Feb 10, 2015 3:20 pm

More openings and hires give Americans reason for greater job optimism


If more Americans are hearing good news about the economy, as the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday, it could be because there’s more good news out there to hear. The latest batch of economic data also was published today, showing that there were more job openings — and more people actually hired — in December than in any single month for several years.

There were just over 5 million job openings on the last business day of 2014 (after adjusting for seasonal variations), according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (known as JOLTS), which is produced by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that was little changed from November’s level, it was the highest figure since January 2001, just before the dot-com bust. While job openings have been increasing since the latter part of 2009, the pace accelerated markedly last year. Read More

Topics: National Economy

Feb 10, 2015 7:00 am

U.S. and European Millennials differ on their views of fate, future

FT_15.02.06_europeanMillSuccessWith up to half of young adults unemployed in some European countries, it’s little wonder that many European Millennials despair about the future.

But a deeper malaise afflicts many younger Europeans. They lack a sense of agency: A majority don’t feel that they can impact the world around them or their future, a stark contrast with their American counterparts.

Roughly half or more of Millennials in six of the seven European Union nations surveyed by the Pew Research Center last year believe that “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control.” This includes 63% of young Germans and Italians and 62% of young Greeks and Poles. (Brits were the exception, with only 37% of those ages 18 to 33 agreeing with that statement.) By contrast, slightly more than four-in-ten young Americans (43%) share this view. Read More

Topics: Economic Recession, Education, Europe, Millennials

Feb 9, 2015 11:09 am

Who are Europe’s Millennials?

The future belongs to the young. But what if there are not many of them?

Nowhere is this more evident than in Europe, a rapidly aging region facing severe economic challenges. What the dwindling youthful population of Europe believes and how their views differ from their aging and far more numerous elders may go a long way toward determining Europe’s fate.

European Millennials are young people who came of age politically, economically and socially as the 21st century – and the new millennium – began. In 2014, they ranged in age from 18 to 33. (For more on American Millennials, who are also defined by their shared cultural and historical experience, see the Pew Research Center’s extensive research work.)

Millennials accounted for 24% of the adult population in the 28-member European Union in 2013, the last year for which there is comparable, comprehensive EU demographic data. In comparison, this generation represented about 27% of the adult population in the United States in 2014, and this year they are expected to become the largest generation, overtaking Baby Boomers. Read More

Topics: Economic Recession, Europe, Generations and Age, Millennials

Feb 9, 2015 7:00 am

The continuing decline of Europe’s Jewish population

Jewish Population in EuropeIt’s been seven decades since the end of the Holocaust, an event that decimated the Jewish population in Europe. In the years since then, the number of European Jews has continued to decline for a variety of reasons. And now, concerns over renewed anti-Semitism on the continent have prompted Jewish leaders to talk of a new “exodus” from the region.

There are still more than a million Jews living in Europe, according to 2010 Pew Research Center estimates. But that number has dropped significantly over the last several decades – most dramatically in Eastern Europe and the countries that make up the former Soviet Union, according to historical research by Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1939, there were 16.6 million Jews worldwide, and a majority of them – 9.5 million, or 57% – lived in Europe, according to DellaPergola’s estimates. By the end of World War II, in 1945, the Jewish population of Europe had shrunk to 3.8 million, or 35% of the world’s 11 million Jews. About 6 million European Jews were killed during the Holocaust, according to common estimates.

Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Europe, Jews and Judaism, Religious Affiliation

Feb 6, 2015 10:29 am

Four signs of the improving U.S. jobs situation

The U.S. unemployment rate was little changed in January, ticking up to 5.7% even as 759,000 more people reported having jobs, according to Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the unemployed are hardly a homogenous group, and why they’re unemployed, and how long they’ve been out of work, can be just as telling about the state of the economy as the headline-grabbing jobless rate.

Fortunately, the government keeps track of the major reasons people are unemployed. (Quick refresher: To be counted as unemployed, a person must not only be out of work, but be available for work and have actively searched for a job sometime in the previous four weeks. Together, the employed and unemployed make up the labor force. Jobless people who haven’t searched for work recently aren’t considered part of the labor force and aren’t included in the count of unemployed.) Read More

Topics: National Economy

Feb 5, 2015 11:22 am

Widespread concerns about extremism in Muslim nations, and little support for it

The horrific murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh has generated shock and outrage around the globe. And if recent history is a guide, this brutal act will only deepen opposition to ISIS, and to violent extremism more generally, in Jordan and other predominantly Muslim nations.

At the Pew Research Center, we’ve been asking questions related to extremism on our international surveys for over a decade, and what we’ve generally found among Muslim publics is that support for extremism is low, while concerns about it are high.

Concerns About Extremism in Middle EastEven before ISIS’s battlefield victories and humanitarian atrocities began capturing international headlines last summer, we found growing worries about extremism in the Middle East. For instance, 62% of Jordanians said they were concerned about Islamic extremism in their country in our spring 2014 poll, up from 54% a year earlier. There were also increases in Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey.

The survey also found mostly negative views toward al Qaeda and other extremist groups in these and many other predominantly Muslim countries. The most positive rating for al Qaeda was in the Palestinian territories, where 25% had a favorable view of the terrorist organization. Read More

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Terrorism

Feb 5, 2015 8:55 am

5 key takeaways about how investigative reporters view their digital security

As journalism becomes an increasingly digital practice, the data and communications of investigative journalists have become vulnerable to hackers, government surveillance and legal threats. But what are these vulnerabilities – and what steps have investigative journalists taken to protect themselves?

Here are five takeaways based on a new Pew Research Center survey of 671 members of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a nonprofit member organization for journalists:

1Journalists, Government Data CollectionAbout two-thirds (64%) believe that the U.S. government probably has collected data about their own phone calls, emails or online communications. This perception is especially prevalent among IRE journalists who cover national security, foreign affairs or the federal government. Fully 71% of this group say the government has likely collected this data. And eight-in-ten of all journalists surveyed express the belief that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected by the U.S. government. Read More

Topics: Digital Media, News Media Ethics and Practices, News Media Trends, News Sources, Newspapers, Online Privacy and Safety

Feb 4, 2015 12:45 pm

America’s ‘middle’ holds its ground after the Great Recession

In the years following the Great Recession, the share of Americans who live in middle-income households held steady at 51% in 2013, the same share as in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

While the muddled recovery has yet to bolster the middle, this flat trend might actually be good news because, for now, it stems a decades-long slide. Back in 1970, 61% of adults lived in middle-income households. Read More

Topics: Income, Middle Class, National Economy, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 4, 2015 7:00 am

50 years later, Americans give thumbs-up to immigration law that changed the nation

Where Immigrants Came FromAs Washington once again engages in a heated political battle over immigration policy, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how much the country and its politics have changed since passage of the law that largely created today’s system.

Fifty years ago, the Immigration and Nationality Act dramatically changed the makeup of the country by ending a quota system based on national origins in favor of one that took into account occupational skills, relatives living in the U.S. and political-refugee status.

Despite the long-term impact of the 1965 law and the highly partisan tone the issue has taken on today, immigration was not highly divisive a half-century ago, and the American public paid it little heed. Of course, a lot was going on in 1965 to occupy the public’s attention – Vietnam and civil rights, to name just two mega-issues.

Nonetheless, Gallup polls that year found less than 1% of the public naming immigration as the most important problem facing the nation. And, by the end of 1965, the Harris poll found just 3% naming immigration revision as the legislation most important to them. (Back then, Medicare legislation was cited most often – by 28%.) Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Immigration Trends, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration

Feb 3, 2015 2:24 pm

NASA popularity still sky-high

NASA continues to be very popular among the public, with four times as many Americans holding a favorable view of the space agency as unfavorable (68% vs. 17%). In contrast with many other departments and agencies of the federal government, Republicans and Democrats generally have the same positive view.

NASA rated at the top of a list of eight government agencies along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Pew Research Center survey last month.

Americans Like NASAHighly educated Americans have an especially positive view of NASA. Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) of those with a graduate degree view the agency favorably, while just 11% view it unfavorably. Among those with no more than a high school education, 61% have a favorable impression of NASA and 21% view the agency unfavorably. Majorities of independents (70%), Democrats (68%) and Republicans (63%) have favorable opinions of NASA.

Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Government Spending and the Deficit, Science and Innovation