‘Back to School’ spending rivals that of three-month Christmas season | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Back to School’ spending rivals that of three-month Christmas season

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Business Reporter

Is it possible that the “Back to School” season can best the buying power of the birth of Christ? Surely not, you say. But the sale of zipper binders and faded flare jeans certainly rivals the arrival of Jolly ol’ Saint Nick.

In August of last year, American families spent $6 billion to clothe their youth to enter the hallowed elementary and high school halls, slightly less than what they spent during the Christmas shopping season. Keep in mind that season lasts from October to December. Back to School is but one month.

Six Billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 6,000 million.

But, I need only flip through a Sunday’s worth of advertisements to confirm this. Sure, every insert screams “Back to School SALE,” but a Jansport backpack is still $40 and if you have more than two children, that’s up to $100. Jeans, even at 40 percent off at Mervyns, are still $15 to $30.

Let’s skip over to actual school supplies, which the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t even put a figure on. At OfficeMax, a graphing calculator (which every parent knows their child needs for high school algebra and geometry) starts at $74. Zipper binders average $7 at Staples; filler paper is $4; indexes are $6.

Now imagine 74.9 million children and teens – the number of people enrolled in school from pre-school to college in the entire country – getting outfitted by mom and dad, keeping in mind that in a lot of American cities salaries are not keeping pace with the Cost of Living index.

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Recently I covered an event in Mills Park that gave out free school supplies to needy children. More than 800 children and parents lined up and only about 150 children left fully supplied. Two of those children who went away with only a few pencils were Brian Rasmussen’s daughter and son. Two readers contacted me, offering to provide supplies to his children.

“I don’t want to see any kids go to school for the first day without that great outfit and that shiny new backpack and some goodies,” said Cristal Romesburg.

But it’ll only get more costly for struggling families as electronics take prominence in American classrooms.

About 3 million high school diplomas will be given out this year. Last year, 64 percent of our high school graduates went directly to college.

A whole new class of college freshmen are settling into dorms and preparing for Higher Education. And I’m sure that means buying $300 in books that they will crack open for the first time right before mid-terms, if then, but I’m not speaking from experience.

With the help of the Millennium Scholarship, charitable organizations and the feds, many of those students will receive a degree in four to nine years with less than $20,000 in debt.

Average tuition, room and board (for in-state students) at four-year public schools is $10,660 for an academic year. That is roughly double what it was in 1990.

But this is also something to celebrate. A college education is attainable to all social classes (if you ignore the argument that growing up with a higher family income increases the child’s chances of securing a higher GPA, which the Millennium Scholarship is based on), rather than just the economically elite. The projected number of students enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities is 16.7 million; this is up from 12.1 million a quarter-century ago.

And after many long nights of pizza eating and study groups, 2.7 million college degrees are expected to be conferred this school year.

Then these bright-eyed, idealistic college grads will find jobs (keep your fingers crossed) and make much higher average salaries. Those with a bachelor’s degree will earn $51,206 a year, compared to the $27,900 a high school grad is making.

Then these college grads will get married and go Back to School shopping for their children … $40 for a Jansport backpack; $30 for a pair of jeans; $4 for a pack of filler paper.

As the nation marks Labor Day and celebrates the American worker, Union Pacific is helping to put more Americans to work.

Union Pacific continues to hire and recruit new employees to keep consumer products, automobiles, energy supplies and other goods moving on the nation’s rail system.

Union Pacific expects to hire several thousand employees each year for the next five years. Opportunities are available in all areas of the company, from entry-level and skilled positions to openings within the railroad’s management training program.

To learn more about all employment opportunities and to apply for positions, applicants should visit Union Pacific’s Web site at http://www.up.com and click on the “Jobs at UP” section. From there, they should click on “Union Pacific Railroad: View Positions.” From this Web page, applicants can search the database for open positions and locations of interest. Applications must be completed and submitted online for the job at the specific location of interest.

Explicit Media, an established advertising and media company based in Gardnerville, will debut Coldwell Banker ITILDO’s new “Showcase of Gold Circle Homes” show. The new real estate show will begin airing Monday on cable channel 12 at 10:30 p.m. and will air regularly every day except Friday. It focuses on properties listed with Coldwell Banker ITILDO located throughout Northern Nevada where each property is showcased with its own 30-second commercial.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.