Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Working Moms: 2012 Update

Labor force participation rate of married women with children under age one: 57%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Characteristics of Families, 2012

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 1st Quarter, 2013

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, first quarter 2013: 48.9%

The homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 climbed 0.3 percentage points between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, reaching 48.9 percent. Although still below the 50 percent threshold, this rate is 0.6 percentage points higher than a year ago and may be good news for a housing market facing difficult demographics—downsizing boomers and indebted young adults.

The homeownership rate of the 30-to-34 age group is the bellwether for the housing industry. Historically, the majority of householders have become homeowners in their early thirties. That is no longer the case as young adults--many burdened by student loans--cannot afford to buy a home. On top of that, as those who resisted buying a home age into their late thirties, the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds is in steep decline. Over the past 12 months, the homeownership rate of the 35-to-39 age group fell by 1.1 percentage points, to 55.3 percent. Just two years ago, the homeownership rate of this age group exceeded 60 percent. The collapse of the housing market is a slow-motion debacle, and it's not over yet.

In the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 65.0 percent in the first quarter of 2013—0.4 percentage points below the 65.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Monday, April 29, 2013

Portrait of Gen Xers: Housing

Eighty-two percent of Gen Xers are homeowners, according to a MetLife study of Americans born between 1965 and 1976 (ages 36 to 47). Among Gen X homeowners...

  • Average home value is $238,000 
  • Average home debt is $130,000
  • 17% are upside down on their mortgage

Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute, Generation X: The MTV Generation Moves into Mid-Life

The Retirement Expectations Gap

Percent distribution of retired workers by when they retired...

Earlier than planned: 47%
About when planned: 43%
Later than planned: 6%

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Retirement Confidence Survey, 2013 Fast Facts

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Non-Hispanic Whites Sour on American Dream

The 55 percent majority of Americans agree with the statement: "The way things are in America, people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living."

Non-Hispanic whites are far less likely than blacks or Hispanics to agree with that statement. In 2012, 71 percent of blacks and 73 percent of Hispanics said their family had a good chance of getting ahead. Only 46 percent of non-Hispanic whites agreed, down from 75 percent in 2000.

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, General Social Survey

Friday, April 26, 2013

Debt Free by Age

Overall, only 31 percent of American households are free of debt. Here is the percentage of households without debt by age of householder...

Households without debt
Under age 35: 27.8%
Aged 35 to 44: 20.4%
Aged 45 to 54: 21.1%
Aged 55 to 64: 27.0%
Aged 65 to 69: 39.6%
Aged 70 to 74: 47.2%
Aged 75-plus: 69.3%

Source: Census Bureau, Debt of Households: 2011

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Death on the Job

How many workers die on the job? The federal government knows not only how many but also how they died in gory detail. The most recent statistics show that 4,693 workers died on the job in 2011. These were the top four causes of death...

1. Transportation incidents: 1,937 workers died in a transportation incident, such as a car or truck wreck (1,103), a rail incident (50), a boating incident (70), or an airplane crash (146).
2. Violence: 791 workers died by violence, including 468 homicides (three out of four involving guns), more than 200 suicides, and 37 deaths due to animals or insects.
3. Contact with objects or equipment: 710 workers died after being struck by objects or equipment, including more than 200 who were struck by falling objects.
4. Fatal falls or slips: 681 workers died after falling, including 553 who died from a fall to a lower level. Among those who died from a fall to a lower level, the 57 percent majority fell from a height of 20 feet or less.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Political Donations

Overall, 16 percent of Americans donated money to a political campaign or cause in the past 12 months. The 56 percent majority of donors gave $100 or less, 32 percent gave between $101 and $500, and 8 percent gave more than $500. Here is the percentage who contributed by age...

Aged 18 to 49: 12%
Aged 50 to 64: 19%
Aged 65-plus: 27%

Source: Pew Research Center, Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Household Income Stable in March 2013

Median household income was stable in March 2013, according to the latest monthly update from Sentier Research. The March median of $51,320 was not statistically different from the February median. According to Sentier's Gordon Green, this stability is largely due to a 0.2 percent decline in consumer prices between February and March 2013. 

Median household income in March 2013 was 5.4 percent lower than the median in June 2009, the end of the Great Recession. It was 7.2 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 8.2 percent lower than the median in January 2000. The Household Income Index for March 2013 was 91.8 (January 2000 = 100.0). 

An Excel spreadsheet of the entire household income time series is available from Sentier's web site for $25.00.

Source: Sentier Research, Trends in Household Income: March 2013

The Borrowers

A surprisingly large number of Americans borrow money from "alternative financial services," a term coined by researchers to describe the murky world of payday loans, auto title loans, refund anticipation loans, pawn shops, and rent-to-own stores. In the last five years, a quarter of the population has used at least one of these high-cost methods of borrowing, including 32 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and an even larger 35 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds. The question is why.

The answer may be because they don't know any better. The root of the problem, according to NBER researchers Annamaria Lusardi and Carlo de Bassa Scheresberg, is a lack of financial literacy. The researchers discovered this by asking a representative sample of the American public to answer three financial literacy questions and then probed the survey respondents' use of the five types of alternative financial services (AFS) listed above. Among those who had not used AFS in the past five years, 45 percent answered the three questions correctly. Among those who had used AFS, only 26 percent answered all three questions correctly. Financial literacy remained a statistically significant determinant of the use of AFS after controlling for all sorts of demographic and economic factors.

"One way in which we may affect AFS use is through promoting financial literacy and financial education," conclude the authors. "This could be particularly important among the young, who are shown to be making heavy use of alternative financial services."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Financial Literacy and High-Cost Borrowing in the United States, NBER Working Paper 18969 ($5)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Much Debt?

The 69 percent majority of American households are in debt, owing a median of $70,000 in 2011. Here is the distribution of the nation's households by how much they owe...

Debt free: 31.0%
Less than $5,000: 9.2%
$5,000 to $9,999: 5.0%
$10,000 to $24,999: 8.9%
$25,000 to $49,999: 7.1%
$50,000 to $99,999: 10.3%
$100,000 to $249,999: 18.6%
$250,000 to $499,999: 7.7%
$500,000 or more: 2.2%

Source: Census Bureau, Debt of Households: 2011

Computers Not a Top Priority

Here are the top six answers when Americans were asked the open-ended question, "What one subject should K-12 schools emphasize more than they do now?"

Math: 30%
English: 19%
Science: 11%
History: 10%
Art/Music: 6%
Computers: 4%

Source: Pew Research Center, Public's Knowledge of Science and Technology

Monday, April 22, 2013

No Benefits

Percentage of all workers with neither medical nor retirement benefits: 23%
Percentage of low-wage workers with neither medical nor retirement benefits: 51%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Retirement and Medical Benefits: Who Has Both?

Births Outside of Marriage

Among parents aged 15 to 44, percent who have had a child outside of marriage...

Men: 47.3%
Women: 49.3%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15-44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Visitors from Abroad

When travelers from abroad visit the United States, most do not venture beyond a single state, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. For visitors from selected countries, here is the number who flew into the United States in 2011 (and the percentage of travelers who visited only one state)...

Australia: 1,038,000 (39%)
Brazil: 1,508,000 (60%)
China: 1,089,000 (48%)
France: 1,504,000 (63%)
Germany: 1,824,000 (61%)
India: 663,000 (57%)
Italy: 892,000 (67%)
Japan: 3,250,000 (87%)
Spain: 700,000 (65%)
United Kingdom: 3,835,000 (72%)

Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Visitation in the United States, 2011 U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistics (Inbound)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Student Debt Has Consequences

Student loans are crowding cars and homes out of the lives of young adults, according to a Liberty Street Economics analysis by Meta Brown and Sydnee Caldwell of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In their analysis, Brown and Caldwell track the decline of mortgage debt held by 30-year-olds and auto debt held by 25-year-olds. Both have plunged, particularly among young adults with student loans. In fact, young adults with student loans are now less likely to have either mortgage or auto debt than those without student loans--a reversal from the pattern prior to the Great Recession.

Young adults with student loans have been shedding other debt as their student loans grow. Between 2003 and 2012, the percentage of 25-year-olds with student loan debt climbed from 25 to 43 percent, and the average amount owed grew from $10,649 to $20,326. But the refusal--or (perhaps more important) inability--of these 25-year-olds to buy cars and houses has resulted in a decline in their other debt. This decline has been greater than the increase in their student loans. Consequently, 25-year-olds with student loans reduced their overall debt by $5,687 between 2008 and 2012. That's good news for them, but bad news for the nation's automotive and housing industries.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, Young Student Loan Borrowers Retreat from Housing and Auto Markets

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pedestrians Killed by Motor Vehicles

The next time you dash across a busy street, think about this: between 2001 and 2010, an astonishing 47,392 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles. That's 1.58 deaths per 100,000 people per year.

Not surprisingly, the pedestrian death rate is higher in large metropolitan areas (2.01 deaths per 100,000 people per year) than in small metros (1.38) or nonmetropolitan areas (1.47). Males account for a disproportionate 7 out of 10 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles, and the male death rate is more than twice the female rate (2.29 versus 0.92).

Interestingly, among both males and females the risk of pedestrian death rises with age. It peaks among men aged 85 or older, at 6.35 per 100,000 men in the age group—more than three times the overall rate. Behind the higher pedestrian death rate of older Americans is the fact that "older adults take longer than younger adults to cross roadways," says the CDC. Also, older adults are more likely to die from their injuries, and cognitive declines may cause older adults to take greater risks. Knowing these facts may make you a bit less impatient the next time you sit in your car waiting for an elderly pedestrian to hobble across the street.

Source: CDC, Motor Vehicle Traffic-Related Pedestrian Deaths -- United States, 2001-2010

Hard Times after High School

Among the 3.2 million young people who graduated from high school in 2012, about a third (or 1.1 million) did not enroll in college. Their unemployment rate as of October 2012...

Total: 34.4%
Men: 37.5%
Women: 29.9%

Blacks: 56.6%
Hispanics: 41.4%
Whites: 27.7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2012 High School Graduates

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Americans Abroad

In 2011, more than 27 million Americans traveled abroad by air, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. Thirty-nine percent were traveling on vacation, 35 percent were visiting friends or relatives, and 18 percent were doing business.

Among U.S. residents who traveled abroad by air, 84 percent visited only one country. The most popular destinations (excluding Mexico and Canada) were the United Kingdom (9 percent), France (7 percent), Italy (6 percent), and Germany (6 percent).

Americans who traveled abroad had an above-average median household income of $96,500. The average traveler spent $1,351 on airfare and $1,320 at their destination.

Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Profile of U.S. Resident Travelers Visiting Overseas Destinations: 2011 Outbound

Rental Vacancy Rates by Metropolitan Area

Nationally, the rental vacancy rate was 7.4 percent in 2011. Among all metropolitan areas, the lowest rental vacancy rate (0.0 percent!) was in Bismarck, North Dakota. Among the top 50 metropolitan areas, the vacancy rate was lowest in San Jose (2.7 percent). At the other end of the scale, these ten large metros had double-digit rental vacancy rates...

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA: 10.8%
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN: 11.3%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX: 11.6%
Jacksonville, FL: 10.1%
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV: 12.6%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR: 10.7%
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL: 11.7%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: 10.1%
Richmond, VA: 13.2%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL: 11.2%

Source: Census Bureau, Rental Housing Market Condition Measures: A Comparison of U.S. Metropolitan Areas from 2009 to 2011

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Health Insurance by Metropolitan Area

Among 190 metropolitan areas surveyed in 2012 by Gallup, McAllen-Edinburgh-Mission, Texas, had the largest percentage of residents without health insurance, at 49 percent.

Mobile Banking: 2012 Update

Mobile banking is surging in popularity, according to the Federal Reserve Board. It's growing so rapidly, in fact, that the feds are scrambling to keep up. That's why the Federal Reserve Board fielded a new survey of mobile banking in November 2012, updating its first-ever survey of mobile banking taken in December 2011.

According to 2012 survey results, 87 percent of Americans aged 18 or older owned a mobile phone, and 52 percent of those phones were smartphones. Among smartphone owners in 2012, 48 percent had used mobile banking in the past 12 months—up from 42 percent who had done so in the 12 months prior to the 2011 survey. Among those who had used mobile banking in 2012, 87 percent had checked their account balances, 53 percent had transferred money between accounts, 21 percent had deposited a check using their phone, and 6 percent had used their phone to make a point-of-sale payment. Smartphone ownership and mobile banking are particularly popular among young adults, blacks, and Hispanics, the Fed survey finds.

"As smartphones become more commonly used, and their capabilities expand," concludes the report, "they may increasingly be the means consumers use to access financial services and manage their finances."

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Consumers and Mobile Financial Services, March 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Trouble Ahead for Boomers?

As they approach old age, baby boomers are more disabled than their predecessors. This finding might surprise some, steeped in the pervasive myth that boomers are active and healthy relative to older generations. But to researchers writing in Demography, "the finding that activity limitations have increased over the last decade among those nearing late life is not new" (Trends in Late Life Activity LimitationsDemography, April 2013, $39.95).

Specifically, people aged 55 to 64 are experiencing more health-related activity limitations than their counterparts did ten years earlier, report the Demography researchers. A new study by MetLife Mature Market Institute (On the Critical List? A MetLife Report on the Health Status of the 40+ Population) examines this problem, drawing on government data that show a growing percentage of 45-to-64-year-olds with multiple chronic conditions. Even more ominously, the chronically ill are increasingly likely to delay getting medical care because of cost. In 2000, 17 percent delayed getting care. In 2010, the figure was a larger 23 percent. Those who delay getting care often end up needing more care at greater cost as their condition worsens. 

"Overwhelmingly, recent health status statistics are indicators of a potential health 'train wreck' in the near future." concludes the MetLife study.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Gender Gap in Attitudes toward Gay Marriage

Men and women do not see eye to eye when it comes to gay marriage. In every age group, women are more accepting than men. Here is the percentage who agree that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry...

Aged 18 to 44
Women: 64%
Men: 51%

Aged 45 to 64
Women: 47%
Men: 38%

Aged 65 or older
Women: 41%
Men: 26%

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, 2012 General Social Survey

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Working Poor by Occupation

Among the 147 million workers in the labor force for 27 or more weeks in 2011, 10 million (7.0 percent) did not earn enough to rise above the poverty level. They are the working poor, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percentage of workers who are working poor varies greatly by occupation...

Farming: 17.2%
Service: 13.1%
Construction: 10.6%
Transportation: 8.7%
Sales: 8.4%
Production: 8.0%
Office: 5.5%
Managerial: 2.2%
Professional: 2.2%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, A Profile of the Working Poor, 2011 (PDF)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Feeling Tired

Percentage of adults who felt "very tired" or "exhausted" on most days or every day during the past three months, by sex...

Men: 10.1%
Women: 15.3%

Source: CDC, QuikStats: Percentage of Adults Who Often Felt Very Tired or Exhausted in the Past 3 Months, by Sex and Age Group—National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2010-2011

Who Wants to Raise the Age of Medicare?

The people who already receive Medicare benefits, that's who. Nearly two-thirds of the elderly favor raising the age of Medicare eligibility—but only if it affects future retirees (their children and grandchildren) and not their own health insurance benefits.

When the Kaiser Family Foundation asked Americans, "Would you favor or oppose gradually raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67 for future retirees?" the 64 percent majority of Americans aged 65 or older favored an increase. Among younger Americans, a smaller 43 to 44 percent supported an increase in the age of eligibility.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Home Improvement Market

Americans spent $275 billion in 2011 on home improvements and repairs, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. While this figure is still below the $328 billion peak of 2007, a recent report by the Joint Center forecasts a rebound in home improvement spending for a number of reasons including the following...
  • the upgrading of more than 4.2 million distressed homes sold between 2009 and 2012
  • the upgrading of 2.9 million homes currently in or at serious risk of foreclosure
  • the upgrading of rental properties due to growing demand for rental units
  • the upgrading of homes to be more energy efficient, a factor that accounted for one-third of home improvement spending and one-fourth of home improvement projects in 2011
  • the growth of the 65-plus population, requiring retrofits to enable aging in place
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, The U.S. Housing Stock: Ready for Renewal

Binge Viewing

Among the 78 percent of Americans who watch television on their own schedule, percentage who have ever watched multiple episodes of a TV show at a time (aka binge viewing), by age...

Total people: 62%
Aged 18 to 29: 78%
Aged 30 to 39: 73%
Aged 40 to 54: 58%
Aged 55-plus: 48%

Source: Harris Interactive, Americans Taking Advantage of Ability to Watch TV on their Own Schedules

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Men in Prison: Rate Surged in 1980s

The number of men imprisoned in state and federal correctional institutions in the United States grew from 125,000 in 1930 to more than 1.4 million in 2011. Lest you think this increase is due to simple population growth, take a look at the rate of imprisonment among males since 1930 (number of men in prison per 100,000 males in U.S. population)...

2011: 932
2010: 948
2000: 915
1990: 575
1980: 275
1970: 191
1960: 230
1950: 211
1940: 252
1930: 200

Source: Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics Online

Managing Prescription Drug Costs

Nearly half of Americans have taken a prescription drug in the past month, spending $45 billion out-of-pocket on medications each year. It's no wonder, then, that many find ways to cut spending on prescriptions. How they cut costs is the subject matter of the National Center for Health Statistics data brief, Strategies Used by Adults to Reduce their Prescription Drug Costs.

The most common strategy for lowering prescription drug costs is to simply ask a doctor for a cheaper medication. One in five adults has done that in the past year. Some buy prescription drugs from another country (2 percent) or use alternative therapies (6 percent of 18-to-64-year-olds and 2 percent of  people aged 65 or older).

A substantial 13 percent of people aged 18 to 64 and 6 percent of those aged 65 or older cut their costs by not taking medications as prescribed. This includes skipping doses, taking less medicine, and delaying filling a prescription. Not surprisingly, the uninsured are most likely to use this strategy, with 23 percent not taking medications as prescribed in the past 12 months.

Monday, April 08, 2013

New Occupations

Every few years, the federal government updates its occupational classification system--the one that produces estimates, for 821 detailed occupations, of the number of workers and their earnings. These estimates are produced for the nation as a whole and for states and metropolitan areas. It's an impressive effort in both scope and detail.

The latest update is the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification system. Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the first estimates based on the system. Here are some of the 24 new detailed occupations identified by the update and the average annual national wage in 2012 of those employed in the occupation full-time...

Fundraisers, $55,220
Web developers, $66,100
Community health workers, $37,490
Exercise physiologists, $47,610
Nurse anesthetists, $154,390
Hearing aid specialists, $46,780
Genetic counselors, $55,820
Transportation security screeners, $37,130
Solar photovoltaic installers, $40,620
Wind turbine service technicians, $48,320

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Feeling Safe by Metro Area

"Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?"
That's the question Gallup asked residents of the 50 most-populous metropolitan areas. Nationally, 72 percent of Americans feel safe walking alone at night in their area. The average level of safety in the  top-50 metros is an almost identical 71 percent. Residents in Minneapolis-St. Paul are most likely to feel safe (80 percent). Feeling least safe are the residents of Memphis (55 percent).

Source: Gallup, Minneapolis-St. Paul Area Residents Most Likely to Feel Safe

Friday, April 05, 2013

First Union: Cohabitation or Marriage?

The First Union. That's the term used by the National Center for Health Statistics to describe the first time a young couple sets up house together. Over the past few decades the most common arrangement for the first union has shifted from marriage to cohabitation.

Among women aged 15 to 44 in 2006-10, nearly half (48 percent) reported that their first union was cohabitation and a smaller 23 percent reported marriage. (The remaining women in the age group had not yet experienced a first union.) In 1995, 34 percent of women aged 15 to 44 reported that their first union was cohabitation and a slightly larger 39 percent reported marriage.

Although cohabitation is more common than marriage in every educational attainment group, there are interesting differences in the numbers. Among women with a high school diploma and no further education, 62 percent reported cohabitation as their first union. Among women with a bachelor's degree, the figure was a smaller 47 percent--but still greater than the 35 percent who reported marriage.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States: 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Renting and the American Dream

Sixty-one percent of the American public thinks renters can be just as successful as homeowners at achieving the American Dream, according to a MacArthur Foundation survey. The survey's findings document the growing appeal of renting—despite the fact that most renters still want to become homeowners.

The 54 percent majority of the public says renting has become more appealing over the past few decades. It has become so appealing, in fact, that 45 percent of current homeowners would consider renting in the future. Those most likely to consider renting are young (53% of homeowners aged 18 to 34), highly educated (53% of homeowners with a postgraduate education) and affluent (51% of homeowners with a household income of $75,000 or more).

Source: MacArthur Foundation, MacArthur Housing Matters Survey

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Child Care Spending

Among families with children under age 5 and an employed mother...

Average weekly child care spending: $181
Percent of family's income spent on child care: 8.9%
Percent of mother's income spent on child care: 22.5%

Source: Census Bureau, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: 2011

The Depressed Generation

If you ask American parents whether they think their children's standard of living will be better than their own, the 57 percent majority says yes, according to the 2012 General Social Survey.

This sounds pretty upbeat until you look at the trend. In 2000, more than two-thirds of parents (69 percent) believed their children's standard of living would better than theirs. Behind the decline is the increasingly negative mood of the baby-boom generation. In 2000, 68 percent of boomer parents (aged 36 to 54) believed their children's standard of living would be better than their own. By 2012, only 48 percent of boomer parents (aged 48 to 66) felt that way. The percentage who think their children's standard of living will be worse more than doubled between 2000 and 2012, rising from 14 to 30 percent.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Do You Watch It Live?

Among Americans who watch selected types of television programming, percentage who most often watch shows live (or delayed)...

Professional football: 81% (19%)
College basketball: 69% (31%)
Professional baseball: 69% (31%)
Evening talk/comedy: 52% (48%)
Comedies: 45% (55%)
Dramas: 44% (55%)

Source: Harris Interactive, Sports Broadcasts Holding the Line Against "Delayed Viewership" Incursion

Murder Weapons

According to the FBI, there were 12,664 murders in the United States in 2011. Here is the percent distribution of murders by weapon used...

Firearm: 68%
Knife: 13%
Hands, fists, feet: 6%
Blunt object: 4%
Non-personal weapons: 2%
Other or unknown weapon: 7%

Note: "Hands, fists, feet" include beatings, strangulations, and "pushed." Non-personal weapons include poison, explosives, fire, narcotics, and asphyxiation. Other weapon includes drowning.
Source: Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics Online

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Great Reversal

"The first object of this paper will be to document that the demand for cognitive tasks has actually been declining since 2000." 
In their disturbing study, three Canadian economists meet that objective: they document the Great Reversal in labor force demand for cognitive workers (managerial, professional, and technical), which began in 2000. They are the first to do so. Other researchers missed the turning point because, through much of the 2000s, the Great Reversal was masked by the frenzy of the housing bubble.

The cause of the Great Reversal is the widespread adoption of technologies that are substituting for educated workers. With more cognitive workers than jobs available, highly-educated workers have been muscling the less educated into lower-skill and lower-wage jobs or pushing them out of the labor force entirely. Which brings us to the current situation as the researchers describe it: "Having a BA is less about obtaining access to high paying managerial and technology jobs and more about beating out less educated workers for the Barista or clerical job."

Nowhere in their paper does the word "Internet" appear. But it is clear that the Internet is the "one underlying force" behind the paradigm shift that began in 2000.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks, © Paul Beaudry, David A. Green, and Benjamin M. Sand, NBER Working Paper 18901 ($5)