Dec 5, 2014 1:00 pm

If original DACA program is a guide, many eligible immigrants will apply for deportation relief

About 4 million unauthorized immigrants are eligible for temporary deportation relief under President Obama’s new executive action, but how many will take advantage of the offer?

DACA unauthorized immigrants eligible to stay in USA previous program may offer some insights. One way immigrants may qualify for relief is under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which started in 2012 and is now expanding. In that program, applications surged after the program’s launch and trailed off over time. Today, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the estimated 1.1 million unauthorized immigrants who are eligible have had their applications accepted for review.

DACA offers deportation relief and work authorization to those who came to the U.S. as children. So far, about 702,000 unauthorized immigrants have had their applications accepted for review since the program began in August 2012, according to recently released U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data showing program applications, approvals and renewals through Sept. 30, 2014. Of the applicants, 87% have been approved for the renewable two-year permits. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration

Dec 5, 2014 12:01 pm

For retailers, the holidays mean a hiring binge — and then a purge

(AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily News, Nick Tomecek)
(AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily News, Nick Tomecek)

The holiday hiring spree has begun. According to today’s jobs report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s retailers added 434,500 people to their payrolls in November. If history is any guide, retail payrolls will rise again this month before dropping sharply after the New Year.

Seasonal_retail1Retail is one of the more seasonably variable industries when it comes to payroll jobs (though not the only one — construction, leisure and hospitality, and education, among others, also exhibit strong seasonal employment patterns). Retail payrolls surge in November and December as stores hire for holiday shopping — typically jumping 3% to 4% between October and December. Last year, for example, retailers added 626,200 jobs in November and December, representing a 4.1% gain. (These are the sorts of predictable moves that are smoothed out in the seasonally adjusted jobs numbers, which generally are the ones that get the most attention.)

Much of that increase, however, is concentrated in a handful of retail sectors. Last year, for  example, nearly a third of the retail employment surge (202,400 jobs) occurred at clothing and accessories stores, and more than a quarter (177,400 jobs) at department stores. The pattern appeared to continue last month: Clothiers and department stores accounted for more than half of November’s retail job gains, adding 121,600 and 114,700 jobs respectively.

Other good places to seek holiday employment were general merchandise stores (78,600 jobs added between October and December 2013, about 13% of the total increase) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music retailers (65,800 jobs, or 11% of last season’s total increase). Those patterns haven’t changed much over the past decade, though department stores account for less of the seasonal surge than they used to (as well as a smaller share of retail employment generally) and clothing/accessories stores account for more.

Most retail sectors participate in the pre-holiday hiring surge, though some more so than others. Grocery stores and drugstores, for example, have little or no wintertime seasonality; building-material and garden-supply stores hit their peak payrolls in summer, coinciding with construction season.

Seasonal_retail2

While the pre-holiday hiring surge is impressive, the post-holiday drop is even more dramatic. Retail payrolls typically fall 5% to 6% between December and February, as retailers with disappointing holiday sales lay off staff and close unprofitable stores. (This past year, retailers shed a combined 880,000 jobs in the two months after Christmas.) For some struggling retailers, a bad holiday season can be the final push over the ledge: Circuit City announced in January 2009 it was closing down; Borders filed for bankruptcy in February 2011.

Topics: National Economy, Work and Employment

Dec 4, 2014 1:00 pm

Global worries about corruption are on the rise

Recent news reports from Tanzania, Mexico and China have highlighted corruption as a major issue for people in emerging and developing countries. Our spring 2014 survey confirms that people in these countries think corrupt political leadership is a very big problem and that it is also a growing one. Yet, not many people in these nations say giving bribes is essential for getting ahead in life.

Across 34 emerging and developing economies, a median of 76% say corrupt political leaders are a very big problem in their country. This ranks among the top concerns in these countries, just behind rising prices (84% very big problem), crime (83%) and lack of jobs (79%). Regionally, people in Africa are the most worried about corruption, followed by Latin Americans.

Global worries about corruption are on the rise

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Topics: World Economies

Dec 4, 2014 10:00 am

Half of online Americans don’t know what a privacy policy is

What is a privacy policy?

When Pew Research Center asked about this on a recent survey measuring public knowledge of technology and the web, we found that it was one that many Americans answered incorrectly. Our true/false statement question asked, “When a company posts a privacy policy, it ensures that the company keeps confidential all the information it collects on users.” Some 52% of internet users believe — incorrectly — that this statement is true, and that privacy policies actually ensure the confidentiality of their personal information. (In fact, a privacy policy is simply a legal document that discloses how customer data is managed and used.) Just 44% correctly identified this statement as false, and 3% chose not to answer the question.

This particular question was based on polling conducted by Joseph Turow, who studies digital marketing and privacy issues at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. Back in 2003, when he first surveyed home internet users on this subject, 57% believed (again, incorrectly) that when a website has a privacy policy, it will not share their personal information with other websites or companies. A decade later, little has changed. Read More

Topics: Online Privacy and Safety

Dec 4, 2014 7:00 am

Tying the knot again? Chances are, there’s a bigger age gap than the first time around

men more likely to remarry woman much youngerThere’s a common stereotype that American men who remarry are especially likely to walk down the aisle with a younger woman. A new Pew Research analysis of census data finds that’s largely true.

Not only are men who have recently remarried more likely than those beginning a first marriage to have a spouse who is younger; in many cases, she is much younger. Some 20% of men who are newly remarried have a wife who is at least 10 years their junior, and another 18% married a woman who is 6-9 years younger. By comparison, just 5% of newlywed men in their first marriage have a spouse who is 10 years younger, and 10% married a woman who is 6-9 years younger. Read More

Topics: Marriage and Divorce

Dec 3, 2014 12:07 pm

Health Affairs: Among 11 nations, American seniors struggle more with health costs

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A majority of older Americans say Medicare is working well. Nonetheless, they report more problems paying for health care and getting primary care than seniors in 10 other major advanced economies, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey published in the journal Health Affairs.

Medicare, the U.S. government health insurance for the elderly, has clearly eased the cost of aging and lowered the poverty rate among elderly Americans. Yet, nearly one-in-five (19%) Americans ages 65 and older say they had a medical problem but did not visit a doctor, skipped a medical test or a treatment recommended by a doctor, did not fill a prescription or skipped doses of their medicine because of cost constraints. By comparison, a far smaller share of elderly Canadians (9%), British (5%) and French (3%) — all of whom have government-funded health insurance programs — reported cost-related constraints on access to health care.

FT_14.12.2_healthCare_640

The survey, which focused on older adults (those 65 and over) in 11 countries, was conducted by telephone by the firm SSRS for The Commonwealth Fund, a research foundation that advocates for better health systems in the U.S., from March to May 2014.

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Topics: Health, Health Care

Dec 2, 2014 7:00 am

How productive are lame duck Congresses?

LameDuck1Congress is back from its Thanksgiving break to continue its “lame duck” session — so called because it includes senators and representatives who lost their seats in last month’s elections but whose terms won’t expire till January. Among the items on the congressional to-do list: keeping the government funded, extending an assortment of expired tax breaks, and voting on nominees for ambassadorships, judgeships and other offices.

We wondered, how productive are these lame duck sessions, and is the “lame” part of the tag deserved?

LameDuck2Our analysis found that lame duck sessions are shouldering more of the legislative workload than they used to. The last Congress’ lame duck, which stretched from November 2012 past New Year’s Day 2013, passed only 87 public laws, but that was 30.7% of the Congress’ entire two-year output and 31.3% of its substantive output (that is, excluding post-office renamings, National “fill-in-the-blank” Week designations and other purely ceremonial legislation). In 2010, the 99 public laws passed during the 111th Congress’ lame duck session accounted for 25.8% of all that Congress’ laws (and 29.2% of its substantive laws). Read More

Topics: Congress

Dec 1, 2014 2:12 pm

Who are the unauthorized immigrants ineligible for Obama’s executive action?

The 5.8 million unauthorized immigrants not eligible for deportation relief under President Obama’s executive actions are more likely than those eligible to be unmarried and not have U.S.-born children living with them, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

The president’s new and existing programs could shield 48% of the nation’s 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. from deportation. The executive action announced last month offers three-year work permits and deportation relief to about 4 million unauthorized immigrants, primarily parents who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and have U.S. citizen or legal resident children. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Unauthorized Immigration

Dec 1, 2014 7:00 am

The darkest side of online harassment: Menacing behavior

Forty percent of adult internet users have personally experienced some kind of online harassment, most of it involving things like name-calling or attempts to embarrass someone. But there are also more menacing forms of harassment such as physical threats, and today, the Supreme Court will hear a case that weighs when threatening speech on social media breaks the law.

The different varieties of online harassment.The case involves a Pennsylvania man who had been convicted of making violent threats on Facebook against his estranged wife and others. The argument pits prosecutors against free speech advocates over whether the man’s posts constituted a “true threat” or whether it was “protected speech” under the First Amendment.

The case mirrors similar issues being wrestled with in the online world. Our recent study of online harassment noted, “At a basic level, there is no clear legal definition of what constitutes ‘online harassment.’ Traditional notions of libel, slander, and threatening speech are sometimes hard to apply to the online environment.”

Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Social Media

Nov 26, 2014 3:22 pm

Ferguson highlights deep divisions between blacks and whites in America

After a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama condemned the riots that followed but said, “We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.” Obama was speaking specifically of what he described as the “deep distrust [that] exists between law enforcement and communities of color.”

Blacks consistently express lower confidence in police to treat blacks, whites equallyIndeed, Pew Research Center polling consistently shows that blacks and whites have very different views about many aspects of race — from confidence in the police to progress on racial equality. For example, 48% of whites said a lot of progress has been made compared with 32% of blacks, according to a 2013 survey conducted just before the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. The divide widens further when the question is: How much more needs to be done in order to achieve racial equality? About eight-in-ten (79%) blacks say “a lot” compared with just 44% of whites.

When it comes to Ferguson, a larger share of blacks than whites said the shooting of Michael Brown raised important questions about race, according to an August survey conducted just after the event. Eight-in-ten blacks said the shooting raised issues “that need to be discussed.” Whites took a much different view: about half said race was getting more attention than it deserved while 37% of whites shared the views of most blacks that the case raised larger issues.

There was also a divide between blacks and whites about their levels of confidence in any ensuing Ferguson investigations (these opinions were expressed before it was announced that the Justice Department would probe the case). About three-quarters (76%) of blacks expressed not too much or no confidence at all, while about half (52%) of whites said they did have confidence in whatever investigations would follow. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Violence and Society