WSJ By The Numbers - Top 10 for Sept.25

A compendium of revealing stats and the key leading economic and business indicators based on today's Wall Street Journal article and reports:

Last year, small and medium-size companies spent $2.1 billion on Internet phone systems, equipment and services, compared with $4 billion for large businesses. By 2010, small-business spending should more than quadruple to $8.9 billion, according to market-research firm InfoTech. (Is Talk Cheap? - WSJ)

  • According to a 2003 AARP survey, about 15% of baby boomers expect to own businesses in retirement.
  • Women made up about 40%, or 10.4 million, of all small-business owners in the U.S. this year, according to the Center for Women's Business Research. About 3% of all female entrepreneurs owned small companies generating more than $1 million in yearly revenue, compared with 6% of all male entrepreneurs.
  • In partnership with American Express's OPEN, Count Me In last year launched a program called Make Mine a Million, with the goal of having one million women-owned businesses with $1 million in annual revenue by 2010. There are 242,000 so far, according to an OPEN spokeswoman. (Capital Ideas - WSJ)
Wal-Mart reported a 9.5% increase in annual sales last year, falling short of the double-digit pace it set in nearly all of its 34-year history as a public company. Wal-Mart's international operations account for 22% of its overall sales. Wal-Mart dominates rural America, with 45% of its stores located in rural and semi-rural counties, according to market researcher ACNielsen. With more than 3,900 stores and clubs in the U.S.,the retailer has plans for at least another 1,400 U.S. stores. 93.6% of U.S. households are within 15 miles from a Wal-Mart store. (Seeking Expansion in Urban Areas, Wal-Mart Stores Gets Cold Shoulder - WSJ) 15 Miles
For the first time in at least 90 years, the U.S. is paying noticeably more to its foreign creditors than it receives from its investments abroad. The gap reached $2.5 billion in the second quarter of 2006. In effect, the U.S. made a quarterly debt payment of about $22 for each American household. As of the end of 2005, total U.S. foreign debt stood at $13.6 trillion -- or about $119,000 per household. Net foreign debt, which excluded the $11.1 trillion value of U.S.-owned foreign assets, was $2.5 trillion.  (U.S. Foreign Debt Shows Its Teeth As Rates Climb - WSJ) $2.5 Billion

China has invested some $250 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds since 2001, yielding around 5% or less. By contrast, U.S. direct investments abroad have returned an average 8% since 2001, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. Meanwhile, U.S. investors in emerging-market stock funds earned an average annual return on their investments of 22.3%, according to financial-research firm Morningstar Inc. (U.S. Foreign Debt Shows Its Teeth As Rates Climb - WSJ)

$250 Billion
As of August, there were 14.2 million workers in the U.S. manufacturing sector, roughly 3.3 million fewer than in 1998. In 1979, there were 19.4 million workers in the sector. Over the past year hourly wages for blue-collar manufacturing workers were down 2.7% when adjusted for inflation, while wages for all nonmanagers were flat over that period. (Manufacturers Seek To Address a Skills Shortage - WSJ) 14.2 Million
Wal-Mart plans to cut packaging by 5% under a new environmental commitment announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Wal-Mart estimates that its business directly accounts for about 3.5% of the $465 billion global packaging supply. Wal-Mart estimates that its initiative could reduce packaging costs overall by nearly $11 billion by 2013. (Wal-Mart to Pressure Suppliers To Reduce Packaging by 5% - WSJ) $465 Billion
The market for luxury leather-goods accessories increased to €15.5 billion ($19.8 billion) last year, out of a total luxury-goods market of €144 billion, according to Bain & Co. For the next five years, the accessories market is estimated to grow at about 11% a year, compared with 6% for shoes and 6.5% for jewelry, driven by the emerging markets.(Bulgari Makes Style Statement With Accessories-Only Stores - WSJ) €144 billion
Last year, women held 16.4% of Fortune 500 corporate-officer posts, according to Catalyst, a New York research group. (Female Training Classes Flourish - WSJ) 16.4%

U.S. Federal prisons are operating at more than 130% of capacity, and two dozen state prison systems are operating at 100% capacity or higher, according to government statistics. At latest count, there were about 2.2 million men and women in prison, the Justice Department says. Private-jail managers have less than 7% of the national prison market. (Corrections Corp. Finds Success in Stir - WSJ)

Statistics from Dealogic show that 42% of all IPOs this year are private-equity-backed, compared with 53% at the same point in 2005. In terms of dollars raised: 46% of the money generated by IPOs now stems from private equity offerings, compared with 67% last year. (Slowdown Is Particularly Sharp Among Private-Equity Firms - WSJ) 42%

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