|Issue of the Day Archive for the ‘Jobs’ Category|
Recent reports show that women take nearly 50% more sick leave than men. In a study conducted by the the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1999, job absence rates are higher for women than for men, about 5.1% of women (including 5.6% of women aged 20-24) were absent in the average week, compared with 2.7% of men. This means women worked less than 35 hours during the week because of injury, illness, or some various reasons. Among those absent, women were more likely to be absent due to reasons other than injury and illness. Absence rates do not vary much by age: 55 or older had the highest absence rate at 4.2%, 16-19 years old at 4.0%, 20-24 year olds at 3.9% and the lowest is the 25-54 year olds at 3.7%. The global participation of women in the labor force grew consistently during this period of time.
Absence for various reasons has, for the most part, decreased slowly between 500 to 100 days per year from that of 1970. By far the greatest decrease has occurred in vacation days, from a height 3,500 in 1990 to 2,900 in 2005.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report in June 2009, compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.4%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in June 2009. For businesses, wages and salaries, comprising 70% of compensation, increased 0.4%. Benefit costs, 30% of compensation, increased 0.3%, a feat considering inflation for that time was nearing -2.1% in July. With healthcare benefits costs climbing despite negative inflation, many employers are passing some of the increased cost onto their employees. In fact many employers are increasing the premiums, annual deductibles, and prescriptions co-pays.
Civilian worker’s compensation wages and salaries costs increased 1.8% (compared to a 3.2% increase in June 2008), and benefits costs rose 1.8% (compared to 2.9%) in the 12 months ending in June 2009. Private industry workers fared worse as wages and salaries increased 1.6% (3.1% in June 2008) and benefits cost increased 1.3% (from 2.6% June 2008) over the same 12 months. Public administration wages and salaries, however, increased 3.0% in June 2009 (3.4% June 2008) and benefits cost rose 3.6% (3.5% June 2008) over the same 12 months.
Enrollment Surge Creates Pressures on Community Colleges
Published Monday, August 3rd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
Contrary to a system that is based on open admission to higher education all, community colleges now have to contemplate turning away students. The reasons for such a reversal of principle are fueled by the current recession, an enrollment surge greater than the past 2 decades, and tight state budgets. Normally, an economic downturn would boost community college enrollment. Yet, the current recession poses a three sided crush of students who are out of work and looking for a career boost, limited to lower tuition choices by a tighter credit market, and threat of home foreclosure requiring extra income. The tuition for a four year university and a two year community college is drastically different in that private 4-year is $25,143 and public 4-year is $6,585. Community college is less than $2000 on average.
The Obama Administration has planned to add $12 billion to the community college budget over the next decade, yet there is no immediate relief in sight. The most up-to-date information on college enrollment suggests that the growing enrollment is coming from the Hispanic college age population, which increased nearly 4 percentage points to 57.9% between 2005 and 2006. The enrollment by the white population decreased by 4.7 percentage points to 68.5%, and blacks had a -0.2 point change during the same time period to 55.5%.
Real Median Income Gained as Poverty Held Steady in 2007
Published Friday, July 24th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
The new report on the US official poverty rate released by the US Census Bureau called “Income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2007” has stated that real median household income in the United States climbed 1.3% between 2006 and 2007, reaching $50,233. The US official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5% (37.3 million), which is steady from 2006 (36.5 million). This and other influences has lead the number of people without health insurance coverage to decline from 47 million (15.8%) in 2006 to 45.7 million (15.3%) in 2007.
Broken down, minorities also gained in real median income adjusted for inflation, which rose between 2006 and 2007 for black ($33,916 in 2007) and non-Hispanic white households ($54,920 in 2007), the first such increase since 1999. However, for Asians ($66,103 in 2007) and Hispanics ($38,679 in 2007) real income did not change. The family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 9.8% and 7.6 million, unchanged from 2006. As for Female-householders/No-Husband-Present the rate was 28.3% (a decrease of 2.8 percentage points) and 13.6% for those with male householder and no-wife-present. The US Office of management and budget has updated the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2007 as $21,203, for a family of 3 at $16,530, 2 at $13,540, and 1 at $10,590.
The news of unemployment may be all around us right now, but what is not really understood is the makeup of the unemployment percentage. The overall number is just that: a composite of different numbers, averaged together, and displayed as a percentage of the overall unemployed among the labor force. For example, “The Labor Force” is just a way of describing us all, blue collar and white collar. Yet, there are those who can withstand recession woes (who can save for a rainy day) and those who cannot (check to check living). What is missing from that single unemployment percentage number is that the recession does not hit everyone equally.
The pre-recession unemployment was at 5% of the overall labor force. Yet, now we are edging on 9.4% unemployment with 5.7 million jobs lost since the beginning of the recession, as May provided 345,000 new jobless claims. Making up a majority of those in the unemployment line are manufacturing and construction workers who tend to be less educated and/or recent immigrants. For minorities such as the black and Latino groups, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the rate of unemployment is edging on 20%, leading many to fall instantly into poverty and straining State budgets.
Obama Orders Benefit Extention to Federal Same-Sex Partners
Published Friday, June 19th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
In a move, “the first step” that partially confirmed a campaign promise, President Obama directed administrative agencies to extend family sick-leave policies such as visitation or dependent-care rights to same-sex partners, but not health benefits. The new policy now allows for federal employees to use sick leave to care for same-sex partners and their children, plus partners can be added to a government insurance program that pays for long-term care. The Administration has pledged to work for a law that would extend full health benefits to same-sex partners and children. The President explained that to act unilaterally will not cement lasting change in benefits. He hopes to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and replace it with a law enacted by Congress that would fulfill his promise and make it lasting.
The percentage of workers who have access to benefits never equals 100%; in fact the Unions are the only group to achieve 92% covered by any kind of medical plan. Unions also have high percentages for drug care coverage at 87% and vision coverage at 57%. Non-union workers fared worse, with 68% covered by medical, 61% with drug care, and 26% with visual. Between white collar and blue collar workers, there is only 1-3 percentage points difference in coverage.
Education Makes a Difference in Number of Self-Employed
Published Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
A recent report by the Small Business Administration surveyed self-employed women and how they used their time between work and home life. Over the past decade, the number of self-employed women has shown a proportional increase over the past 35 years. The self-employment rate for women was 42% of the rate for men in 1979; it remained near 55% from 1994-2003. In 2003, 6.8% of women in the labor force were self-employed, compared with 12.4% of men. Data suggest that women choose self-employment because of family factors, and self-employed women are not as motivated by earnings. The administration suggest that programs that enhance work-life balance or facilitate secondary child care opportunities and increase paths to education would serve to encourage greater numbers of women to seek self-employment.
The number of women firms has reached the 6.5 million mark and grossing nearly a billion dollars a year. This has been fueled by an exponential growth in small business loans to minorities. The percentage distribution for the labor force by gender shows a steady parallel for the last 30 years. Of those who are mothers and wives, those who have children under 18 are leaving the work force in greater numbers since 2003. As for the second policy recommendation on education, college graduates in the workforce have overtaken the high school graduates since 2002.
Labor Unions Vote to Keep Chrysler from Bankruptcy
Published Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
Racing against an April 30 deadline, Chrysler LLC has reached an uncertain deal with its biggest US union and has won ratification of a new accord with its Canadian workers, which may cut labor costs and avoid bankruptcy. The UAW will still have to vote on the new deal that Canadian workers approved by 78%, a contract that may save Chrysler $240 million annually. If the UAW accepts the new contracts, Chrysler will form an alliance with Italy’s Fiat SpA and thus qualify for more US and Canadian Aid. The last hurdle is to get the company’s lenders to erase most of $6.9 billion in secured debt. In January, Chrysler received a $4 billion loan from the government and has been told it will receive $500 million more, $6 billion if it completes the Fiat deal.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a decline in overall union membership has been caused by large scale layoffs and buyouts in the auto industry and other manufacturing industries. Also, the labor movement’s difficulty with organizing nonunion workers has lead to an offset in membership. Public Labor Union membership in the US has remained flat since 1983 ranging from 36.7% to 35.9% in 2007. Private membership, however, has reduced steadily from 16.5% to 7.5% in 2007.
Within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), there are provisions for those who have become unemployed. Here are some of the major benefits now available. According to the ARRA, a new temporary Federal Additional Compensation program that suggests states up the unemployment benefit $25 per week for the period beginning February 22, 2009. States may also extend the number of weeks benefits available from 13 to 20. The average length of unemployment is 22-weeks. The Act also creates a tax break which exempts the first $2,400 of workers’ 2009 unemployment benefits from taxation. As for COBRA health benefits, there are 2 changes. Eligible individuals are now only required to pay 35% of the COBRA premium instead of the full amount. Another change allows beneficiaries to elect coverage under a second special election period, which skirts HIPAA’s pre-existing condition exclusion rules. Older workers will also benefit, as an additional $120 million is earmarked for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which trains older workers for new jobs. Further, states that modernize their unemployment compensation systems to include those workers who are looking for part-time work will receive federal dollars to compensate.
These are welcome changes as the unemployment rate for the nation has reached, as of March, 7.9% of the eligible workforce. That is a 3.4 percentage point increase from March 2008. Nationally, those who are searching for less than full-time for economic reasons have reached 8.6 million workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, the recession has had an adverse affect on those who are of the age to retire as the rate of those exiting the work force has decreased from 1.6 million to 1.3 million between 2000 and 2008.
According to the Commerce Department, retail sales have decreased 1.1% in March — forecasts ranging from a decline of 0.2% to a gain of 1.2% — which had followed a 0.3% gain in February. “While the March data isn’t enough to make us rethink expectations that the worst is over, it does serve as a reminder that the road out of this recession might be as painful as the recession itself,” said Guy Lebas, chief economist with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia. Keeping inflation down, prices paid to US producers fell 1.2% after two months of gains. This excludes fuel and food; these were unchanged along with other core prices.
After sharp increases in retail sales, the purchase of durable goods (e.g., cars, computers, furniture) has, since 2007, started to contract to 2005 levels. And non-durable goods (e.g., food, clothing, energy) have sunk slightly on lower sales of gas and clothing. Inflation has hit Americans hard as food prices, though not changed from February to March of this year, have relatively soared, except milk, which is the only product to have decreased in 2008. Also fueling the drop in retail sales is the ever growing ranks of the unemployed, as the jobless rate hit 8.5% as of last week.