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Money Problems by Age Group

More fascinating survey data from the folks at Gallup on the nation’s economic woes comes via this report on how money problems vary by age group here in the U.S.

To no one’s surprise, college costs and student loans are of most concern for the young (highlighted in blue) while health care costs top the list for older Americans (in black), however, overall lack of money (in red) ranks highest when all age groups are included.

One interesting aspect of these results is that concern over the cost of living ranks consistently lower than concern over income (lack of money/low wages), implying that Americans readily conclude their problems stem from too little money coming in rather than too much going out. There is much more in the Gallup report including a breakdown of the same polling by income and how the results have changed over time.

Also, as part of a separate survey we learn that Americans are increasingly worried about being able to retire, though they’re not quite as concerned as they were just a few years ago when the stock market was plummeting and taking with it their dreams of golden years.

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The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls increased by 192,000 in March and data from prior months was revised upward by a combined total of 37,000.

The jobless rate held steady at 6.7 percent, little changed over the last four months, as more workers entered the labor force last month and were able to find jobs.

January payroll gains were revised up from 129,000 to 144,000 while the February total jumped from 175,000 to 197,00 and, if not for the latter, the March gain would have been the best month for job creation since last November.

The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 10.5 million, however, the civilian labor force rose a sharp 503,000 last month, pushing the participation rate up from 63.0 percent to 63.2 percent, the highest level since last summer.


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Gallup Job Creation Index at 6-Year High

In advance of tomorrow’s big monthly labor report, this Gallup survey showed that the job market is in the best shape since 2008, a year that will forever be remembered for the events that unfolded, leading to job losses in the millions.

The pre-2008 data is not shown, however, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re a still a long way from whatever might be considered “normal”, that is, if “normal” could ever exist again.

The other charts in the report about government vs. private sector hiring/firing and within the three levels of government (i.e., federal, state, and local) is kind of interesting too.

Expectations for an unusually large spring rebound in the Labor Department jobs data tomorrow (even after seasonal adjustments push the final number down) are running high. It will be interesting to see, first, what the number is, and, second, how markets respond.

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Permanently Temporary

Here’s the Vice video that goes along with A Modern Day ‘Harvest of Shame from ProPublica, a story that details the dramatic increase in temporary workers in the U.S. during the ongoing sluggish recovery and their frequently bad treatment by employers.

We’ve done quite a bit of traveling across the U.S. over the years via automobile and, in doing so, it’s been hard not to notice these massive warehouses that dot the landscape.

They really do some great work at Vice and, like many others no doubt, I’m looking forward to another season of their work on HBO (that didn’t start already, did it?)

From the ProPublica story:

The temp industry now employs 2.8 million workers – the highest number and highest proportion of the American workforce in history. As the economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, temp work has grown nine times faster than private-sector employment as a whole. Overall, nearly one-sixth of the total job growth since the recession ended has been in the temp sector.

Didn’t know that…

If you combine temporary jobs with health care jobs, these two groups probably accounted for about half of all new jobs created in recent years.

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