State of the Nation

*Any statements in this issue of the Watch which are not sourced are mine and identified by “WW”.

36% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction. 58% say it is on the wrong track. [CBS, 11/18/18]

In October, 38% of us were satisfied with the way things were going in the United States while 59% were dissatisfied. The satisfaction low point in the
Gallup survey was 7% in October 2008 and the high point of 71% was reached in February 1999. [Gallup, 10/2018]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2018 is 3.7%

If one considers the total number of unemployed + those marginally attached to the labor force + those working part-time who want full-time work, the unemployment rate for October 2018 is 7.4%.

The Demographics of Unemployment for October 2018

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)
Women – 3.0% (increase)
Men – 3.0% (same)

Unemployment by Race
White – 3.3% (no change)
Black – 6.2% (increase)
Hispanic – 4.4% (decrease)
Asian – 3.2% (decrease)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)
Less than high school – 6.0% (increase)
High School – 4.0% (increase)
Some college – 3.0% (decrease)
Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 2.0% (no change)

In September, 24 states had unemployment rates below the national average; one state had an unemployment rate that was exactly at the national rate of 3.7%; 25 states and D.C. had unemployment rates that were above the national average.

Alaska, at 6.5%, had the highest unemployment rate in the country. Louisiana, West Virginia and D.C. had unemployment rates of 5.0% or more but less than 6.0%. 17 states had unemployment rates that were 4.0% or greater but less than 5.0%, 4 states had unemployment rates higher than the national average but less then 4.0%.
[Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Reported hate crimes in America rose 17% last year. 2017 was the 3rd consecutive year in which hate crimes have increased.

FBI data shows that various law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crimes occurred in 2017; roughly 1,000 more than the 6,121 hate crimes reported in 2016. 3 out of every 5 hate crimes targeted a person due to race or ethnicity. 1 in 5 targeted a person due to religion.

4,000 of the reported hate crimes were directed at people, ranging from threats to intimidation to assault to murder. 3,000+ hate crimes were waged against property, from vandalism to robbery to arson. Anti-Semitic hate crimes grew by 37% in 2017 while anti-Islamic crimes declined by 11%. [WP, 11/13]

This and That

Every piece of news, from almost every source now arrives first in a tweet. [WW]

Americans agree, we need a break from the news. “Seventy-seven percent of Republicans, who elected a president who can create a news cycle with a single tweet, feel that they need to take a step back. That view is shared by Democrats, with 70 percent saying they should take a break.”

The survey also found that white women (80 percent) are among the most likely to say that they need a break from the news, 12 points higher than white men (68 percent). [PRRI/The Atlantic]

Starbucks’ first US “signing store”, embracing the deaf and hard of hearing community, has opened on the H Street corridor, just blocks away from Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. (Gallaudet is a university designed to be barrier free for deaf and hard of hearing students.)

This store, which employees say has been a dream since at least 2009, follows the coffee chain’s first ever signing location which opened in Malaysia two years ago.

The store, located in an existing Starbucks, includes lower counter tops and more lighting to facilitate visual communication. The outpost also features tablets where customers can write their orders as well as screens to alert them when their drinks are ready. Other original touches include “Starbucks” written in sign language on aprons and in the window, a mural meant to encapsulate and celebrate deaf culture, and mugs designed by a deaf artist. [Washingtonian, 10/23/18]

(26% of the orders at my local Starbucks are by mobile device. WW)

There will be 4.6 million American manufacturing jobs to fill in the next decade. 2.4 million of these jobs will go unfilled. The causes include the need for increased skill levels due to automation, the exit of baby boomers from the work force and the “negative perception” of the manufacturing industry. [Deloitte Consulting; MIT Technology Review]

The number of children and teens treated in hospital emergency rooms for gunshot wounds in the United States averages 8,300 a year. 86% of the victims are male and the largest single affected group are boys age 15-17. [Johns Hopkins Medicine, 11/6/18]

According to a new analysis of a study from the Pew Research Center, older people are worse than younger people at distinguishing facts from opinions.

When given ten statements, five facts and five opinions:

34% of 18- to 29-year-olds identified all five facts correctly, and 46 % identified all five opinions.

Of those 65 and older, 17% identified all five facts correctly and 21% identified all five opinions.

The research cuts against the notion that digitally native young people are more exposed and therefore more susceptible to misinformation. There is, however, a correlation with poor performance on the test and exposure to television news. [The Atlantic]

64% of registered voters have last names that start with the letters A-M. So 36% of voters have last names that start with the letters N-Z. [WSJ, 11/17/18]

6.5 million children live in food insecure households. [Another Good Thing, 6/21/18]

Next year’s White House Correspondents dinner will not feature a comedian. The White House Correspondents Association announced last Monday that author Ron Chernow will be the featured speaker on April 27.

By the end of this year, it estimated that 33 million U.S. households will have stopped subscribing to pay television. As a result, traditional broadcasters have worked to roll out the streaming services of which 66% of Americans pay for at least one. [Hollywood Reporter, 10/17/18]