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Some Happy Thoughts for You and Your Business
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You and I have taken a beating from the media during the last year or so about the economy and the recession and how the end is near. But none of us can give it our ALL (be that family, business, exercise, hobbies or anything else) if we’re mired in negative thoughts and worry. As a CEO, one of my many functions is to play the role of optimist and cheerleader. In that spirit and in an effort to provide some more encouraging news, I (with the help of Jeff Thredgold, President of Thredgold Economic Associates) now give you some stats that will put a smile on your face (in no particular order):

  • The consensus of forecasting economists still expects a return to positive (not impressive, but positive) U.S. economic growth during this year’s third quarter.
  • Between 1980 and 2007, total emissions of major air pollutants within the U.S. dropped by 52%.
  • The number of people who have quit smoking (46 million) now exceeds the number who still smoke (45 million). Roughly 21% of adults smoke today, versus nearly half in the early 1950s.
  • A recent poll of more than 12,000 global business figures conducted by the World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. as the world’s most competitive economy.
  • Traffic deaths per 100 million miles traveled during 2008 were the lowest on record.
  • Conventional thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have been between 4.75% and 5.15% in recent weeks, some of the lowest levels on record
  • The number of new cancer cases and deaths are falling for the first time since the government began compiling a report on long-term trends.
  • Incomes for the poorest one-fifth of all earners have grown an average of 3.9% annually since 1994, slightly outpacing the 3.4%-3.6% average gain of those in the middle three-fifths of incomes.
  • Average U.S. life expectancy has reached 78 years (men 75, women 80), the highest ever. This compares to 76 years in 1995, 68 years in 1950, and 47 years in 1900.
  • For every dollar of U.S. economic output generated today, we burn less than half as much oil as 30 years ago.
  • U.S. military deaths in Iraq during 2008 plunged by two-thirds versus the prior year.
  • The U.S. trade deficit with the world fell for the seventh straight month in February to a nine-year low of $26 billion.
  • Men’s contribution to housework has doubled over the past 40 years, while their time spent on child care has tripled.
  • A record 29% of men have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, versus 26% of women, also a record. This compares to a combined 7.7% in 1960. A record 84.6% of adults over age 25 now have at least a high school diploma, versus 24.5% in 1940.
  • Violent crime declined 3.5% during 2008’s first half versus the prior year. Violent crime overall is down 55% since 1993, with violence by teens down 71%. School violence has declined by half from a decade ago.
  • Donations to charity set an all-time high in 2007, with more than $300 billion donated by individuals, foundations, and corporations. As a percentage of GDP, Americans gave twice as much as the next most charitable nation…England.
  • Productivity of the average U.S. worker rose an average of 2.6% annually during the past 10 years, the largest gains in 40 years. Rising productivity is a long-term key to higher standards of living.
  • Air pollution declined 25% over the past 30 years even as the population and the economy grew. Water quality also continues to improve. More progress will occur in coming years as companies see rising value in “going green”.
  • Alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the most recently reported year dropped by more than half versus 20 years ago.
  • During the early 1960s, the five-year survival rate from cancer for Americans was one in three. Today it is two in three…continuing to climb…and the highest in the world.
  • Substantiated cases of childhood sexual abuse have fallen 49% since 1990. Physical abuse of children is down by 43%.
  • The number of abortions performed in this country has declined by one-third since 1990 and is now at a record low.
  • The U.S. rate of home ownership reached 69.2% of households in recent quarters, the highest ever, before declining slightly.
  • Women earned nearly 60% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in recent years, versus 43% in 1970 and 24% in 1950. Women earned a similar share of master’s degrees.
  • Illicit drug use among U.S. teenagers hit a five-year low of 9.8% in 2006, down 16% since 2002.
  • U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates plummeted to all-time lows in recent years, before a slight rise. The reasons? More widespread use of birth control, more work opportunities, and more girls who “just say no”.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has actually declined 0.4% during the most recent 12-month period—the first 12-month decline since 1955—helping to stretch consumer incomes.
  • The upward “mobility” of the typical American remains the greatest in the world. Why? The U.S. economy “rewards” the combination of hard work and educational achievement more than ever before…and more than any other country in the world.
  • The U.S. role of dominance in the global economy in recent years has been as clear-cut as at any time since the 1950s.

If you’re not already smiling, you should. You should also feel blessed for living in a time like this and be proud of playing a major part in it. Entrepreneurs and those that work with and help entrepreneurs have played a significant role in helping make our Country Great. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. The work that people, such as ourselves, do is priceless to our society and matters tremendously.

By the way, you can read part of my recent interview with Jeff for our Small Business Success Strategies® TeleSeminar Series in our recent May/June Newsmagazine. If you want to read the whole thing, you can become an SBSS Subscriber at The investment is minimal, and more than worth it. Ask yourself: “What else am I doing to continually learn and improve in this Changing Economy?”


  1. Jeff in Tampa, FL says:

    Thanks for the positive information and outlook. Everyone needs to remember what to be grateful for…I think it’s the first step to getting better, and there’s always room for that. I think we’re in a challenging time in America but with challenge comes opportunity. We should seek to lead and unite with the world to make us all better humans, not just better Americans. Thanks again for the positive outlook. Let’s get to work!!

  2. Braudis Pegram says:

    Thanks Chris. Great post. Yes, I smiled indeed.

  3. Angela Howard says:

    I love to see a positive website. Thanks for the good news!

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