America's foreign-born scientists and engineers
November 23rd, 2011
06:24 PM ET

America's foreign-born scientists and engineers

The GOP presidential candidates sparred Tuesday night on national security, but there was at least one point of agreement among them, or at least between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

“I think that we ought to have an H-1 visa that goes with every graduate degree in math, science and engineering so that people stay here,” said Gingrich.

“I'd staple a green card to the diploma of anybody who's got a degree of math, science, a Masters degree, Ph.D,” said Romney.

The candidates explained that keeping foreign-born students who study science, technology, engineering or math in the U.S. was an important step in creating new technologies, new industries and new jobs.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report on foreign-born bachelor’s degree holders living in the U.S. The numbers give some sense of how U.S. universities remain magnets for those seeking to study science, math or engineering. There are now 4.2 million foreign-born science and engineering bachelor's degree holders in the U.S., a number double the population of Houston, Texas, for comparison.


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Topics: Daily Fact • Education • Immigration • Innovation • Uncategorized
Fact: U.S. economy recovered from recession, but jobs lag far behind
October 28th, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Fact: U.S. economy recovered from recession, but jobs lag far behind

By John Cookson, CNN

With little fanfare, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has returned to where it was in the second quarter of 2008, before the worst downturn of the great recession. Annual GDP is back over $13.3 trillion (in 2005 dollars), according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Overall, U.S. output increased by 2.5% in the third quarter of 2011, an uptick from 1.3% growth in the second quarter.

If economic output is back, why aren’t jobs? As Byron Auguste of McKinsey Global Institute explained in our GPS special Getting Back to Work, recent recessions are different. Each economic downturn has had a lag between when GDP recovers to pre-recession levels and when employment catches up. But as the chart above shows, for much of the last century this lag was about half a year. At most it was eight months. But something changed starting with the 1990 recession, which had a lag of 15 months, more than double the length of the 1981 recession. The 2001 recession took even longer to recover employment, more than doubling the duration of the 1990 recession.

The great recession lag has been longer still. At current job growth rates it will take five years for employment to recover. What explains this change? Globalization creating more competition for the U.S. workforce? Automation and technology raising productivity per worker while requiring fewer workers? Magic? Tell us what you think below.

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Topics: Daily Fact • Economy
October 25th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Fact: 25 to 50 million new jobs needed in Middle East and North Africa over next decade

By John Cookson, CNN

Tunisia’s election is being praised as a promising start to political reform, but the success of the Arab Spring will depend on a lot more, not least of which is creating economies that will drive growth and create jobs.

A new report from the World Economic Forum says the Middle East and North Africa will need to create 25 million new jobs and sustain an average growth rate of 5.5 percent over the next decade just to remain at current levels. The World Bank thinks more is required, saying the region will need at least 50 million new jobs and growth rates of 6.5 percent to ensure social and political stability. Fifty million jobs, for comparison, is about a third of the U.S. labor force. As for growth rates, Egypt’s economy is projected to grow by 1.2 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Tunisia’s 2011 growth rate is effectively zero.

Youth unemployment is a particular problem. Jobless rates among the young average 25 percent across the Middle East and North Africa, which is almost eight percent higher than the average of developed counties. Adding to concern about this issue is the fact that each year another 2.8 million workers enter the work force.

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Topics: Arab Spring • Daily Fact • Economy
October 18th, 2011
11:27 AM ET

Fact: Top 1% has 1/5 total annual income, pays 1/4 total taxes

The top 1% in the U.S. earned 20% of pretax income and paid 28% of total tax revenue, including almost 40% of individual income taxes, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of 2007 tax data.

Incomes among the top 1% vary greatly. To make it into the 99th percent threshold, one would need an annual cash income of at least $506,552. To move up another half percent, into the 99.5th percentile, requires $815,868 per year. To get all the way to the top, to the 99.9th percentile, requires $2,070,574 per year.

About 1.2 million households make up the top 1%, and the average pretax income of this group is $1.87 million.

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Topics: Daily Fact
October 7th, 2011
12:04 PM ET

Fact: U.S. state and local governments employ more than manufacturing and construction combined

Construction added 26,000 jobs in September, manufacturing employment has been essentially flat for the last two months, and local governments have cut 535,000 jobs since September 2008. Even with these changes, state and local governments employ 1.8 million more Americans than construction and manufacturing combined, according to the Labor department. More than half of these government jobs are in education.

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Topics: Daily Fact • Jobs
Fact: Emerging economies are half global output, one-third global consumption
Courtesy: IMF
October 6th, 2011
02:21 PM ET

Fact: Emerging economies are half global output, one-third global consumption

China, India and other emerging economies account for half of global output and one-third of global consumption, according to the International Monetary Fund's 2011 World Economic Outlook.

Yet this imbalance between output and consumption might be changing. In advanced economies consumption is slowing. In the United States, for example, consumer spending fell 2 percent in 2010, and almost 3 percent in 2009, according to the Labor Department. Americans last year spent less on food, housing, entertainment, apparel, and even contributions to charities and to religious organizations. Moreover, less spending in the shops has not translated into more money in the bank. The U.S. personal savings rates fell in August to its lowest point since December 2009. If European and American economies continue to struggle, and if China and India increase consumption to sustain high growth rates, then future versions of the two charts above might mirror each other more.

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Topics: Daily Fact • Economy
October 3rd, 2011
02:37 PM ET

Fact: Increased U.S. benefit payments offset "substantial fraction" of China trade gain

The annual value of U.S. imports from China has increased over 1,100 percent in the last two decades, a period which also saw the shedding of U.S. manufacturing jobs in particular and the slowing of U.S. job growth overall.

A new report finds that areas hit hardest by Chinese imports and by lost manufacturing jobs have had, over the same period, an increase in government benefit payments. Such payments include unemployment, disability, retirement and healthcare benefits.

The cost to the U.S. of financing these benefits equals one- to two-thirds the overall gain from trade with China, according to the report.

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Topics: China • Daily Fact • Economy • Jobs
September 29th, 2011
12:49 PM ET

Fact: Iran has 4 of the 10 cities with worst air pollution

Ahwaz in southwestern Iran has the world's worst air pollution, according to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this week. The oil refineries and steel factories around the Iranian city contribute to airborne particulate levels averaging 15 times that of Los Angeles and 3 times that of Beijing.


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Topics: Daily Fact • Iran
September 26th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

Fact: U.S. economy is growing at half the rate of last year

The U.S. economy is growing at half the rate of last year, 1.5 percent in 2011 compared with 3 percent last year, according to new data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Advanced economies, including the U.S., EU, Japan and Canada, are growing at half the rate of the global economy overall, which looks to expand by 4 percent in both 2011 and 2012.

And now accounting for almost half of global output, emerging and developing economies will grow at 6.4 percent this year. China and India are each expected to surpass ten percent growth this year.

Yet the IMF notes that the even these “anemic” growth projections for advanced economies may be rosier that reality. The numbers assume:

“that European policy makers contain the crisis in the euro area periphery, that U.S. policy makers strike a judicious balance between support for the economy and medium-term fiscal consolidation, and that volatility in global financial markets does not escalate.”

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Topics: Daily Fact • Economy
Fact: 9,722 people were sentenced to death in the U.S. between 1970 and 2009
'Old Sparky', the decommissioned electric chair in which 361 prisoners were executed between 1924 and 1964, is pictured 05 November 2007 at the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas. (Getty Images)
September 22nd, 2011
06:53 PM ET

Fact: 9,722 people were sentenced to death in the U.S. between 1970 and 2009

9,722 people were sentenced to death in the U.S. between 1970 and 2009, of which 15% were sentenced since 2000. At the end of 2009, 12 percent of those sentenced since 1970 had been executed, a third were still on death row, and the rest had had their sentence commuted or conviction overturned, died of other causes, or otherwise had their death sentences cancelled. Between sentencing and execution, an average of over 12 years elapse, a duration that has doubled since the 1980s.

In addition to the U.S., there are 57 countries that have the death penalty on the books. Another 34 countries have ended capital punishment in practice, and others still have banned in all but exceptional cases. Meanwhile, 96 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, according to Amnesty International. In 2010, 23 of the nations with capital punishment carried out a total of 527 executions. FULL POST

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Topics: Daily Fact • Law
September 19th, 2011
02:21 PM ET

Fact: 2011 deficit to be third-largest shortfall in 65 years

At 8.5 percent of gross domestic product, the $1.3 trillion U.S. budget deficit for 2011 will be the third-largest shortfall in 65 years, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. 2011’s deficit is exceeded only by the deficits of 2010 and 2009.

August's debt ceiling deal, also known as the Budget Control Act of 2011, made changes that will reduce federal budget deficits by at least $2.1 trillion between 2012-2021. The twelve-member super committee is expected to propose legislation to trim the budget by an addition $1.2 trillion over that same period. On Monday, President Obama announced a plan to find $3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, part of which would fund his $447 billion jobs plan.

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Topics: Daily Fact • Economy • Uncategorized
September 16th, 2011
02:35 PM ET

Fact: Median household income down over $3,000 in three years

Real median household income was $49,445 in 2010, a 6.4 percent - or $3,378 - decrease from 2007, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Between 2009 and 2010 alone, that number declined by 2.3 per­cent, or $1,154.

This Sunday at 8pm ET, Fareed Zakaria will explore how to bring jobs back to the U.S. in a special edition of CNN GPS called "Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to Work."

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Topics: Daily Fact • Jobs
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