Across the globe, saving for retirement is a challenge. Longer lives and expensive health care create challenge to our natures (saving for far away needs is not easy for most of us to do – we are like the grasshopper not the ants, we play in the summer instead of saving). This varies across the globe, in Japan and China they save far more than in the USA for example.
The United States of America ranks 19th worldwide in the retirement security of its citizens, according to a new Natixis Global Retirement Index. The findings suggest that Americans will need to pick up a bigger share of their retirement costs – especially as the number of retirees grows and the government’s ability to
support them fades. The gauges how well retired citizens live in 150 nations, based on measures of health, material well-being, finances and other factors.
Top Countries for Retirees
- 1 – Norway
- 2 – Switzerland
- 3 – Luxembourg
- 6 – Finland
- 9 – Germany
- 10 – France
- 11 – Australia
- 13 – Canada
- 15 – Japan
- 19 – USA
- 20 – United Kingdom
Western European nations – backed by robust health care and retiree social programs – dominate the top of the rankings, taking the first 10 spots, including Sweden, Austria, Netherlands and Denmark. The USA finished ahead of the United Kingdom, but trailed the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Globally, the number of people aged 65 or older is on track to triple by 2050. By that time, the ratio of the working-age population to those over 65 in the USA is expected to drop from 5-to-1 to 2.8-to-1. The USA actually does much better demographically (not aging as quickly) as other rich countries mainly due to immigration. Slowing immigration going forward would make this problem worse (and does now for countries like Japan that have very restrictive immigration policies).
The economic downturn has taken a major toll on retirement savings. According to a recent report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the country is facing a retirement savings deficit of $6.6 trillion, or nearly $57,000 per household. As a result, 53% of American workers 30 and older are on a path that will leave them unprepared for retirement, up significantly from 38% in 2011.
On another blog I recently wrote about another study looking at the Best Countries to Retirement Too: Ecuador, Panama, Malaysia. The study in the case was looking not at the overall state of retirees that worked in the country (as the study discussed in this post did) but instead where expat retirees find good options (which stretch limited retirement savings along with other benefits to retirees).
See the full press release.
Related: Top Stock Market Capitalization by Country from 1990 to 2010 – Easiest Countries in Which to Operate a Businesses: Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, USA – Largest Nuclear Power Generation Countries from 1985-2010 – Leading countries for Economic Freedom: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland – Countries with the Top Manufacturing Production
The story of global manufacturing production continues to be China’s growth, which is the conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom however is not correct in the belief that the USA has failed. China shot past the USA, which dropped into 2nd place, but the USA still manufactures a great deal and has continually increased output (though very slowly in the last few years).
The story is pretty much the same as I have been writing for 8 years now. The biggest difference in that story is just that China actually finally moved into 1st place in 2010 and, maybe, the slowing of the USA growth in output (if that continues, I think the USA growth will improve). I said last year, that I expected China to build on the lead it finally took, and they did so. I expect that to continue, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see China’s momentum slow (especially a few more years out – it may not slow for 3 or 4 more years).
As before, the four leading nations for manufacturing production remain solidly ahead of all the rest. Korea and Italy had manufacturing output of $313 billion in 2011 and Brazil moved up to $308 are in 4-6 place. Those 3 countries together could be in 4th place (ahead of just Germany). Even adding Korea and Italy together the total is short of Germany by $103 in 2011). I would expect Korea and Brazil to grow manufacturing output substantially more than Italy in the next 5 years.
A recent report by Deloitte, The Hidden Costs of U.S. Health Care: Consumer Discretionary Health Care Spending provides some interesting data.
Between 2006 and 2010 USA health care expenditures increased by 19%. Government spending accounted for 40% of costs (remember that figure is lowered due to Deloitte’s including inputed value for care of relatives). Those 65 and older account for 61% of the inputed cost care that is provided.
I find this imputed value largely not worth considering. There are problems with the way we count GDP and economic activity (that affect health care and lots of other things). It is fine to be aware that they think $492 billion of extra care is given by family members but using that figure in any sensible way (other than saying hey there is a huge cost in people’s time to dealing with our health care system and sick people that isn’t counted in economic data) is questionable.
It is useful in looking at the increasingly old population we will see in the future and judging their is a large need for supervisory care that is not captured in just looking at the costs included in economic data currently. Not only will our grandkids have to pay for our living beyond our means today they will have to do so while providing unpaid care to their parents and grandparents.
The burden of long term supervisor care (that which can be provided by a non-health care professional) is one reason a resurgence in multi-generation housing options make sense to me. There are other good reasons also (child care, socialization, financial support to the young…). There are some real advantages and real disadvantages to such options. But I think economic advantages are going to encourage more of this going forward.
Related: Personal Finance Basics: Long-term Care Insurance – Health Care in the USA Cost 17.9% of GDP, $2.6 Trillion, $8,402 per person in 2010 – Resources for Improving Health Care System Performance
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate increased at 7.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to +192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.
So with this report another 255,000 (171 + 50 + 34) were added, quite a good number. If we could see 250,000 jobs added for 12 more months that would be quite nice – though still will not have recovered all the jobs cost by the too-big-too-fail credit crisis.
Employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.
Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for October. Household survey data collection was completed before the storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas.
Long-term unemployment remains a problem, in October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.6% of the unemployed (a higher percentage than normal – as it has been for the duration of the too-big-too-fail job recession.
The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8%. Total employment rose by 410,000 over the month (I am guessing this is not seasonally adjusted – the highlighted figures normally quotes are seasonally adjusted figures). The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8%, following an increase of 40 basis points in September.
Related: Unemployment Rate Reached 10.2% (Oct 2009) – USA Economy Adds 151,000 Jobs in October and Revisions Add 110,000 More (Oct 2010, unemployment rate at 9.6%) – USA Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.6% (Nov 2011) – USA Lost Over 500,000 Jobs in November, 2008
The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8%, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000 in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000. Thus, with this report 200,000 new jobs were added (114,000 + 40,000 + 46,000).
The unemployment rate declined from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September. For the first 8 months of the year, the rate held within a narrow range of 8.1 and 8.3%. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by 456,000 in September.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 4.8 million and accounted for 40.1% of the unemployed. This remains one of the most serious problems – along with the less that strong job creation numbers (since the too-big-too-fail financial crisis kicked off the great recession). In 2012, employment growth has averaged 146,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. 150,000 is decent but because of the huge job losses in the 4 years prior to 2011 there is a big recovery needed. Adding above 225,000 jobs a month, for years, would be a good result and put the economy on much firmer ground.
Health care added 44,000 jobs in September. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 295,000.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in September. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.
In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $23.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $19.81.
Related: Bad Jobs News in the USA, Unemployment Remains at 9.1% (Sep 2011) – USA Unemployment Rate at 9.6% (Sep 2010) – Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.7% (Sep 2009) – Over 500,000 Jobs Disappeared in November 2008
The largest manufacturing countries are China, USA, Japan and then Germany. These 4 are far in the lead, and very firmly in their positions. Only the USA and China are close, and the momentum of China is likely moving it quickly ahead – even with their current struggles.
The chart below shows manufacturing production by country as a percent of GDP of the 10 countries that manufacture the most. China has over 30% of the GDP from manufacturing, though the GDP share fell dramatically from 2005 and is solidly in the lead.
Nearly every country is decreasing the percentage of their economic output from manufacturing. Korea is the only exception, in this group. I would expect Korea to start following the general trend. Also China has reduced less than others, I expect China will also move toward the trend shown by the others (from 2005 to 2010 they certainly did).
For the 10 largest manufacturing countries in 2010, the overall manufacturing GDP percentage was 24.9% of GDP in 1980 and dropped to 17.7% in 2010. The point often missed by those looking at their country is most of these countries are growing manufacturing, they are just growing the rest of their economy more rapidly. It isn’t accurate to see this as a decline of manufacturing. It is manufacturing growing more slowly than (information technology, health care, etc.).
The manufacturing share of the USA economy dropped from 21% in 1980 to 18% in 1990, 15% in 2000 and 13% in 2010. Still, as previous posts show, the USA manufacturing output has grown substantially: over 300% since 1980, and 175% since 1990. The proportion of manufacturing output by the USA (for the top 10 manufacturers) has declined from 33% in 1980, 32% in 1990, 35% in 2000 to 26% in 2010. If you exclude China, the USA was 36% of the manufacturing output of these 10 countries in 1980 and 36% in 2010. China’s share grew from 7.5% to 27% during that period.
The United Kingdom has seen manufacturing fall all the way to 10% of GDP, manufacturing little more than they did 15 years ago. Japan is the only other country growing manufacturing so slowly (but Japan has one of the highest proportion of GDP from manufacturing – at 20%). Japan manufactures very well actually, the costs are very high and so they have challenges but they have continued to manufacture quite a bit, even if they are not growing output much.
Hong Kong again topped the rankings, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland. Australia and Canada tied for fifth, of the 144 countries and territories in the Fraiser Institute’s 2012 Economic Freedom of the World Report.
“The United States, like many nations, embraced heavy-handed regulation and extensive over-spending in response to the global recession and debt crises. Consequently, its level of economic freedom has dropped,” said Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research.
The annual Economic Freedom of the World report uses 42 distinct variables to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property. Economic freedom is measured in five different areas: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labor, and business.
Hong Kong offers the highest level of economic freedom worldwide, with a score of 8.90 out of 10, followed by Singapore (8.69), New Zealand (8.36), Switzerland (8.24), Australia and Canada (each 7.97), Bahrain (7.94), Mauritius (7.90), Finland (7.88), Chile (7.84).
The rankings and scores of other large economies include: United States (18th), Japan (20th), Germany (31st), South Korea (37th), France (47th), Italy (83rd), Mexico (91st), Russia (95th), Brazil (105th), China (107th), and India (111th).
When looking at the changes over the past decade, some African and formerly Communist nations have shown the largest increases in economic freedom worldwide: Rwanda (44th this year, compared to 106th in 2000), Ghana (53rd, up from 101st), Romania (42nd, up from 110th), Bulgaria (47th, up from 108th), and Albania (32nd, up from 77th). During that same period the USA has dropped from 2nd to 19th.
The rankings are similar to the World Bank Rankings of easiest countries in which to do business. But they are not identical, the USA is still hanging in the top 5 in that ranking. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) do just as poorly in both. The ranking due show the real situation of economies that are far from working well in those countries. China and Brazil, especially, have made some great strides when you look at increasing GDP and growing the economy. But there are substantial structural changes needed. India is suffering greatly from serious failures to improve basic economic fundamentals (infrastructure, universal education, eliminating petty corruption [China has serious problems with this also]…).
Singapore is again ranked first for Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank.
|other countries of interest|
The rankings include ranking of various aspects of running a business. Some rankings for 2011: starting a business (New Zealand 1st, Singapore 4th, USA 13th, Japan 107th), Dealing with Construction Permits (Hong Kong 1st, New Zealand 2nd, Singapore 3rd, USA 17th, China 179th), protecting investors (New Zealand 1st, Singapore 2nd, Hong Kong 3rd, Malaysia 4th, USA 5th), enforcing contracts (Luxemburg 1, Korea 2, Iceland 3, Hong Kong 5, USA 7, Singapore 12, China 16, India 182), paying taxes (Maldives 1, Hong Kong 3, Singapore 4, USA 72, Japan 120, China 122, India 147).
These rankings are not the final word on exactly where each country truly ranks but they do provide a valuable source of information. With this type of data there is plenty of room for judgment and issues with the data.
Related: Easiest Countries from Which to Operate Businesses 2008 – Stock Market Capitalization by Country from 1990 to 2010 – Looking at GDP Growth Per Capita for Selected Countries from 1970 to 2010 – Top Manufacturing Countries (2000 to 2010) – Country Rank for Scientific Publications – International Health Care System Performance – Best Research University Rankings (2008)
After several poor months for job creation (adding well under 100,000 each month) we have some good news. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 163,000 in July, with the unemployment rate at 8.3%. Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +77,000 to +87,000, and the change for June was revised from +80,000 to +64,000. Which means the total job gains for this report is 157,000 (163,000 +10,000 [for May] and -16,000 [for June]).
One of the continuing severe problems (since the credit crisis bubble burst) has been long term unemployment. In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 5.2 million. These individuals accounted for 40.7% of the unemployed (a high figure historically).
Given all the problems created by the financial system failure (created over the last 15 years – in the USA and Europe) it is actually fairly amazing that we have been adding jobs nearly as much as we have. But climbing out of the huge whole we created for ourselves (by continually re-electing those that allowed the too-big-too-fail financial mess – and those we elect continue to reward their friends that created the mess instead of fixing it) is a huge task. It requires much better job creation than we have had this year.
Adding 150,000 jobs a month would be decent if we hadn’t created such a huge problem that digging out of it requires much better results. Moving back above that average is much better than being below it, but we really need to bring the new jobs created above 200,000 for a couple years to make a serious dent in the problems created earlier.
Related: USA add 117,000 Jobs in July 2011 and Adjusts Previous Growth in May and June Up 56,000 More – USA Unemployment Rate at 9.6% (Sept 2010) – Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly to 9.4% (Aug 2009) –
Over 500,000 Jobs Disappeared in November 2008
I do think there is merit to reducing yearly hours worked in the USA. The problem is this is all within a larger system. The USA’s broken health care system makes it extremely expensive to hire workers. One way to deal with the health care system failure is maximizing hours worked to spread out the massively expensive USA health care costs.
Also the USA standard of living is partially based on long hours (it is but one factor). We also have to work quite a few hours (about 5% of the total hours) to just bring us equal with other rich countries, in order to pay for our broken health care system.
Still reducing our purchases by cutting out some fancy coffee, a few pairs or shoes, a few cable channels (or all of them), text messages from overcharging phone companies… in order to have a couple more weeks of vacation would be a great tradeoff in my opinion. And one I have made with my career.
I have changed to part time in 2 of my full time jobs (to make my own sensible yearly hour model even if the bigger system can’t. Another time I bargained for more vacation time over more $. It isn’t easy to do though, most organizations are not willing to think and accommodate employees (hard to believe they respect people in this case, right?). The system is not setup to allow people to adjust total hours to maximize their well being.
Another option in the USA is to live within your means and then make your own sabbaticals during your career. Take a year off and travel the world, or hike the Appalachian Trail, or read trashy novels, or whatever you want.