Tag Archives: illegal

Raw Data: Field Worker Wages Since the Great Recession

Mother Jones

Apropos of nothing in particular, I got curious this morning about illegal immigration and field workers. About half of all field workers are undocumented, so if there’s been a surge of illegal immigration lately, as some have speculated, you’d expect to see the wages of field workers decline. But how would you measure that?

I’m not sure what the best approach is, but I decided to compare the wages of field workers to the wages of all nonsupervisory workers. Here’s what I got:

Relative wages for field workers were flat all through the aughts, as illegal immigration was climbing, and declined a bit during the Great Recession. However, since 2012 they’ve risen three percentage points. In 2016, field workers earned nearly 57 percent of the average nonsupervisory wage.

Based on this, I’m willing to bet that that illegal immigration hasn’t surged over the past couple of years. Just the opposite, maybe, which would be consistent with the rise in field worker wages since 2012.

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Raw Data: Field Worker Wages Since the Great Recession

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College-Educated Millennials Don’t Have It So Bad

Mother Jones

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Quoctrung Bui of the New York Times writes today about perceptions of massive unemployment among young college grads:

We asked: “What would you guess is the current unemployment rate for four-year college graduates between the ages of 25 and 34?”…The most common answers for college graduates were between 20 and 30 percent. Perhaps an understandable mistake….But what surprised us was that the majority of people thought that unemployment rates for those with college degrees were higher than for those without.

….We posed the same question to our friends and parents. Many have college degrees themselves; some are educators. They, too, mostly guessed that college graduates would be more likely to be unemployed than nongraduates….We ran the quiz one last time with the same question and anchor, structured as a multiple-choice quiz. This time, nearly half of the people in the survey guessed that college graduates had higher unemployment rates. We had to concede that we weren’t witnessing a mirage.

Are we — the news media — to blame?

Yes! Yes you are!

But I’ll cut you some slack. The range of 20-30 percent seems to be the American public’s go-to guess for just about everything in the news. What’s the percentage of gay people in the US? 20-30 percent. The inflation rate? 20-30 percent. Illegal immigrant population? 20-30 percent. Amount of the federal budget dedicated to foreign aid? 20-30 percent. Bird deaths from wind turbines? 20-30 percent.

As near as I can tell, anytime something becomes familiar enough to intrude on the public consciousness, it falls into the 20-30 percent trap. That seems to be the all-around perception of “a smallish but still newsworthy amount.”

That said, the news media still shares a lot of the blame for this, because they’re the ones who collectively decide how much to cover stuff. By over-covering the alleged employment woes of college-educated millennials, they encourage people to think the problem is worse than it is—and they distract attention from where the problem really is. The truth is quite different: even at the height of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate of college-educated millennials never cracked 5 percent other than momentarily. It was young high school grads who suffered from astronomical joblessness:

But wait! Maybe college grads got jobs, but they were all crappy jobs that paid peanuts. Not really. College-educated millennials took a beating during the Great Recession, just like everyone, but rebounded to their 2003-05 level after three years and have rebounded even further since. Young high school grads, by contrast, are still making about 10 percent less than they did in 2003-05:

(This is from Census table P-28 here if you feel like checking it out yourself.)

College-educated millennials get all the attention, but that’s not because they have it so bad. It’s largely because they loom large in the minds of the press corps—who are all college educated themselves—and because they’re verbal enough that they write a lot about themselves. High school grads, not so much. But they’re the ones who were really hit hard by the Great Recession.

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College-Educated Millennials Don’t Have It So Bad

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We’re hooked on this map of industrial fishing

We’re hooked on this map of industrial fishing

15 Nov 2014 8:31 AM



We’re hooked on this map of industrial fishing


We’ve written before how the best tools to fight overfishing at sea may be found in the skies – but this past Wednesday, proof-of-concept came in the form of a satellite-tracked map of all the journeys made by 25,000 large fishing vessels between 2012 and 2013.

The system is called Global Fishing Watch, and it was conceived by ocean-hugger nonprofit Oceana, developed by our favorite eye-in-the-sky watchdog SkyTruth, powered by satellite company SpaceQuest, with technical support from Google. Those are some heavy hitters to throw their weight behind the problem of illegal fishing — and they could actually make a difference. Here’s Wired‘s take:

Although the system currently displays voyages from nearly a year ago, “the plan is that we will build out a public release version that will have near-real-time data,” said Jackie Savitz, Oceana’s VP for U.S. oceans. “Then you’ll actually be able to see someone out there fishing within hours to days,” fast enough to act on the information if the fishing is happening illegally, such as in a marine protected area.

Here are the nuts and bolts: Large boats at sea are required to declare their positions by an automatic identification system, whose signals can be picked up by satellite. By feeding all these IDs and movements through some (read: a lot of very complicated) analysis, the Fishing Watch system can identify fishing boats. And, by omission, those boats who do not claim to be fishing but nevertheless behave as though they are.

So now we’re one step closer to catching fish criminals red-herring-handed.

The Plan to Map Illegal Fishing From Space

, Wired.

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We’re hooked on this map of industrial fishing

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As Tigers Dwindle, Poachers Turn to Lions for ‘Medicinal’ Bones

Photo: Kevin H.

In South Africa, lion bones are selling for around $165 per kilo (2.2 pounds). That’s about $5,000 for a full skeleton. The skull is worth another $1,100, according to the Guardian.

Over the past several months, officials in South Africa have noticed a steady increase in the number of permits they’re issuing for export of lion bones from certified trophy dealers. Such establishments breed lions for the express purpose of allowing wealthy tourists to engage in a controlled lion hunt. After killing the animal, if the patron does not want its body or bones, the breeders can then turn a large profit by stripping the lion down and selling its parts to Chinese and Southeast Asian dealers. The Guardian explains:

In 2012 more than 600 lions were killed by trophy hunters. The most recent official figures date from 2009, certifying export of 92 carcasses to Laos and Vietnam. At about that time breeders started digging up the lion bones they had buried here and there, for lack of an outlet.

In China, Vietnam and some other Southeast Asian nations, lion bones serve as a stand-in for tiger bones. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe the bones help with allergies, cramps, ulcers, stomach aches, malaria and a host of other ailments. As with many other purported traditional Chinese medicine “cures,” tiger bones ground into a powder and mixed with wind is also said to boost a man’s sexual prowess.

Despite the lack of scientific proof this potion is very popular, so with tiger bones increasingly scarce, vendors are replacing them with the remains of lions. Traders soon realised that South Africa could be a promising source. It is home to 4,000 to 5,000 captive lions, with a further 2,000 roaming freely in protected reserves such as the Kruger national park. Furthermore such trade is perfectly legal.

But just because trade in legally-sourced lion bones is given the green light from the South African government does not mean illicit activities are not underway. One investigator told the Guardian that he estimates that the legal market only contributes half of the lion bones currently leaving the country. That means poaching is responsible for the rest.

More from Smithsonian.com:

State Department Takes on Illegal Wildlife Trade 
China Covertly Condones Trade in Tiger Skins and Bones 

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As Tigers Dwindle, Poachers Turn to Lions for ‘Medicinal’ Bones

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