State of the Nation

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

50% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, including 47% of men and 52% of women.

36% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction. This includes 40% of men and 33% of women. [Econ/YouGov 12/3/19]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2019, is 3.5%, only slightly lower than the 3.6% of October and lower than the 3.7% 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 November is 6.9%, down from 7.6% a year ago.

266,000 jobs were created in November, the highest since January when 312,000 jobs were created. A year ago, 196,000 jobs were created in November.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for November is 63.2%, a bit down from October but the same as August and September. [BLS 12/1/19]

The Demographics of Unemployment for November 2019

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)
Women – 2.6% (same as last month)
Men – 2.7% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race
White – 3.0% (down from last month)
Black – 5.2% (down from last month)
Hispanic – 4.1% (up from last month)
Asian – 2.6% (up from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)
Less than high school – 5.1% (increased since last month)
High School – 3.5% (down since last month)
Some college – 2.8% (down since last month)
Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 1.8% (down since last month)

In October 2019, three states had the same unemployment rate as the national average for that month, 3.6%; 28 states had unemployment rates below the national average; 19 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 7.7% was higher.) Mississippi and D.C. had unemployment rates greater than 5% but less than 6%. 10 states had unemployment rates that were 4.0% or greater but less than 5.0%. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

If you are a full-time worker, you’ll spend roughly 80,000 hours on the job over the course of your life. [NYT – Apple News – 12/10/19]

Current U.S population on 12/7/19 is 330,103,926. There is one birth every 8 seconds and one death every 10 seconds. [ 12/7/19]

14.3 million U.S. households faced food insecurity in 2018. [Axios, Sneak Peek 12/1/19]

One in four U.S. shopping malls is expected to close by 2022. As of mid-November, retailers have announced plans to close more than 10,000 stores nationwide, this compared with 5,400 store closings for all of 2018. Even retailers on relatively stable financial footing are closing hundreds of underperforming stores to focus on flagship locations. [WP 11/24/19]

A larger share of adults have cohabited then have been married. 69% of Americans say cohabitation is acceptable even if a couple doesn’t plan to get married. Married adults have higher levels of relationship satisfaction and trust than those living with a partner.

About 66% of married adults who lived with their spouse before they were married, see living together as a step toward marriage. 59% of adults 18-44 have lived with an unmarried partner at some point in their lives.

Roughly 40% of cohabiting adults cite finances (38%) and convenience (37%) as major reasons they have moved in with their partner.

65% of Americans favor allowing unmarried couples to have the same legal rights as married couples. [Pew 11/6/19]

Between 2017 and 2027, 9.2 million U.S. homes are expected to be vacated by seniors. An additional 11.8 million U.S. homes are expected to be vacated by seniors between 2027 and 2017. [WSJ 11/23-24/19]

53 million Americans – 44% of all workers aged 18-64 – have low wage jobs. The significant portion of the nation’s labor force is earning median hourly wages of $10.22 and median annual wages of $17,950.

Women account for 54% of low-wage workers, higher than their total share of the workforce – 48%. 49% of female workers earn low wages, compared to 39% of male workers. [Brookings 11/7/19]

Access to childcare significantly impacts a parent’s ability to find and keep a job in order to support their family.

  • 68% of parents say childcare affected their ability to stay in the workforce.
  • 55% of parents have worked overtime in order to afford childcare expenses.
  • 20% of parents say they have quit a job to stay at home with a child in order to afford childcare expenses.
  • 56% of parents say they have relied on grandparents, family members, or friends for childcare.
  • 75% of parents have reduced spending on non-essentials in order to afford childcare.

[Bipartisan Policy Center, Morning Consult 11/6/19]