Category Archives: Statistics

How to Adjust the Official Poverty Measure

Source: State Policy Reports, Vol. 37 no. 10, May 2019
(subscription required)

A recent request by a federal agency is purportedly intended to gather information to inform a future decision, but some observers see a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Related:
Trump May Redefine Poverty, Cutting Americans From Welfare Rolls
Source: Justin Sink, Bloomberg, May 6, 2019

• OMB says in regulatory filing it may recalculate poverty level
• Switch to so-called chained CPI would slow growth of poverty

FAQ: The Trump Administration’s Proposal to Lower the Federal Poverty Line
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 30, 2019

On May 6, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a notice requesting comments on changing the methodology for updating the federal poverty line for inflation. The notice floats the idea of updating the Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds using an alternative, lower measure of inflation than the traditional Consumer Price Index (known as the CPI-U) — either the “chained” CPI or the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index. This would result in lower poverty thresholds, with the gap between the current and proposed methodologies increasing each year….

BLS publishes experimental state-level labor productivity measures

Source: Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, Michael W. Jadoo, Bhavani Khandrika, Jennifer Price, James D. Mildenberger, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, June 2019

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published experimental data on state-level labor productivity for the private nonfarm sector, including state-level output per hour, output, hours, unit labor costs, hourly compensation, and real hourly compensation data series. These annual data series, covering 2007−17, provide insights into the variation in productivity across states. Over this period, average annual productivity growth ranged from 3.1 percent in North Dakota to −0.7 percent in Louisiana. However, California, whose productivity grew at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent, was the largest contributor to national productivity growth due to the large size of its economy. This article describes the data and methodology used to estimate this new experimental state-level labor productivity series. In addition, it examines the compensation-productivity gap, the relationship between productivity growth and the share of output in the information and communications technology producing sector, and whether state-level labor productivity was converging in the postrecession period.

Projections of Education Statistics to 2027

Source: William J. Hussar, Tabitha M. Bailey,National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NCES 2019001, February 2019

From the abstract:
Projections of Education Statistics to 2027 is the 46th in a series of publications initiated in 1964. This publication provides national-level data on enrollment, teachers, high school graduates, and expenditures at the elementary and secondary level, and enrollment and degrees at the postsecondary level for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2027. For the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2027. The methodology section describes models and assumptions used to develop national- and state-level projections.

Related:
Weak enrollment projections highlightrising credit risk for some US colleges
Source: Cassandra Golden, Susan I Fitzgerald, Dennis M. Gephardt, Moody’s, Sector Comment, March 6, 2019
(subscription required)

Union Members – 2018

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Press Release, USDL-19-0079, January 18, 2019

The union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 10.5 percent in 2018, down by 0.2 percentage point from 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.7 million in 2018, was little changed from 2017. 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 2018 data:
–The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent). (See table 3.)
–The highest unionization rates were among workers in protective service occupations (33.9 percent) and in education, training, and library occupations (33.8 percent). (See table 3.)
–Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.1 percent) than women (9.9 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 82 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($860 versus $1,051). (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, Hawaii and New York had the highest union membership rates (23.1 percent and 22.3 percent, respectively), while North Carolina and South Carolina had the lowest (2.7 percent each). (See table 5.)

Counting Prison Inmates Differently Could Shift Political Power to Cities

Source: Tim Henderson, Stateline, January 2, 2019

More states plan to count state prisoners as residents of their home communities, rather than residents of the places where they are incarcerated — a change that would shift political power away from conservative rural areas to more liberal cities during legislative redistricting.

Many inmates hail from neighborhoods in or near cities, but most are incarcerated in small towns and rural areas. Counting prisoners as residents of their hometowns would, for the most part, boost the legislative representation of Democratic-leaning urban areas with large minority populations while diminishing the power of Republican, mostly white rural areas…..

Working Children: Federal Injury Data and Compliance Strategies Could Be Strengthened

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-19-26: Published: November 2, 2018, Publicly Released: December 3, 2018

From the summary:
Many children aged 17 and under work to develop independence or meet financial needs. However, working can sometimes interfere with education, or in some industries, be physically dangerous.

We found that the majority of work-related fatalities occur among children working in agriculture—but data on children’s work-related injuries in general is incomplete.

The Department of Labor is conducting a study to enhance its work-related injury data, but the study doesn’t include children. We recommended including them to improve the data—which could also improve enforcement of child labor standards….

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2017

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, USDL-18-1978, December 18, 2018

There were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) The fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.6 in 2016. (See table 1.)

Key Facts about the Uninsured Population

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, December 7, 2018

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) led to historic gains in health insurance coverage by extending Medicaid coverage to many low-income individuals and providing Marketplace subsidies for individuals below 400% of poverty. The number of uninsured nonelderly Americans decreased from over 44 million in 2013 (the year before the major coverage provisions went into effect) to just below 27 million in 2016. However, in 2017, the number of uninsured people increased by nearly 700,000 people, the first increase since implementation of the ACA. Ongoing efforts to alter the ACA or to make receipt of Medicaid contingent on work may further erode coverage gains seen under the ACA. This fact sheet describes how coverage has changed in recent years, examines the characteristics of the uninsured population, and summarizes the access and financial implications of not having coverage.

2019 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

Source: Segal Consulting, Public Sector Data Fall 2018

From the summary:
Increases in Medical and Prescription Drug Costs Projected to Be Lower for 2019

Medical and prescription drug cost trends, for both actives and non-Medicare retirees, are projected to be lower in 2019 than in previous years.

That’s the headline finding from Segal’s 2019 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey, which surveyed more than 100 managed care organizations (MCOs), health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and third-party administrators (TPAs).

Other Key Findings
– Medical plan cost trends are projected to be lower than 2018 projections.
– Actual medical and prescription drug trend results for 2017 were significantly lower than carrier projections for 2017.
– Actual prescription drug plan cost trends for 2017 were the second lowest in the last 13 years.
– Price inflation continues to be the primary driver of overall medical and prescription drug cost trends.
– Network physician reimbursement rate increases are projected to increase by less than 2 percent for both primary care and specialists, below overall CPI rates.
– Prescription drug cost-management strategies and improved vendor contracting are still plan sponsors’ top priorities.

Related:
Multiemployer

Five-Year Trends Available for Median Household Income, Poverty Rates and Computer and Internet Use

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press Release, Release Number CB18-187, December 6, 2018

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the release of the 2013-2017 American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates, which features more than 40 social, economic, housing and demographic topics, including homeownership rates and costs, health insurance, and educational attainment. The ACS five-year data release produces statistics for all of the nation’s 3,142 counties. It is the only full data set available for the 2,316 counties with populations too small to produce a complete set of single-year ACS estimates. ….

Some highlights from the report include that, when comparing the 2013-2017 period to the 2008-2012 period, median household income increased in 16.6 percent of all counties (521 counties) between the 2008-2012 period and the 2013-2017 period while poverty declined in 14 percent of all counties 441 counties). Alternatively, when comparing the same time periods, median household income declined in 222 counties (7.1 percent) and poverty rates increased in 264 counties (8.4 percent)…..