Foreign-Born Wage and Salary Workers in the US Labor Force and Unions

Source: Chuncui Velma Fan and Jeanne Batalova, Migration Policy Institute, August 2007

Labor unions have departed from their historical skepticism of immigrant workers as the overall number of wage and salary immigrant workers and their proportion in the labor unions have increased. Instead, labor unions have become an important force in support of proimmigrant policies.

This Spotlight looks at the available data on immigrant workers and unions, highlighting variations in union representation rates of immigrant workers across industrial sectors.

Back to School Statistics

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2007

As the nation’s students and teachers return to school, here are selected statistics about American schools, students, and the educational process. The information was compiled by IES and derives from the Institute’s research and statistical centers. Follow the accompanying links for additional information.

Accommodating People With Disabilities In Disasters: A Reference Guide To Federal Law

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Release Number: HQ-07-169, August 21, 2007

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released a new reference guide that outlines existing legal requirements and standards relating to access for people with disabilities. A Reference Guide for Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing and Human Services is the first of a series of disability-related guidelines to be produced by FEMA for disaster preparedness and response planners and service providers at all levels.

“Federal law is very clear about accommodating people with disabilities in emergencies and disasters. Everyone involved in emergency management needs to understand and know what their responsibilities are in preparedness, response and recovery operations,” FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said. “This Reference Guide is an important tool for emergency planners, responders and government agencies as they work toward meeting the needs of people affected by emergencies and disasters. FEMA is committed to ensuring that its programs and emergency operations meet the needs of people with disabilities.”

The Reference Guide summarizes equal access requirements for people with disabilities within Disaster Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services functions. The Guide explains how applicable Federal laws relate to government entities and non-government, private sector and religious organizations.

Employee Benefits in Private Industry, 2007

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDL 07-1282, 8/22/2007

Sixty percent of establishments in private industry offered medical care benefits to their employees in March 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employers paid 81 percent of the cost of premiums for single coverage and 71 percent of the cost for family coverage for workers participating in employer sponsored medical plans. These findings are from the Summary, “National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2007,” published today.

New Resource: PolitiFact

Source: St. Petersburg Times and CQ.com

New resource from the St. Petersburg Times and CQ.com. Access is free.
PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly to help you find the truth in the presidential campaign. Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times and CQ will analyze the candidates’ speeches, TV ads and interviews and determine whether the claims are accurate.
See also:
FactCheck.org from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

U.S. Government Manual, 2007-2008 Edition

Source: Office of the Federal Register and the National Archives and Records Administration, Revised June 1, 2007

As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, and boards, commissions, and committees. The Manual begins with reprints of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The new edition of the Manual is available annually in late summer.

U.S.: Household Income Rises, Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Uninsured Up

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, CB07-120, August 28, 2007

From the news release:
Real median household income in the United States climbed between 2005 and 2006, reaching $48,200, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the second consecutive year that income has risen. Meanwhile, the nation’s official poverty rate declined for the first time this decade, from 12.6 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent in 2006. There were 36.5 million people in poverty in 2006, not statistically different from 2005. The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 44.8 million (15.3 percent) in 2005 to 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006. These findings are contained in the Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006 report. The data were compiled from information collected in the 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). Much more summary material in this news release.

Related from the Census Bureau:
• Numerous Documents and Tables Can Be Accessed Here
Income, Earnings and Poverty in the United States: 2006

Other related items:
Number And Percentage Of Americans Who Are Uninsured Climbs Again: Poverty Edges Down But Remains Higher, And Median Income For Working-Age Households Remains Lower, Than When Recession Hit Bottom In 2001
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 28, 2007
More Americans, Including More Children, Now Lack Health Insurance
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 28, 2007
U.S. Uninsured Rate Climbs Again
Source: Daniel C. Vock, Stateline.org, August 29, 2007
Number of Uninsured U.S. Residents Increases by 2.2M to 47M in 2006
Source: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, August 29, 2007

Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2005

Source: Ishita Sengupta, Virginia Renor and John F. Burton Jr., National Academy of Social Insurance, August 2007

From press release:
U.S. workers’ compensation payments for medical care and cash benefits for workers disabled by workplace injuries or diseases declined in 2005, according to a study released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). The drop in payments in 2005 (the most recent year with data) reflects large declines in California payments, as reforms enacted in 2003 and 2004 took effect.

Nationally, workers’ compensation payments for injured workers fell by 1.4 percent to $55.3 billion in 2005. The payments include $26.2 billion to providers of medical care and $29.1 billion in cash wage replacement benefits for injured workers.

California payments fell by 12.2 percent; a change made up of a 16.0 percent decline in medical payments and an 8.6 percent decline in cash payments. “The reduced spending for benefits and medical care reflects the initial stages of cost containment measures that were put in place in 2003 and 2004 reforms to the California system,” according to NASI member Christine Baker, who directs the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation, a nonpartisan labor-management group that advises state policymakers.

Because it is a large state – accounting for nearly 20 percent of national benefit payments in 2005 -California altered national trends. Outside California, total workers’ compensation payments rose by 1.7 percent, an increase driven by a 4.1 percent increase in payments to medical providers. Cash payments to injured workers outside California showed a small decline (0.3 percent).

Healing Our Sicko Health Care System

Source: Jacob S. Hacker, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 357 no. 8, August 23, 2007

It is certainly true that Sicko is not a careful accounting of the pros and cons of the U.S. insurance system. But the basic truth of Moore’s indictment is undeniable. A recent survey by Consumer Reports found that nearly half of adults younger than 65 — most of them insured — say they are “somewhat” or “completely” unprepared to cope with a costly medical emergency in the coming year. A substantial share of the more than 1 million personal bankruptcies in the United States each year — perhaps as many as half — are due in part to medical costs and crises. In no other rich country are people even remotely as likely to report having trouble with paying medical bills or going without care because of the cost. These problems are long-standing — yes, “dating back to the 1980s” — and worsening. And they are largely due to our reliance on employment-based, voluntary private health insurance.

Small Steps to Big Reform

Source: Merrill Matthews and Victoria C. Bunce, Council for Affordable Health Insurance, Issues and Answers, no. 146, August 2007

From press release:
As the country enters a national debate over health care reform, we need to remember that the U.S. health care system works well for the vast majority of people. Nevertheless, there are several problem areas, including the high cost of care and a large number of uninsured, that impede the ability of some people to get access to affordable health insurance and quality care. The public policy question is whether those problems can be adequately addressed by limited and targeted reforms, or does the country need to embark on a massive restructuring of the health care system?

Today, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) is releasing “Small Steps to Big Reform,” which argues that there are several targeted legislative changes, at both the state and federal levels, that would address the vast majority of the current problems and would go a long way in expanding health insurance coverage.