Friday, January 25, 2008

Millennials are Liberal

The nation's youngest adults are the most liberal Americans. The millennial generation (the oldest of whom turn 31 this year) is the only one in which liberals outnumber conservatives. Thirty-four percent of millennials say they are slightly to extremely liberal while a smaller 30 percent say they are slightly to extremely conservative. The remaining 36 percent are moderates.

You might think millennials are liberal only because they are young. Not true. Political viewpoints, in fact, are remarkably stable over a lifetime. Take the baby-boom generation, for example. Today, 25 percent of boomers say they are liberal. Twenty years ago, when boomers were in their twenties and thirties, almost the same proportion (27 percent) identified themselves as liberal. Today, 35 percent of boomers say they are conservative, nearly equal to the 36 percent who called themselves conservative two decades ago. 

The other generations also show remarkable stability in their political viewpoints over time. And each succeeding generation is more liberal than its predecessor. 

Source: General Social Survey

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fewer Self-Employed

So much for America's entrepreneurial spirit. Self-employment is disappearing in the United States as workers cry uncle in the health insurance wrestling match. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics' projections, the percentage of non-agricultural workers who are self-employed will fall even lower than its current miniscule level of 6.7 percent during the next ten years.

Interestingly, the BLS forsees this decline despite the baby-boom generation's entry into the prime age of self-employment: 65-plus. People aged 65 or older are more likely to be self-employed than younger adults because Medicare—the universal health insurance program for the nation's elderly—solves their health insurance problem. 

The projected decline in self-employment despite the aging of boomers means only one thing: self-employment among younger Americans will drop to rock-bottom levels as Americans become contortionists in their hunt for affordable health care coverage.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where the Jobs Are

Every two years the Bureau of Labor Statistics produces a new set of occupational projections, looking ten years into the future. The list of fastest-growing occupations says a lot about our demographics, economy, and culture. These are some of the 30 occupations projected to grow the fastest between 2006 and 2016:

Home health aides
Computer software engineers
Veterinarians
Personal financial advisors
Skin care specialists
Gaming surveillance officers
Marriage and family therapists
Environmental science technicians
Manicurists and pedicurists
Physical therapists

For more on the gainers and losers, see the November issue of the Monthly Labor Review.