Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today's Numbers: Deficits, Epidemics, Lumber Prices

Who's spending, and where's the money coming from? Here's a roundup of big numbers from the weekend:

U.S. trade deficit in November: $48.7 billion.

That's a big jump above the expected $41.8 billion. Compared to the month before, we exported more cars and car parts, industrial supplies and materials, and consumer goods. We exported less foods, feeds and beverages. We imported a lot more consumer goods -- $4.6 billion worth.

More details at the Census Bureau.

Number of states where flu is widespread so far this winter: 47

A doozy of a flu is going around this winter, and consider yourself lucky if your workplace hasn't already taken a hit. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says a "typical" flu season costs employers  more than $10 billion just in direct doctor and hospital visits. But that number doesn't even take into account lost productivity.

As of last week, the only states without widespread flu were California, Mississippi and Hawaii. From Yahoo news:
"The flu season that has struck early and hard across the U.S. is putting businesses and employees alike in a bind. In this shaky economy, many Americans are reluctant to call in sick, something that can backfire for their employers.
Click here for a snapshot of how the flu is playing out in all 50 states and D.C.

Lumber prices hit highest point since 2005

Reflecting the continuing housing resurgence, combined with strong demand from builders, lumber prices rallied Friday to their highest level since the fall of 2005, more than seven years ago.

Click here for a pricing chart.

Deficit reduction since the start of fy 2011: $2.4 trillion

It may not feel that way, but we've come a long way, baby. From the Center for American Progress:
"Since the start of fiscal year 2011, Congress and the president have cut about $1.5 trillion in programmatic spending, raised about $630 billion in new revenue, and generated about $300 billion in interest savings, for a combined total of more than $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction. The result is a substantial cut in how much publicly held debt the country is expected to hold 10 years from now.

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