Jun 7, 2017 9:10 am

U.S. job openings at record high levels

With the U.S. economic expansion well into its eighth year, some states are experiencing what might seem like an enviable problem: not enough people to fill all the available jobs. Utah and Colorado, among others, are reporting local worker shortages and record or near-record low unemployment. And nationally, job openings remain at their highest levels since the turn of the century.

As of the end of April, nonfarm employers reported more than 6 million job openings, according to seasonally adjusted data from the government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (known as JOLTS). Although there are still more people without jobs than there are job openings – about 6.9 million people reported being unemployed in May – the monthly estimate of open positions has been above 5.5 million for all but one month since the start of 2016, a sign of the U.S. economy’s relative health. In July 2009, just past the trough of the Great Recession, employers reported fewer than 2.2 million job openings, the lowest total since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting JOLTS data in 2000.

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Topics: National Economy, Work and Employment

Jun 6, 2017 11:31 am

The rise of multiracial and multiethnic babies in the U.S.

One-in-seven U.S. infants (14%) were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, nearly triple the share in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. This increase comes nearly a half century after the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage.

Multiracial or multiethnic infants include children less than 1 year old whose parents are each of a different race, those with one Hispanic and one non-Hispanic parent, and those with at least one parent who identifies as multiracial. This analysis is limited to infants living with two parents because census data on the race and ethnicity of parents is only available for those living in the same home. In 2015, this was the case for 62% of all infants.

The rapid rise in the share of infants who are multiracial or multiethnic has occurred hand-in-hand with the growth in marriages among spouses of different races or ethnicities. In 1980, 7% of all newlyweds were in an intermarriage, and by 2015, that share had more than doubled to 17%, according to a recently released Pew Research Center report. Both trends are likely spurred in part by the growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S.

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Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Intermarriage, Marriage and Divorce, Parenthood, Race and Ethnicity

Jun 6, 2017 7:03 am

Higher share of students than tourists, business travelers overstayed deadlines to leave U.S. in 2016

A higher share of foreign students and exchange visitors than international tourists or business travelers overstayed their permission to be in the U.S. last year, according to a new Department of Homeland Security report. Overall, about 629,000 foreign visitors who were expected to leave the country in fiscal 2016 were still in the U.S. when the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, out of about 50 million arrivals by air and sea.

The scope of the government’s report for fiscal 2016 is limited: It covers 96% of foreign visitors who arrived by air and sea, but not lawful arrivals over land borders from Canada and Mexico, which account for about 250 million arrivals a year. (The agency’s first partial estimate of fiscal 2015 overstays, published last year, covered 85% of air and sea visitors and did not include those with visas for students or temporary workers and their family members. The new report includes these groups.)

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Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration

Jun 5, 2017 10:06 am

Through an American lens, Western Europe’s middle classes appear smaller

The American middle class is smaller than middle classes across Western Europe, but its income is higher, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. and 11 European nations.

The median disposable (after-tax) income of middle-class households in the U.S. was $60,884 in 2010. With the exception of Luxembourg – a virtual city-state where the median income was $71,799 – the disposable incomes of middle-class households in the other 10 Western European countries in the study trailed well behind the American middle class.

In the Center’s analysis, the middle class in a country consists of adults living in households with disposable incomes ranging from two-thirds to double the country’s own median disposable household income (adjusted for household size). This definition allows middle-class incomes to vary across countries, because national incomes vary across countries.

The share of the adult population living in middle-class households in 2010 also varies by country. Among the countries examined, the middle-class share in Western Europe ranged from 64% in Spain to 80% in Denmark and Norway. By comparison, the U.S. lagged behind, with a middle-class share of 59% in 2010.

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Topics: Europe, Income, Middle Class, National Economy, North America, Socioeconomic Class

Jun 1, 2017 2:46 pm

Dislike of candidates or campaign issues was most common reason for not voting in 2016

Tens of millions of registered voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election, and the share who cited a “dislike of the candidates or campaign issues” as their main reason for not participating reached a new high of 25%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new Census Bureau data.

In other recent presidential elections, the share of registered voters who said they didn’t participate because they disliked the candidates or campaign issues was considerably lower. In 2012, for example, 13% cited this as their primary reason. In pre-election polling last year, registered voters expressed far lower levels of satisfaction with their choices of candidates than in prior elections over the past several decades.

While a dislike of the candidates or issues was the most frequently cited reason for not voting, other top reasons included a lack of interest or a feeling that their vote wouldn’t make a difference (15%), being too busy or having a conflicting schedule (14%), having an illness or disability (12%) and being out of town or away from home (8%). Another 11% gave other reasons.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Voter Demographics, Voter Participation, Voting Issues

Jun 1, 2017 1:01 pm

Trump’s nominees have already faced a large number of cloture votes

Vice President Mike Pence and his entourage arrive on the steps of the U.S. Senate to preside over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation vote on April 7. Gorsuch was confirmed after the Senate changed its rules to permit cloture to be invoked against Supreme Court filibusters by simple majority vote. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence and his entourage arrive on the steps of the U.S. Senate on April 7 to preside over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation vote. Gorsuch was confirmed after the Senate changed its rules to permit cloture to be invoked against Supreme Court filibusters by simple majority vote. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The confirmation battles over President Donald Trump’s nominees didn’t end when the Republican-led Senate changed its rules in early April to enable simple majorities to end filibusters on Supreme Court nominations. Nor did they end when Trump’s final Cabinet pick, Alexander Acosta, was confirmed as labor secretary later that same month. In fact, they’re still happening: Trump’s nominees for lower-level government posts have already faced the second-highest number of Senate cloture votes in a single Congress.

Less than five months into Trump’s tenure, 25 of his executive and judicial nominees have been the subjects of votes on cloture – the Senate term for limiting debate and moving a bill, nominee or other issue to a final up-or-down vote. That’s more than have occurred during the entire term of all but one Congress since 1949, when the Senate first allowed cloture to be moved on nominations, and Trump has yet to nominate people to fill hundreds of other executive-branch jobs.

The exception mentioned above – the 113th Congress of 2013-14, which held a record 150 cloture votes on nominations by newly re-elected President Barack Obama – illuminates how the politics of presidential nominations have changed dramatically in the past few decades.

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Topics: Congress, Federal Government

Jun 1, 2017 10:08 am

Despite subscription surges for largest U.S. newspapers, circulation and revenue fall for industry overall

Following last year’s presidential election, some major U.S. newspapers reported a sharp jump in digital subscriptions, giving a boost to their overall circulation totals. The newspaper industry as a whole, however, faced ongoing challenges in 2016, according to new Pew Research Center analysis.

Yearly financial statements show that The New York Times added more than 500,000 digital subscriptions in 2016 – a 47% year-over-year rise. The Wall Street Journal added more than 150,000 digital subscriptions, a 23% rise, according to audited statements produced by Dow Jones. And the Chicago Tribune added about 100,000 in weekday digital circulation, a 76% year-over-year gain, according to its filings with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), an organization that verifies many daily newspapers’ circulation figures.

But these gains did not translate into circulation growth for the industry overall. A Pew Research Center analysis of data from AAM shows that total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers – both print and digital – fell 8% in 2016, marking the 28th consecutive year of declines. (Sunday circulation also fell 8%.) The overall decline includes a 10% decrease in weekday print circulation (9% for Sundays) and a 1% decline in weekday digital circulation (1% rise for Sundays). Total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers fell to 35 million, while total Sunday circulation declined to 38 million – the lowest levels since 1945. (For more information on how these totals were calculated, see our fact sheet.)

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Topics: Digital Media, Media Economics, Media Performance, Media Revenue Models, Newspapers, State of the News Media

May 30, 2017 2:01 pm

Orthodox Christians in Europe more likely to believe than practice their religion

Russia and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe have experienced a resurgence of Orthodox Christian identity since the fall of the Soviet Union, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 18 countries in the region. This increase in religious identity is accompanied in large part by high levels of religious belief, such as belief in God.

But Orthodox Christians in this region do not display high levels of religious practice, such as regularly attending church. To use terminology popularized by British sociologist Grace Davie, they might be described as religiously “believing and belonging without behaving.”

Orthodox Christians make up an estimated 57% of Central and Eastern Europe’s total population, including large majorities in 10 of the 18 countries surveyed, from Russia to Serbia to Greece. Not only do large shares of Orthodox Christians in these countries say religion is an important part of their identity, they also embrace many of Orthodoxy’s core beliefs. (Indeed, the word “orthodoxy” is derived from the Greek word for “doctrine” or “belief.”)

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Topics: Christians and Christianity, Eastern Europe, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

May 26, 2017 1:32 pm

U.S. veterans are generally supportive of Trump

U.S. veterans, who broadly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, have remained positive about the job he is doing as president. In April, 54% of those who have served in the military approved of his job performance. Trump’s job approval among the overall public was just 39%, according to the same survey, which was conducted using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

Both younger and older veterans gave higher approval ratings for Trump than did younger and older adults overall. Nearly half of veterans ages 18 to 49 (46%) approved of Trump’s job performance, compared with only 31% of all adults younger than 50. Among those 50 and older, nearly six-in-ten veterans (58%) supported Trump, while about half of all older adults (49%) said the same.

The same pattern held for level of educational attainment. Approval of Trump was higher among both college-educated veterans and those with no college degree than it was for these groups among the public as a whole.  Read More

Topics: Donald Trump, Military and Veterans, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization

May 26, 2017 7:22 am

Few Americans support cuts to most government programs, including Medicaid

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney discusses the Trump administration's proposed federal budget for fiscal 2018 at a news conference Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney discusses the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for fiscal 2018 at a news conference Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s first budget request to Congress would make deep cuts to government programs, including Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income adults and children. Recent polls have found little public support for cuts to Medicaid, but that may not be a surprise: Americans tend not to favor budget cuts when asked about specific areas being affected.

In April, only 12% of U.S. adults said they wanted to see the president and Congress decrease spending for Medicaid, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Four-in-ten said they preferred to increase Medicaid spending, while 47% said they wanted funding levels to be kept about the same.

A March survey by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research produced similar results. About two-in-ten adults (21%) said they favored reducing federal funding for the program, including 10% who held that view strongly. By comparison, 64% said they opposed reducing funding, including 45% who strongly opposed it. (Another 14% said they neither favored nor opposed cutting Medicaid spending.)

Public reluctance to cut federal funding is not limited to Medicaid. In an April Pew Research Center survey, majorities in both political parties said they favored maintaining or increasing spending in nearly all of the 14 specific budget areas that respondents were asked about. The sole area in which a majority of either party favored decreasing spending was “economic assistance to needy people around the world.” Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 56% said they would reduce such funding. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, the share who said this was 13%.

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Topics: Congress, Economic Policy, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties