Friday / Weekend Open Lines


Friday, June 3rd. Among the assorted observances in June is one that will be welcomed by a great part of the U.S. population — especially youngsters. It’s National Candy Month, although Americans consume about 22 pounds of candy year round, much of it is chocolate. There are about 1,200 firms in the U.S. making chocolate and cocoa products worth $14.5 billion a year. Another 420 locations make nonchocolate confections selling for $8 billion. Together, there are more than 56,000 Americans employed in manufacturing sweets and treats. There are nearly 3,400 specialty shops across the nation selling nuts and candy confections. Nearly 7 million metric tons of sugar, sweeteners and candy are imported annually to satisfy America’s sweet tooth. Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Saturday, June 4th. Most little boys at the age of 5 are content to play with toy trucks without thinking about how they could be improved. This was not the case for Robert Patch. He designed a truck that could be assembled and disassembled easily — and changed into different types of vehicle each time, such as a dump truck or a closed van. Patch submitted his application and drawings in 1962, and on this date in 1963, at age 6, he was granted a patent. In 2015, nearly 326,000 patents were granted out of almost 630,000 applications. Fifty-two percent of the patents were awarded to foreign recipients. Toys, games and hobby goods are a small ticket-but-big total part of the economy, as nearly 133,000 retail outlets sell them to the tune of about $33 billion per year. Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, June 5th. This date is notable in the realm of economics, for it marks three significant anniversaries in that science. Political economist Adam Smith was believed born on this date in 1723 in Scotland. In 1883, the prominent 20th century economist John Maynard Keynes was born in England. A Keynes contemporary noted that “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.” That’s the case with Smith and Keynes, as broadly speaking, they represent supply-side and demand-side economics. And on this date in 1933, the U.S. went off the gold standard, making the dollar a floating currency on the world market. To help businesses and governments sort out all this and more, there are around 2,900 economic consulting services across the nation. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.