State of the Nation

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

25% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 63% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.

Right direction Wrong track
Male 28% 61%
Female 22 63
Democrats 45 39
Republicans 12 82
Independents 18 65
Urban 39 47
Suburban 18 69
Rural 18 71

[Econ/YouGov 6/13/23]

In the April 15, 2023, issue of the Washington Watch, 31% of registered voters said the country was headed in the right direction and 60% were on the wrong track.

Showing a similar picture is the NBC News survey of 6/20/23 which finds that 20% say things in the nation are headed in the right direction and 74% saying the nation is on the wrong track.

In 2023, the median wage for black earners compared to white earners is 79%. [NYT 6/19/23]

U.S. consumer demand for “Made in America” products is robust. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers said they routinely sought out “Made in America” products over the past year.

Among U.S consumers who said they would pay more, a majority are unwilling to pay about 10% extra for “Made in America” goods relative to foreign made equivalents. [Morning Consult – June 2023]

The median age in the United States reached a record high of 38.9 in 2022. In 2000 the median age was 35, and in 1980 the media was 30.
Among the states, Maine (44.8 median age) is the oldest with New Hampshire, at 43.3 median age, not far behind. Among the youngest are Utah (31.9), D.C (34.8), and Texas (35.5).

Among counties with populations over 100,000, the oldest is Sumter County, Florida, where the median age was 68.1. The youngest, large county is Utah county, home to the city of Provo with a median age of 25.7. [NYT 6/22/23]

American whisky sales hit $5.1 billion in 2023. [Numlock News 6/21/23]

The number of self-driving cars in the United States is projected to be over 3.5 million by 2025. [Duane Morris Government Strategies 6/21/23]

Americans and Global warming

By 74% to 15%, Americans think global warming is happening now.

  • 61% of Americans understand that global warming is mostly human caused.
  • 28% think it is caused by natural changes in the environment.
  • 66% of Americans say they are at least “somewhat worried” (30% “very worried).
  • 62% say they feel a personal sense of responsibility to help reduce global warming.
  • 66% disagree with the statement “it’s already too late to do anything about global warming.”
  • 56% think extreme weather poses a “high (18%) or “moderate (38%) risk to their community over the next 10 years.
  • 65% think global warming is affecting weather in the United States – 33% think it is “a lot.”

[Anthony Leiserowitz, PYCCC – Yale 6/8/23]

In a survey of U.S. adults completed by Pew Research’s American Trends Panel on April 2, 2023, 50% of U.S. adults disapproved of selective colleges considering race and ethnicity in admissions decisions – this includes 29% of blacks, 39% of Hispanics, 52% of Asians, 57% of whites, 74% of Republicans and 29% of Democrats.

On June 29, 2023, the 50% of U.S. adults on the panel who disapprove of race and ethnicity being considered in college admission saw their wishes become the law when the U.S. Supreme Court by a 6-3 vote, struck down race-based admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

Military schools are exempt.

Chief Justice Roberts led the majority vote. This is a position the Chief Justice has taken for many years.

It is at times like this when one has to wonder whether the Supreme Court really believes that it is the third legislative branch of the federal government. [WW]

47% of Black Americans, and 39% of Hispanics say they approve of universities considering prospective students racial and ethnic backgrounds when making admissions decisions. [Pew]

More than half of Americans say they have experienced hate or harassment online according to a new survey from the Anti-Defamation League.

75% of transgender Americans say they have been harassed at some point and more than half say they have been targeted in the last year.

47% of those in the LGBTQ+ community said they have experienced online hate or harassment in the past year.

38% of Blacks and Muslims report being the subject of attacks over the last 12 months.

26% of Jewish respondents said they were targeted in the past 12 months; up from 21% in the 2022 survey.

51% of teens report some form of harassment in the past 12 months compared to 36% in the prior year survey.

A third of adults experienced some form of online hate or harassment, up from 23% a year ago. [ Axios Login 6/28/23]

The Demise of Telephone Landlines

Only about a quarter of Americans still have telephone landlines of any kind. WW has attempted to compile a list that adds up to 100% of telephone users of various forms of telephone lines in their homes – and found it impossible. So below is a list that adds up to 102%.

  • 1% of households have no telephone lines of any kind.
  • 2% of households have only telephone landlines.
  • 27% of households have both landlines and wireless phones.
  • 73% of households have only wireless phones.

[Department of Data, WP 6/23/23]

The following are the Most Trusted Brands 2023

  1. Band-Aid
  2. UPS
  3. Amazon
  4. Lysol
  5. Kleenex
  6. Cheerios
  7. Visa
  8. Dove
  9. The Weather Channel
  10. FedEx

[Morning Consult 5/25/23]

The Case that Wasn’t

On June 30, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of a graphic artist in Colorado who argued that free speech protections allowed her to refuse to design wedding websites for same-sex couples.

The incident on which this case was decided never happened and the justices on the Supreme Court knew it, as did the complainant and her lawyers.

Also, the individual who was described as the person who sought the complainant’s services said he never contacted the complainant for any purpose, let alone a wedding website. [WP 7/1/23]

The current U.S. Supreme Court is the most conservative in modern history.

In a recent NBC News Survey (June 16-20) by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies, registered voters were asked to rate their feelings toward the U.S. Supreme Court. The most recent survey was taken prior to the Court’s two most recent and controversial decisions.

Positive Negative
June 2023 31 40
August 2022 35 41
January 2021 44 19
October 2018 50 21
June 2015 39 25
April 2012 42 21
May 1992 42 26

American life expectancy is dropping. Here is how the U.S. fits in with the life expectancy of other countries.

Region Age
Japan 84.8 years
Australia 84.5 years
Italy 82.7 years
Canada 82.3 years
United Kingdom 80.7 years
USA 77.2 years
Average of high-income countries 82 years

[WP 6/1/23]

In 1926, Ford Motor Company moved from a six-day work week to a five-day work week. In 1940 under the Fair Labor Standards Act the five-day work week was adopted.

In an April 2023 Washington Post-Ipsos poll of workers aged 18-64, a number of questions were included:

What would you prefer?

  • Working 4 days a week for 10-hour days – 75%
  • Working 5 days a week for 8 hours a day – 25%
  • Working a job 5 days a week at full-time pay – 73%
  • Working a job 4 days a week for less than full-time pay – 26%


Black Americans

An overwhelming share of Black Americans think the U.S. economic system is stacked against them and some believe the problem of racism will worsen during their lives.

About half of Black Americans say racism will get worse over their lifetimes.

  • 11% think it will be better.
  • 51% think it will get worse.

More Black Americans say their financial situation is better now than in 2022.

  • 31% say it is getting better (25% in 2022).
  • 47% say it is staying the same.

Most black adults are concerned about states blocking the teaching of Black history and history of racism, banning books about race.

How concerned are you? (Percent saying very or extremely)

Among Black Americans Among White Americans
States stopping Black history from being taught in public school 75% 47%
Public schools banning books that mention race or racism. 69% 55%

Fewer Black Americans say they are often treated poorly in day-to-day life across a variety of measures than in 2006.

April 2006 May 2023
Treated with less respect than other people 25% 17%
You receive poorer service than other people at restaurants or store 27 17
People act as if they think you are not smart 32 21
People act as if they are afraid of you 26 16
People act as if they think you are dishonest 22 15
Experience any one of the above often 54 36

[WP-Ipsos poll online Knowledge Panel 5/12/23]

The population of the United States continues to grow.

Group Population Size COLUMN3 COLUMN4
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 900 000 &nbsp
Asian 21 000 000
Black 46 000 000
Hispanic 64 000 000
White 250 000 000
Total 382 000 000

[Mike/Axios 6/29/23]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 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 6.9% in June 2023, greater than the 6.7% it was a year earlier.

The Labor Force Participation rate (LFPR) in June 2023 is 62.6% higher than the 62.2% in June 2022.

The Demographics of Unemployment for June 2023

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –2.6% (down from last month)
  • Men –3.0% (up from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 3.1% (down from last month)
  • Black – 6.0% (up from last month)
  • Hispanic –4.3(up from last month)
  • Asian –3.2% (up from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –6.0% (up from last month)
  • High School –3.9% (same as last month)
  • Some college –3.1 % (down from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher –2.0 % (down from last month)

In May 2023, 38 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 3.4 %. 10 states, including the District of Columbia, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. 3 states had unemployment rates the same as the national average.

The state/territory with the highest unemployment rate was Nevada at 5.4%.

Nearly 35% of American workers, worked from home on the average day in 2022, up from just 22% a decade earlier.

It is likely that the peak work from home – nearly 40% in 2021 – may be behind us. [Axios PM 6/23/23]

Unions are a much smaller part of the American economy than they once were, representing only 6 percent of private-sector workers. Still, union members earn substantially more than similar workers who are not unionized.

Median weekly wages in 2022, by industry

Union members Non-Union
Movies and music $2,276 $1,300
Transportation and Warehousing $1,203 $909
Health care and social work $1,141 $995
Restaurants and bars $791 $665
Retail $780 $815
Accommodations $764 $726

[BLS 7/7/23]