Mark Dolliver: Talk About Having a ‘Bad Day’…

Makes you wonder what they do on a bad day. A study by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration looked at 12-17-year-olds’ use of alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs “on an average day,” and it’s quite a picture. Over 1.2 million smoked cigarettes, 631,000 drank alcohol, 586,000 used marijuana, 49,000 used inhalants and 27,000 used hallucinogens. And they were probably better-behaved than the 13,000 who used cocaine and the 4,000 who used heroin. You may think teens who drink just sneak a sip of beer, but the report says otherwise. Those who used alcohol in the past month had an average of 4.7 drinks per day on the days when they indulged.

The shrinking wage gap

The earnings gap between men and women continues to dwindle. Focusing on full-time wage and salary workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds women earned 81 percent as much as men last year, up from 63 percent in 1979 (the earliest year with comparable data). The gap is concentrated among older workers. In the 20-24 age bracket, women earn 95 percent as much as men. That’s consistent with the data on never-married women (see the chart), who are disproportionately young. Men still have a majority of the best-paying jobs: 7 percent of women earned $1,500-plus per week, as did 15 percent of men.

Shopping, camping, rooting…

• Forty-four percent of consumers said familiar labels are important to them when they shop for clothing, up from 33 percent saying so five years ago. (BIGresearch)

• Eighty-percent of Hispanics who speak English at home have a positive view of private-label goods, vs. 61 percent of those who speak only Spanish there. (Vertis Communications)

• Twenty percent of Americans went camping last summer, up from 12 percent doing so in 2002. They must have enjoyed these outings, too, since campers ranked as the “happiest of all Americans.” (Leisure Trends Group)

• Thirteen percent of adults have tried “to behave in such a way as to bring good luck or to avoid ‘jinxing’ or bringing bad luck” to a sports team they root for. (Associated Press/ Ipsos Public Affairs)

• Fifty-six percent of adults said they pray every day, down from 67 percent in 2005. (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics)

• Thirty-one percent of baby boomers did home remodeling in the last 12 months. Maybe they were expanding their garages: 36 percent say their household owns or leases at least three vehicles. (Mediamark Research Inc.)