Posts tagged with "Pew Research Center"

This is how Americans really feel about tipping—and whom they are likely to tip the most

November 21, 2023

If you feel like you’re expected to tip more often these days, but no longer know what the guidelines are, you have plenty of company out there, reports HuffPost.

Most U.S. adults believe that the expectation to tip has increased during the last few years—yet they feel a lot of uncertainty about when to leave gratuities and how large they should be, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

More than 70% of the survey’s respondents said it feels like more businesses expect their workers to be tipped than was the case five years ago. But only around 33% of respondents said it was very easy to know whether to leave a gratuity in a given situation, and roughly the same share said it was very easy to know how big it should be.

Respondents also said they were far more likely to tip certain service workers than others. More than 90% said they always or often leave a tip for a restaurant server; but only 76% said the same for an app-based delivery worker; 61%, for a ride-share driver; and just 25% for a coffee shop barista.

Drew DeSilver, a Pew writer who analyzed the survey results, told HuffPost that the findings dovetail with anecdotal evidence of a tipping culture shift―sometimes dubbed tipflation, tip creep, or tipping fatigue―in which customers feel more pressure, often through point-of-sale touch screens, to leave gratuities for a wider swath of services. (The pilot episode of HuffPost’s new podcast “Am I Doing It Wrong?” explored the confusion around tipping in today’s service economy.)

“It’s one of those things where you have a feeling you know what’s going on, but there’s not really a way to quantify that,” DeSilver said. “Certainly the perception is that people are being asked to tip in more places.”

DeSilver cautioned that the tipping survey has a drawback: This is the first year Pew has done it, so researchers couldn’t perform an apples-to-apples comparison with survey results from prior years. But he said they tried to frame the survey in a way that would capture whether people feel as though tipping expectations have changed.

He said the results reflected a lot of uncertainty around the custom.

“A lot of people say it is not particularly easy to know when to tip or how much to tip,” he said. “There is no authoritative single source on what the rules of tipping are.”

The survey also found that people generally don’t like being prompted with suggested tip amounts (40% oppose this practice, compared with 24% who favor it), and they very much dislike automatic tips or service charges (72% said they oppose them regardless of the size of their party). More restaurants seem to be adding automatic charges to bills―sometimes dubbed service fees or even “living wage” fees linked to minimum wage increases―although they don’t always go to the workers.

Meanwhile, a strong majority overall (72%) said they believe the tips they leave should stay with the restaurant worker who served them. However, this is often not the practice in restaurants that run tip pools; and spread the gratuities among other front-of-the-house workers, like bartenders and food runners.

Most respondants (77%) said they factor the quality of the service they received into how much of a tip they will leave. Only a quarter said a worker’s pre-tip wages serve as a major factor. Many tipped workers are paid a sub-minimum wage ―as low as $2.13 per hour in some states―with gratuities expected to make up the difference.

One of the more surprising findings for DeSilver: A majority of respondents said they were likely to tip 15% or less on a sit-down meal at a restaurant. Only a quarter said they would tip 20% or more.

He expected most people to land in the 18% to 20% range. “I generally thought that was the norm,” he said.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Nearly half of young adults are living at home with their parents

December 19, 2022

Young adults in the United States are choosing to live with their parents in an effort to save on rent, according to findings of a new study, reports Fox Business.

Inflation concerns and record-high prices in rent, groceries, and other amenities have caused nearly half of all young adults (48%) between the ages of 18 and 29 to choose to live with their parents, a conglomerate of analysts found, citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The data came from a Pew Research Center analysis, USA Today, the University of Minnesota, and a team of Morgan Stanley analysts led by Edouard Aubin.

One sector that has benefited from the Millennial and the Gen Z decision to stay at home is luxury retailers, the report found, as young adults are spending less (or nothing) on rent and are then using the extra disposable income on higher-end brands of clothing and luxury items. Only one in five Millennials living at home say that their parents charge them rent. Of those, nearly half were paying less than $500 per month.

“When young adults free up their budget for daily necessities, they simply have more disposable income to be allocated to discretionary spending,” Aubin said in the report. “We see it as fundamentally positive for the [luxury] industry.”

“When asked about the incentives to move in with parents, 51% of the young adults said that it was to save money and 39% of them said that it was because they could not afford rent,” said in a survey published on December 5.

The survey, conducted by Pollfish, included 1,200 Americans ages 26 to 41, and about one in four said they lived with a parent.

Aubin and his team of analysts found some of those polled also cited a desire to pursue higher education—using the cheaper rent option to help cover its costs—and intentionally choosing not to depart from their parental protection until their debts are paid off.

The analyst said developments in social media also have helped prompt the additional luxurious spending.”This is of course not the only reason luxury-goods consumers are getting younger in the West (social media also playing an important part), but we see it as fundamentally positive for the industry,” the analysts reported.

Other payment options for luxury goods, such as buy-now-pay-later have also facilitated the increase in high-end spending, according to Quartz.

The report found the figure of young adults staying at home is the highest it has been for decades. The 2022 figure, although down slightly from 2020 (49.5%), is the highest it has been dating back to the 1940s. The recent record was likely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

An Apple Watch for a five-year-old child? Many parents say yes!

September 2, 2022

lorian Fangohr waffled for about a year over whether to buy an Apple Watch SE as a gift. The smart watch cost $279, and he worried that its recipient would immediately break it or lose it. In May, he decided the benefits outweighed the costs and bought the gadget.

The beneficiary: his eight-year-old son, Felix, reports The New York Times.

Fangohr, a 47-year-old product designer in Seattle, said he was aware that many people were pessimistic about technology’s creep into children’s lives. But “within the framework of the watch, I don’t feel scared,” he said. “I want him to explore.”

Felix, a rising third grader, said he actually wanted a smartphone. “But the watch is still really, really nice,” he said.

Across the United States, parents are increasingly buying Apple Watches and strapping them onto the wrists of children as young as five. The goal: to use the devices as a stopgap cellphone for the kids. With the watch’s cellular abilities, parents can use it to reach and track their children, while the miniature screens mitigate issues like internet addiction.

Children and teenagers appear to have become a disproportionately large market for smart watches. In a 2020 survey of American teenagers by the investment bank Piper Sandler, 31% said they owned a smart watch. That same year, 21% of adults in the United States said they owned one, according to the Pew Research Center.

The use of smart watches as a children’s gadget shows how the audience for a consumer technology product can morph in unexpected ways. It has also given new life to the Apple Watch, which was unveiled in 2015 and has been variously positioned as a fitness tracker, a style statement, or a way to free yourself from an iPhone.

Apple has deliberately turned the watch into a device that can be attractive for children and their parents. In 2020, the company released the Apple Watch SE, which had fewer features than a premium model and was priced $120 cheaper.

Apple also introduced Family Setup, software that enables parents to track their children’s locations, manage their contacts list, and limit their notifications.

The Silicon Valley company’s moves to make the Apple Watch a child-friendly cellphone took about three years, said two people involved with the project, who were not authorized to speak publicly. A chief concern was battery life, since the watch used more power when it functioned independently from an iPhone, they said.

Apple plans to compete more aggressively soon for young smart watch customers. The company’s COO, Jeff Williams, said, “For family members who do not have an iPhone, Apple Watch offers a remarkable set of features that can help them keep in touch with loved ones, [and help them to]be more active and stay safe.” The company declined to comment on the new watches at its coming event.

Apple does not break out sales of the Apple Watch. To date, there are at least 120 million Apple Watch users—most of them in the United States—according to estimates by Counterpoint Research.

In China and South Korea, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Samsung also have rapidly increased wearable sales among young people.

Any technology used by children raises questions of risks. Social media platforms, in particular, have faced scrutiny in recent years—with lawmakers holding Congressional hearings on the issue in 2021 and homing in on whether sites like Instagram have led to poor self-esteem among teenagers.

But smart watches are inherently limited in their abilities, said Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that reviews media and technology for families. Since smart watches have minimal apps and no web browser or camera, children are less likely to be exposed to distracting games, sexting and other adult content, he said. Not owning a smartphone also encourages children to continue learning how to do things independently, like completing homework assignments without looking up answers online, he said.

“You want to be able to contact them, but you don’t want them spending all day on a screen,” Steyer said.

Jean M. Twenge, who writes books on how tech contributes to generational differences, added that the longer that parents could hold off on providing children with a smartphone—and increased accessibility to social media and other internet wormholes—the better.

Receiving a smartphone later means children “will be older, more mature, and more able to handle the challenges and potential dangers of having their own smartphone,” she commented.

Research contact: @nytimes

You’re too close to Grandma! American families can’t agree on reopening protocols

July 6, 2020

When shelter-in-place restrictions eased in May in Gurnee, Illinois, Laura Davis’ first thought was: When are people coming over? The teacher’s mother and two sisters live within driving distance, she said, and her backyard can accommodate social distancing.

It turned out that wasn’t going to be easy, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Davis, 38, landed and her older sister could not agree on get-together terms. Her sister and mother have health conditions that put them at risk for complications from the new coronavirus and said they would come only if they could sit outside, if no one ate, and if everyone wore masks—including all nine children.

That might sound fairly reasonable, but Davis couldn’t understand why food she prepared would be riskier than food delivered from restaurants. Her sister and mother wouldn’t budge.

“It’s been a weird balancing act,” she told the Journal. “I’m trying to understand them, but I’m also trying to push them a little bit. You can’t do this for two years until there’s a vaccine.”

The question of how to resume aspects of normal life months after the first known U.S. coronavirus death is confounding businesses and roiling state and national politics. It is also straining relations among friends and relatives.

What’s more, the recent surge of newly confirmed cases in many states has made the question more urgent—upending reopening plans, and prompting several states to reverse course or hit pause. Disagreement among federal officials, governors and mayors has led to shifting official messages and rules about how to stay safe.

Behind all the confusion are thousands of conversations and arguments every day in households across America about how to do the right thing—with disagreements on what that is.

Behavior one friend or relative deems essential around other people—mask-wearing, for example—is considered excessive by another. Differences over safety measures split some families on partisan lines, much as they divide parts of the country.

Summer is especially fraught, with vacation plans suddenly a subject of debate. The Journal spoke to Dani Duncan of Jacksonville, Florida, whose 12-year-old daughter traditionally spends a month with her in-laws in Daytona Beach each summer.

However, this year, the Duncans didn’t think it was safe and said no. Her in-laws took offense, she told the news outlet: “They were like, ‘You don’t trust us with her.’ ” Her husband replied, “Obviously, we do,” said Dani, 49. “It became personal.”

Her father-in-law suggested a weekend trip instead of a month, but she wasn’t OK with that, either. Her daughter was upset about the change of plans, she said, and her in-laws felt at a loss.

In America, who takes what position in the family debate over COVID-19 safety precautions is sometimes drawn by party lines. Some within families say the  threat has been overblown by political liberals and the media; others say politically conservative Americans have unwisely played down the threat.

Indeed, a June survey by the Pew Research Center found that political partisanship—more than race, geography, gender or age—was the biggest factor in determining comfort levels with various activities. The partisan difference widened since Pew conducted a similar survey in March, with Republicans significantly more at ease than Democrats about going to places like restaurants, salons and friends’ houses.

Mary Ellen Carroll, 48, who lives in Huntington, West Virginia, has barely left home since March. Her husband, Mike Carroll, plays golf several times a week and has been sitting outside on the country-club patio with fellow players after rounds—six feet apart, he said.

“I don’t want him to go because he’s 70 years old,” she said. “There have been arguments.” Her husband fudged it: “There’s been discussions,” but “we don’t really argue.”

They also disagree over whether their disagreement falls along partisan lines. The politically conservative Mike Carroll wears a mask only in the grocery store, he said. May Ellen Carroll wears a mask when she goes out and said she gets dirty looks from people—her mask says “Ridin’ With Biden,” she said, but she also gets negative reactions in a pink knitted one without a slogan.

“You know conservatives don’t believe in quarantine and masks,” she said. But the Carrolls have achieved an uneasy truce, and intend to go on in the same fashion.

And back in Gurnee, Illinois, the Davises have come to an understanding. Katie Clark, 41, the sister with diabetes, told the Journal that her sister, Laura, had misunderstood her objections. She said Laura’s inference that she didn’t want home-cooked food was a misunderstanding: She didn’t want people eating because they would have to take off their masks, which she didn’t think was safe..

Laura  “thinks I’m far too cautious, and I don’t think I’m too careful,” said Katie, a librarian. “We decided if we could be one person we’d handle COVID perfectly.”

Their mother, Kathy Clark, 70, said she’s coming around and has started spending time with the family indoors—six feet apart, wearing masks. “It’s just like anything,” she said. “The more you do the new thing, the more you get comfortable.”

Katie’s parents-in-law presented another dilemma. When she had them over in June, everyone agreed on the plan: Precautions included bring-your-own water bottles, mask-wearing, six-foot distancing.

But her 8-year-old and twins, 6, hadn’t seen their grandparents in months and had a hard time staying away. Her mother-in-law is immunocompromised. Katie could see her father-in-law getting anxious. “He kept saying, ‘Boys, you’re too close to Grandma,’ ” she said. “You could tell it was too much.”

Her mother-in-law, Linda Davis, 71, of Lake Forest, Illinois, told the Journal that she and her husband plan to see their grandchildren in a few days—outdoors, where the risk seems to be low.

“It makes me wonder what’s gonna happen in the fall,” she said. “But for right now, I’m happy to have that chance.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Judge rules Florida cannot block early voting on college campuses

July 27, 2018

During the last election, students at the University of Florida at Gainesville had to use two buses to reach their polling place—wasting about an hour each way. The reason: Florida’s top election official wouldn’t allow them—nor any of the 830,000 students enrolled at public institutions of higher education in the state―to vote early on campus, the Huffington Post reported on July 25.

But that could soon change. On July 24, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Florida Mark Walker temporarily blocked the policy—ruling that the state’s across-the-board ban on early voting on college campuses is unconstitutional.

Walker found that the ban violated the guarantees of the First, 14th and 26th amendments. The 26th Amendment prohibits age restrictions on voting for anyone 18 or older. While he conceded that some inconvenience when voting is constitutionally tolerable, Walker said that Florida’s position went beyond that. The ban made it more difficult for a particular group of people―young voters around college campuses―to vote.

“Florida’s public college and university students are categorically prohibited from on-campus early voting,” he wrote. “This is not a mere inconvenience.”

The ban has its origin in a 2013 state law that lays out where local election supervisors may allow early voting. Approved locations for early voting  included stadiums, civic and convention centers, as well as government-owned senior and community centers.

But in 2014, the office of Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R) issued an opinion saying the student union at the University of Florida, a state-funded institution, didn’t qualify as such a place, because it was “designed for, and affiliated with, a specific educational institution.” He went further, saying that the law did not permit early voting at “college- or university-related facilities” because lawmakers had explicitly chosen to exclude them from the bill.

In his ruling Tuesday, the judge said the state’s justifications “reek of pretext,” HuffPost reported. “While the [Detzner’s] Opinion does not identify college students by name, its target population is unambiguous and its effects are lopsided,” the judge wrote. “The Opinion is intentionally and facially discriminatory.”

Walker listed a number of reasons why access to early voting sites, in particular, is important for college students. While they can vote on election day, the judge wrote, the lines are often long. Student communities also face longer transportation times to early voting sites, and people living near college and university campuses disproportionately lack cars. College students in Florida also vote early at higher rates than their counterparts across the country, he said.

Through the ban, the judge concluded, Florida was “creating a secondary class of voters whom [the state] prohibits from even seeking early voting sites in dense, centralized locations where they work, study, and, in many cases, live.”

McKinley Lewis, a spokesperson for Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), said in a statement the governor was proud to have signed an early voting expansion and would review the ruling.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 50 million voters were expected to cast early, absentee, and mail-in ballots in the 2016 presidential election. In 2012, 46 million voters—nearly 36% of the total—cast ballots in some manner other than at a traditional polling place on Election Day.

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Trump leaves ‘special relationship’ with NATO allies in doubt

July 12, 2018

Leading up to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Brussels this week (July 1-12), U.S. President Donald has left America’s “special relationship” with its European allies in doubt.

In June, the POTUS wrote harsh letters to the leaders of several NATO allies—among them, Belgium, Canada, Germany, and Norway— taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance, Axios reported.

“Trump still seems to think that NATO is like a club that you owe dues to, or some sort of protection racket where the U.S. is doing all the work protecting all these deadbeat Europeans while they’re sitting around on vacation, and now he is suggesting there are consequences,” Derek Chollet, a former U.S. Defense Department official who is the EVP for Security and Defense Policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States told The New York Times.

Europeans have been watching Donald Trump begin to implement his rhetoric on trade in ways that are very combative,” he said, “and they’re starting to contemplate whether he would do this regarding security issues, as well.”

According to poll findings by Pew Research Center, the American public does not necessarily agree with its president. About six-in-ten Americans (62%) had a favorable opinion of NATO in a 2017 Pew Research survey of the United States. and 11 other member countries.

Across all 12 NATO member countries included in the 2017 survey, a median of 61% approved of the alliance, including a majority of respondents in every country except Spain, Greece and Turkey. In the Netherlands and Poland, roughly eight-in-ten (79%) said they have a positive view of NATO.

According to Axios, European Council President Donald Tusk directly addressed President Trump on the eve of Wednesday’s NATO summit, warning the United States to “appreciate your allies; after all you don’t have that many.”

Dear Mr. President: Please remember about this tomorrow, when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all, when you meet President Putin in Helsinki,” Tusk said. “ It is always worth knowing: who is your strategic friend? And who is your strategic problem?”

Senior European officials told Axios’ National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan that they’re worried Trump will spend the NATO summit beating up on European allies for not spending enough on defense. In his remarks, Tusk acknowledged that Europe should spend more, but emphasized that “genuine solidarity” is most important.

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For the first time, USA takes in fewer refugees than other nations

July 9, 2018

The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis released on July 5 of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This represents the first time in over 30 years—since the adoption in August 1980 of the U.S. Refugee Actthat America has taken in fewer refugees than the rest of the world.

Historically, Pew noted, the United States has led the world in refugee resettlement. In fact, since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide.

However, in 2017, the U.S. resettled 33,000 refugees—the country’s lowest total since the years following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; and a steep drop from 2016, when it resettled about 97,000. Non-U.S. countries resettled more than twice as many refugees as the U.S. in 2017—69,000—even though refugee resettlement in these nations was down from 92,000 in 2016.

Previously, the closest the rest of the world had come to surpassing the U.S. on this measure was 2003, when the U.S. resettled about 28,000 refugees and the rest of the world resettled about 27,000.

Despite a sharp single-year decline in refugee resettlement, the U.S. still resettled more refugees (33,000) than any other one country. Following the U.S. were Canada (27,000), Australia (15,000) and the United Kingdom (6,000). Sweden, Germany, Norway and France each resettled about 3,000 refugees. Per capita, Canada led the world by resettling 725 refugees per one million residents, followed by Australia (618) and Norway (528). The U.S. resettled 102 refugees per one million U.S. residents.

Overall, the world resettled 103,000 refugees in 2017, down from 189,000 in 2016. The broad-based decline included decreases in other leading countries in refugee resettlement, such as Canada and Australia, although the drops in these countries were more modest than those in the U.S.

Refugee resettlement involves a different group of migrants than those seeking asylum by entering Europe via the Mediterranean, coming to Canada via the United States, and crossing into the U.S. at its southern border. Asylum seekers migrate and cross a border without having received prior legal permission to enter their destination country, and then apply for asylum. Resettled refugees, by contrast, don’t enter their destination country until they have legal permission to do so, because they apply for refugee status while in another country. The refugee approval process can take several months or years, while destination countries complete security checks on prospective refugees.

The decline in refugee resettlement comes as the global refugee population increased by 2.75 million, and reached a record 19.9 million in 2017, according to UNHCR. This exceeds the high in 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

What’s more, U.S. refugee resettlement is on pace to remain at historically low levels in 2018. The Trump administration lowered the refugee ceiling for fiscal 2018 to 45,000 refugees, according to a report by NPR– the lowest cap since the Refugee Act was adopted by passed, according to U.S. State Department data. The number of Muslim refugees admitted to the nation has dropped more than other religious groups, Pew said.

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What has happened to the Great American Summer Job?

July 3, 2018

As recently as the turn of the 21st century, roughly half of U.S. teens could expect to spend at least part of their summer vacation lifeguarding, dishing up soft-serve ice cream, selling tee-shirts or otherwise working. But the share of teens working summer jobs has tumbled since 2000: Despite some recovery since the end of the Great Recession, about one-third of teens (35%) had a job last summer, based on findings of a poll conducted by Pew Research Center and released on July 2.

What’s happened to the Great American Summer Job? From the late 1940s, which is as far back as the data go, through the 1980s, teen summer employment followed a fairly regular pattern: rising during economic good times and falling during and after recessions, but generally fluctuating between 46% (the low, in 1963) and 58% (the peak, in 1978). That pattern began to change after the 1990-1991 recession, when the teen summer employment rate hovered around 50% for the entire decade before 2000.

Teen summer employment fell sharply after the 2001 recession, and even more sharply during and after the 2007-09 Great Recession. Only about 30% of teens had jobs during the summers of 2010 and 2011. Since then, the teen summer employment rate has edged slightly higher, but is still below pre-recession levels.

Younger teens—16- and 17-year-olds—always have been less likely to work in the summer than their older peers. In percentage terms, however, employment for younger teens has increased more than for their elders. Last year’s summer employment rate for 16- and 17-year-olds was 25%—up from 18.5% in 2010. For 18- and 19-year-olds, the summer employment rate last year was 46.4%, compared with 41.6% in 2010.

White teens are more likely to work over the summer than teens of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Last year, for example, the summer employment rate for 16- to 19-year-old whites was 37.3%, versus 29.7% for Hispanics, 26.1% for blacks, and 23.3% for Asians. About 1.3 million more teens were employed in July 2017 than in April, a rough gauge of summer job-holding; 954,000 of those additional teen workers, or 74.1%, were white.

Researchers have suggested multiple reasons why fewer young people are working-among them:

  • Fewer low-skill, entry-level jobs (such as sales clerks or office assistants) available than in decades past;
  • More schools ending in late June and restarting before Labor Day;
  • A greater number of students enrolled in high school or college over the summer;
  • More teens doing unpaid community service work as part of their graduation requirements or to burnish their college applications; and
  • A higher number of students taking unpaid internships, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t count as being employed.

When teens do get summer jobs these days, they’re more likely to be busing tables or tending a grill than staffing a mall boutique or souvenir stand. Nearly 2.1 million of the estimated 6.2 million teens who were employed last July (33.8%) worked in “accommodation and food services”—in  restaurants, hotels, and the like–-compared with 1.9 million (22.6%) in July 2000, according to BLS data. In fact, accommodation and food services was the only major industry that had more teen workers last July than in July 2000—a span during which the total number of employed 16- to 19-year-olds fell by 2.3 million, or 27.4%. Overall, accommodation and food services added more than 2.3 million workers between July 2000 and July 2017, for a 19.6% growth rate.

Up modestly, at least in percentage terms, was the “arts, entertainment and recreation” sector, which includes such employers as sports teams, museums and other tourist sites, county fairs and performing arts groups. Last July, 8.7% of employed teens worked in that sector, versus 7.5% in July 2000 (though the actual number of teens working in this sector fell by 95,000 over that period). To some extent that reflects broader growth in the sector, which grew by 432,200 workers (19%) over that same period.

The construction and manufacturing shares of teen summer employment both have fallen since 2000, to 4.3% and 3.8% respectively. A combined 498,000 teens worked in manufacturing or construction last July, less than half as many as in July 2000 (1.07 million). By comparison, while overall construction employment last July was about where it was in July 2000, total manufacturing payrolls were down about 28%.

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Most Americans are not up for space tourism

June 8, 2018

It’s summertime and many of us want to “get away from it all”—but not so far away that we see Earth in our rear-view mirrors. While a host of companies are trying to make space tourism a consumer trend—among them, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musks’s SpaceX—most U.S. adults say they would not want to go up to (and past) the wild blue yonder, based on findings of a poll conducted by Pew Research Center and released on June 7.

About four-in-ten Americans (42%) say they would definitely or probably be interested in orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft in the future, while roughly six-in-ten (58%) say they would not give it a go.

Interest in space travel is highest among those who are young at heart and men. A majority (63%) of Millennials are on-board with the idea; however only minorities of Gen Xers (39%) and Baby Boomer (27%) would be interested. About half of men (51%) say they would be interested in orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft, compared with one-third of women (33%).

Among the 42% of Americans who said they would be interested in traveling into space, the most common reason given (by 45% of respondents) was to “experience something unique.” Smaller shares of this group said they would want to be able to view the Earth from space (29%) or “learn more about the world” (20%).

Among the 58% who said they would not want to orbit the Earth aboard a spacecraft, equal shares said the main reason was that such a trip would be either “too expensive” (28%) or “too scary” (28%) or that their age or health wouldn’t allow it (28%).

Men were more likely than women to say the main reason they would not be interested in orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft was that it would be too expensive (37% vs. 22%), but women were more inclined than men to say they would not want to go because it would be too scary (34% vs. 18%).

The respondents also talked about their expectations for space tourism in the next 50 years. The public is split over whether this will happen, with half saying that people will routinely travel in space as tourists by 2068 and half saying this will not happen. Americans are more skeptical about the possibility of colonies on other planets – an endeavor championed by space entrepreneurs Elon Muskand Jeff Bezos. About one-third of Americans (32%) say people will build colonies on other planets that can be lived in for long periods by 2068.

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Hollywood studios pack heat for summer

May 23, 2018

The Hollywood studios are “packing heat” for this summer, and it has nothing to do with the weather. In fact, according to a May 20 report by Deadline Hollywood, the posters for features opening within the next couple of months might as well be promoting the NRA: Rifles and double-barreled pistols are ubiquitous in the imagery.

Indeed, following recent school shootings in Florida and Texas, the studios may well be “taking some heat” from gun control advocates for the ways in which they are plugging their new releases.

There’s baby-faced Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story from Lucasfilm and Disney, aiming squarely at the viewer with bazooka-size handgun, Deadline Hollywood notes. And just below, a smiling Emilia Clark, as Qi’ra levels a double-barreled pistol; while Joonas Suotamo, Chewbacca, totes the deep-space version of an assault rifle.

Denzel Washington points a pistol with poker-faced indifference on the billboard for Columbia’s R-rated Equalizer 2; and Tom Cruise stands ready to shoot, gun in hand, on the poster for Paramount’s Mission: Impossible-Fallout.

Follow that with Mila Kunis along with Kate McKinnon, her hands posed to look as if she is leveling a gun in the billboard for the August release from Imagine Entertainment and Lionsgate, The Spy Who Dumped Me. Not so bad, but you get the intent.

Will Americans stunned by the violence in our schools allow their children to buy tickets to these aspiring blockbusters? A poll conducted by Pew Research Center in 2017 found that 61% of U.S. adults who do not own guns think that movies with gun-related violence contribute to the onslaught of school murders we are seeing today; 44% of gun owners agree.

And, according to Deadline Hollywood, “… anyone who doesn’t think parents and activists are poised for a fresh assault on Hollywood’s approach to screen violence is probably dreaming.”

Only on May 14—four days before the shootings at Santa Fe High School in Texas—the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania issued a call for a new, PG-15 violence rating.

Speaking to The New York Times, Annenberg’s Daniel Romer, the author of a study by the center calling for the PG-15 rating, said, ““The findings suggest that parents may want a new rating—that the film industry is taking inappropriate advantage of the PG-13 system,” adding, “These movies often get a PG-13 rating by omitting the consequences, such as blood and suffering, and by making the use of gun violence seem justified. But parents of teenagers say that even scenes of justified violence are more appropriate for teens who are at least 15.”

The Motion Picture Association of America, which runs the voluntary domestic film ratings system, declined to comment.

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