Greetings from Pittsburgh this fine Saturday morning. Contrary to recent news, we are still more of a tech hub than a burgeoning steel and coal town. But check back next week.
Here are some of the real, credible, non-absurd things we are seeing right now…
Economic sentiment came in completely flat over the past two weeks. It’s the first steady reading we’ve seen in a year, perhaps because people are obsessing a little less about the political environment as summer approaches (thank goodness). The only notable trend we saw is a fairly significant decline in confidence toward the job market. We need to keep an eye on that. Also, if you geek out about this stuff, check out the Conference Board’s May consumer confidence report. As we told you, May’s decline was evident three weeks ago. I’m afraid these old indices can no longer keep up.
Digital currencies and ‘Blockchain’ are here to stay. While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin range from a surreal myth to a punchline for the uninformed, the appeal of these alternatives is broad and growing. Among people who follow the financial markets the closest, I was a little surprised to see the extent to which “independence from governments” (at 39% of respondents) was the most popular attribute of these alternative currencies. If our socio-political-economic environment doesn’t calm down, this appeal – at least in some circles – will only increase, potentially shaking up markets in unprecedented ways.
People prefer cold weather cruise destinations. This little insight won’t change your life but I found it surprising nonetheless. On the heels of announcements from the major cruise carriers that they were adding Cuba as a new destination, we set out to gauge how popular it might be. While, yes, a fair number of people are intrigued by Castro’s old ‘hood, it’s a far cry in popularity from places like Iceland or Norway among the GenPop and frequent cruise-takers alike. Personally, I’m on outlier on this one. I’ll take Cuba. Who’s coming with me?
If you’ve moved far away from your childhood hometown, don’t go back. This was my favorite research of the week, even though (or maybe because?) it had no commercial motive whatsoever. Out of curiosity, I set out to study the differences among adults who have never moved away from their hometown, those who moved far away and never returned, and those who moved far away and came back. The gist? People who live between 11 and 60 miles of their hometown are the happiest. People who live within 10 miles of where they grew up are the least likely to be unhappy. But, people who moved more than 60 miles from their hometown, only to return, are WAY more likely to be unhappy. Check out the article if you get a chance. It’s short, I promise. I’d love to hear your theories.
One random stat of the week: 52.6% of people choose Rock most often when playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. That means you should lean toward Paper – and never pick Scissors. You can thank me later.
Hoping you’re well,