Apr 30, 2014 11:56 am

Long-term unemployment is still high; new research suggests geography could be one reason

chart of unemployment duration
Median number of weeks unemployed people have been out of work (seasonally adjusted). Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

One of the defining features of the Great Recession and not-so-great recovery has been the surge in long-term unemployment. As of March, more than 3.7 million Americans had been out of work for more than six months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the median duration of unemployment (seasonally adjusted) was 16.3 weeks — down from the record high of 25 weeks in mid-2010, but well above pre-recession norms.

Analysts have advanced several explanations for the persistence of long-term unemployment: an unintended consequence of extending jobless benefits; a mismatch between the skills unemployed workers have and what employers want; a breakdown in the efficiency of labor markets; or simply bad timing. Whatever the reason, it’s a major concern for policymakers, who fear that many of the long-term unemployed may never find their way back into the workforce. Read More

Topics: Work and Employment

Apr 30, 2014 11:11 am

Data Feed: Millennials and midterms, America’s global role, Homeownership rate hits low

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Americans divided on prospects for two state solution in Mideast, Pew Research Center
Americans want to pull back from world stage, topline, WSJ/NBC News
8.7% of Congress members have come from ‘dynastic’ families, Washington Post
What college towns tell us about midterm elections, The Wall Street Journal
23% of young Americans say they will definitely vote in midterms, topline, Harvard
Analysis: Younger millennials not as Democratic as older millennials, Washington Post
Poll shows no leader in wide-open GOP race, Washington Post
Florida voters back gay marriage, immigrant in-state tuition, Quinnipiac

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Category: Data Feed

Apr 30, 2014 10:51 am

Illegal immigration by boat: A dangerous, but common way of entering Europe

Illegal migration by boat highest in Europe 2013
Every year, tens of thousands of migrants from poor and war-stricken countries attempt a risky journey by boat for what they hope will be a better life in Europe, according to EU border patrol agency, Frontex, who counts the number of migrants apprehended by border patrols along Europe’s shores.

Nearly 300 migrants drowned last year just half a mile off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, and in the last week the Italian navy has rescued thousands from the rough seas off the Sicilian coast. With the number of migrants waiting to travel to Europe by sea suggested by one immigration official to be in the hundreds of thousands Italian leaders are debating the $12 million monthly cost of those rescue efforts. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration

Apr 29, 2014 1:13 pm

Mobile apps collect information about users, with wide range of permissions

Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The Supreme Court will hear two cases this term about whether police can search the contents of a mobile device without a warrant.

The legal boundaries of technology and privacy have become more urgent to address as mobile connectivity has become central to Americans’ lives. According to the Pew Research Center 58% of adults own smartphones and 42% own tablet computers. Half of American cell phone owners have downloaded apps to their mobile devices.

Apps are pieces of software that allow users to interact with mobile services, from online banking, to news and games and driving directions. When they download apps, many users may not realize the apps collect information about them. The cases before the high court could clarify whether police searches of smartphones, including app content, without a warrant represent “unreasonable search and seizure” and violate citizens’ privacy in a new technological era. Read More

Topics: Mobile, Privacy and Safety

Apr 29, 2014 11:58 am

Data Feed: Dems at risk in midterms, support for contraceptive mandate, 4.5 million deported since 1996

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Bipartisan support for increased sanctions against Russia, Pew Research/USA Today
Dems are at risk in midterms as Obama’s ratings fall, topline, ABC News/Washington Post
Majority supports ACA’s contraceptive mandate, topline, Kaiser Family Foundation
Both Republicans and Democrats have an age problem, FiveThirtyEight

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Category: Data Feed

Apr 29, 2014 11:40 am

Kaiser: Majority of Americans back health law mandate on contraceptive coverage

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on two challenges to the health care law’s mandate that requires many employers to include contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans. But whatever the justices decide, the mandate has the support of a majority of the public, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released today.

Over four-in-ten (44%) Americans said they followed news coverage of the cases “very” or “fairly closely,” which was a higher percentage than some other issues that have come before the court in Pew Research’s own polling.  Read More

Topics: Health Care, Religion and Society

Apr 28, 2014 12:30 pm

Americans agree inequality has grown, but don’t agree on why

Chart listing some of the reasons Americans give for economic inequalityIssues of economic inequality (however one defines it) are a part of the public discussion in a way they haven’t been for a long time, driven both by economists such as Thomas Piketty and people’s own experiences since the 2007-09 global financial panic. Americans have few doubts that inequality has grown: In a Pew Research Center survey from January, about two-thirds of respondents (65%) said the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased over the past decade, versus just 8% who said it’s decreased.

But ask people why the gap has grown, and their answers are all over the place.

Among people who said the gap between the rich and everyone else has grown, we asked an “open-ended question” — what, in their own words, the main reason was. About a fifth (20%) said tax loopholes (or, more generally, tax laws skewed to favor the rich) were the main reason. Ten percent pinned the blame on Congress or government policies more broadly; about as many (9%) cited the lackluster job market, while 6% named corporations or business executives. Read More

Topics: Income Inequality, National Economy

Apr 28, 2014 11:15 am

Data Feed: More low-wage jobs, political implications of immigration reform, the rising retirement age

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Poll shows problems for Obama, peril for Senate Democrats, National Journal/Allstate
Democrats’ midterm turnout problem is worst in North Carolina, The Upshot/NYT
How immigration reform could change political landscape, Washington Post
Colorado voters feel good about legalized marijuana, Quinnipiac
Legislative Explorer: Visualizing the lawmaking process, U. of Washington via FlowingData
A history of Maine gubernatorial rematches, University of Minnesota

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Category: Data Feed

Apr 25, 2014 12:33 pm

The facts and figures behind proposed trans-Pacific trade deal

Chart of U.S. trade in 2013 with Pacific Rim countries

One of the biggest and most difficult items on President Obama’s Asia agenda has been trade — in particular, unsnarling negotiations for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement. The TPP would remove trade barriers among 12 nations on both sides of the Pacific that together account for about 40% of the global economy. But as might be expected, the ambitious deal has run into resistance abroad (especially from the Japanese agricultural and auto industries) and has revived long-running debates in the U.S. about the benefits and risks of such trade deals. (Two of the four countries on Obama’s schedule, Japan and Malaysia, are participating in the talks; the other two, South Korea and the Philippines, have expressed interest in joining.) Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Globalization and Trade

Apr 25, 2014 11:43 am

Data Feed: Housing market shifts, Latin American economic outlook, who likes their state best

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Even in 2012, young voters still underrepresented at polls, Washington Post
53% of Va. voters oppose Medicaid expansion, Christopher Newport U.

Consumer sentiment up in April to nine-month high, University of Michigan/Reuters
Demand for home loans plunges, The Wall Street Journal
Price of new homes is surging, in part because houses are getting bigger, Washington Post
Optimism for rising U.S. home value is highest since 2007, Gallup
Why the housing market is still stalling the economy, The Upshot/NYT
Fewer Americans carrying a balance on their credit cards, Gallup
Debit, credit cards much more popular than checks for noncash payments, Atlanta Fed
New data on GDP and value-add by industry for 2013, Bureau of Economic Analysis
For women in tech, pay gap is unusually small, The Upshot/NYT

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