Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Department of Labor’
Project America - Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Department of Labor’

Employee Compensation Slows by Nearly 50%
Published Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

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.

Departments with Largest Recovery Monies Nearly 50% Paid Out
Published Friday, July 31st, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

According to the Obama Administration’s website, federal agencies receiving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 funds are submitting weekly financial and activity reports detailing their recovery activities. These reports are supposed to update government officials, Congress, and the public on how much is being spent. They also list the agencies’ completed and planned actions related to the Recovery Act. The spending data covers total dollars made available and total dollars paid out. Along with the data are links to Inspectors General pages: Findings, Status ReportsRecovery PlansTestimony, and Government Accountability Office Findings. Report misuse of Recovery funds to Inspectors General Hotlines and find Whistleblower Information. And there are links to State Recovery Sites and Tribal News to learn about recovery progress in your area.

The Departments and Agencies with the largest monies made available are the Department of Education at $55.093 billion, and they have used about 20% to date, the Department of Health and Human Services at $41.254 billion (60% used), the Department of Labor at $23.458 billion (50% used), the Department of Transportation at $22.663 billion (45% used), and the Social Security Administration at $13.112 billion (98% used). This is on top of yearly federal budget spending per program.

Unemployment Benefits of the ARRA 2009
Published Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

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.