Category Archives: Compensation

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013 Release

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press Release, CB14-169, September 16, 2014

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that in 2013, the poverty rate declined from the previous year for the first time since 2006, while there was no statistically significant change in either the number of people living in poverty or real median household income. In addition, the poverty rate for children under 18 declined from the previous year for the first time since 2000. The following results for the nation were compiled from information collected in the 2014 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5 percent, down from 15.0 percent in 2012. The 45.3 million people living at or below the poverty line in 2013, for the third consecutive year, did not represent a statistically significant change from the previous year’s estimate.

Median household income in the United States in 2013 was $51,939; the change in real terms from the 2012 median of $51,759 was not statistically significant. This is the second consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive annual declines.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2013 calendar year was 13.4 percent; this amounted to 42.0 million people.

These findings are contained in two reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013. The Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement was conducted between February and April 2014 and collected information about income and health insurance coverage during the 2013 calendar year. The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is conducted every month and is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population; it is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the Annual Social and Economic Supplement questionnaire is designed to give annual, calendar-year, national estimates of income, poverty and health insurance numbers and rates….
Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013
Source: Carmen DeNavas-Walt and Bernadette D. Proctor, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-249, September 2014

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013
Source: Jessica C. Smith and Carla Medalia, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-250, September 2014

The Top 3 Things You Need to Know About the 2013 Poverty and Income Data
Source: Melissa Boteach and Shawn Fremstad, Center for American Progress, September 16, 2014

By the Numbers: Income and Poverty, 2013
Source: David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute, Working Economics blog, September 16, 2014

Key numbers from today’s new Census report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013. All dollar values are adjusted for inflation (2013 dollars).

New Census Data Tell Us That Poverty Fell in 2013: Children and Young Adults Still Face the Greatest Risks
Source: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), September 16, 2014

From the summary:
For the first time since 2000, the overall child poverty rate fell, according to U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS) data released today on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the year 2013. This is good news. The numbers indicate a return from the extraordinarily high child poverty rates experienced during the depths of the recession. But these decreases don’t diminish the unacceptably high number of children still living in poor families, particularly our youngest children and Black and Hispanic children….

An Epidemic of Wage Theft Is Costing Workers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year

Source: Brady Meixell and Ross Eisenbrey, Economic Policy Institute, Issue Brief #385, September 11, 2014

From the summary:
….Millions of Americans struggle to get by on low wages, often without any benefits such as paid sick leave, a pension, or even health insurance. Their difficult lives are made immeasurably harder when they do the work they have been hired to do, but their employers refuse to pay, pay for some hours but not others, or fail to pay overtime premiums when employees’ hours exceed 40 in a week. This failure to pay what workers are legally entitled to can be called wage theft; in essence, it involves employers taking money that belongs to their employees and keeping it for themselves. Amounts that seem small, such as not paying for time spent preparing a work station at the start of a shift, or for cleaning up and closing up at the end of a shift, can add up. When a worker earns only a minimum wage ($290 for a 40-hour week), shaving a mere half hour a day from the paycheck means a loss of more than $1,400 a year, including overtime premiums. That could be nearly 10 percent of a minimum-wage employee’s annual earnings—the difference between paying the rent and utilities or risking eviction and the loss of gas, water, or electric service….It is helpful to understand the variety of employer practices that can be considered wage theft and how devastating wage theft can be for workers living from paycheck to paycheck. Following are a just a sample of cases from state prosecutions and settlements finalized in 2012….
Press release

Stealing Wages From Immigrants

Source: Jed DeVaro, Compensation Benefits Review, Vol. 46 no. 2, March/April 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In California, ongoing concerns about employers stealing wages from undocumented immigrant workers (who are reluctant to report employer violations because they want to minimize contact with legal authorities) have led to two “antiretaliation” laws passed in 2013 (Assembly Bill 263 and Senate Bill 666) designed to protect workers. This article describes wage stealing (when, how, why and to whom it happens) and its consequences and evaluates various solutions to the problem, including the recent California legislation.

Compensation Surveys: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Source: Judy Canavan, Compensation Benefits Review, Vol. 46 no. 2, March/April 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article examines the current state of compensation surveys, including a review of the broad range of compensation surveys available ranging from large published surveys to magazine surveys and repackaged survey data. The issues surrounding participation, quality and the applicability of the data are discussed. The article also suggests actions that compensation stakeholders can take to improve the integrity of external market pay data as a reliable tool.

FM Pulse and Salary Survey

Source: Facilities Management, September 2014

Part 1: How Facility Managers Handle Increasing Workload, Shrinking Budget, Staff
Part 2: In-house Or Outsource? Facility Departments Evaluate Staffing Balance
Part 3: Technology Helps Facility Managers Do More With Less
Part 4: Facility Strategies To Handle More Work With Fewer Resources
Part 5: Survey: Facility Management Salaries
Part 6: Survey: Facility Management Outsourcing, Retirement, Satisfaction Results
Part 7: Survey: 2015 Facility Capital And Operating Budget Plans
Part 8: Survey: 2015 Facility Department Staffing Plans

Do Health Care Costs Fuel Economic Inequality in the United States?

Source: David Blumenthal and David Squires, Commonwealth Fund blog, September 9, 2014

The growing debate over economic inequality in the developed world, highlighted by Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, raises an interesting question that is particularly pertinent to the United States. Have escalating health care costs contributed to the huge economic gap between America’s rich and the rest? The evidence, it turns out, is suggestive, but not definitive.
From the perspective of the more than 150 million Americans who receive health insurance through their employers, health care costs may, in fact, be widening inequality. Economists generally agree that employers for the most part treat workers’ compensation in all forms—wages and benefits—as a single expense. When health insurance premiums go up, employers may reduce take-home pay to keep overall compensation in check. Because health costs have grown so quickly over the past several decades, an increasing share of workers’ total compensation has gone toward health insurance premiums. These higher premiums partly explain why middle-class wages have stagnated, lagging productivity gains. Rising health care spending—both on premiums and out-of-pocket costs—totally erased wage gains for a typical family from 1999 to 2009….

Are Football Coaches Overpaid? Evidence from Their Employment Contracts

Source: Randall S. Thomas and R. Lawrence Van Horn, Vanderbilt University, Draft of August 25, 2014

The commentators and the media pay particular attention to the compensation of high profile individuals. Whether these are corporate CEOs, or college football coaches, many critics question whether their levels of remuneration are appropriate. In contrast, corporate governance scholarship has asserted that as long as the compensation is tied to shareholder interests, it is the employment contract and incentives therein which should be the source of scrutiny, not the absolute level of pay itself. We employ this logic to study the compensation contracts of Division I FBS college football coaches during the period 2005 – 2013. Our analysis finds many commonalities between the structure and incentives of the employment contracts of CEOs and these football coaches. The se contract s’ features are consistent with what economic theory would predict. As such we find no evidence that the structure of college football coach contracts is misaligned, or that they are overpaid.
On Sidelines, Researchers See C.E.O.s
Source: Steve Eder, New York Times, September 1, 2014

Balancing Employer and Employee Priorities – Insights From the 2014 Global Workforce and Global Talent Management and Rewards Studies

Source: Towers Watson, July 2014

At a Glance:
∙ The top drivers of employee attraction and retention continue to reflect the fundamentals — pay, security and career advancement.
∙ Given limited resources for employee reward programs, companies need to better differentiate both base salary increases and annual incentives.
∙ Employers seem to underestimate the importance of senior leadership and job security when it comes attracting and retaining employees….
The 2014 Global Workforce Study
Source: Towers Watson, August 2014

From the summary:
∙ Just four in 10 employees are highly engaged, so there is room for improvement.
∙ Regardless of employee age, base pay is the reason most frequently cited by employees for joining or leaving an organization.
∙ 41% of employees cite job security as a key reason to join an organization.

2014 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study
Source: Towers Watson, August 2014

From the summary:
∙ Attraction and retention drivers among employees have remained fairly steady, with base pay and career advancement continuing to be top priorities.
∙ Less than one-third (32%) of employers report that their organization has a formally articulated employment deal.
∙ Only 33% of employers say managers are effective at conducting career development discussions as part of the performance management process.

Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2010 to 2013: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

Source: Jesse Bricker, Lisa J. Dettling, Alice Henriques, Joanne W. Hsu, Kevin B. Moore, John Sabelhaus, Jeffrey Thompson, and Richard A. Windle, Federal Reserve Bulletin, Volume 100 no. 4, September 2014

From the abstract:
The Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances for 2013 provides insights into the evolution of family income and net worth since the previous time the survey was conducted, in 2010. The survey shows that, over the 2010-13 period, the median value of real (inflation-adjusted) family income before taxes fell 5 percent, while mean income increased 4 percent. The differential movements in median and mean incomes are consistent with increased income inequality over the 2010-13 period, though some of that differential growth simply reversed the cyclical decrease in income inequality that occurred between 2007 and 2010. Both median and mean real family net worth were little changed over the 2010-13 period, and the data suggest that the distribution of net worth also became more unequal over this period. Offsetting changes in asset ownership rates and asset prices left the middle of the net worth distribution relatively unchanged, while the top and bottom of the net worth distribution moved in different directions. This article reviews these and other changes in the financial condition of U.S. families, including developments in assets, liabilities, debt payments, and credit market experiences.
The Top 10% of White Families Own Almost Everything
Source: Matt Bruenig, Dēmos, Policy Shop blog, September 5, 2014

…The top 10% of families own 75.3% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom half of families own 1.1% of it. The families squished in between those two groups own 24.6% of the national wealth. The present wealth distribution is more unequal than it was in 2010, the last year this survey was conducted. Specifically, the top 10% increased their share of the national wealth by 0.8 percentage points between 2010 and 2013. The bottom half and middle 40% saw their share of the national wealth fall by 0.1 and 0.7 percentage points respectively….

The Impact of Wage Parity on Home Care Aides

Source: Steven L. Dawson and Carol A. Rodat Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, June 2014

From the abstract:
Examines how a recent increase in the wages of New York City home health aides from $8 to $10 an hour impacts workers’ access to public benefits (e.g. food stamps, housing and child care assistance, and Home Energy Assistance) and tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The report concludes that overall, the wage increase has been a net benefit to most home health aides. However, many aides will hit a “benefit plateau” after working 30 hours per week; their total family income, combined with the value of their public benefits and tax credits, will remain virtually stable after reaching the plateau.

The charts below provide an overview of how the incomes of three workers with different family compositions may be affected when increasing hours above 20 per week.

single, 2 children

2 incomes, 2 children

single, no children