Following the better-than-expected September jobs report, several economic analyses have pointed out the continuing lack of meaningful wage growth, even as tens of thousands of people head back to work. Economic theory, after all, predicts that as labor markets tighten, employers will offer higher wages to entice workers their way.
But a look at five decades’ worth of government wage data suggests that the better question might be, why should now be any different? For most U.S. workers, real wages — that is, after inflation is taken into account — have been flat or even falling for decades, regardless of whether the economy has been adding or subtracting jobs. Read More →
Midterm elections rarely excite the general public, but 2014 is shaping up to be an especially underwhelming cycle for many Americans. With about a month remaining in the congressional races, 15% are very closely following news about the midterms — down from similar periods before the elections in 2010 (25%) and 2006 (21%).
Our new survey, which was fielded Oct. 2-5, found that an additional 22% of the public said they are following the midterm election news fairly closely, 25% said not too closely, and 39% said not at all.
As Pew Research has tracked midterm news interest throughout the year, attention to the elections consistently has lagged behind what it was four years ago. In eight surveys this year, news interest in the midterms has never topped 16% in a given week. Read More →
Blacks are lukewarm to gay marriage, but most say businesses must provide wedding services to gay couples
African Americans remain less likely than white Americans to support same-sex marriage, as has been the case for several years. But at the same time, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that a majority of blacks – a significantly bigger share than among whites – say that wedding-related businesses, such as caterers or florists, should be required to provide wedding services to gay and lesbian couples.
Our aggregated 2014 polling has found that about four-in-ten black Americans (42 %) support same-sex marriage, 11 percentage points below the comparable figure among whites (53%). Meanwhile, seven-in-ten African Americans (70%) say that homosexual behavior is a sin, compared with 47% of whites who say this, according to our new survey. Read More →
The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected requests to review lower court decisions that overturned bans on same-sex marriage in five states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. By denying these requests, the court effectively legalized gay marriage in these states. The lower court rulings had been on hold until the Supreme Court weighed in, but soon after the high court’s decision was made known, a number of states, including Virginia and Wisconsin, announced that gay and lesbian couples would be able to marry almost immediately.
While today’s decision settles the issue in some states, it has not ended the battle over same-sex marriage. Here is an explainer of today’s news and its possible impact. Read More →
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Holt v. Hobbs, a case that will test the limits of religious liberty for prison inmates. Specifically, the court will determine whether prison officials may prohibit or limit a Muslim inmate from growing a beard, which many Muslims believe is required by their faith.
Here’s an explainer about the case and why it matters: Read More →
Several questions in Pew Research’s latest News IQ survey stumped a majority of the public, including the identity of one very important person.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t taken the quiz yet, you might want to do so now before you keep reading.
Forbes named her the most powerful woman in the U.S., but Janet Yellen is far from a household name. Just 24% of Americans can correctly pick out Yellen — from a list of four — as the chair of the Federal Reserve Board.
Nearly one-in-five (17%) say the current head of the Fed is Alan Greenspan, who led the board from 1987 to 2006. About one-in-ten chose a Supreme Court justice, either Sonia Sotomayor (6%) or John Roberts (5%). And roughly half (48%) did not offer a guess.
Americans may not be raging optimists when it comes to finding work — perhaps “skeptical realists” is closer to the mark — but their self-assessment of the job market tracks pretty closely with official unemployment statistics.
The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures out today. That represents a drop of 4.1 percentage points from the high of 10% recorded in October 2009 — although, as we’ve discussed before, some of that decline comes not from more people finding work but from more people dropping out of the labor force. Read More →
This weekend in Rome, the Catholic Church is set to begin a wide-ranging synod (assembly) on family issues. The two-week meeting comes at a time when most American Catholics say they disagree with their church’s teachings on family-related issues such as birth control and divorce. It also takes place in the wake of recent actions by Pope Francis that hint at the possibility of changing attitudes within the Vatican on questions related to marriage and family.
Last month, Francis fueled speculation about potential changes to church policies toward marriage by performing 20 weddings, including for couples that had children out of wedlock, had lived together before marriage or had been previously married. Read More →
The Obama administration deported a record 438,421 unauthorized immigrants in fiscal year 2013, continuing a streak of stepped up enforcement that has resulted in more than 2 million deportations since Obama took office, newly released Department of Homeland Security data show.
President Obama today is scheduled to address members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a group that has recently criticized the president on immigration. Last month, the caucus urged the president to take executive action on immigration by extending deportation relief to certain groups of unauthorized immigrants, such as parents of U.S.-born children. Some immigrant advocates have dubbed Obama the “deporter in chief” over the fact that his administration has deported about as many immigrants in five years as the George W. Bush administration deported in eight years.
This week, representatives for the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute are meeting with government officials in Turkey to discuss what the organizations say are increasing restrictions on press freedom and growing concerns about journalists’ safety. The country banned Twitter earlier this year, which prompted a lawsuit from Turkish journalists. And last month, the U.S. State Department criticized Turkish officials for threatening a New York Times reporter.
Media advocates have also voiced concern about the government’s detention of the press. 211 journalists were jailed worldwide last year, and Turkey led the way with 40 journalists behind bars, according to a 2013 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Turkey was also the No. 1 country to imprison journalists in 2012, with 49 detained according to the report. Read More →