The Stuff You Probably Don’t Know

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: October 20, 2015

pocket world 2016The Economist recently released its 2016 edition of “Pocket World in Figures” (What…?  You haven’t gotten yours yet?) and though it’s mostly dry as an almanac in a desert, if you dig down a bit you’ll find some interesting information (statistics, actually) about the state of the world’s economy – not to mention well-being, health, size, growth… and a hundred or more other categories of interest).
In today’s off-topic loop we’ll look at a few business-related facts that might surprise you.  Like, did you know that…

  • The highest levels of entrepreneurial activity are to be found mostly in Africa and South America. By rank, the top 13 most entrepreneurial of nations are found there, with Nigeria and Zambia topping the list, where almost 40% of the adult population is either a “nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new small business.”  For the record, the U.S. did not make either the Top 25 or Bottom 25 lists.
  • In raw dollars, the U.S’s expenditure on R & D dwarfs the no. 2 spender, China ($450b to $191b), but as a percent of GDP ties for 10th with Austria (Israel is no. 1).
  • In patents granted, Japan is no. 1, the U.S. is no. 2 and China is no. 3.
  • An interesting stat: In “brain drain” (defined as “talented people leave for other countries” at the low end, and “they stay and pursue opportunities in the country” at the high end)… the U.S. is slightly behind Switzerland and Qatar for lowest brain drain. Myanmar is said to have the highest (i.e., worst) flow of brain drain.
  • Despite our reputation as hard workers, the U.S. does not make the list of the Top 22 “average hours worked per employee per week.” Turkey was no. 1 at 49 hours per week; no. 22 was Luxembourg at 37.0 hours worked per week.  Interestingly, Greece was ranked at no. 21, where the average person works 38.5 hours per week, still apparently ahead of Americans.
  • The U.S. ranked 14th globally for “hourly costs of compensation” in manufacturing, at $36.34 per hour. Norway was no. 1 at a whopping $65.86 per hour, including direct pay, social insurance and payroll taxes.  Switzerland was the only other country over $62/hour.
  • Of the ten largest non-financial companies in the world, 7 are American, including the top four: Apple, Exxon/Mobil, Microsoft and Google. Johnson & Johnson, Walmart and GE also made the top ten.
  • The U.S. ranked 4th in auto production. We produce only about one-fourth the number of cars produced in China.  (Japan and Germany ranked 2nd and 3rd.)
  • Busy travelers already know that Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport is the busiest in the world. Beijing’s is no. 2.  O’Hare and LAX were tied at no. 6.
  • And finally, if you want a long life, you should move to Monaco, where the life expectancy is a robust 89.6 years – a full 5 years ahead of 2nd ranked Japan. The U.S. life expectancy figure was 79.6 years, tied with Puerto Rico at 46th.  But while you’re still alive, you might as well go to France, which still ranks no. 1 in the world for tourist arrivals.  We’re no. 2.


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