Category Archives: Statistics

U.S. State and Local Public Pension Funds in Numbers

Source: Joshua Franzel, Center for State and Local Government Excellence, December 3, 2015

SLGE’s VP for Research Joshua Franzel spoke at the 5th Annual World Pensions & Investment Forum in Paris, France on December 3. His presentation focused on state and local public pension structures, funding, and the Public Plans Data resource.

In Our Own Backyard: Confronting Growth and Disparities in American Jails

Source: Ram Subramanian, Christian Henrichson, Jacob Kang-Brown, Vera Institute of Justice, December 2015

From the summary:
Although jails are the “front door” to mass incarceration, there is not enough data for justice system stakeholders and others to understand how their jail is being used and how it compares with others.

To address this issue, Vera researchers developed a data tool that includes the jail population and jail incarceration rate for every U.S. county that uses a local jail. Researchers merged jail data from two federal data collections—the Bureau of Justice Statistics Annual Survey of Jails and Census of Jails—and incorporated demographic data from the U.S. Census.

The data revealed that, since 1970, the number of people held in jail has increased from 157,000 to 690,000 in 2014—a more than four-fold increase nationwide, with growth rates highest in the smallest counties. This data also reveals wide variation in incarceration rates and racial disparities among jurisdictions of similar size and thus underlines an essential point: The number of people in jail is largely the result of choices made by policymakers and others in the justice system. The Incarceration Trends tool provides any jurisdiction with the appetite for change the opportunity to better understand its history of jail use and measure its progress toward decarceration.
Interactive data tool
Data and Methods

Employment Projections: 2014-24

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release, USDL-15-2327, December 8, 2015

From the summary:
Healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. With the increase in the proportion of the population in older age groups, more people in the labor force will be entering prime retirement age. As a result, the labor force participation rate is projected to decrease and labor force growth to slow. This slowdown of labor force growth is expected, in turn, to lead to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2.2 percent annually over the decade. This economic growth is projected to generate 9.8 million new jobs–a 6.5-percent increase between 2014 and 2024. The projections are predicated on assumptions including a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in 2024 and labor productivity growth of 1.8 percent annually over the projected period. Highlights of the BLS projections for the labor force and macroeconomy, industry employment, and occupational employment are included below.
Employment projections by occupational group 2014–24
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, December 30, 2015

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – September 2015

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release, USDL-15-2329, December 9, 2015

Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $33.37 per hour worked in September 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $22.88 per hour worked and accounted for 68.6 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.48 and accounted for the remaining 31.4 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $31.53 per hour worked in September 2015. Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey, measures employer costs for wages and salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and state and local government workers.

Compensation costs in state and local government

State and local government employers spent an average of $44.66 per hour worked for employee compensation in September 2015. Wages and salaries averaged $28.45 per hour and accounted for 63.7 percent of compensation costs, while benefits averaged $16.21 per hour worked and accounted for the remaining 36.3 percent. Total compensation costs for management, professional, and related workers averaged $54.02 per hour worked. This major occupational group includes teachers, averaging $60.92 per hour worked. Total compensation for sales and office workers averaged $30.83 per hour worked and service workers averaged $34.02. (See chart 1 and table 4.)

For state and local government employees, employer costs for insurance benefits averaged $5.34 per hour, or 12.0 percent of total compensation. The largest component of insurance costs in September 2015 was health insurance, which averaged $5.20, or 11.6 percent of total compensation. (See chart 2 and table 3.)

In September 2015, the average cost for retirement and savings benefits was $4.63 per hour worked in state and local government, or 10.4 percent of total compensation. Included in this amount were employer costs for defined benefit plans, which averaged $4.26 per hour (9.5 percent of total compensation), and defined contribution plans, which averaged 37 cents (0.8 percent). (See chart 2 and table 3.) Defined benefit plans specify a formula for determining future benefits, while defined contribution plans specify employer contributions but do not guarantee the amount of future benefits. Two components of benefit costs are paid leave and legally required benefits. Paid leave benefit costs include vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave. The average cost for paid leave was $3.24 per hour worked for state and local government employees. Costs for legally required benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance (both state and federal), and workers’ compensation, averaged $2.63 per hour worked. (See table 3.)….

Elderly Poverty in the United States in the 21st Century: Exploring the Role of Assets in the Supplemental Poverty Measure

Source: Christopher Wimer and Lucas Manfield, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR), Working Paper, WP#2015-29, November 2015

From the abstract:
Official estimates of elderly poverty do not take into account either the medical needs of the elderly, which can be quite extensive, or the assets at their disposal, which may also be extensive. The new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) explicitly takes into account medical needs but has been criticized for not concomitantly taking into account asset portfolios. In this paper we consider both jointly, using an approach adapted from a recent National Academy of Sciences report recommending methods for measuring poverty and medical risk while taking account of assets. We use longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).
The paper found that:
• Confirming previously published research, the elderly have considerably higher poverty rates under the SPM than under the official measure, and this disparity is driven by the SPM’s treatment of medical out-of-pocket expenditures.
• SPM poverty rates are considerably lower than actual SPM rates when an annuitized portion of liquid assets is incorporated into the measure of resources.
• When both liquid and near-liquid assets are considered, trends and levels of SPM poverty rates are extremely close to official poverty rates.
• SPM poverty rates would be even lower than official rates if all assets, including reverse mortgages on homes, were considered, though this might be considered a less “reasonable” approach by some observers.
• Incorporating assets has differing effects on pre-existing disparities in poverty rates: it exacerbates inequalities by race and marital status but reduces inequalities by age and has little effect on inequalities by gender.

The policy implications of the findings are:
• Government agencies should consider examining the role of assets when assessing the trends and levels of poverty rates among older Americans.
• Promoting savings and asset ownership among younger Americans is likely to pay substantial dividends with respect to the economic well-being of older Americans in the future.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2015

From the summary:
The 2016–17 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) was released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The OOH reflects BLS employment projections for the 2014–24 decade. The OOH is one of the nation’s most widely used sources of career information. It provides details on hundreds of occupations and is used by career counselors, students, parents, teachers, jobseekers, career changers, education and training officials, and researchers.

The 2016–17 OOH includes 329 occupational profiles covering 576 detailed occupations, or about 83 percent of total employment in 2014. Each occupational profile describes: what workers do, where they work, typical education and training requirements, wages, job outlook, state and area data, and contacts for more information.

New in the 2016–17 OOH:
Each occupational profile in the 2016-17 OOH includes a new State and Area Data tab with links to occupational profiles from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Users can access detailed national, state, and metropolitan or nonmetropolitan employment and wage data for their selected occupation….

Benefits, retirement and savings make up larger percentage of government employee compensation

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Economics Daily, December 16, 2015

Over the last 10 years, state and local government employer costs for employee benefits have increased as a share of total compensation. This can be mostly attributed to increases in retirement and savings, specifically defined benefit plans. Retirement and savings as a share of total compensation increased from 6.6 percent in March 2005 to 10.4 percent in September 2015.

Women’s earnings compared to men’s earnings in 2014

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Economics Daily, November 30, 2015

In 2014, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $719. Women’s median earnings were 83 percent of those of male full-time wage and salary workers ($871). Median weekly earnings for women were highest between the ages of 35 and 64. In 2014, there was little or no difference in the earnings of 35- to 44-year-olds ($781), 45- to 54-year-olds ($780), and 55- to 64-year-olds ($780). For men, earnings peaked between the ages of 45 and 64, with 45- to 54-year-olds ($1,011) and 55- to 64-year-olds ($1,021) having similar earnings. Young women and men ages 16 to 24 had the lowest earnings ($451 and $493, respectively).

Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work – 2014

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Press Release, USDL 15-2205, November 19, 2015

The overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work to recuperate was 107.1 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2014, down from the 2013 rate of 109.4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In 2014, there were 1,157,410 days-away-from- work cases in private industry, state government, and local government–essentially unchanged from the number of cases reported in 2013. The median days away from work to recuperate–a key measure of severity of injuries and illnesses–was 9 days in 2014, 1 day more than reported in 2013…. There were six occupations in 2014, for all ownerships, where the incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers was greater than 300 and the number of cases with days away from work was greater than 10,000. These occupations were police and sheriff’s patrol officers, correctional officers and jailers, firefighters, nursing assistants, construction laborers, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. ….

….State and local government:
For all occupations, the incidence rate for public sector workers was 167.4 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, compared to the rate of 97.8 for all private sector workers. Some public sector (state and local government combined) occupations experienced higher rates than the equivalent private sector occupations. Public sector janitors and cleaners had an incidence rate that was over twice that of private sector janitors and cleaners. (See chart C.) The rate for public sector landscaping and groundskeeping workers was 795.1 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, compared to 190.4 for private sector landscaping and groundskeeping workers…..