Poverty rates increases to highest levels since 1960s
The Associated Press has released a survey that indicates that poverty levels in the US have risen to 15.7 percent, up from 15.1 percent in 2010. This is the highest level since 1965. The analysis indicates that 47 million people in the US were poor last year, or 1 in 6 Americans. The 2010 poverty level was $22,314 for a family and $11,139 for an individual. Several demographers predict that poverty will remain above the pre-recession level until at least 2014.
Spain spooks markets
On Friday the Euro zone agreed to bail out Spain’s banks with $122.8 billion of aid. Shortly thereafter, however, Spain’s bond yields jumped to over 7.2 percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, bond levels at that level are unsustainable and may lead to a government, not just a bank, bailout. (Keep in mind that bond payments for the US are just over 1 percent, as a comparison.) Additionally, Spain downgraded its growth forecasts on Friday and one of its regions, Valencia, sought aid from the government. European stocks are slumping on Monday, after Asian markets also closed down. The Dow was down 120 points on Friday to end at 12,822.
Honda expanding at US plants
As Honda prepares to celebrate its 30th year of making automobiles in the US, it has spent $1.6 billion for upgrades in the last 18 months. According to USA Today, Honda will expand its Civic plant in Greenburg, Indiana and add 500 workers, expanding its capacity by 50,000 cars per year. Indiana will be the only location in the world where Civics are made. Honda is also adding capacity in Ohio and Alabama. The North American continent, including Mexico, is responsible for making 1.63 million Hondas per year. In 2011, 85 percent of Hondas and Acuras were built in North America. Honda intends for that number to soon be 90 percent. Honda intends to export more than 200,000 cars from the US to other countries in the next few years.
Chinese oil company to buy Canadian oil producer
China’s top offshore oil producer, CNOOC Ltd., has entered an agreement to purchase Canada’s Nexen Inc. for $15.1 billion. According to CNBC, the Chinese deal will be paid primarily in cash. The purchase will allow the Chinese to drill for oil in Western Canada, the UK’s North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Nigeria.
European banks exit US assets
According to a study conducted by the Financial Times, Eurozone banks have cut the assets they hold in the US by more than a third since the financial crisis has begun. In September 2007, European banks held $1.51 trillion of US assets. Currently they hold $973 billion, according to Federal Reserve records, or $540 billion less than before the crisis. The US banks and hedge funds have been active buyers of US assets from the European banks as the European banks become more modest in their holdings.
Hotels pursue teens and pre-teens
Hotels are trying to keep teens and pre-teens interested, with the hope that it will attract their parents to choose that hotel as a destination. According to USA Today, hotel chains such as the Omni have launched a “Teen Connection” program. Teenage guests can contact the Teen Concierge for recommendations on what to do. The can also ask questions via Facebook, Twitter and text messages. The Ritz Carlton in Orlando offers teen facials and massages. Many hotels offer “teen-tasted” or “teen recommended” menus. Experts indicate that hotels are smart to appeal to the new millennial generation. Besides, happy children lead to happy parents.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.