Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Despite Recession, Americans Still Have It Good

Channel 4 CBS-TV Denver: Professor Mark Perry studies the American economy at the University of Michigan-Flint.

"As much as we hear about how bad everything is, the reality is that people are still shopping, they're still out in lines. They're not in bread lines, they're in lines at the food court and lines at stores at some of the malls," said Perry.

Perry figured out a way to measure just how well we are doing. He took old Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs from the 1940s through the 1970s and used them to gauge the typical price of a product. Then he looked at the average wage at that time and calculated the number of hours it would take at the average wage to buy some typical household items.

"Back in 1950, somebody would have to work 154 hours at the average wage back then to be able to afford a refrigerator and today somebody would only have to work around 22 hours," said Perry. That's not all he found. "Back in 1950 it took 127 hours of time or work to purchase a dryer, today that could be purchased for only 20 hours," said Perry.

He created a list of items. Things like a refrigerator and dryer, toaster, vacuum cleaner, sofa, etc. and figured it would take eight months to buy them. "An average worker today would only have to work 1.6 months to purchase those same items that almost everybody has in their household," said Perry.

4 Comments:

At 5/05/2009 8:55 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Here's a related article (the Japanese may spend a lot of time watching TV, in part, because many consumer goods are expensive).

French excel at leisure
Associated Press

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

PARIS —- The French are living up to their image, spending more time at table and in bed than many other nations, according to a survey released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of the use of leisure time in 18 of its 30 member countries.

Norwegians spend the most time at leisure, just over a quarter of their day, while at the low end, Mexicans spend just 16 percent of their time having fun.

The French average nearly nine hours a day in bed and, despite their reputation for slimness, more than two hours a day eating and drinking —- nearly twice as much time at the table as Americans, Canadians or Mexicans. But Americans also like their sleep, spending some 8.5 hours a day in bed.

Despite the moderate amount of time Americans spend eating —- about 1 1/4 hours a day —- U.S. obesity rates are the highest in the OECD, with 34 percent of the U.S. population with a Body Mass Index over the critical 30 mark. The lowest obesity rates are in Korea, followed by Japan, with less than 4 percent of the population with a BMI over 30.

The Koreans followed by the Japanese clock in at the low end of the sleep spectrum, getting 7.8 hours a day with the Japanese not far behind.

Television ranks high among leisure activities in Japan —- where it takes up 55 percent of free time, compared with a low of 25 percent for New Zealanders.

The Turks are the most sociable population. They spend more than 35 percent of their time entertaining, compared with an OECD average of 11 percent.

 
At 5/06/2009 7:32 AM, Anonymous Ryan said...

It is true... TV does make you add 10 pounds. A good reality check on just how bad things are around here!

Makes me proud to be living the american dream!!

 
At 5/06/2009 1:00 PM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

Professor Mark Perry studies the American economy at the University of Michigan-Flint.From that caption, along with the accompanying picture, it makes it sound/look like Big Brother (aka Professor Perry) is actually watching us from the tv screen.

Of course, in the UK Big Brother really is watching you, in more and more places.

 
At 5/07/2009 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the things that really matter like college tuition, health insurance and a home mortgage.

Buying a fridge or t.v is a relatively infrequent event. Paying bills - food, car payments,mortgage,cable,phone - is a monthly drain.

Today, people have many more bills than in the 50's. Unfortunately, the mice have been obediant consumers.

 

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