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5 Important News Stories On 5 Issues In 5 Charts

Catch up on the news of the week with our run-down of five key stories, each described with its own chart or map:

1. No, Taking Away Unemployment Benefits Doesn’t Make People Get Jobs. At the end of December, Republicans in Congress refused to join Democrats to pass a law extending unemployment insurance for nearly 1.3 million Americans. After already losing almost $5 billion in economic activity, new research makes the case that we need to extend this important lifeline. A study in Illinois found that more than four in five unemployed people who lost benefits were still jobless two months later. Another demonstrates the challenge the long-term unemployed face in this recovery: just 22 percent of those who ended up unemployed for six months or longer during the 2008 recession found steady, full-time work by the beginning of 2013. And finally, new analysis shows that for those whose benefits disappeared in December, only about a quarter had found jobs as of March–about the same success rate as when the program was still in effect. Roughly another one in four and dropped out of the labor force altogether.

ui_5.22

2. A Woman With Perfect Grades Is Worth The Same As A Man With A 2.0 Average. Researchers at the University of Miami found that high school GPA is a strong predictor of income in adulthood. But perhaps the more dramatic finding was just how big a gap there is between men and women who earn the same grades. In fact, a woman who earns perfect grades goes on to earn roughly the same as a man with a 2.0 GPA:

GPA Earnings Chart-600x310

CREDIT: University of Miami

3. The Poorest Americans Are Still Locked Out Of The Affordable Care Act. Many of the most vulnerable Americans are locked out of health reform because they live in states that have rejected Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion. More than 70 percent of those people live in just 11 southern states, and 35 percent of them live within the borders of five. Despite the overwhelming need, GOP lawmakers there continue to resist cooperating with health reform at any cost.

medicaid opt out

4. The World Quickly Stopped Caring About The Kidnapped Nigerian Girls. It’s a common assumption that interest in news stories, barring any major new developments, tends to fade over time. But there is perhaps no better example than that of the nearly 300 young girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. This tragic story, which rose to international attention and mushroomed over social media with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, has disappeared from international interest as fast as it arrived. A search on Google Trends over the last 90 days illustrates the point:

nigeria

5. Marriage Equality Keeps Spreading, And Spreading, And Spreading. Pennsylvania became the 19th state in the union to allow same-sex marriage on Wednesday, after Gov. Tom Corbett (R) declined to appeal Tuesday’s court ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Federal judge John E. Jones, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in his decision: “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” Rick Santorum, the prominent anti-gay Republican who as a Pennsylvania Senator recommended Judge Jones to the court, has stayed mum on the issue. The state is just the latest domino to fall as courts across the country, in red states and blue states, invalidate marriage bans.

lgbt_marry2014

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