I joined a health club two weeks ago in the UK, as they had such a good deal on offer, and spending too much time on computers is not good for you. After swimming a few laps, as I ease off in a jacuzzi or a sauna, I hear people talking. Every day the talk amongst the other members is always the same, banks and money. They are angry that while minimum lending rates have tumbled, retail rates have surged. They are even more angry that they can’t borrow much anyway without sizeable deposits, and that there is no work.
- 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
- 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
- 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
- Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
- Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
- In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
FT – The broadly market-friendly newsflow came to an abrupt halt, however, as the Conference Board said its confidence index had fallen to 50.4 in July, a five-month low, from an upwardly revised 54.3 in June. The expectations component of the report dropped to 66.6 from 72.7.
Consumer confidence falling by near 10% in a month gives the picture well enough. They say that 90 is needed for a healthy economy. We might be looking at 40s in another two or three months from here.