February 2012, Vol. 135, No. 2
Labor month in review
The February Review
Volunteering in the United States in 2011
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Labor month in review from past issues
Security guards are around us in our day-to-day lives. You may see them keeping order at concerts or sporting events, watching over the safety of the customers in a bank, or perhaps guarding the entrance of your place of work. William J. Wiatrowski notes in his article, "On guard against workplace hazards," that in 2009 security guards suffered 63 fatal work injuries—more than twice the relative frequency of workers in general. Wiatrowski's piece takes a close look at the prevalence of workplace safety and health incidents among security guards, and the characteristics of the workers involved.
Our second article in this issue examines changes in federal and state unemployment insurance legislation in 2011. The state-by-state overview included in this article indicates that enactments at the state level include provisions on extended benefits, the duration of benefits, tax schedules and taxable wage bases.
The year 2011 appears to have been a busy one in the world of state labor legislation. As the final article this month notes, child labor, equal employment opportunity, human trafficking, immigration legislation, independent contractors, prevailing wage, and wages paid were among the most active areas in the state legislatures in 2011. The bills that were introduced and then enacted by the states and the District of Columbia encompass all 34 categories of labor legislation tracked by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division and, according to the authors of the article, include a number of important measures.
In addition to providing information on union membership, the Bureau reported this month on volunteering in the United States. Over 64 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2010 and September 2011, leading to a volunteer rate of 26.8 percent, 0.5 percentage point above the year-earlier period and a return to the 2-year-earlier level. The increase in the volunteer rate in 2011 followed a decline of equal size in 2010.
Volunteers spent a median of 51 hours on volunteer activities during the September 2010–September 2011 period. Median annual hours ranged from a high of 96 for volunteers ages 65 and older to a low of 32 hours for people ages 25 to 34.
The volunteer rate for women has always exceeded that for men during the time in which the data on volunteering have been gathered. In 2011, nearly 30 percent of women volunteered, compared with 23.5 percent of men.
The complete report, based on data from the Current Population Survey, is available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/volun.pdf.
The Bureau will be releasing the 2012–2013 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook on March 29, 2012. This edition will have some major changes to the design and organization of the content. The new version incorporates a reader-friendly, written-for-the-web style. For a sneak preview of the new design, visit http://www.bls.gov/bls/2010_20_ooh_profiles.htm.
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