Thursday, September 29, 2016

Long-Term Job Decline

In 2016, one-third (33.8 percent) of employed men aged 25 or older had been with their current employer for 10 or more years, almost the same percentage as two decades earlier in 1996 (33.1 percent). By age group, however, things have changed. Long-term employment has declined for men of prime working age and increased among men aged 60-plus as older workers postpone retirement.

Percentage of men with current employer 10-plus years, 2016 
(and percentage point change 1996-2016)
Aged 25 to 29: 3.4% (+0.1)
Aged 30 to 34: 13.2% (–2.4)
Aged 35 to 39: 25.1%  (–5.4)
Aged 40 to 44: 34.8% (–6.9)
Aged 45 to 49: 44.4% (–6.4)
Aged 50 to 54: 50.4% (–4.5)
Aged 55 to 59: 53.4% (–2.3)
Aged 60 to 64: 55.5% (+5.1)
Aged 65-plus: 54.6% (+7.0)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Tenure in 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Survey of Alternative Workers

Every year the Bureau of Labor Statistics plums Current Population Survey data to estimate the number of self-employed American workers, and every year for many years that number has been declining. In 2015, only 6.4 percent of workers aged 16 or older were self-employed, down from 7.4 percent a decade earlier. Now two economists are calling that number—and the downward trend—into question. That's just one of the eyebrow-raising findings in a new survey of alternative work arrangements.

Apparently economists have been frustrated with the lack of an update for the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Contingent Worker Survey (CWS), last fielded in 2005. (Here is the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's attempt to update the numbers earlier this year.) That's because so much has happened in the 10-plus years since the BLS last asked Americans about "gig" work, or what the BLS calls alternative work arrangements. So economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger decided to do something about it. They fielded a version of the CWS as part of the RAND American Life Panel in 2015. Their goal was to determine the number of Americans aged 18 or older whose main job was independent contractor or freelancer (the self-employed), contract worker, on-call worker, or temporary help agency worker.

They found the motherlode—millions of workers and a rapidly growing workforce that may account for most of the nation's labor force growth over the decade. Fully 15.8 percent of workers in 2015 had an alternative work arrangement, up from 10.7 percent in 2005. The number of alternative workers grew from 15.0 million to 23.6 million during those years—a 57 percent increase. A comparison of alternative and traditional work force growth shows alternative workers increasing by 8.6 million between 2005 and 2015 and traditional workers increasing by just 0.5 million. Wow.

Which brings us back to that 6.4 percent (and falling) self-employment rate in Current Population Survey data. Katz and Krueger find a significantly larger 8.4 percent self-employment rate. IRS data backs up their claim of growing rather than shrinking numbers of self-employed. "Understanding the reasons underlying the divergent trends between the IRS and CPS data on self-employment should be a priority for future research," state the authors.

Much more information about alternative workers in 2015 is available in the NBER working paper, The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015, Working Paper 22667 ($5)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Shops for Groceries?

When asked whether they are the person in their household who usually does the grocery shopping, here's what men and women aged 18 or older reported...


71.3% said yes
17.2% said no
11.5% said grocery shopping was split equally

35.2% said yes
46.1% said no
18.7% said grocery shopping was split equally

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Americans' Eating Patterns and Time Spent on Food: The 2014 Eating and Health Module Data

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fast Food Purchases in Past 7 Days

Among Americans aged 15 or older, the 58 percent majority purchased prepared food from a deli, carry-out, fast-food restaurant, or food delivery service in the past seven days. Here are the percentages by age...

Purchased fast food in past 7 days
Aged 15 to 17: 52.1%
Aged 18 to 24: 67.4%
Aged 25 to 64: 60.9%
Aged 65-plus: 42.3%

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Americans' Eating Patterns and Time Spent on Food: The 2014 Eating and Health Module Data

Friday, September 23, 2016

11.1 Million Undocumented Immigrants

The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has been stable for the past few years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey data. In 2014, there were an estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the country, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007. Here are a few of the findings from Pew's comprehensive examination of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2014...

  • Unauthorized immigrants have been in the U.S. a median of 13.6 years.
  • Just over half are from Mexico (5.8 million). 
  • The number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico has fallen since peaking at 6.9 million in 2007, while the number from other countries has grown. 
  • Unauthorized immigrants account for 26% of the nation's 43.6 million foreign-born.
  • Most unauthorized immigrants live in six states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Source: Pew Research Center, Overall Number of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How Many Have Dementia?

Half of nursing home residents have Alzheimer's or dementia, according to a government report on long-term care. But most people with dementia live in their community. Overall, 10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 or older who are not living in a nursing home have dementia. Here are the percentages by age...

Percent with dementia*
Aged 65 to 69: 3.6%
Aged 70 to 74: 4.8%
Aged 75 to 79: 9.9%
Aged 80 to 84: 15.3%
Aged 85 to 89: 24.0%
Aged 90-plus: 36.2%

* Among non-nursing home population
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Telephone Spending Trends, 2000 to 2015

The average household spent about as much on cell phone service in 2015 as it spent on landline service in 2000, after adjusting for inflation...

Cell phone service (in 2015 dollars)
$1,023 in 2015
   $164 in 2000

Landline service (in 2015 dollars)
   $324 in 2015
$1,043 in 2000

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Median Household Income by State, 2015

Median household income varies greatly by state. Maryland has the highest median household income—36 percent above the national median of $55,775, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. Mississippi has the lowest—27 percent below the national median.

States with the highest median household income, 2015
$75,847 in Maryland
$75,628 in Washington, DC
$73,486 in Hawaii
$73,355 in Alaska
$72,222 in New Jersey

States with the lowest median household income, 2015
$45,215 in Kentucky
$44,765 in Alabama
$42,019 in West Virginia
$41,995 in Arkansas
$40,593 in Mississippi

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey

Monday, September 19, 2016

1 Million Fewer Married Couples with Children

The number of married couples with children under age 18 fell by 1 million between 2010 and 2016, according to Census Bureau data, the only household type to decline during those years. Behind the decline is the postponement of marriage and childbearing by young adults.

Married couples with children under age 18
2016: 25.1 million (20% of households)
2010: 26.1 million (22% of households)

Source: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trust in Mass Media Has Plummeted

Americans' trust in the mass media has fallen to a new low, reports Gallup. From a high of 72 percent in 1976, the percentage of Americans who say they have a fair amount/great deal of trust in the mass media fell to just 32 percent in 2016. A major reason for the all-time low, says Gallup, is plummeting trust among Republicans...

Fair amount/great deal of trust in mass media in 2016 (and 2015)
Democrats: 51% (55%)
Independents: 30% (33%)
Republicans: 14% (32%)

Source: Gallup, Americans' Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Median Home Value Rises in 2015

Home values are rising, according to America's homeowners. The median value of owned homes climbed by a substantial 7.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, after adjusting for inflation. The nation's homeowners estimated their home's value to be a median of $194,500 in 2015, according to the American Community Survey. This is 10 percent more than the post-Great Recession low of $176,931 in 2013, but still 12 percent below the all-time high of $222,108 in 2007.

Median housing value, 2007 to 2015 (in 2015 dollars)
2015: $194,500
2014: $181,415
2013: $176,931
2012: $177,458
2011: $182,921
2010: $195,543
2009: $204,606
2008: $217,529
2007: $222,108

Source: Census Bureau, American Community Survey

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Median Earnings of Women Hit All-Time High in 2015

The median earnings of women who work full-time reached an all-time high of $40,742 in 2015. In contrast, men's earnings peaked in 1973. Among full-time workers, women earned 80 percent as much as men in 2015, up from 57 percent in 1973.

Median earnings of men who work full-time (in 2015 dollars)
2015: $51,212
2014: $50,441
2007: $51,570
2000: $51,269
1973: $53,356 (peak year)

Median earnings of women who work full-time (in 2015 dollars)
2015: $40,742 (peak year)
2014: $39,667
2007: $40,126
2000: $37,796
1973: $30,217

Source: Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables: People

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

5.2% Increase in Median Household Income in 2015

After seven long years of decline and stagnation, median household income finally registered a statistically significant gain in 2015, and it was a big one. The $56,516 median household income of 2015 was a substantial 5.2 percent higher than the 2014 median, after adjusting for inflation. The gains were enjoyed by both young and old...

Median household income in 2015 (and % change 2014-15; in 2015 dollars)
Under age 25: $36,108 (4.2%)
Aged 25 to 34: $57,366 (5.6%)
Aged 35 to 44: $71,417 (7.0%)
Aged 45 to 54: $73,857 (4.2%)
Aged 55 to 64: $62,802 (3.5%)
Aged 65-plus: $38,515 (4.3%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015

Monday, September 12, 2016

Decline in Nursing Home Residents

The number of nursing home residents has fallen steadily since 1997 as home health care and residential care options have expanded. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of nursing home residents fell 9 percent—despite a 26 percent increase in the 65-plus population and a 57 percent increase in the number of people aged 85-plus.

Fewer nursing home residents
2014: 1,369,000
2010: 1,396,000
2005: 1,436,000
2000: 1,480,000
1997: 1,503,000

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Long-Term Care Providers and Services Users in the United States: Data from the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, 2013-2014, and Health United States, 2015