Facts of the catch: occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities to fishing workers, 2003–2009
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Fishers and related fishing workers1 deal with a set of working conditions unique among all other occupations. This occupation is characterized by strenuous work, long hours, seasonal employment, and some of the most hazardous conditions in the workforce.2 These workers are often at sea for weeks or months at a time, sometimes having to stand on deck, fishing for long periods with little or no sleep. They are constantly being tossed around by wind and rough seas, with water in their face and under their feet, which adds an element of balance to the skills needed to do their job safely. Weather does not stop production, and given that these workers do not work in a factory or office building, it increases the unpredictability of their working conditions. Access to on-site medical care for these workers is limited to the knowledge of those on the boat with them or the response of the Coast Guard.
Thanks to television shows such as Deadliest Catch, Lobstermen, Swords, Rajin Cajuns, Hook Line and Sisters, Wicked Tuna, Big Shrimpin’, and Toughest Tribes,3 viewers can see the hazards these workers face first hand. But what do the numbers show? Fishers and related fishing workers have had the highest fatal injury rate of any occupation since 2005. Their rate of fatal injury in 2009 was 203.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, more than 50 times the all-worker rate of 3.5. From 2003 to 2009, an average of 48 fishers and related fishing workers died each year as a result of an injury incurred on the job.
There were approximately 31,000 people employed as fishers and related fishing workers in 2009.4 This issue of Beyond the Numbers looks at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program on fishers and related fishing workers for the period from 2003 to 2009.Although this report focuses primarily on fatal injuries among workers in this occupation, for context, it begins with some information on the nonfatal injuries and illnesses experienced by these workers. This is followed by a detailed description of what the data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) show about fatal injuries to fishers and related fishing workers during the 2003–2009 period. The final section gives an overview of the fatal injuries that occurred among a subset of the fishers and related fishing workers in the private shellfish fishing industry, including crab fishing, lobster fishing, and shrimp fishing, in order to provide more insight into the special hazards these workers endure.
New High Interest GAO Report — Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Estimates of the Effect on the Prevalence of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage
New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Estimates of the Effect on the Prevalence of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage. GAO-12-768, July 13.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592412.pdf
A Closer Look at Nonparticipants During and After the Great Recession
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
This paper uses matched individual-level data from the Current Population Survey to determine that around the 2008 recession, there was a significant upward shift in trend of the share of labor force leavers giving “Schooling” and “Other” as the reason for absence from the labor market. This trend shift is observed primarily among workers between the ages of 25 and 54 and is widespread across all educational groups with at least a high school degree. In addition, the upward shift in the trend of the schooling reason share occurred among workers previously employed in occupations and industries with varying degrees of job losses during the recession. This shift suggests it was a widespread phenomenon and not isolated among sectors or occupations that suffered the most during the recession. The implication is that the upward shift in the schooling reason share has more likely been a response to lower opportunity costs of schooling during economic downturns rather than the result of workers trying to overcome skill mismatch in the labor market. In addition, since transition rates to the labor force are highest among those giving “Schooling” and “Other” as reasons for absence, the decline in labor force participation since 2008 is likely more transitory than permanent.
Source: Sloan Center on Aging and Work (Boston College)
We’ve all heard the advice about putting something aside for a rainy day. Trouble is, many of us fail to heed that advice. And when it comes to planning ahead for their human resources needs, many U.S. companies aren’t much better. A new analysis of the Talent Management Study, conducted by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, indicates that companies have not done a good job of gathering the information they need to ensure they have the right people in place to get the job done. This finding is being borne out in today’s coverage of the country’s labor troubles. News media regularly report on the shortage of skills that employers currently face. The 2009 Talent Management Study found that more than two-thirds of employers (68%) had done little or no analysis of the makeup of their work force. And three out of four employers had done little or nothing to collect information about employee career plans, work preferences or projected retirement rates.
The new analysis of these findings concludes that the more employers analyze their own talent management situations, the more likely they are to have policies and plans in place to recruit, engage and retain older workers. In other words, the analysis draws a direct link between employers’ lack of prior human resources planning and today’s skills shortage.
Receipt of Unemployment Insurance by Higher-Income Unemployed Workers (“Millionaires”) (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The economic recession that began in December 2007 officially ended in June 2009 when the U.S. economy reached a trough, or low-point, in business activity. This recession lasted 18 months, making it the longest of any recession since World War II. To date, there is some growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and unemployment rates have fallen—but they remain persistently high in comparison to previous years. Peaking at 10.0% in October of 2010, the unemployment rate was 8.2% in May of 2012, up from 4.6% in May of 2006.
In response to the sustained period of high unemployment rates, Congress has extended Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits several times. As a result of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96, signed into law on February 22, 2012), UI benefits are potentially available for up to 99 weeks, which is longer than during any previous recession— although in practice, no state currently offers more than 79 weeks of benefits.
The temporary, long-term extension of UI benefits has occurred at a time when the federal government and the states face serious budget constraints. The recent debate in Congress over the latest extension took place in a climate of ongoing concern over the level of federal budget deficits. It was in this context that a proposal to restrict unemployment benefit receipt based on income emerged. Specifically, the House-passed version of H.R. 3630 (the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act) included a provision that would impose an income tax on unemployment benefits for high-income individuals. Based on a scaled approach, the tax would increase to 100% for a single tax filer with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $1 million (or AGI of $2 million for a married couple filing a joint return). The provision, however, was not included in the final version of the legislation that became P.L. 112-96.
Several other bills have been introduced in the 112th Congress that would restrict unemployment benefit receipt based on income (i.e., they would change the current requirement to provide unemployment benefits to all workers without income restrictions). S. 1944 would impose an income tax on unemployment benefit income for certain high-income tax filers, among other provisions. S. 1931 includes the same provisions for a tax on unemployment benefits received by high-income individuals as H.R. 3630. H.R. 235 and S. 310 would prohibit the use of federal funds to pay UI benefits to certain high-income individuals, among other provisions. While the recent debate in Congress commonly referred to restricting “millionaires” from receiving UI benefits, the various proposals specify different income thresholds at which the restrictions would apply (i.e., they vary in how they define high-income individuals).
To inform the policy debate, this report provides information relevant to proposals that would restrict the payment of unemployment benefits to individuals with high incomes. Three primary areas that may be of interest to lawmakers are addressed: (1) the current U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) opinion on means-testing UI benefits; (2) the potential number of people who would be affected by such proposals; and (3) policy considerations such as the potential savings associated with such proposals, particularly in terms of federal expenditures. The latter two issues are discussed because a small percentage (approximately 0.02%) of tax filers receiving unemployment benefit income had AGI of $1 million or more in tax year 2009 based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data.
Source: Research Papers in Economics
We use data from the National Basketball Association (NBA) to analyze the impact of minimum salaries on an employee’s career length. The NBA has a salary structure in which the minimum salary a player can receive increases with the player’s years of experience. Salary schedules similar to the NBA’s exist in public education, federal government agencies, the Episcopalian church, and unionized industries. Even though the magnitude of the salaries in the NBA differs from other industries, this study provides insight to the impact of this type of salary structure on career length. Using duration analysis, we find statistically significant evidence that minimum salaries shorten career length.
Employment Situation (8/3/12)
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 163,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 percent. Employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and manufacturing.
OSHA issues two educational resources on protecting workers from mercury exposure in fluorescent bulbs
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued two new educational resources to help protect workers from mercury exposure while crushing and recycling fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but the shift to energy-saving fluorescents, which contain mercury, calls for more attention to workers who handle, dispose of, and recycle used fluorescent bulbs.
The OSHA fact sheet* explains how workers may be exposed, what kinds of engineering controls and personal protective equipment they need, and how to use these controls and equipment properly. In addition, a new OSHA Quick Card* alerts employers and workers to the hazards of mercury and provides information on how to properly clean up accidentally broken fluorescent bulbs to minimize workers’ exposures to mercury.
Fluorescent bulbs can release mercury and may expose workers when they are broken accidentally or crushed as part of the routine disposal or recycling process. Depending on the duration and level of exposure, mercury can cause nervous system disorders such as tremors, kidney problems, and damage to unborn children.
New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Influenza Pandemic: Agencies Report Progress in Plans to Protect Federal Workers but Oversight Could Be Improved. GAO-12-748, July 25.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592990.pdf
2. Medicare: CMS Needs an Approach and a Reliable Cost Estimate for Removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare Cards. GAO-12-831, August 1.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593216.pdf
3. Medicaid Expansion: States’ Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. GAO-12-821, August 1.
4. Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices: Multiple DOD Organizations are Developing Numerous Initiatives. GAO-12-861R, August 1.
5. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: Vulnerability to Fraud and Abuse Remains. GAO-12-697, August 1.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593237.pdf
6. Contingency Contracting: Agency Actions to Address Recommendations by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. GAO-12-854R, August 1.
7. Ensuring Drug Quality in Global Health Programs. GAO-12-897R, August 1.
+ Related Product
Survey on States’ Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (GAO-12-944SP, August 2012), an E-supplement to GAO-12-821. GAO-12-944SP, August 1.
1. Medicare: Action Needed to Remove Social Security Numbers from Medicare Cards, by Kathleen M. King, director, health care, and Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittees on Social Security and Health, House Committee on Ways and Means GAO-12-949T, August 1.
The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on DOD & non-DOD Agencies (PDF)
Source: Aerospace Industries Association
From press release:
A new economic impact analysis concludes that 2.14 million American jobs could be lost if the Budget Control Act’s sequestration mandate takes effect on January 2, 2013. That is the date that budget cuts of $1.2 trillion start throughout government unless Congress and the administration agree on a solution.
Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor and Director for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, in conjunction with Chmura Economics and Analytics, conducted the study on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association.
“The results are bleak but clear-cut,” said Fuller. “The unemployment rate will climb above 9 percent, pushing the economy toward recession and reducing projected growth in 2013 by two-thirds. An already weak economy will be undercut as the paychecks of thousands of workers across the economy will be affected from teachers, nurses, construction workers to key federal employees such as border patrol and FBI agents, food inspectors and others.”
The analysis concludes that the automatic spending cuts mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011 affecting defense and non-defense discretionary spending in just the first year of implementation will reduce the nation’s GDP by $215 billion; decrease personal earnings of the workforce by $109.4 billion and cost the U.S. economy 2.14 million jobs.
Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Paper
People believe that weather conditions influence their everyday work life, but to date, little is known about how weather affects individual productivity. Most people believe that bad weather conditions reduce productivity. In this research, we predict and find just the opposite. Drawing on cognitive psychology research, we propose that bad weather increases individual productivity by eliminating potential cognitive distractions resulting from good weather. When the weather is bad, individuals may focus more on their work rather than thinking about activities they could engage in outside of work. We tested our hypotheses using both field and lab data. First, we use field data on employees’ productivity from a mid-size bank in Japan, which we then match with daily weather data to investigate the effect of bad weather conditions (in terms of precipitation, visibility, and temperature) on productivity. Second, we use a laboratory experiment to examine the psychological mechanism explaining the relationship between bad weather and increased productivity. Our findings support our proposed model and suggest that worker productivity is higher on bad rather than good weather days. We discuss the implications of our findings for workers and managers.
2012 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Employers: Opinions about the U.S. Health Care System and Plans for Employee Health Benefits
From press release:
U.S. employers are concerned about continued rising health care costs; however, they are unaware of solutions that could improve the safety and quality of care, and simultaneously reduce cost. While employer-sponsored health benefits are not likely to disappear, changes that shift financial risk to employees are certain.
These are among key findings in Deloitte’s 2012 survey of employers with 50+ workers offering health benefits. The survey explores employers’ opinions about the U.S. health care system, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and anticipated strategies for employee health benefits coverage and cost containment. Participants include C-suite executives and human resource (HR) professionals.
Exchanging People for Money: Remittances and Repatriation in Central America (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute
Immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras sent home more than $10 billion in remittances in 2011— almost all of it from the United States. Remittances comprised 17 percent of GDP in Honduras, 16 percent in El Salvador, and 10 percent in Guatemala and they dwarf both foreign direct investment and overseas development assistance. Remittances reduce poverty and help millions of families that receive them obtain food, clothing, education, housing, and health care, but they can also create dependence on the diaspora. Their greatest potential— fueling productive investment that generates jobs and income and reduces immigration pressure—is often untapped. In addition to the flow of money back to Central America, in recent years the number of immigrants returning from the United States to their home countries has increased. During fiscal year 2011, the United States deported a record 396,906 unauthorized immigrants, including more than 76,000 Central Americans. Central American governments are unprepared for these returned migrants. Many deportees end up re-migrating to the United States because of the lack of opportunities in their native countries.
According to GovCloud: The future of government work, a report launched today by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), today’s government is being asked to solve the problems of the 21st century with a workforce and managerial structure designed for a different era. The report offers a potential alternative framework, the GovCloud model, which is a collaborative teaming environment that supports shared services, workplace flexibility, and scalable, on-demand capabilities.
“The GovCloud model represents a dramatic departure from the status quo,” says Paul Macmillan, Global Industry Leader, Public Sector, DTTL. “The concept would use a cadre of government-wide workers to help small agencies adapt to evolving circumstances and thereby leverage changes in work, workers, workplaces, processes, and technologies.”
Just as cloud computing is revolutionizing the way businesses and governments use technology, GovCloud has the potential to transform how governments organize their workforces, according to the report. GovCloud would allow on-demand access to shared resources by having workers reside in a central talent pool—or “cloud”—accessible by numerous agencies. Cost efficiencies would be optimized since each individual agency would not have to maintain and manage a large workforce. And GovCloud would be dynamically scalable, with resources that could be quickly shifted from low-need to high-need programs without hiring new workers or setting up new departments or agencies.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
A substantial share of U.S. employment in May 2011 was concentrated in a relatively small number of occupations. Just 10 occupations made up more than 20 percent of total employment, and the 20 largest occupations made up nearly one-third of employment—more than 41 million jobs. Most of these large occupations had below-average wages, as did most of the occupations with the highest job gains and losses between May 2007 and May 2011. Growth in the healthcare industry helped to shape employment gains in individual occupations, while construction and production occupations were concentrated in shrinking industries. Although the overall occupational structure of the U.S. economy generally reflected that of the private sector, education and protective service occupations were more prevalent in the public sector, particularly in local government.
This issue of Beyond the Numbers uses data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program to provide an overview of U.S. occupational employment and wages in May 2011. The first section presents employment and wage data for wage and salary workers in the largest U.S. occupations and selected occupational groups. The subsequent sections highlight occupations with the highest job gains and losses between May 2007 and May 2011, occupations prevalent in growing and shrinking industries, and occupational employment comparisons between the public and private sector.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The average person born in the latter years of the baby boom (1957-1964) held 11.3 jobs from age 18 to age 46, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24.
These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979; a survey of 9,964 men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 45 to 53 when interviewed most recently in 2010-11. These respondents were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the latter years of the "baby boom" that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964. The survey spans more than 3 decades and provides information on work and nonwork experiences, education, training, income and assets, health, and other characteristics. The information provided by respondents, who were interviewed annually from 1979 to 1994 and biennially since 1994, can be considered representative of all men and women born in the late 1950s and early 1960s and living in the United States when the survey began in 1979.