BusinessWeek By The Numbers - Sept.25

A compendium of revealing stats and the key leading economic and business indicators from the latest edition of BusinessWeek magazine. Paid subscription required to view some of the  articles at BusinessWeek Online :

Since 2001, the health-care industry has added 1.7 million jobs. The rest of the private sector? None. If you take away health-care hiring in the U.S.,  the U.S. unemployment rate would be 1 to 2 percentage points higher today.

With more than $2 trillion in annual spending, health care has become the main American job program for the 21st century. If current trends continue, 30% to 40% of all new jobs created over the next 25 years will be in health care. 

US federal outlays for health care totaled more than $600 billion in 2005, or roughly one quarter of the total federal budget. If medical spending rises to 25% of GDP by 2030, as many economists expect, health care's share of jobs could grow to 15% or 16% of the labor market from today's 12%, based on historical patterns. (What's Really Propping Up The Economy - BW)

"MySpace will gross over $300 million in 2006 but won't turn profitable until later this year". News Corp. pegged revenue at $350 million, but  and would disclose profitability. 

As triple-digit growth at Facebook and MySpace continues, Nielsen reports that YouTube attracted 34 million visitors this August -- that's more than 6 times as many as visitors. (Distribution Is Queen - BW)

34 Mil.
YouTube Visitors
Partly reflecting globalization and the openness of the U.S. economy, price-adjusted imports (i.e. real imports) have grown more than 100% in the past decade, while real exports have grown only by 50%.  In each of the four full years of this economic expansion, a widening trade deficit has subtracted anywhere from 0.3 to 0.7 percentage points from overall growth. In the first seven months of 2006, real exports of capital goods are up more than 14% from the same period in 2005. (U.S.: Finally, Relief From The Trade Deficit - BW ). 

Related: The U.S. trade deficit hit a record $68 billion in July, and is running at an annual rate of $776 billion. 

US Imports Growth

A BusinessWeek tally of 900 public companies shows sales in the second quarter outside the energy sector jumped a 13% from the year before, but profits grew only 4%, meaning profit margins have eroded.  Among nonfinancial companies, the labor cost to produce a unit of output rose 2.6% from a year ago. (Higher Wages Put The Squeeze On Profits - BW)

Related: US Worker Productivity Slows to 1.6% While Wages Increase at 4.9% in the second quarter.

US Companies Sales Growth
The board of $14.6 billion Indiana Public Employees' Retirement Fund voted in late August to bump up its alternative investment target to 15% from 5%.  Choosing a top-flight private equity or hedge fund isn't easy. There was a 10-percentage-point performance gap between top-tier private-equity firms and those in the median range, according to Thomson Venture Economics. Top performers can be picky with so much money pouring in. (Hopped Up On Hedge Funds - BW)

Related: The golden age of hedge funds - best paid fund manager earns $1.5B in 2005.

Alternate Investments Target

Sales of traditional toys have been sliding in the face of competition from electronic games.  Sales of stuffed animals and other stuffed toys were down 14% in 2005 to $1.3 billion from 2004, while video games sales gre 5.8% to $10.5 billion in 2005 from the previous year, according to NPD Group. (Less Cuddling - BW)

Stuffed Toys
China's August trade surplus hit $18.8 billion, the 4th straight monthly record. And much of that gap can be attributed to the vast quantities of goods shipped to eager American consumers. For the year, China's exports to the U.S. look set to approach $300 billion, up from $243 billion in 2005. Computers & electronics topped the list in 2005 with $50 billions in US imports, followed by TVs, Phones & Audio Gear at $29 billion. (U.S. consumers can't get enough of Chinese goods - BW) $300B
US Imports from China

Can U.S. gamblers' appetites keep up with the current wave of expansion sweeping the industry? With expansion plans on the table from Biloxi to Las Vegas, $25 billion to $30 billion could be poured into new casinos and the surrounding shops, hotels, and condominiums by the end of the decade.  2005 gaming revenues grew by 11.5% to $7.6 billion in Las Vegas while Atlantic City gaming revenues hit $5.0 billion mark. The $22 billion Indian gaming industry has more than doubled since 2000. (Betting The Ranch On Casinos - BW)

$30B Casino Investments 
According to Britain's Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), 2,201 U.S. high school students applied to full-time undergrad programs at British universities last year, a fourfold increase since 1996. Some 948 were accepted. An incoming freshman at Harvard College is looking at an estimated $185,800 for  four years while the same student can earn a degree at Oxford in just three years for about $112,000.  (Who Needs Harvard Or Yale? - BW) $185k
Harvard Degree

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