- SIMPLER RETURN - As of 12/31/17, there were 77 million homeowners in the USA, of which 34 million claimed a mortgage interest deduction on Schedule A of their 2017 Form 1040. As of 12/31/18, there were 79 million homeowners in the USA, of which just 14 million claimed a mortgage interest deduction on Schedule A of their 2018 Form 1040. The reduction in the use of the mortgage interest deduction was the result of the increased standard deduction created by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (source: Tax Policy Center).
- NOT HERE, NOT YET - 59% of 1,804 American small business owners (SBOs) surveyed in February 2019 report that as of that date, the US-China trade war and resulting tariffs had no impact on their businesses. The SBOs surveyed have less than $5 million of annual revenues and less than 100 employees (source: Bank of America).
- LAST YEAR - US companies exported $120 billion of goods to China in 2018. Chinese companies exported $540 billion of goods to the USA in 2018. The current US-China trade war began with the implementation of tariffs on 7/06/18 (source: Commerce Department).
- IMPACT OF TARIFFS - US companies exported $26 billion of goods to China in the 1st Q 2019. Chinese companies exported $106 billion of goods to the USA in the 1st Q 2019 (source: Commerce Department).
- OUT OF BUSINESS - YTD through Friday 5/17/19, approximately 6,400 retail stores have gone out of business and closed across the USA, more than the 5,864 stores that closed nationwide during all of 2018. This year’s closures are on pace to exceed the all-time record of 8,139 store closures in 2017 (source: Coresight Research).
- BIG AND REALLY BIG - 62 publicly held US companies produced at least $1 billion of sales per week in 2018, up from 58 companies that accomplished that level of weekly sales in 2017. Just 1 domestic company generated more than $1 billion of sales per day during 2018 (source: Fortune).
- COLLEGE - During the 2018-19 school year, American colleges awarded 88 million bachelor’s degrees, down from a record 1.96 million degrees from the 2016-17 school year (source: Nat’l Ctr. for Education Statistics).
- A LOST GENERATION - The economy of Greece is projected to grow +2.4% in 2019 after growing +2.1% in 2018. If Greece’s economy continues to grow at an annual rate of +2% per year going forward, it will not recover back to its 2009 “pre-crisis” size until the early 2030s (source: International Monetary Fund).
- NEWBORNS - Our nation’s “general fertility rate,” defined as the number of births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, was just 0 births in 2018, a record low for birth data that has been tracked nationally since 1909 or for the last 110 years (source: National Center for Health Statistics).
- WORLD’S BEST - The top 6 golfers in the world as of Monday 5/20/19 have each been ranked # 1 in the world at some point in their careers. The current # 1 golfer is Brooks Koepka (source: Official World Golf Rankings).
Have a great week!
Michael J. Levine, CLU, ChFC