State of the Nation

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

60% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track, that includes 51% of men and 61% of women.

31% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. This includes 38% of men and 26% of women. [Econ/YouGov 5/26/20]

Is U.S. reliance on China for its supply chain a serious or not serious problem?

GOP Ind Dem
Very serious 40% 50% 35% 36%
Somewhat serious 36% 33% 31% 42%
Total serious 76% 83% 66% 78%
Somewhat not serious 9% 7% 15% 8%
Not serious at all 3% 3% 3% 2%
Total not serious 12% 10% 18% 10%
[Winston Group 5/22/20]

73% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans are wearing masks to fight coronavirus. [WP 5/20]

More people now say that men have a better life than women in their country. (Countries on the list below show a change of +18 or more in the 9-year period.)

2019 Change
Turkey 33% 57% +24
UK 39% 61% +22
South 26% 47% +21
Japan 29% 49% +20
Spain 45% 64% +19
Indonesia 29% 48% +19
USA 39% 57% +18

The following is from a survey conducted in 2018 but it seems particularly relevant today.

Most Americans resist the U.S. government taking steps against misinformation online that could limit freedoms.

  • Freedom of info should be protected – 58%
  • U.S. Government should take states to restrict – 39%

However, Americans are more open to tech companies taking action than the government.

  • Tech companies should take action – 56%
  • Freedom of info should be protected – 42%

72% of Americans generally – including 85% of Rep/Lean Reps and 62% of Dem/Lean Dems – think it is likely that social media platforms censor political viewpoints.

64% of Rep/Lean Reps but only 28% of Dem/Lean Dems say that major technology companies support the views of liberals over conservatives. [PEW 5/29/20]

For decades, sales of motor homes and travel trailers that you hitch to your car were a reliable indicator of the beginning–and end–of a recession. Now sales are rising as America enters its worst contraction since the Great Depression.

The United States has about 13,000 private RV Parks and an estimated 1.23 million trailer campsites and this does not cover campsites in state and national parks. [ 5/26/20]

My longtime friend from Texas, Jack Martin, produces a weekly publication of survey research on a variety of subjects on which I have come to rely.

It is called Perspectives/Data Analysis – Jack Martin. The subjects covered are the Economy & Industry, Politics and Public Opinion, Foreign Relations, Social Issues and Health & Science.

If you are interested in receiving a copy, please email Jack Martin at and include your name and email address.


The April unemployment data, including the demographics of the unemployment for that month, which is the most recent available is not included because it is irrelevant given the impact of coronavirus. The following are odds and ends that describe the situation.

In March 2020, the unemployment rate was 4.4%. In April 2020, the rate had risen to 14.7%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that had all persons surveyed, accurately responded to a question about their employment status, the unemployment rate in April would be been at least 20%. [Marketwatch 5/11/20]

Through May 23, 2020, 40.8 million people had filed unemployment claims.

The following were the unemployment rates in various battleground states during April.

Michigan 22.7
Pennsylvania 15.1
National 14.7
Wisconsin 14.1
Florida 12.9
Arizona 12.6
N. Carolina 12.2
[Bureau of Labor Statistics]

In March, 40% of workers with incomes below $40,000 either lost their jobs or were furloughed. That compares to 19% of those with incomes between $40,000 and $100,000 and 13% of Americans who make more than $100,000 per year. [Steve Rattner 5/15/20]

Nearly 60% of the over 700,000 jobs in the first wave of pandemic layoffs were jobs held by women. But women in search of a new job often have different requirements for employers compared with their male counterparts. Beyond the usual concerns around hours, salaries, and benefits, women tend to want to know about a company’s culture, policies around work-life balance, childcare, mentorship, growth opportunities, and other factors. [Institute for Women’s Policy Research — Gender Avenger Blog 5/4/20]

Share of Essential Workers Who are Women

Women Total Workers
All essential workers 52% 48,710,000
Social workers 78%
Health Care 77%
Critical retails 53%
Medical supplies 46%
Food processing 38%
Delivery, warehousing 34%
Financial IT services 28%
Utility workers 23%
Farmers 23%
Hazardous materials 19%
Law enforcement 17%
Transit, transportation 15%
Defense 14%
Resource extraction 11%
[NYT 4/19/20]

Many think that men have more opportunities than women when it comes to getting high-paying jobs.

Men have more opportunities
Women have more opportunities About the same
Getting high-paying jobs 54% 3% 38%
Being leaders in their communities 44% 3% 63%
Expressing their political views 31% 3% 63%
Getting a good education 11% 6% 81%

The following is an estimate of total federal employment in 2020.

2020 estimate
Executive Branch Civilian
All agencies/Excluding Postal 2,215,006
Postal Service 584,914
Subtotal, Executive Branch Civilian 2,800,693
Executive Branch Uniformed Military
Department of Defense 1,384,111
Department of Homeland Security 41,766
Commission Corps (DOC, EPA, HHS) 6,734
Subtotal, Uniformed Military 1,432,611
Subtotal, Executive Branch 4,233,304
Legislative Branch 41,586
Judicial Branch 33,448
Grand Total 4,308,338
[Congressional Research Service – 2020 Budget]

In 1960 when Janet Reno graduated from law school, fewer than 1 in 25 lawyers was a woman. By the time she began her tenure as Attorney General, women made up 1 in 4 lawyers. Today, just over 1 in 3 lawyers are women (38%).

As of 2018 there were 1,338,000 licensed active lawyers in the United States.

At mid-career, when earnings peak, the top 10% of female lawyers earn more than $300,000 a year while the top 10% of male lawyers earn more than $500,000. [Census Bureau analysis of data from the American Community Survey and decennial censuses.]

As of 2016 there were 953,695 actively licensed physicians in the United States and the District of Columbia.

724,640 graduated from U.S. and Canadian medical schools
216,182 were international graduates
617,186 were male
319,145 were female (33.5%)

[Federation of State Medical Boards Census of Licensed Physicians 2016]

The trade deal with the United States, Canada and Mexico will take effect July 1, 2020. [Public Policy Law 360]