Teenagers Texting While Driving Have Doubled Since 2010

We spotted this rather dangerous stat today – since the year 2010, the number of teenagers texting while driving has doubled. Where do these numbers come from? The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (Source)

Before you try to digest that number, here are some more numbers showing how widespread the problem really is:

1. At any given time there are more than 600,000 drivers using a cell phone or some other electronic device
2. Almost half, or 48.6%, of all drivers in the U.S. have admitted to answering incoming phone calls
3. One in four has admitted to placing a call

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Strong Currency = Manufacturing Job Cuts: It Is That Direct In Australia

We spotted this stat today, that GM Holden, the Australian unit of General Motors, is cutting 500 jobs, or 18 percent of its workforce. But what caught our attention is the reason cited by the company – The Australian dollar has traded above parity with the U.S. dollar for more than two years and has appreciated markedly against the Japanese Yen, making it more difficult for Australian manufacturers to compete with Japanese carmakers.(Source)

How do we digest this stat? as countries compete to depreciate their currencies to keep their manufacturing and exports competitive, the international trade community has a very real problem in their hands.

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15 Percent Of U.S. Receives Food Stamps (47.3 Million People)

It is a well-known fact now, that the number of people living on food stamps in the US is at an all-time high. We spotted a number that gives some perspective on the scale of things – some 15 percent of US receives food stamps (Source)

That is one-in-seven Americans. Stated that way, the number suddenly looks real bad. And the people living closest to the President fared the worst – 23 percent of the population in Washington D.C. received food stamps.

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5 Days: Time Taken For USCIS To Reach Cap On H1B Petitions This Year

Well that is definitely some record. It had taken 10 weeks last year, and in the year before that it took three times longer – but this year, in just 5 days, the USCIS has received enough petitions to fulfill the statutory cap of 65,000 H-1B petitions and 20,000 H-1B advanced degree exemption petitions from employers. They were allowed to file this paperwork only starting April 1. (Source)

How do we digest this number? One, employers are definitely seeing a lot of value in the H1B program and two, there is a huge mismatch between demand and supply. The main issue though, is about jobs being lost to foreign workers.

The record though belongs to the year 2008 – the window closed in one day in 2008.

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78 Percent Of Bitcoins Are Hoarded: Quantitative Analysis Of Transactions

We had written about this before – that a very significant percentage of Bitcoins are actually hoarded. We had asked this recently as well: Bitcoin’s Rise: What If It Is Not A Bubble?

We spotted that stat again today, via Priceonomics: “If we sum up the amounts accumulated at the 609,270 addresses which only receive and never send any BTC’s [bitcoins], we see that they contain 7,019,100 BTC’s, which are almost 78% of all existing BTC’s.”

Source: Quantitative Analysis of the Full Bitcoin Transaction Graph

78 percent of Bitcoins are hoarded. Add the Buzz element, and we can clearly see that there is only one direction this could move: up.

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Subprime Auto Loans: 6.6 Mn Borrowers In 2012, 18% Increase From 2011

Wear your seat belts. Subprime Reloaded is here. We spotted this stat today, that there has been a surge in subprime auto loans across the US. 6.6 million borrowers took out subprime auto loans from car dealers in 2012, an 18% increase from the prior year. And who is funding these loans? Listen to this: “These loans are being bundled, sliced and sold to yield-hungry fixed-income investors: so far this year, lenders have sold $5.7 billion in securities backed by subprime auto loans, up 13% over the same period in 2012.” (Source)

Sounds familiar? We are not saying that the next step would be to make some derivatives out of these securities backed by subprime auto loans. We are also not saying that you can use a particular three letter acronym starting with C and ending with O to represent these derivatives.

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What Was The Most Profitable Insurance Company Last Year?

When you look at a question like that, you try guessing some names. when you find that the answer was not something you even considered – you get a solid surprise. We spotted this stat today, that the most profitable insurance company inthe US in 2012 was Fannie Mae – the government-backed company that insures mortgages against default. Fannie made $17.2 billion last year, versus Berkshire Hathaway’s $14.8 billion. Fannie was the third-most profitable financial firm in 2012, after JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. (Source)

What is the implied message there? Fannie and Freddie are turning out to be cash machines for the US Government – and soon the role of the US Government in these entities will come under a lot of discussion.

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Hold On, The S&P 500 Index Is Nowhere Near A Record High

We were surprised by that statement as well – and that is true: if you adjust for inflation, the S&P 500 index is nowhere near its record high. We spotted this stat today, that according to calculations by JP Morgan (JPM), the inflation-adjusted peak for the S&P 500 is 2,065. To get there, stocks would need to rally another 31.6%. (Source)

If you think about it in more detail, is it not surprising that ‘all-time high’ ‘record high’ are all based on nominal values and not real values (i.e., adjusted for inflation)?

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50,000 Offshored Jobs Came Back To The US Between 2010 And 2012

Reshoring is happening. And in noticeable numbers this time around. Some 10 percent of the manufacturing jobs created in the US between 2010 and 2012 – adding up to a total of 50,000 jobs – were created due to the trend of ‘offshored’ jobs coming back to the US (Source)

Apple trying to get some manufacturing done in the US – rumors that Google Glass might be manufactured in the US – this is now definitely happening, for sure. For the scale and impact, we need to wait and watch. It might also be helpful to see why these jobs got offshored in the first place.

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301,874: Number Of U.S. Homes That Are Foreclosed ‘Zombies’

Well, we need to look at the ‘housing has recovered‘ argument in more detail – looks like a section is just not ‘in the game’ – we spotted this stat today, that more than 300,000 US homes – 301,874 to be precise – have been just left unattended – owners in foreclosure have moved out, leaving the homes to just degrade (Source)

Many of us would remember distinctly Alan Greenspan’s suggestion to end the housing crisis – ‘buy the excess houses and burn them down‘ – looks like we have a number for that excess houses that he was talking about: 301,874.

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