It’s been a tough decade for home sellers.

With the housing bubble passing its peak in 2006 followed by the onset of the recession in 2008, buyers had the upper-hand. They could take their time with negotiations, knowing that if they missed out on purchasing one home, another opportunity would come along.

But that’s quickly changing. While buyers had a lengthy median of 122 days before a home went off the national market in June 2011, they only had 76 days in June of this year. And homes in a handful of cities are flying off the market even faster.

To find the markets where sellers are regaining control, research engine FindTheBest compiled the list below of the 10 metro areas where homes sell the fastest.

So what do all these markets have in common?

They’re the ones where buyers outnumber inventory.

One common reason buyers can outstrip inventory is negative equity, meaning that the outstanding balance on a homeowner’s mortgage is more than the value of their home. This makes selling their property before housing prices recover further an unappealing option, limiting inventory for buyers and keeping demand high.

Consider homeowners in LA, where 33 percent find themselves in this situation, and homes are snatched off the market in 32 days. Atlanta faces similar negative equity rates, where 29 percent of borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, helping homes disappear from the market in 44 days. In both cities, this leaves buyers competing for limited inventory and struggling to find the homes they want.

In Chicago, lack of Inventory is so severe that sales in July were 8.4 percent lower than they were in July of last year. While that’s unwelcome news for most of the city, it’s not bad news for sellers, who enjoyed a median sale price of $220,000 in June, which actually surpassed the median asking price of $217,000.

Another driver behind hot a seller’s market is simply a strong economy. The health of the seller’s market in Denver, for example, is largely due to a surge of shale oil production in the Niobrara oil fields, attracting workers and increasing buyer demand. And in Minneapolis, strong fundamentals such as low unemployment and a healthy affordability index keep buyers bidding.

Nowhere is income inequality more visible than in America’s biggest cities—with ritzy hotels and glittering storefronts on one corner, and food banks and homeless shelters on another nearby.

But are big cities really comprised of mostly residents at either extreme?

Upon a closer look at the wealth distribution of America’s 10 most populated cities, we found there is indeed a greater percentage of low income households than the national average. However, America’s urban zones also have fewer households at the top.

To begin the analysis, we studied national wealth distribution using brackets as defined by the U.S. Census, and found that 23.3 percent of the population falls into the bottom bracket (under $25,000), 67.4 percent lie in the middle brackets ($25,000-$149,999), and 9.4 percent make it into the highest earning bracket (over $150,000).

Next, we looked at the ten biggest U.S. cities to see how they compared.

It turns out that only four of these cities surpass the national percentage for earners in the highest income bracket of over $150,000: San Jose, San Diego, New York, and Los Angeles. The rest fall equal to or beneath the U.S. average for high earners. And some, like Phoenix (6.9 percent), San Antonio (5.9 percent), and Philadelphia (4.8 percent) fall significantly below it.

Eight out of the 10 cities however, surpass the national average for households in the lowest bracket. The worst level is in Philadelphia, where 37.6 percent of the population earns less than $25,000 per year, followed by Chicago (29.9 percent) and Houston (29 percent).

The same pattern holds when looking at the top 50 cities by population. Only 17 cities surpass the national percentage for households making over $150,000, and 40 cities surpass the national average for percentage of households at the bottom.

So what explains for this phenomenon? It could be that wealthier individuals are increasingly moving to the suburbs. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek, the greatest concentration of top earners live in suburban areas on the outskirts of urban hubs.

Alternatively, perhaps wealth is floating further and further up. According to a recent piece in Forbes, the top one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, suggesting that fewer households in the top bracket are accumulating all the cash.

 

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In recent years, unemployment rates in the United States have taken a favorable turn from the unusually high 9.6 percent experienced in 2010.

Now, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though the numbers increased slightly in June from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent as more people entered the labor force and as employers added 209,000 jobs, the country is definitely seeing more overall progress than regress. As U.S. News points out, since one is only considered unemployed if actively looking for work, “the rise in people seeking jobs suggests they’re more optimistic about their prospects.”

But in some states, unemployment is still an ongoing problem with no easy solution. At FindTheBest, we compiled data from the American Community Survey and ranked all 50 states from the highest percent unemployed to the lowest. We also included factors such as the state’s population, average education level and public schools rating. For the average education levels, “well educated” means that more than 59 percent of the population have attained a four-year degree, “moderately educated” states are ones in which 20-59 percent of people have attained a four-year degree, and “less educated” states falls under 19% . Public schools ratings are based on the average rating given to all the public schools in the state, determined using the school’s average performance on a variety of standardized exams.

For those interested in comparing jobless rates across counties and cities, check out our unemployment calculator.

Here are the 11 states with the highest levels of unemployment.

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A job that provides a stable and liveable income is one of the most important elements in life for most working class adults. But with exceptionally high unemployment rates in recent years, such financial security is far from a guarantee.

Even traditionally popular professions like teaching and law are increasingly difficult to enter, and many young, educated college graduates find themselves out of work.

But there are well-paying jobs in growing fields for those who know where to look.

Using data from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections report, we compiled a list of the 10 occupations forecasted to grow the fastest from 2012 to 2022. We also filtered for professions that pay a median wage of at least $51,000, which is the median income for households in the U.S.

The jobs span a variety of industries, but most require at least a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. A handful require even further secondary education, while others can be self taught. To see which occupations made the list, click the button above.

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Part I: The Two Classic Approaches to Investing

Traditionally, there have been two approaches to managing your investments. The first approach is to play it safe with a company like Vanguard, where you can buy into some large, diversified funds, then sit back for a few decades and enjoy a modest return (experts estimate ~7%, give or take). It’s the simplest, cheapest method, but because you’re limiting risk, you’re also limiting the possibility of a big return.

The second approach is to hire a financial advisor, someone who can help you personalize your portfolio, adapt in times of crises, and make adjustments on the fly. With this approach, you can be as conservative or risky as you like, but it comes with a cost: professional money managers are rarely cheap, and there’s still no guarantee you’ll make a lot of money.

The Problem

The problem with these two choices is that both are somewhat extreme: you can either go cheap and hands-off (Vanguard) or expensive and involved (financial advisor). But many people want something in the middle: an inexpensive option for tinkering with their investments, without the onerous fees of a money manager.

Part II: A new solution for the 21st century

The tech industry is currently a place where virtually anyone can become an inventor–kids are creating apps instead of lemonade stands and running startups before college graduation. Many young people, including the five 19-year-olds from Brooklyn who developed the Push For Pizza app, are inspired by famous success stories such as that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who started his multibillion-dollar company from his Harvard dorm room.

But after FindTheBest compiled a list of the richest executives under 30, there was one glaring statistic: none of the executives were women. In fact, in a Forbes list of America’s most promising CEOs under 35 last year, the author had to make a note explaining why not a single female CEO made the cut. Here’s our list based on data gathered from the SEC proxy statements and 10-Ks:

 

Taking the top spot is Robert Karfunkel, who makes about $3.87 million a year as Divisional Executive Vice President of National General Holdings. Then comes Martin Shkreli, CEO and Director of Desert Gateway, and the famous Facebook king comes in 5th on the list.

Many of these names or these companies are at least somewhat familiar.  But what happens when we limit the data to just female executives under 30? The names become basically unrecognizable. The number of young businesswomen in positions of power is minute, and these women severely lack the prominence that has been given to their male counterparts. One of the seven CEOs listed is Kristin Cleland, the 28-year-old President and Director of a 2-person company called Fansport. Then there is Irina Cudina, the 29-year-old head of American Copper and Brass, Inc., a plumbing and heating equipment merchant wholesaler. She is the sole member of the board of directors.

Overall, after gathering information on over 200,000 executives at public and private companies, we found that out of the 3,536 current corporate officers at public and private companies under the age of 30, only 98 are female.

As soon as that age range for the top male and female executives is extended to 40 though, two female executives take the second and third highest paid spots: Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! is 38, and Meg Gentle, CFO and Senior Vice President of Cheniere Energy is 39.

 

The minute number of women under 30 making waves in the business world could stem from a number of different factors, including a lack of support for young girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in schools and an overall stigma against younger-looking women. According to writer Abigail Collazo, many young women are regarded by co-workers as ignorant and aren’t taken as seriously as young men: “For the first forty-odd years, I will be disrespected, treated as a child by those who don’t think anyone looking so young could possibly have anything of value to contribute.”

But just as there have been more women who have come into positions of power in recent years, hopefully the number will continue to grow and empower younger women to find success early on in their lives.

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Miami Marlins All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton is leading the majors with 32 home runs. He’s just one home run ahead of Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and Baltimore Orioles outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz in that category.

But there’s one thing in particular that sets Stanton apart: he doesn’t discriminate.

All three hitters in the hunt for 2014’s home run crown have shown impressive pop, but Stanton’s consistent power to all parts of the field is what truly distinguishes him. Stanton has hit 10 of his homers to left, four to left-center, seven to center, eight to right-center and three to right field, drilling round-trippers into every corner of the stadium.

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Contrast that to Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who thrives almost exclusively when pulling the ball. He’s smacked 23 home runs, but 22 of those have been hit to left or left-center.

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Granted, Bautista is an extreme case. Ninety-five percent of his home runs have been pulled to left field as a right-handed hitter.

So what about when Stanton is pitted against his 30-plus-homer brethren?

Abreu, the 27-year-old Cuban, has hit 12 homers to left, four to left-center, nine to center, and only seven total to right-center and right. The MLB rookie has racked up an impressive total of home runs to the bleachers straightaway from home plate. However, his home run total to the opposite field (7) doesn’t stack up to Stanton’s (11).

The same narrative plays out with Cruz. The 34-year-old has hit seven opposite-field home runs compared to 24 hit to all other parts of the field.

Stanton’s raw power is virtually unrivaled by anyone else in the Majors. Five of his long balls have traveled 450 feet or more, including this 484-foot blast against the San Diego Padres on April 3.

Cruz hasn’t hit any such moonshots. Of Abreu’s 31 home runs, only one traveled at least 450 feet.

On top of those numbers, the 6’6”, 240-pound Stanton is significantly younger than the other guys in the hunt for the 2014 home run crown. At age 24, the Marlins’ best hitter is three years younger than Abreu and a decade younger than Cruz.

Even 23-year-old Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout hasn’t displayed the same opposite-field strength as Stanton this year. Of his 27 home runs, only four have been hit to the opposite field.

Stanton has established himself as arguably the best home run hitter in the game, and he has yet to hit his prime. If you’re an opposing pitcher in the National League, that’s a terrifying thought.

The Marlins front office needs to do everything in its power to lock up Stanton to a long-term deal moving forward. He’ll be a dynamic power threat for years to come.
Miami can’t afford to lose him.

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In baseball, it’s nice to go on a hot streak. But it’s even nicer when that hot streak comes as a pleasant surprise—and is critical for securing your team’s playoff berth. We’ll take a look at 9 of the hottest streaks from this past month, then decide which was the hottest of them all.

How do we know what’s hot? At FindTheBest, we perform a weekly hot-or-not calculation based on a running 7-day average of batting statistics. The formula mostly tracks at bats and hits, but factors in volume to avoid false positives and to reward consistency. Here’s what we found for our most recent calculation:

The 9 Hottest Batters from August 8th through 14th:

Danny Santanna – 14 hits – 28 at bats – Twins
Adrian Gonzalez – 13 hits – 26 at bats – Dodgers
Justin Morneau – 10 hits – 20 at bats – Rockies
Manny Machado – 8 hits – 16 at bats – Orioles
Jarrod Dyson – 6 hits – 12 at bats – Royals
Freddie Freeman – 12 hits – 25 at bats – Braves
Jake Merisnick – 12 hits – 26 at bats – Astros
Carl Crawford – 11 hits – 24 at bats – Dodgers
Nick Castellanos – 9 hits – 20 at bats – Tigers
Norichika Aoki – 8 hits – 18 at bats – Royals

But what does it take for a streak to truly be “hot?” We’ve picked three qualifiers. First, a hot streak must be supported by the numbers. We need to see lots of hits over comparatively few at bats. Sorry Jeter: a handsome mug alone just doesn’t cut it. Second, a hot streak has to be able to generate buzz at a meaningful, league level. A solid batting average is nice, but if you’re on the Astros, there’s ultimately nothing hot about it. Wake us up when you start contending for the playoffs. Third, a hot streak has to be at least a little bit of a surprise. When a player is just consistently stellar, his hot streak ceases to be a “streak.”

With apologies to the Twins, Rockies, and Astros, Santanna, Morneua, and Merisnick are disqualified on principal. They’ve all had good steaks (particularly Santanna), but a 70-80-win season has a way of spoiling even the best individual performances.

So let’s respectfully forget the cellar-dwellers and focus on the playoff contenders. Of the remaining six players, Dyson, Freeman, and Castellanos have been solid…but not exactly surprising. From a big picture perspective, none of the three jump out as a big late-season surprise, each of whom have produced a series of similar streaks at earlier points in the season. The Oriole’s Manny Machado makes a stronger case, with a series of 2- and 3-hit games after a slow start in the spring. But Machado’s improving performance has been more gradual than sudden, a season of steady increases rather than a genuine hot streak. So we’ll put him aside as well.

Manny Machado This Season

And so it comes to the two Dodgers on our list, who both happen to be on hitting streaks that pass all three of our qualifiers. Both Gonzales and Crawford have been critical for LA recently, popping off a combined 24 hits in a 7-day stretch: enough to secure a win over Milwaukee and three against Atlanta. Thanks in large part to their performances, the Dodgers have remained comfortably ahead of the flailing San Francisco Giants. Of the two players, Gonzales has been healthier and more consistent, rarely dipping below a .250 average all season. His ongoing contributions have kept LA in great shape heading into baseball’s final six weeks, despite a small summer swoon.

Gonzales Since June

Crawford Since June

Crawford’s recent hot streak, however, is likely even better news for the Dodgers, and ultimately the “hotter” of the two streaks. After sitting out 40 games with an ankle sprain, Crawford has slowly worked himself back into shape, culminating in two weeks of truly impressive hitting. There was no guarantee that Crawford would come back this strong, so the recent streak is both a pleasant surprise—and crucial shot in the arm—for LA’s final stretch. For the Dodgers, this streak is coming at the perfect time. Think Blue.

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Greg Maddux has no equals.

The recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductee arguably possessed the most precise command of any pitcher to ever grace the mound. His perfect mechanics inspired a generation of young hurlers to try and copy his effortlessly fluid windup motion, and he practically invented the art of painting two-seam fastballs on the inside corner.

From 1992-1995, he won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards, with the first coming as a member of the Chicago Cubs and the last three earned alongside fellow Hall of Famer Tom Glavine for the Atlanta Braves. During that span, as hitting statistics peaked with the growth of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball, Maddux was an anomaly, outclassing the Senior Circuit in nearly every major pitching category, traditional or sabermetric.

Maddux led all NL pitchers in ERA, WHIP, win probability added (WPA) and complete games thrown in three out of those four years. He was durable, throwing the most innings of any pitcher across that period. Despite not being a strikeout king, he paced the NL all four seasons in fielding independent pitching (FIP), which punishes guys like Maddux who pitch to contact.

And perhaps most impressively, he led all Major League players—not just pitchers—in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 1992, 1994 and 1995.

So it’s a fool’s errand to try and find anyone who has recently dominated the league in the same manner (though Clayton Kershaw has achieved some of the above feats, he hasn’t once led the NL in WAR, FIP or innings pitched). But what is a more reasonable quest is to search for someone who could do that in the near future.

Before Maddux’s unconscious four-year tear, he was just a solid piece of the Cubs rotation for several seasons. In 1991, no one knew the terror that “Mad Dog” was about to unleash upon Major League hitters for the next 15 years.

In hindsight, however, there are a few statistical trends that partially foretold Maddux’s emergence as a mastermind of pitch control, and can be used to predict which young pitchers of today are poised for similar breakthroughs.

In 1991, Maddux accumulated 3.5 WAR while recording a 6.8 K/9 rate and a 2.3 BB/9 rate, with the latter two being career bests by a decent margin. Those rates were particularly telling—Maddux never logged a lower walk rate, and only failed to top a strikeout rate of 6.0 K/9 once in the next decade after never reaching that mark before 1991. Even though Maddux didn’t rely on strikeouts, he needed to become at least average at punching out hitters before he could morph into an annual Cy Young threat.

Greg Maddux’s 1991 Season

So which young pitcher is showing similar signs of promise? We need someone with comparable numbers, a couple years of experience in the big leagues, and room to grow.

With this in mind, one player emerges as a viable match—Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran. Apparently, there’s something in the water in Atlanta. And for the Braves’ rivals, the scary thing is that in his fourth season in the Majors, Teheran’s All-Star performance has actually been far more impressive than Maddux’s early results in many ways.

In an alternate universe where the 1991 version of Greg Maddux is pitching this season, Teheran has comfortably led Maddux in ERA since mid-April.

On top of that, at age 23, Teheran has struck out batters more often (8.1 per nine innings) than Maddux ever did. That should really come as no surprise, since Teheran possesses more electrifying stuff now than “The Professor” did even on his best days. What is somewhat shocking, however, is that up to this point in 2014, Teheran has beaten Maddux at his own game.

Teheran has only walked 1.9 batters per nine innings this season. Not only is that better than Maddux’s mark in 1991 and 1992, when his Cy Young streak began – it’s virtually identical to Maddux’s career BB/9 (1.8). And then consider Teheran’s solid ERA, especially impressive next to Maddux’s 1991 season:

It’s certainly true that the Braves youngster has a long, long way to go before baseball historians start comparing him to Cooperstown’s newest inductee. Maddux became a legend over the course of his career—not in a single season. But if Teheran can continue on a Maddux-like trajectory for, oh, the next 15 years or so, the next generation’s great ballplayers will be able to look back fondly on the time they spent trying to duplicate Teheran.


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Have you ever found yourself deciding between Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Lucky Charms? Doritos or Lays? KFC or Taco Bell? It might matter for your taste buds, but not so much for the company that owns them. Every brand we just mentioned is owned by the same huge corporation. In fact, only a handful of companies own the hundreds of consumer brands you see, buy, and use every day.

We used our companies topic to find not only what these mega corporations produce, but how much they made in revenue in 2013, and how many people they employ in the U.S. So to see which 10 corporations saturate America from the workforce to the pantry and the medicine cabinet, start our by clicking on the button above.