Sunday, August 15, 2010

The world just keeps on changing.

Post 542 - Here's this week's discoveries. The world just keeps on changing doesn't it? I guess that's both the good news and the bad news.....

Amid weak job and housing markets, consumers are saving more and spending less than they have in decades, and industry professionals expect that trend to continue. Consumers saved 6.4 percent of their after-tax income in June, according to a new government report. Before the recession, the rate was 1 to 2 percent for many years. In June, consumer spending and personal incomes were essentially flat compared with May, suggesting that the American economy, as dependent as it is on shoppers opening their wallets and purses, isn’t likely to rebound anytime soon.

The International Labor Organization said about 81 million people ages 15 to 24 were unemployed worldwide at the end of 2009 and the number would probably climb further.

Research shows that spending money for an experience - concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in San Diego - produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on just plain old stuff.

Turnover costs are usually underestimated. For instance, ROI expert Jack Phillips says that the cost of losing entry-level employees ranges between 30 and 50 percent of the employees’ annual salaries. For higher-level employees, the estimates are far greater – between 125 and 200 percent for midlevel managers and between 200 and 400 percent for software engineers. (see Phillips, J. (2005). Investing in your Company’s Human Capital. New York, NY: Amacom.)

Chief Executive magazine’s CEO Confidence Index, the nation’s only monthly CEO Confidence Index, fell one-third (33.2 percent) in July, to 79.8. All five components of the index fell significantly, with the Current Confidence Index showing the largest percentage decrease of 60.4 percent - dropping to 52.0. The Investment Confidence Index fell by 40.8% to 79.0. Fully 24% more CEOs rated investment opportunities as “bad” in July than in June. One CEO lamented, “New ventures and new venture funding are basically non-existent.”

Pew's latest research about American broadband shows that 21% of U.S. adults don't use the Internet. Why not? Almost a third say they're "just not interested." Others find it too expensive, too difficult, or think they're too old. Pew also says 22% of the people who don't use the Internet used it in the past but don't anymore. Only 10% of non-internet users say they'd like to start using in the future, a number that hasn't changed since Pew started asking it in 2002. (Especially older folks.) If only they knew about the joys of FarmVille...

Nearly all age groups are spending less time talking on the phone; boomers in their mid 50s and early 60s are the only ones still yakking. The fall in calls is driven by 18- to 34-year-olds whose average monthly voice minutes have plunged from about 1,200 to 900 in the past two years, according to research by Nielsen. Texting among 18- to 24-year-olds has more than doubled in the same period, from an average of 600 messages a month two years ago to more than 1,400 texts a month today. Not only are people making fewer calls, they’re also having shorter conversations when they call. And land lines are disappearing. Verizon says its hard-wired phone connections have dropped from 50 million in 2005 to 30 million this year.

And finally, research shows that men in areas with too few women have a shorter life expectancy. This seems to back up my late father’s observation that, “You can’t live with ‘em and you can’t live without ‘em.”

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