(May 2013) With Washington DC obsessed by multiple scandals this week, there was some surprising news on one recent obsession - - the US budget deficit. It is set to fall from 7% of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2012 to 2.1% of the economy in 2015. By 2023, it is forecast to be up to 3.5% of GDP. Federal debt held by the public is projected to remain above 70% of GDP - - far higher than the 39% average seen over the past four decades. (As recently as the end of 2007, federal debt equaled 36% of GDP.)
(May 2013) Different startup companies have different impacts. While both innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) and traditional small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can provide valuable products and services and create jobs, IDEs - - startups geared towards the challenges of global markets and based on technological, process or business model innovation - - can potentially create hundreds or even thousands of high-skill jobs if they succeed.
(April 2013) Almost two-thirds of the 9.3m people in the US workforce who had STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) degrees in 2010 were employed in non-STEM occupations. Meanwhile a group of eight US senators have proposed raising the ceiling of H1B high skill visas from 65,000 to 110,000 annually. The quota would then increase by up to 10,000 each year until reaching an overall annual cap of 180,000. A new study shows that over the past decade US IT employment has gradually increased, but it only recovered to its 2000–2001 peak level by the end of the decade. IT workers earn the same today as they did, generally, 14 years ago. The report also says: 1) Only about a third of the IT workforce has an IT-related college degree 2) 36% of IT workers do not hold a college degree at all 3) Only 24% of IT workers have a four-year computer science or math degree. Despite calls from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook for more visas for immigrants, the data suggests that the shortage of US STEM graduates is a myth. IT workers, who make up 59% of the entire STEM workforce, are predominantly drawn from fields outside of computer science and mathematics, if they have a college degree at all.
(April 2013) Actuaries have the best job in the United States in 2013 while newspaper reporters have the worst - - based on environment, income, outlook and stress.
(April 2013) In 2012, for the second consecutive year, the number of Americans starting their own businesses declined. During the Great Recession, more Americans have become entrepreneurs than at any time in the past 15 years. However, while the economy and its high unemployment rates may have pressed more individuals into business ownership, most of them are going it alone, rather than starting companies that employ others. The rate of employer business creation did not change in 2012 and is lower than the level prior to the Great Recession.
(April 2013) Venture capital is the exception, not the norm, as a funding source for startups. More VC-backed new companies fail than succeed, and since 1999 VC funds have barely broken even. Fewer than 1% of US companies have raised capital from VCs. And the industry is contracting: After peaking in the late 1990s, the number of active VC firms fell from 744 to 526 in the decade 2001–2011, and the amount of venture capital raised was just under $19bn in 2011, down from $39bn in 2001, according to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).
(April 2013) Since the start of the recovery in mid-2009, the pattern has been for the US economy to show some strength only to lose steam after a while and strong first-quarter growth is currently being followed by signs of a slowdown as the second period gets under way. However, there is optimism among economists that there will be an improvement in the second half of 2013.
(April 2013) General Motors had over 618,000 employed in the US in 1979 - - in well-paid jobs; today, General Electric employs 133,000 and Apple 47,000. The US needs to add about 90,000 new jobs monthly to just meet the natural growth of the workforce.
Great scientists do not have to be great at maths; Discoveries emerge from ideas, not number-crunching
(April 2013) An evolutionary biologist who has studied social behaviour among insects and humans, offers advice to aspiring researchers. “The ideal scientist thinks like a poet,” he says, stressing the virtues of passion, introversion and dedication. A naturalist at heart, he downplays technology, maths, and even intelligence in science, proposing that a good scientist should be “bright enough to see what can be done but not so bright as to become bored doing it.” Discoveries emerge from ideas, not number-crunching.
(April 2013) US employers added only 88,000 workers to their payrolls in March, far off the pace of job gains in the previous six months. Between August 2012 and February 2013 payrolls grew at an average rate of 197,000 a month; private payrolls rose slightly faster than 205,000 a month. The much slower pace of job gains in March may foreshadow a slowdown in payroll growth over the next few months as fiscal contraction at the federal level begins to have an impact.