Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Did the Oil Bubble Burst?

Since July 14, 2008 the price of oil has fallen nearly 23% to $122.19 from $145.18 per barrel. Oil futures prices show a steady decline far out into the future. Did the bubble just pop, or is this the effect of a high priced commodity pushing consumption down, conservation up, and accelerating a search for alternative energy sources? Isn't this the way the market is supposed to work?

Tax Scofflaws

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), more than 1.6 million businesses have failed to pay $58 billion dollars in payroll taxes to the IRS:

Number of US Home-Based Workers Forecast to Reach 100 Million by 2010

In 2008 the number of US home-based workers stood at about 17 million. This is full-time and part-time home-based business owners and contractors, according to Ray Boggs at IDC, not including full-time employees of corporations who work from home:

Source: Wall Street Journal

The International Telework Association and Council estimates that there were a total of 26 million employed working from home in the US in 2007 and forecasts that number to grow to 100 million by 2010, making working from home the norm in the second decade of the 21st Century.

The Value of Global Trade - All Imports and Exports

The total value of all global trade imports and exports was some $25 trillion dollars in 2007, with China contributing about $2.3 trillion and India contributing about $250 billion.

Source: Wall Street Journal

China's trade with industrial and developing countries - China imports nearly 57% more from developing countries than industrial countries, while exports are nearly the same.

Global Imports of Rice, Cotton and Sugar: 2000 - 2008

Source: Wall Street Journal

Higher grain prices, due in part to Ethanol production, have hurt beef production, even as demand for beef grows among developing economies.
Source: Wall Street Journal

Iraq's Oil Export Revenue and Output

Iraqi oil export revenue could hit $75 Billion in 2008 on exports of almost 2 million barrels a day, most of it from South Oil Co. In 2007 Iraq had exports of $40 billion. The 2008 figure meets more than 2% of global oil demand.

Home Prices Continue to Fall - January 2000 - May 2008 Data

Home prices in the 20-metro-area-composite tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller index dropped 16% in May 2008 from a year earlier. The composite index is off 23% since its peak in July 2006.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Shape of the Price of Oil

The price of oil from 1976-2007, both adjusted for inflation and not adjusted for inflation:

Oil and the Federal Funds Rate, July 2007 - July 2008, after all of the conspiracy theories, a simple reason fot the rise in the price of oil?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How the Price of Oil Affects the US Economy

Economic forecasting firm Global Insight estimates that each $10 per barrel increase in oil prices raises gasoline prices by roughly 19 cents a gallon, cuts growth in consumer spending by a third of a percentage point, reduces employment by 100,000 and adds one-half percentage point to consumer price inflation.

From The Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Size of the Indexed Web

Google today announced that it had identified one trillion (1,000,000,000,000 or 10^11) unique URLs. How many of those its Web index actually contains is unstated, but the number is probably closer to 20 billion than one trillion. This is still a big increase from its original index size of 26 million URLs when it launched in 1998. This does not count dynamic web pages which are generated in real time, of which there are an infinite number, or overlapping URLs which point to the same content or, presumably, spam URLs which are useless.

Estimates of the size of the Google Web index for June 2003 put the number at about 3.25 billion, which if correct, shows a 6.2x growth in their index from 2003 to 2008.

Source: A Research Study by
In Collaboration with Researchers from
the University of Pittsburgh and
the Pennsylvania State University

According to, Google's search index has grown rapidly over the past year, showing a big spike from 8 billion pages indexed to 20 billion pages indexed in December 2007. estimates the total size of the indexable Web at about 57 billion pages in June 2008.

Start-up search engine Cuil (pronounced "cool") claims to have indexed 120 billion Web pages, four times larger than what the fromer Google founders claim is the size of the Google Web index. One of the founders, Louis Monier, was the architect of Alta Vista, one of the Web's earliest search engines.

This Google Search should keep you busy for a while.

Average Search CPC Data


Salmonella Outbreak - The Shape of an Epidemic

Here from the CDC is the shape of what an epidemic looks like:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

State Coffers Shrink on Real Estate Transfer Tax Shortfalls

State coffers are seeing a projected $40 billion shortfall for Fiscal 2009 (Fiscal year ends June 2009) due to many causes - retail sales dropping, higher gas costs which cause people to drive less and cut back on discretionary spending, layoffs - but it turns out that shortfalls in the real estate transfer tax due to the hosuing market crash are the greatest culprit.

Here are the states projecting a shortfall for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2008:

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures and the Wall Street Journal

Here are the total sales of single family homes, Condos and Co-ops by state for 2005 - 2007 (partial):

According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices are down 6.1% U.S.-wide year over year, and unit sales are down 15.5%:

United Parcel Service (UPS) Shipments

July 23, 2008

UPS handles an average of 15 million shipments a day world-wide whose value represents about 6% of the U.S. gross domestic product.