesses, identifying and employing the right technologies at the right time will be critical.
Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle Special Report provides strategists and planners with an assessment of the maturity, business benefit and future direction of more than 2,000 technologies, grouped into 119 areas. New Hype Cycles this year include Digital Workplace, Connected Homes, Enterprise Mobile Security, 3D Printing and Smart Machines.
The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that business strategists, chief innovation officers, R&D leaders, entrepreneurs, global market developers and emerging technology teams should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios.
Free registration required.
Global Investor Confidence in US Soars for Third Straight Year, According to 2014 Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey
Global investor confidence in the United States significantly increased for the third year in a row, driven by a combination of favorable capital markets, abundant investment opportunities in innovative companies and a strong investor climate, according to the 2014 Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey from Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association. Moreover, global investor confidence also increased in the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada, but continued to decline in Brazil, China and India, according to the survey.
2014 Global Peace Index
Source: Institute for Economics & Peace
The 2014 Global Peace Index shows a continuation of the seven year trend for declining levels of peace globally.
- Since 2008 51 countries have improved while 111 countries have deteriorated in peace
- The world has become 4% less peaceful since 2008
- Europe remains the most peaceful region, with 14 of the top 20 most peaceful countries
- Syria has replaced Afghanistan at the bottom of the index, with its Global Peace Index score falling 84% since 2008
- Georgia showed the largest improvement in peace levels
- The total economic impact of containing violence is estimated to be US$9.46 trillion in 2012
The top three most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Small and stable democracies make up the top ten most peaceful countries. New Zealand, Canada and Japan are the only non-European countries in the top ten.
The three least peaceful countries are South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. Levels of peace in South Sudan deteriorated the most since 2013, falling 16 places from last year.
The world global average peace score deteriorated slightly since last year, mainly due to global increases in terrorist activity, the number of conflicts fought and the number of refugees and displaced people.
Arkansas, Kentucky Report Sharpest Drops in Uninsured Rate; Medicaid expansion, state exchanges linked to faster reduction in uninsured rate
Arkansas and Kentucky lead all other states in the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rate among adult residents since the healthcare law’s requirement to have insurance took effect at the beginning of the year. Delaware, Washington, and Colorado round out the top five. All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership.
The Silicon Valley Wage Premium
Source: Brookings Institution
Software application developers earn large salaries in the United States, $96,260 a year on average. But in metropolitan San Jose they earn $131,270, the highest in the country. There are many partial explanations for this—local cost of living, differences in education levels, experience, and industry—but none of them quite account for it. It turns out that developers living in San Jose have acquired the specific skills most valued by employers.
As the map below shows, there is a huge amount of variation in earnings for software application developers across regional labor markets. In large metropolitan areas like New York, they earn $105,000, but in Louisville, they earn just $72,000.
Top US Industries for Women
It is undoubtedly a good time to be a female professional in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) most recent databook on women in the labor force, the unemployment rate for women was lower in 2012 than it was for men, and 38.0% of employed women aged 25 to 64 earned college degrees that year, up from just 11.0% in 1970. Data from the US Department of Education illustrates this achievement gap: in 2013, more than half of all associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded to women. The growing female share of college degrees has benefited women in the workforce; in 2011, 28.1% of wives in dual-income families made more than their husbands, marking an increase of more than 10.0% since 1987 (latest available data).
However, workplace conditions have not been entirely rosy for women. The BLS notes that women continue to represent a minority in wage and salary worker unions, and 8.3% of all female military veterans were unemployed in 2012, compared with just 6.9% of male veterans. Employed women work fewer hours per week than men, and more working women than working men live below the poverty line. Even female entrepreneurs and higher-paid working women contend with significant disadvantages in the business world; across all professions, women are estimated to earn only 82.0% of what men earn. In highly paid professions, the gap is even more egregious. For instance, female physicians and surgeons earned an estimated 28.3% less than their male counterparts in 2013.
Nevertheless, women have more opportunities today than ever before. Using its database of more than 700 industry reports, in conjunction with BLS employment statistics, IBISWorld has narrowed down six industries that offer unique employment advantages for women. These industries are characterized by strong growth in revenue and employment, particularly in the number of female workers.
Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters
On August 6, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center released updated information on 2013 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters and several new tools to assist users in analyzing the data. These new features allow users to better explore the type, frequency and cost of U.S. billion-dollar events by state and year, from 1980 to 2013.
Based on updated financial information, NOAA is adding two new disasters to the 2013 total to include an Illinois Flooding and Severe Weather that occurred April 16-19, 2013, and a Midwest Severe Weather event that occurred August 6-7, 2013. This brings the total number of 2013 billion-dollar weather and climate events to nine. The estimated cost of damages from these events is $23 billion dollars.
NOAA also reanalyzed the entire period of record to examine events that were close to $1 billion threshold. Based on this reanalysis, 17 were added events to the entire period of record dating back to 1980, including several drought in the early part of the record.
According to a Princeton Review survey that asked 130,000 students at 379 top colleges to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences, the college at which students reported the highest satisfaction with their financial aid awards was Pomona College (CA).
Northeastern University (MA) earned the #1 spot on the list, “Best Career Services” (a ranking category the Princeton Review created at the urging of a college parent in 2007). The college ranked tops for “Best Science Facilities” – and for the 2nd consecutive year – was California Institute of Technology: its students gave their lab facilities the strongest ratings in the survey. The school at which students gave their professors the highest marks as teachers was Reed College (OR).
Lists of the top 20 colleges in these and 58 other categories will post today at http://www.princetonreview.com. The lists are also published in the new edition of Princeton Review’s annual college guide, “The Best 379 Colleges” (Random House / Princeton Review Books, 2015 Edition, $23.99) on sale tomorrow, August 5.
Free registration required.
An Interstate Analysis of Right to Work Laws
Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute
The compelling preponderance of evidence suggests there is a substantial, significant, and positive relationship between economic growth in a state and the presence of a right to work (RTW) law.
This paper presents a labor economics analysis of the effect of right to work laws on state economies, and ranks states’ per capita income loss from not having an RTW law. People have been migrating in large numbers from non- RTW states to RTW ones. The evidence suggests that economic growth is greater in RTW states.
Xtreme Eating 2014
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest
When we were screening candidates for the first Xtreme Eating awards in 2007, we were shocked to see 1,500-calorie entrées. This year, nearly all of our “winners” hit (or just missed) the 2,000-calorie mark. And a few doozies topped 3,000 calories. You could take half home and still overeat.
The sad truth is that it’s not hard to find Xtreme Eating winners. Virtually every chain has viable contenders. But this year, we’re giving a special XXXtreme Eating award to The Cheesecake Factory. It took three of our nine coveted spots…and, as usual, it could easily have filled all nine. Congrats!
State Differences in the Cost of Job-Related Health Insurance, 2013
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
This Statistical Brief presents state variations from the national average of the cost of job-related health insurance and how these costs are shared by employers and their employees. The Brief specifically examines the average premiums and employee contributions for private-sector establishments in the 10 most populous states in 2013, using the most recent data available from the Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-IC).
International Religious Freedom Report for 2013
Source: U.S. Department of State
In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory. In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. Out of fear or by force, entire neighborhoods are emptying of residents. Communities are disappearing from their traditional and historic homes and dispersing across the geographic map. In conflict zones, in particular, this mass displacement has become a pernicious norm.
In Syria, as in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming a shadow of its former self. After three years of civil war, hundreds of thousands fled the country desperate to escape the ongoing violence perpetrated by the government and extremist groups alike. In the city of Homs the number of Christians dwindled to as few as 1,000 from approximately 160,000 prior to the conflict. Elsewhere, in the Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and an upsurge in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims reportedly resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December alone and the displacement of more than one million people throughout the country during the year.
Anti-Muslim violence in Meikhtila, Burma, led to up to 100 deaths and an estimated 12,000 displaced residents from the area in early 2013. This event showed that mob violence against Muslims was no longer confined to western Rakhine State, where over 140,000 persons have also been displaced since 2012. Although the government’s overall human rights record continued to improve, organized anti-Muslim hate speech, harassment, and discrimination against Muslims continued, exploited by those seeking to divide and pit Buddhist and Muslim communities against one another, often for political gain.
All around the world, individuals were subjected to discrimination, violence and abuse, perpetrated and sanctioned violence for simply exercising their faith, identifying with a certain religion, or choosing not to believe in a higher deity at all.
NAR Identifies Best Purchase Markets for Aspiring Millennial Homebuyers
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
First-time homebuyers have been largely absent from the housing market in the current economic recovery, but some metropolitan areas – particularly in the Midwest and West – are well positioned to see increases in home-buying from the Millennial generation in upcoming years, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors®.
NAR analyzed current housing conditions, job creation and population trends in metropolitan statistical areas1 across the U.S. to determine the best markets for aspiring, leading edge Millennial2 homebuyers. Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City were identified as top standouts for Millennials for having a young adult population with solid job growth rates and still relatively affordable home prices. Seven of the 10 metro areas recognized are in the Midwest and West.
Around one in seven students in the 13 OECD countries and economies that took part in the first OECD PISA international assessment of financial literacy are unable to make even simple decisions about everyday spending, and only one in ten can solve complex financial tasks.
Some 29 000 15 year-olds in 18 countries and economies* took part in the test, which assessed the knowledge and skills of teenagers in dealing with financial issues, such as understanding a bank statement, the long-term cost of a loan or knowing how insurance works.
Shanghai-China had the highest average score in financial literacy, followed by the Flemish Community of Belgium, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Poland.
The gender gap in financial literacy was much smaller than in OECD PISA tests in maths or reading, with there being no significant difference between the performance of boys and girls, except in Italy.
But the inequality gap mirrors that in key school subjects: more socio-economically advantaged students scored much higher than less-advantaged students on average across participating OECD countries and economies. Non-immigrant students also performed slightly better than immigrant students from a similar socio-economic status. The gap between the two groups is larger than the OECD average in the Flemish Community of Belgium, Estonia, France, Slovenia and Spain.
The survey also revealed that skills in mathematics and reading are very closely related to financial literacy. However, high proficiency in one of these subjects does not always signal strong performance in financial literacy.