Category Archives: Statistics

Prices and Wages by Decade

Source: University of Missouri Library, 2018

Links to U. S. government documents listing retail prices for typical consumer purchases, and wages for common occupations.

All data is for the United States unless specifically indicated.

This guide points to government publications listing retail prices for common items or “necessities of life.” Prices for foods, articles of clothing, household items, appliances, hardware, fuel and other physical goods fall within the domain of this guide.  We included prices for other types of common expenditures as well: transportation, cars, homes, rent, utilities, and school tuition for example.  Here you will also find typical wages, salaries, hours and earnings for workers dating back to the 1700s.  Again, we point to official government publications almost exclusively.

Milliman Analysis: Public pension funded ratio surges to 73.1% in Q4

Source: Rebecca A. Sielman, Milliman, February 2018

From the summary:
In the fourth quarter, there was a $60 billion improvement in the estimated funded status of the 100 largest U.S. public pension plans as measured by the Milliman 100 Public Pension Funding Index. From the end of September through the end of December, the deficit shrank from $1.392 trillion to $1.332 trillion. As of December 31, the funded ratio stood at 73.1%, up significantly from 71.6% at the end of September.

Milliman analysis: Corporate pensions’ $61 billion funding gain in January may cushion early February market slide
Source: Charles J. Clark, Zorast Wadia, Milliman, February 2018

From the summary:
In January, the funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans improved by $61 billion as measured by the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index (PFI). As of January 31, the funded status deficit narrowed to $221 billion due to investment and liability gains incurred during January. As of January 31, the funded ratio rose to 87.2%, up from 84.1% at the end of December. January’s impressive funded status improvement was greater than that seen in any of the prior months of 2017.

The market value of assets grew by $13 billion as a result of January’s investment gain of 1.20%. The Milliman 100 PFI asset value increased to $1.505 trillion from $1.492 trillion at the end of December. The projected benefit obligation decreased to $1.725 trillion at the end of January.

Over the last 12 months (February 2017-January 2018), the cumulative asset returns for these pensions has been 11.88% and the Milliman 100 PFI funded status deficit only improved by $50 billion. The funded ratio of the Milliman 100 companies has increased over the past 12 months to 87.2% from 83.8%.

State and Local Government Finance and Employment Data Visualization

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press release, CB18-TPS.10, February 15, 2018

The U.S. Census Bureau today released the State and Local Government Snapshot, a new data visualization that allows users to explore the revenues, expenditures and employment of state and local governments. It combines several years of data from multiple government surveys in one place. Despite the robust amount of data, the format makes it clear and easy to understand. The visualization is customizable to allow users to access exactly the topics they are most interested in.

Measuring Up: How BLS Data Would Inflate Earnings for Career Training Graduates

Source: Ben Barrett and Sophie Nguyen, New American Foundation, February 2018

From the summary:
On January 29, the U.S. Department of Education released a blueprint for how it plans to revise the gainful employment (GE) regulations, which the Obama administration put in place in 2014. Most notably, the Department’s proposed rule would eliminate all sanctions for career-oriented programs that leave students with large debt but without the training to land a well-paying job after graduation. Preserving only a modified version of the current disclosure requirements, the regulations could be further weakened if for-profit colleges get their way during the second round of negotiations. Instead of disclosing or holding career-oriented college programs accountable for the amount of debt that graduates borrow relative to the amount they earn a few years after completing, as the current rules do, for-profit college leaders and lobbyists have called for substituting actual students’ earnings with local estimates derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the Department’s proposal to strike any consequence from the GE regulations may seem brazen in comparison, attempting to use BLS data in place of actual graduates’ earnings would have nearly the same impact as no accountability at all. Unfortunately, using BLS estimates instead of real earnings data would not only tell prospective students very little about the quality of the program that they are considering, it will actively mislead them. More troubling still, this approach would prevent the government from holding individual colleges accountable. 

To illustrate just how misleading it would be to use BLS data for the purpose of measuring program outcomes, we compared national and local BLS earnings with actual earnings from graduates of specific career-training programs. We found that, on average, the median annual earnings for graduates of all programs subject to the gainful employment regulations were $27,494. But if local BLS estimates were used instead, the median annual earnings would rise to an average of $49,341—an increase of $21,847, or nearly 80 percent…..

Fatal work-related falls in the United States, 2003-2014

Source: Christina M. Socias-Morales, Cammie K. Chaumont Menéndez, Suzanne M. Marsh, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 30 January 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Falls are the second leading cause of work-related fatalities among US workers. We describe fatal work-related falls from 2003 to 2014, including demographic, work, and injury event characteristics, and changes in rates over time.

We identified fatal falls from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and estimated rates using the BLS Current Population Survey.

From 2003 to 2014, there were 8880 fatal work-related falls, at an annual rate of 5.5 per million FTE. Rates increased with age. Occupations with the highest rates included construction/extraction (42.2 per million FTE) and installation/maintenance/repair (12.5 per million FTE). Falls to a lower level represented the majority (n = 7521, 85%) compared to falls on the same level (n = 1128, 13%).

Falls are a persistent source of work-related fatalities. Fall prevention should continue to focus on regulation adherence, Prevention through Design, improving fall protection, training, fostering partnerships, and increasing communication.

Grapevine, Fiscal Year 2017-18

Source: Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers, January 2018

From the summary:
Data reported by the states in the latest Grapevine survey indicate that initially approved state fiscal support for higher education nationwide increased by a modest 1.6 percent from fiscal 2016–2017 (fiscal 2017) to fiscal year 2017–2018 (fiscal 2018). This is the lowest annual percent increase in the past five years. Almost all of the increase between fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 was accounted for by appropriations in only three relatively large states: California, Florida, and Georgia. Total funding across the remaining 47 states rose by only 0.2 percent.

The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Wisconsin and in America

Source: Jill Manzo, Monica Bielski Boris, Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, September 4, 2017

From the summary:
A new study conducted by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin–Extension, and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Wisconsin and in the United States. A key finding in the report, The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Wisconsin and in the United States, indicates that unionization benefits low-income and middle-class workers most in Wisconsin, helping to foster a strong middle class and reduce income inequality.

Since 2007, unionization has declined in Wisconsin and in the United States. There are about 157,000 fewer union members in Wisconsin today than there were in 2007, accounting for 14.3 percent of the 1.1 million-member drop in union workers across the nation over that time. There are 155 fewer labor unions and 2,247 fewer individuals working for labor unions in Wisconsin today than there were in 2006. This is in part due to Wisconsin’s Governor Walker’s fight against collective bargaining….

As of 2016, the overall union membership rate is 8.1 percent in Wisconsin:
• Men are more likely to be unionized (10.5 percent) than women (5.7 percent);
• Veterans are among the most unionized socioeconomic groups in Wisconsin (8.4 percent);
• By educational attainment, the most unionized workers in Wisconsin hold Master’s degrees (15.2 percent) and associate’s degrees (10.9 percent);
• Public sector unionization (22.7 percent) is four times as high in Wisconsin as private sector unionization (5.5 percent)…..

The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Minnesota and in America

Source: Jill Manzo, Monica Bielski Boris, Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, September 4, 2017

From the summary:

The report finds that labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages. On average, unions raise worker wages by 8.0 percent in the state. The wage effect, however, is even larger for low-income workers.

• The union wage premium is higher for the median income worker (10.7 percent) than the richest 10 percent of workers (7.2 percent).
• The union wage premium is particularly high for middle-class occupations, such as construction and extraction careers (30.6 percent), transportation and material moving jobs (25.2 percent), and service positions (12.3 percent).
• Unions help sustain a strong middle class and reduce income inequality.

Unions also help to close racial and gender income gaps in the state.

• Unions increase the wages of white workers by 7.4 percent but boost the hourly earnings of non-white workers by 13.9 percent.
• The personal benefit to being a union member is 7.7 percent for men and 8.7 percent for women.
• Unions are one of the most effective anti-poverty institutions in Minnesota.

Unfortunately, unionization has declined in Minnesota and in America since 2007.

• There are approximately 36,000 fewer union members in Minnesota today than there were in 2007.
• The decline in union membership has occurred in both the public sector and the private sector.
• The total number of labor unions and similar labor organizations declined from 324 to 314 worker establishments from 2006 to 2015.

As of 2016, the overall union membership rate is 14.2 percent in Minnesota:

• The number of union members has increased from 351,000 in 2012 to about 364,000 in 2016.
• Workers 45 to 54 years of age are the most unionized age cohort, with a union membership rate of 17.3 percent.
• Approximately 15.9 percent of workers who reside in the city center are unionized, 15.4 percent of workers who reside in rural areas are unionized, and 12.8 percent of workers who reside in the suburbs are unionized.
• By educational attainment, the most unionized workers in Minnesota hold Master’s degrees (29.9 percent) and associate’s degrees (17.3 percent).

Almost one half of all public sector workers are unionized in Minnesota. In comparison, just one-in-12 (8.3 percent) Minnesotans who work in the private sector are union members.

Biggest gains in union membership in 2017 were for younger workers

Source: John Schmitt, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, January 25, 2018

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data on changes in union membership from 2016 to 2017. It was good news for workers, as the total number of union members grew by 262,000 in 2017. Three-fourths of these gains (198,000) were among workers aged 34 and under, who account for less than 40 percent of total employment…..

Union Members – 2017

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDL-18-0080, January 19, 2018

The union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was unchanged at 10.7 percent in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2017, edged up by 262,000 from 2016. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers. ….

Highlights from the 2017 data:
–The union membership rate of public-sector workers (34.4 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.5 percent). (See table 3.)
–Workers in protective service occupations and in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rates (34.7 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively). (See table 3.)
–Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.4 percent) than women (10.0 percent). (See table 1.)
–Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)
–Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 80 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($829 versus $1,041). (The comparisons of earnings in this release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.) –Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.8 percent), while South Carolina continued to have the lowest (2.6 percent). (See table 5.)…