* Any statements in this issue of the Watch which are not sourced are mine and identified by “WW”.
31% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 60% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.
|Right track||Wrong track|
In the previous issue of the Washington Watch, on March 4, 2023, 31% said the country was headed in the right direction and 60% said it was on the wrong track. Not much difference.
U.S. government agencies received a record number of 928,353 Freedom of Information Act requests in 2022, up from the previous high of 863,729 in 2018.
The number of requests jumped more than 10% from 2021.
The government also fulfilled a record number of FOIA requests, 878,420, but it was not able to keep pace with incoming requests. The backlog grew 34.9% year over year in 2022. [Department of Justice]
In 2021, 1,205 women died of maternal causes or 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is compared with 861 deaths in 2020, or 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births.
For Black women the death rate was 69.9 per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times higher than the rate for white women.
Death rates among white women were 26.6 per 100,000 live births, 1.4 times higher than in 2020. Among Hispanic women, the death rate was 28 per 100,000 live births, which was 1.5 times higher than in 2020. [Political Pulse 3/16/23]
In 1992, 38% of Americans lived in counties that gave one candidate at least 60% of the vote. By 2020, 58% of Americans lived in counties that gave one candidate at least 60% of the vote.
In 1988, 6.7% of Americans lived in counties that gave one candidate 70% of the vote. By 2020, 28.9% of Americans lived in counties that gave one candidate at least 70% of the vote.
In 1988, 0.4% of Americans lived in counties that gave one candidate 80% of the vote. By 2020, 7.8% of Americans lived in counties that gave one candidate 80% of the vote.
The bottom line is that over the last 30 years, there has been a steady increase in Americans who live in overwhelmingly red or blue states, however you may define red vs blue. [Cook Political Report/Amy Walter 3/30/23]
In 2022, renewable energy sources created more than 900 terawatt-hours of electricity power in the U.S. compared to a little over 800 terawatt-hours from coal. On a global scale, a similar change is coming – by 2027 renewables are projected to outweigh coal electricity generation. [statista 3/28/23 – Thanks to Jay Berman]
From 2004 thru 2016, Democrats had a firm grip on the Asian American vote in national elections. That changed in 2020 and continued in 2022.
[Asian Am Legal Defense]
The share of Black appointees to Fortune 500 boards declined in 2022. 34% of board appointments last year went to someone belonging to a racial or ethnic minority, down from 41% in 2021. [Axios PM 5/8/23]
Growth of the National Debt – June 2001 – August 2022
(Including possibly related actions)
|The Bush tax cuts 6/7/2001||$5.7 trillion|
|Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 3/19/2003||6.5 trillion|
|Prescription drug expansion 1/1/06||8.4 trillion|
|2008 recession and response 2/17/09||11.1 trillion|
|Obama-GOP deal to extend Bush tax cuts||16.8 trillion|
|Trump tax cuts 12/22/17||20.5 trillion|
|Bipartisan spending deals under Trump 8/1/19||22.7 trillion|
|Congressional spending on coronavirus 12/27/20||27.7 trillion|
|The Biden economic agenda 8/24/22||31.0 trillion|
Who are the youngest and oldest current world leaders?
Joe Biden is the oldest American president having entered office at age 78, as well as the only U.S. president to turn 80 while in office.
• Most national leaders range in age from mid-30s to 90.
• The median age of current national leaders is 62.
• Countries that are less free tend to have older leaders.
• Women leaders tend to be younger than men leaders.
• Only 13 countries have a woman in the top office.
• 62 countries have a man in the top office.
In most countries, the leader is significantly older than the median age of the population.
• The median age for women – 57
• The median age for men – 62
Youngest national leader: Gabriel Boric 37 – Chile
Ages of other national leaders
• Volodymyr Zelensky, 45 – Ukraine
• Justin Trudeau, 51 – Canada
• Xi Jiniping, 69 – China
• Vladimir Putin, 70 – Russia
• Joe Biden, 80 – United States
• Paul Blya, 90 – Cameroon
In September 2022, there were 4,746 banks in the United States according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FIDC). That is 9,400 fewer banks than there were in 1934.
The following is the number of banks and branches since 1934.
|# of Banks||# of Branches|
The 10 largest US banks:
- JPMorgan Chase – $3.31 Trillion
- Bank of America – $2.41 Trillion
- Citibank – $1.714 Trillion
- Wells Fargo – $1.712 Trillion
- U.S. Bancorp – $591.21 Billion
- PNC Financial Services – $553.39 Billion
- Truist Financial Corporation – $534.19 Billion
- Goldman Sachs – $513.91 Billion
- TD Bank – $394.33 Billion
- Capital One – $391.81 Billion
Total holdings of these banks: $23.6 Trillion
The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2023 is 3.6%.
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 is 6.8% in February 2023, less than the 7.2% it was a year earlier.
The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in February 2023 is 62.2%, the same as February 2023.
The Demographics of Unemployment for February 2023
Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)
- Women –5.1% (up from as last month)
- Men –5.1% (down from last month)
Unemployment by Race
- White – 3.2% (up from last month)
- Black – 5.7% (up from last month)
- Hispanic – 5.3% (up from last month)
- Asian –3.4% (up from last month)
Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)
- Less than high school –5.8% (up from last month)
- High School –3.6% (down from last month)
- Some college –3.2% (up from last month)
- Bachelor’s Degree or higher –2.0% (same as last month)
In January 2023, 27 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 3.6%. 22 states, including the District of Columbia, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. 2 states had unemployment rates the same as the national average.
The state/territory with the highest unemployment rate was Nevada at 5.5%.
The gender pay gap has not changed much in the last 20 years. In 2002, women earned 80% as much as men. In 2022 women earned an average of 82% of what men earned.
The pay gap is narrower among young workers. Among all workers ages 16 and older, the gap is 82%. However, among workers who are 25-34 the gap is 92%.
Half of U.S. adults say that women being treated differently by employers is a major reason for the gender wage gap.
Of the reasons why women earn less than men:
- 50% say the major reason is the women are treated differently.
- 42% say women tend to make difference choices about balance, work, and family.
- 34% say women tend to work in jobs that pay less.
Research has shown that being a mother can reduce women’s earnings, while fatherhood can increase men’s earnings. [PEW 3/1/23]
About 35% of workers with a job that can be done remotely are working from home all of the time. This is down from 43% in January 2022 and 55% in October 2020 but up from only 7% before the pandemic.
Among hybrid workers who are not self-employed, 63% say their employer requires them to work in person a certain number of days per week or month. 59% of hybrid workers say they work from home three or more days in a typical week, while 41% say they do so two days or fewer.
71% of teleworkers say it helps a lot/a little to balance work and personal life and 56% say it helps to get work done and meet deadlines.
Among U.S. workers who can telework but rarely or never do it, 41% say they feel more connected to co-workers while 42% say it neither help nor hurts.
79% of workers with telework-able jobs who work from home all the time say managers or supervisors trust them a great deal. [PEW 3/30/23]
Meta has announced that it will be laying off an additional 10,000 people in the coming year. This brings the number of job cuts since mid-to-late 2022 to 21,000. Meta is cutting 5,000 open roles in an effort to flatten the company’s management structure.
These changes accompany the company’s loss of 70% of its value in the last year. [Axios Close 3/14/23]