Last month, I read about two business records being established. The first was for corporate profits and the other for Internet advertising revenue. I predict both records will be broken in 2011. As a result, American lifestyles will be impacted significantly. Why? Shift happens!
Disclaimer: I am not an economist, I am a marketing geek.
Today I am going to focus on the record corporate profits for American companies in the third quarter in 2010; $1.659 trillion. This was the highest figure recorded by the Commerce Department in the 60 years since they have been tracking annual corporate profits. The next highest corporate profit levels on record was back in the third quarter of 2006; $1.655 trillion. I also want to point out that despite the recession; profits have grown seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history. One factor that has been fueling this accelerated pace has been strong productivity growth – companies have been able to produce more with less. What impact will this have on American lifestyles?
For starters, people will continue to work longer hours. Back in February of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average work day (and related activities) for employed persons ages 25 to 54 with children was 8.8 hours. Candidly this figure appears understated, especially if the related activities involve commuting. Another reliable source, the National Sleep Foundation indicated that the average employed American works a 46-hour work week, 38% of the respondents in their study revealed that they work more than 50 hours a week. This sounds more realistic. Now throw into the equation the growing trend that Americans are not taking vacations, a topic I addressed early in July 1st 2009 in a post titled No Vacation Nation (http://bit.ly/8jgM6G). Consequently, the organization Take Back Your Time projects Americans on average work 350 more hours than their peers in Europe. Sounds stressful! As a result, will there be an increase of medical problems on the horizon for America?
More work hours will also fuel the need for convenience, both for products and services. Bodes well for the food industry; not just “grab & go”, takeout, frozen & nuke foods, but people will also continue to eat out more since they will need to socialize as a result of working longer hours. New services will continue to evolve, everything from those we are already familiar with like daycare, dog walking, at home personal trainers, etc., to personal assistants, people who will help individuals organize their personal lives.
What will be the end result? A stressed out, time starved, 24/7, wired, no vacation nation in desperate need of a real timeout. Remember, shift happens!