State of the Nation

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

54% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, including 52% of men and 56% of women.

34% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction. This includes 37% of men and 31% of women. [Econ/YouGov 10/29/19]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2019 is 3.6%, only slightly higher than the 3.7% of September and lower than the 3.8% of a year ago.

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 in October is 7.0%, down from 7.5% a year ago.

128,000 jobs were created in October, about the same as in September. The average monthly growth so far this year is about 167,000 jobs. [A year ago, 277,000 jobs were created in October.]

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for October is 63.3%, up a touch from 63.2% in August and September. [BLS 11/1/19]

The Demographics of Unemployment for October 2019

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)
Women – 2.9% (same as last month)
Men – 3.0% (up slightly since last month)

Unemployment by Race
White – 3.2% (same as last month)
Black – 5.4% (down slightly since last month)
Hispanic – 4.1% (up from last month)
Asian – 2.9% (up from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)
Less than high school – 5.6% (increased since last month)
High School – 3.7% (up slightly since last month)
Some college – 2.9% (same as last month)
Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 2.1% (up slightly since last month)

In September 2019, 3 states had the same unemployment rate as the national average; 26 states had unemployment rates below the national average; 21 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average.

Alaska, at 6.2%, had the highest unemployment rate in the country. (Puerto Rico at 7.6% was higher.) Mississippi and D.C. had unemployment rates of 5.4%. 13 states had unemployment rates that were 4.0% or greater but less than 5.0%. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Current U.S population on 11/1/19 is 329,715,997. []

There has been little change in general public attitudes toward abortion between 2014 and 2018.

  Legal in all or most cases Illegal in most cases or all cases
2014 55% 41%
2018 54% 40%

Over this time period, Republican support of abortion being “legal in most or all cases” has dropped from 39% to 34% and Democratic support for the same thing has grown from 67% to 70%. [PRRI staff 8/13/19]

The abortion rate has been dropping in the United States. After the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, abortions in the United States increased steadily until it topped off at 1.6 million abortions in 1992.

In 2011 there were 1.1 million abortions and in 2014 there were 926,320 abortions in the United States. By 2017 the number of abortions had fallen to 862,320. About 339,640 of the abortions in 2017 were medical abortions as opposed to surgical abortions. This data does not include self-managed abortions.
[WP and Cheat Sheet 9/18/19]

San Francisco will restrict its city employees from traveling (at government expense) to the now 22 states with “restrictive abortion laws” which have been added to its “blacklist” of states and other places. The list includes businesses which are headquartered in those places. The ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020 and does not retroactively impact existing contracts with businesses in banned states. The city has a $12 billion+ budget. [San Francisco Chronicle 10/22/19]

The median average white family in the U.S. has approximately $171,000 in net worth, while the median African American family has approximately $17,000.
[Brookings/Axios 11/1/19]

The following percentages reflect the changes in the total tax rate of all taxes paid to the federal, state and local governments – everything from sales and excise taxes to property taxes – from 1962 to 2018.

Bottom 50% of Americans 22.5% up to 24.2%
Next 40% 25.1% up to 27.6%
Top 10% 33.2% down to 29.0%
Top 1% 43.1% down to 30.1%
Top 0.1% 51.1% down to 31.4%
Top 0.01% 53.6% down to 23.0%

Each of the wealthiest 400 adults has, on average, the same wealth as 1,308,440 average adults in the bottom 50%. [NYT 10/13/19]

Two of three finance officers in large cities are predicting a recession as soon as 2020. For the first time in seven years, cities expect revenues to decline as they close the books on the 2019 fiscal year. [Axios AM 10/23/19]

The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip.

The number of people who identify as Christians has dropped from 77% to 65% of adults over the last decade. Over the same time period the number of religiously unaffiliated has grown from 17% to 26%.

Those who identify as Protestant dropped from 51% to 43% while those who describe themselves as Catholic has dropped from 23% to 20%. [PEW 10/17/19]

There are 500,000 homeless people in America. 40% of them live in California and New York. (Some studies suggest the number of homeless on a given night is 550,000 and there may be as many as 200,000 who are missed that are living outdoors.)

Homelessness has decreased by 6.1% in the last five years.

The top 10 states for homelessness per 100,000 people are: D.C.
New York, Hawaii, Oregon, California, Washington, Massachusetts, Alaska, Nevada and Vermont.

D.C ranks No.1 with 995 homeless per 100,000 people. Mississippi has the lowest homeless rate at 45.3 per 100,000. [] [WP 9/22/19]

The death rate increased 82% from 11.9 to 21.7 deaths per 100,000 people between 2007 and 2017.

Heath care expenditures added up to nearly $3 trillion in 2017, almost a 4% increase from 2016.

11% of Americans said they took five or more prescriptions within 30 days in 2016.

1.5% of students in grades 9-12 used e-cigarettes in 2011. In 2018 it was 20.8%.

The number of live births in the U.S. per 1,000 females aged 15-44 has fallen 10 out of the last 11 years.

[Centers for Disease Control/Center for Health Statistics]

Wages for blue-collar workers in the auto industry peaked (after adjusting for inflation) at $30.90 per hour in 2002. This was 44% more than the average of all jobs across the economy. Today, these jobs pay $23.48 per hour, 10 cents less than what a typical worker makes across the economy.

Since 2000, motor vehicle production in the U.S. has dropped from 12.8 million cars and light trucks per year to 11.3 million of those vehicles. Output from Mexico has grown from 1.9 million vehicles per year to 4.1 million vehicles per year. [Steve Rattner 9/24/19]

By 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science related jobs and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to do the jobs. [WP 10/22/19]

Since 1950, expanded trade has delivered about $2.1 trillion in annual income to the U.S. or about $18,000 benefit per household, mostly from better, more innovative and affordable imported goods like cars, TVs, clothing and food.

As for exports, America sold $2.3 trillion of goods and services abroad in 2017, which supported over 10 million domestic jobs, including 271,000 in Michigan, 176,500 in Pennsylvania and 111,100 in Wisconsin. [Fred Hochberg, former chairman and president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank from 2009-2017]

In 1980 there were 14.8 million Latinos in the United States representing 6.5% of the total U.S. population. By 2017 there were nearly 60 million Latinos in the U.S. representing 18% of the population.

Three states are home for 90% of the Latino population. 26 million live in California, 19 million live in Texas and 9 million live in Florida. 67% were born in the United States. 79% are U.S. citizens. [PEW 9/21/19]

The budget deficit was $665 billion in fiscal year 2017; in fiscal year 2018 the deficit was $804 billion and in 2019 the deficit is $984 billion. Interest on the debt cost the government $380 billion. [WP 10/25/19]