During a snow-battered January, US employment only rose 36,000, well-below the expected 145,000, according to the just-released jobs report by the Department of Labor. Unemployment also fell to 9% by .4 percentage points. While that looks odd on the face of it, the difference is largely because that rate is calculated using a different report than payroll data. So, how’s your job-search going? If the answer is, “poorly,” you’re in good company. [More]
If you’ve been unemployed 100 weeks or longer, you’re in luck. No, you’re not about to get a new job. But for the first time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will accurately track the length of time you’ve been unemployed when calculating long-term unemployment. Previously, the agency had to check off “99 weeks or over” for anyone unemployed longer than two years. See, the recession isn’t all bad, is it? [More]
The pace of job losses has slowed significantly, but the economy still divested itself of 190,000 jobs in October, sending the national unemployment rate to 10.2%, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It should be noted that the unemployment rate only tracks people actively seeking work.
Visual Economics has a fun chart that shows how many of each denomination of U.S. currency is in circulation, as well as their average lifespans. For some reason, the $5 bill has the shortest lifespan. Also, seriously, we need to stop producing pennies NOW.
The Daily Beast says it has determined which airlines in the U.S. are the safest by comparing the global statistics for the 25 airlines with the best safety records and those with the worst. Which is the safest? The answer may come as a surprise, since this methodology showed that AirTran is the safest national carrier.
People aren’t buying: Large appliances, furniture, and durable household goods
You already have a budget, you just probably haven’t seen it turned into a colorful graphic before. Here’s one that illustrates where all the money goes. Sadly, we spend about three times as much on tobacco as on reading, and yet almost nothing on strippers! (Unless that falls under “entertainment.”)
See, here’s some good news to the wallet-gouging gas prices of 2008: ridership of public transportation was up to 10.7 billion trips last year, “the highest level of ridership in 52 years” according to the American Public Transportation Association. It was the fifth consecutive year that ridership increased, but it may come to an end in 2009 because of skyrocketing unemployment.
Nancy Pelosi wants to scare the crap out of you, so her office has released the above scary graph, which we bring to you by way of Time’s Swampland blog.
Over a quarter-million passengers were bumped from flights in the past eight months, a number that is set to grow as airlines try to boost anemic profits by slashing fleets. The Department of Transportation requires airlines to compensate bumped passengers with cash or vouchers, but savvy passengers can leverage their situation to negotiate heftier payments…
Less than a week ago, Tennessee voted to require a personal finance class of all graduating high school students, starting with this year’s seventh graders. Unfortunately, less than 20% of states have similar requirements. We’ve made a fancy-schmancy graphic to show which states are teaching tomorrow’s citizens how to manage money, and which states are likely to be great places to set up payday loan shops. Inside, see the chart nice and big.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, half of US homes already have digital televisions. If you’re not one of them, you’ve got a year to switch—or make sure you hit up this site next Tuesday to get a coupon for a converter.
Mastercard reported on Sunday that, after a slight bump around Black Friday, sales of women’s clothing has dropped again, down 6% even while sales of men’s clothing has gone up 4.5%. They think it has to do with an overall weak year for women’s fashion, and the fact that mothers tend to cut back on new clothes for themselves first when faced with a tighter budget. The silver lining: there may be considerable discounts at women’s clothing retailers in the immediate future as they try to bump up sales at the last minute.
The FTC’s figure for identity theft in 2005 was 8.3 million Americans over the age of 18, a drop of about 16% from the 9.9 million it measured in 2003. (2005 is the most recent year for which they have data.) However, not only are consumer groups saying that these numbers are faulty, even the FTC admits in a footnote that “its conclusion is not ‘statistically significant’ because the sample size was too small.”
Surveys! Is there nothing they can’t measure? Apparently yes: the number of Americans who shop online while they’re at work. According to Spherion, 30% of workers use their computers at work to shop online during the holidays. Accountemps says the number is 21%, the Memphis Business Journal says 38%, and Shop.org says it’s 54.5%.
“Cyber Monday” spending rose 21% from last year. 61% of those purchases were made using computers at the office. [NYT]
A consortium of retailers and consumer suppliers are working with Nielsen Co., famous for its nonsensical television ratings system, to launch a large-scale study of consumer behavior in stores. The program is called PRISM, which stands for “Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric,” and it uses infrared sensors and manual counting, as well as genetic clones of our loved ones, to monitor not just what we buy but how we go about buying it. “About 70% of final purchase decision are made at the shelf,” says a Procter & Gamble rep. “The store has always been important – we just didn’t know enough about it.”