September 2007, Vol. 130, No. 9
Labor month in review
Work fatalities in 2006
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Labor month in review from past issues
The September Review
Tracking a cohort of new businesses over time adds a new perspective to our understanding of labor market dynamics. Amy E. Knaup and Merissa C. Piazza extend an earlier analysis of the birth cohort of the second quarter of 1998 from its fourth birthday to its seventh. According to their figures, about a fifth of businesses fail in each of the first 4 years. In year 5, the survival rate rises to about 86 percent, and in years 6 and 7, roughly 90 percent of establishments survive.
Keenan Dworak-Fisher closely examines the dimensions of generosity in 401(k) retirement savings plans that include employer matching of contributions. He finds that "almost 55 percent of workers with access to a flat-rate-matching 401(k) plan receive a potential employer contribution in the [1 to 3 percent of salary] range." He also notes, however, that this measure varies and, in 12 percent of plans, there is a potential employer contribution of 5 percent of salary or more.
Reagan Baughman and Kristin Smith of the University of New Hampshire contribute an analysis of the workers involved in direct care of the elderly and disabled. These personal care assistants, home health aides, home care aides, certified nursing assistants and similar workers provide hands-on care in settings ranging from private homes to adult day care centers to nursing homes.
Jim Campbell summarizes the extent of multiple jobholding in the States.
Work fatalities in 2006
There were 5,703 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2006, down slightly from the revised total of 5,734 fatalities in 2005. Of the 5,703 fatal work injuries in 2006, 5,202 occurred in private industry. Service-providing industries in the private sector accounted for 47 percent (2,693 fatalities), while private goods-producing industries accounted for 44 percent (2,509 fatalities). Government workers accounted for 9 percent (501) of fatalities.
The overall rate of fatal work injuries in 2006 was 3.9 per 100,000 workers, down from a rate of 4.0 per 100,000 in 2005. The rate in 2006 was lower than the rate for any year since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992. For more information on fatal work injuries, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2006," news release USDL 07-1202.
Between 2004 and 2005, multifactor productivity rose in 58 of 86 specific manufacturing industries studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Multifactor productivity rose by 3 percent or more in 29 industries, but declined in 28 industries in 2005. Multifactor productivity indexes relate the change in output to the change in the combination of labor, capital, and intermediate purchases consumed in producing that output. Five industries registered double-digit growth in multifactor productivity. The largest increase in multifactor productivity, 27.6 percent, occurred in the computer and peripheral equipment industry. Apparel knitting mills recorded an increase of 18.9 percent in multifactor productivity. Output rose rapidly in the five industries with the largest productivity increases. Combined inputs declined in all five except computer and peripheral equipment.
The largest multifactor productivity decline was 10.9 percent in railroad rolling stock, where output increased, but combined inputs rose much more rapidly. To learn more, see "Multifactor Productivity Trends for Detailed Manufacturing Industries, 2005," news release 07-1281.
Labor productivity—defined as output per hour—increased in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services and drinking places in 2006. In wholesale trade, output per hour grew 4.3 percent, as output increased 6.6 percent and hours advanced 2.2 percent. The largest increases in productivity—13.0 percent and 11.8 percent—occurred in motor vehicles and parts wholesalers and farm product raw materials wholesalers, respectively.
In retail trade, output per hour increased 4.9 percent, as output grew 4.1 percent, while hours declined 0.8 percent. Specialty food stores and electronic shopping and mail-order houses had the largest productivity increases—20.0 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively. In food services and drinking places, output per hour rose 2.4 percent as output grew 4.9 percent and hours, 2.4 percent. The largest increase in productivity, 3.2 percent, occurred in limited-service eating places. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places, 2006," news release USDL 07-1321.
Richard M. Devens, executive editor of Monthly Labor Review since 1994, retires to private life with the publication of this issue. During this tenure, the Review was ranked in the top 20 economics journals by overall impact, as measured by citations in the general social science literature. This top-tenth ranking was attributed to the accessibility of the Review’s editing and presentation.
Communications regarding the Monthly Labor Review may be sent to the Editor-in-Chief by e-mail to email@example.com, by mail at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Room 2850, Washington, DC, 20212, or by fax to (202) 6917890.
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