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Archive for August, 2012

New Report: The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality

August 31, 2012 Comments off

New Report: The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality

Source: National Employment Law Project

This report updates NELP’s previous analyses of job loss and job growth trends during and after the Great Recession.

We find that during the recession (2008 Q1 to 2010 Q1), employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in mid-wage

occupations. By contrast, during the recovery (2010 Q1 to 2012 Q1), employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which

grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Specifically:

  • Lower-wage occupations constituted 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth.
  • Mid-wage occupations constituted 60 percent of recession losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
  • Higher-wage occupations constituted 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.

Moreover, the unbalanced recession and recovery have meant that the long-term rise in inequality in the U.S. continues. The good jobs deficit is

now deeper than it was at the start of the century:

  • Since the first quarter of 2001, employment has grown by 8.7 percent in lower-wage occupations and by 6.6 percent in higher-wage occupations.
  • By contrast, employment in mid-wage occupations has fallen by 7.3 percent.
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NICB Names 10 Most-Stolen Vehicles for 2011

August 31, 2012 Comments off

NICB Names 10 Most-Stolen Vehicles for 2011Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released Hot Wheels − its list of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2011.

For 2011, the most-stolen vehicles* in the nation were:

1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1998 Honda Civic
3. 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
4. 1991 Toyota Camry
5. 2000 Dodge Caravan
6. 1994 Acura Integra
7. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
8. 2004 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
9. 2002 Ford Explorer
10. 1994 Nissan Sentra

Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and Ahead Cohorts

August 31, 2012 Comments off

Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and Ahead Cohorts (PDF)

Source:  National Bureau of Economic Research
Many analysts have considered whether households approaching retirement age have accumulated enough assets to be well prepared for retirement. In this paper, we shift from studying household finances at the start of the retirement period, an ex ante measure of retirement preparation, to studying the asset holdings of households in their last years of life. The analysis is based on Health and Retirement Study with special attention to Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) cohort that was first surveyed in 1993. We consider the level of assets that households hold in the last survey wave preceding their death. We study how assets at the end of life depend on three family status pathways prior to death— (1) original one-person households in 1993, (2) persons in two-person household in 1993 with a deceased spouse in the last year observed, and (3) persons in two-person households in 1993 with the spouse alive when last observed. We find that a substantial fraction of persons die with virtually no financial assets—46.1 percent with less than $10,000—and many of these households also have no housing wealth and rely almost entirely on Social Security benefits for support. In addition this group is disproportionately in poor health. Based on a replacement rate comparison, many of these households may be deemed to have been well-prepared for retirement, in the sense that their income in their final years was not substantially lower than their income in their late 50s or early 60s. Yet with such low asset levels, they would have little capacity to pay for unanticipated needs such as health expenses or other financial shocks or to pay for entertainment, travel, or other activities. This raises a question of whether the replacement ratio is a sufficient statistic for the “adequacy” of retirement preparation.

The Economic Consequences of Excess Men: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan

August 31, 2012 Comments off
Source:  International Food Policy Research Institute
As sex ratio imbalances have become a problem in an increasing number of countries, it is important to understand their consequences. With the defeat of the Kuomintang Party in China, more than one million soldiers and civilians, mainly young males, retreated to Taiwan in the late 1940s. Initially, the soldiers from mainland China were not allowed to marry. The ban was relaxed in 1959, however, suddenly flooding the marriage market with a large number of eligible bachelors. The operational ratio of males to females at marriageable age peaked at nearly 1.2 in the 1960s. Using data from multiple sources, we find that during times of high marriage competition, young men are more likely to become entrepreneurs, work longer hours, save more, and amass more assets. The findings highlight the important role of biological forces in shaping human economic behavior.

Human blood metabolite timetable indicates internal body time

August 31, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
A convenient way to estimate internal body time (BT) is essential for chronotherapy and time-restricted feeding, both of which use body-time information to maximize potency and minimize toxicity during drug administration and feeding, respectively. Previously, we proposed a molecular timetable based on circadian-oscillating substances in multiple mouse organs or blood to estimate internal body time from samples taken at only a few time points. Here we applied this molecular-timetable concept to estimate and evaluate internal body time in humans. We constructed a 1.5-d reference timetable of oscillating metabolites in human blood samples with 2-h sampling frequency while simultaneously controlling for the confounding effects of activity level, light, temperature, sleep, and food intake. By using this metabolite timetable as a reference, we accurately determined internal body time within 3 h from just two anti-phase blood samples. Our minimally invasive, molecular-timetable method with human blood enables highly optimized and personalized medicine.

 

A Systematic Review of Vocational Interventions for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders

August 31, 2012 Comments off

A Systematic Review of Vocational Interventions for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Source: Pediatrics

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are approaching adolescence and young adulthood; interventions to assist these individuals with vocational skills are not well understood. This study systematically reviewed evidence regarding vocational interventions for individuals with ASD between the ages of 13 and 30 years.

METHODS: The Medline, PsycINFO, and ERIC databases (1980–December 2011) and reference lists of included articles were searched. Two reviewers independently assessed each study against predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently extracted data regarding participant and intervention characteristics, assessment techniques, and outcomes, and assigned overall quality and strength of evidence ratings based on predetermined criteria.

RESULTS: Five studies were identified; all were of poor quality and all focused on on-the-job supports as the employment/vocational intervention. Short-term studies reported that supported employment was associated with improvements in quality of life (1 study), ASD symptoms (1 study), and cognitive functioning (1 study). Three studies reported that interventions increased rates of employment for young adults with ASD.

CONCLUSIONS: Few studies have been conducted to assess vocational interventions for adolescents and young adults with ASD. As such, there is very little evidence available for specific vocational treatment approaches as individuals transition to adulthood. All studies of vocational approaches were of poor quality, which may reflect the recent emergence of this area of research. Individual studies suggest that vocational programs may increase employment success for some; however, our ability to understand the overall benefit of supported employment programs is limited given the existing research.

Health and wellbeing at work in the United Kingdom

August 31, 2012 Comments off

Health and wellbeing at work in the United Kingdom

Source:  RAND Corporation

In 2009, the Work Foundation led a partnership with RAND Europe and Aston Business School undertaking the research and analysis to support the Boorman review. RAND Europe led the study on whether health workplace interventions could be useful to mitigate health risk factors and to reduce the work-related costs associated with poor health and wellbeing in British workplaces and the NHS in England. This report, prepared for the Department of Health, presents the main findings of the research.

Tax Proposals by 2012 Presidential Candidates

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Tax Proposals by 2012 Presidential Candidates
Source: Tax Policy Center (Urban Institute and Brookings Institution)

TPC has analyzed the distributional effects of tax proposals from President Obama, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. The following pages provide links to TPC research related to the 2012 candidates.

KCC Issues Report on Historical Hurricanes That Would Cause $10 Billion or More in Insured Losses Today

August 30, 2012 Comments off

KCC Issues Report on Historical Hurricanes That Would Cause $10 Billion or More in Insured Losses Today
Source: Karen Clark & Company

Karen Clark & Company (KCC), independent experts in catastrophe risk, catastrophe models and catastrophe risk management, today issued a report identifying historical US hurricanes that would likely cause $10 billion or more in insured losses were they to strike today.

Employing a robust methodology developed by the firm, KCC examined the nearly 180 hurricanes that have hit the United States since 1900 and determined that 28 of those storms would result in $10 billion or more in insured losses in 2012 given the greater number, size and cost of structures in their paths.

The 1926 Great Miami Hurricane tops the list with an estimated $125 billion loss. The two deadliest hurricanes in US history, the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane and the famous Galveston storm of 1900, are the next costliest at $65 billion and $50 billion, respectively. Two other Florida storms, the 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane and 1992’s Hurricane Andrew are also estimated at $50 billion. Rounding out the top loss producers are 1915’s Galveston ($40 billion), 2005’s Katrina ($40 billion), the 1938 Great New England ($35 billion), and 1954’s Hazel and 1965’s Betsy. both estimated at $20 billion. Hurricane Donna in 1960 affected the entire East Coast from Florida to Maine and would likely cause a $25 billion loss today. The remaining 17 storms on the list range from $10 to $15 billion each.

New From the GAO

August 30, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

+ Reports

1. Freedom of Information Act: Additional Actions Can Strengthen Agency Efforts to Improve Management. GAO-12-828, July 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-828
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593170.pdf

2. Income Security: Overlapping Disability and Unemployment Benefits Should be Evaluated for Potential Savings. GAO-12-293R, July 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-764
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593204.pdf

+ Reissued

1. Coast Guard: Legacy Vessels’ Declining Conditions Reinforce Need for More Realistic Operational Targets.
GAO-12-741, July 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-741
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593162.pdf

Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders (PDF)

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Few studies have been conducted to assess treatment approaches for adolescents and young adults with ASD, and as such there is very little evidence available for specific treatment approaches in this population; this is especially the case for evidence-based approaches to support the transition of youth with autism to adulthood. Of the small number of studies available, most were of poor quality, which may reflect the relative recency of the field. Five studies, primarily of medical interventions, had fair quality. Behavioral, educational, and adaptive/life skills studies were typically small and short term and suggested some potential improvements in social skills and functional behavior. Small studies suggested that vocational programs may increase employment success for some individuals. Few data are available to support the use of medical or allied health interventions in the adolescent and young adult population. The medical studies that have been conducted focused on the use of medications to address specific challenging behaviors, including irritability and aggression, for which effectiveness in this age group is largely unknown and inferred from studies including mostly younger children.

Selecting and Working With a Therapist Skilled in Adoption

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Selecting and Working With a Therapist Skilled in Adoption
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

Members of adoptive families may need professional help when concerns arise, and professionals skilled in adoption issues often can prevent concerns from becoming more serious problems. An appropriate therapist will understand that although the adoptive family is often not the source of the child’s problems, it is within the context of the family relationships that the child will begin to heal.

Educational differences in chronic conditions and their role in the educational differences in overall mortality

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Educational differences in chronic conditions and their role in the educational differences in overall mortality
Source: Demographic Research

Demographers use different models to decompose the prevalence of given health conditions. This article discusses how these models can help us understand the ways in which these conditions affect overall mortality. In particular, this framework can be used to understand the role that any given condition plays in producing differences in overall mortality across populations. The empirical analysis in this study focuses on chronic conditions as factors behind elderly US citizens’ differences in overall mortality across educational levels. The analysis of differences by education level shows that while the prevalence differences of chronic conditions is mostly the outcome of incidence differences, regarding overall mortality differences, the role of chronic conditions is equally channelled through incidence and excess mortality differences.

Effects of Culture on Firm Risk-Taking: A Cross-Country and Cross-Industry Analysis

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Effects of Culture on Firm Risk-Taking: A Cross-Country and Cross-Industry Analysis
Source: International Monetary Fund

This paper investigates the effects of national culture on firm risk-taking, using a comprehensive dataset covering 50,000 firms in 400 industries in 51 countries. Risk-taking is found to be higher for domestic firms in countries with low uncertainty aversion, low tolerance for hierarchical relationships, and high individualism. Domestic firms in such countries tend to take substantially more risk in industries which are more informationally opaque (e.g. finance, mining, IT). Risk-taking by foreign firms is best explained by the cultural norms of their country of origin. These cultural norms do not proxy for legal constraints, insurance safety nets, or economic development.

Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms
Source: Pew Center on the States

Over the past 40 years, criminal justice policy in the U.S. was shaped by the belief that the best way to protect the public was to put more people in prison. Offenders, the reasoning went, should spend longer and longer time behind bars.

Consequently, offenders have been spending more time in prison. According to a new study by Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, the length of time served in prison has increased markedly over the last two decades. Prisoners released in 2009 served an average of nine additional months in custody, or 36 percent longer, than offenders released in 1990.

Those extended prison sentences came at a price: prisoners released from incarceration in 2009 cost states $23,300 per offender–or a total of over $10 billion nationwide. More than half of that amount was for non-violent offenders.

The report, Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms, also found that time served for drug offenses and violent offenses grew at nearly the same pace from 1990 to 2009. Drug offenders served 36 percent longer in 2009 than those released in 1990, while violent offenders served 37 percent longer. Time served for inmates convicted of property crimes increased by 24 percent.

Almost all states increased length of stay over the last two decades, though that varied widely from state to state. In Florida, for example, where time served rose most rapidly, prison terms grew by 166 percent and cost an extra $1.4 billion in 2009.

Country Analysis Brief: Norway

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Norway
Source: Energy Information Administration

+ Norway is Europe’s largest oil producer, the world’s second largest natural gas exporter, and is an important supplier of both oil and natural gas to other European countries.

+ Norway is the largest oil producer and exporter in Western Europe.

+ Norway is the second largest exporter of natural gas after Russia, and ranks fourth in world natural gas production.

New From the GAO

August 29, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Progress toward Implementing GAO’s Civil Rights Recommendations. GAO-12-976R, August 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-976R

2. Oil and Gas Management: Interior’s Reorganization Complete, but Challenges Remain in Implementing New Requirements. GAO-12-423, July 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-423
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593111.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/647543

Yes, the Rich Are Different

August 29, 2012 Comments off

Yes, the Rich Are Different

Source: Pew Social & Demographic Trends

As Republicans gather for their national convention in Tampa to nominate a presidential candidate known, in part, as a wealthy businessman, a new nationwide Pew Research Center survey finds that many Americans believe the rich are different than other people. They are viewed as more intelligent and more hardworking but also greedier and less honest.

Nearly six-in-ten survey respondents (58%) also say the rich pay too little in taxes, while 26% say they pay their fair share, and just 8% say they pay too much. Even among those who describe themselves as upper or upper-middle class, 52% say upper-income Americans don’t pay enough in taxes.

In spite of these views, overwhelming majorities of self-described middle- and lower-class Americans say they admire people who get rich by working hard (92% and 84%, respectively).

Challenges for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States

August 29, 2012 Comments off

Challenges for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States
Source: PLoS Medicine

Summary Points
+ Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with anti-retroviral (ARV) medications is partially efficacious for preventing HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals.
As PrEP becomes available and prescribed for use among MSM a better understanding of willingness to use PrEP and avoidance of condom use are needed so that behavioral programs and counseling may be enhanced for maximum benefit.
+ Targeted messaging will be needed about ARV prophylaxis for various at risk populations, but the general message should be that condoms continue to be the most effective way to prevent HIV transmission through sex and that PrEP is an additional biomedical intervention.
+ As new effective biomedical intervention methods, such as PrEP, become available language about “protected” and “unprotected” sex, which used to exclusively mean condom use, will need to adapt.

Where do American Cities Rank in Eighth Annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™?”

August 29, 2012 Comments off

Where do American Cities Rank in Eighth Annual "Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™?"

Source: Allstate

The Allstate Insurance Company (NYSE: ALL) today released its eighth annual "Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™." The report, based on Allstate claims data, ranks America’s 200* largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers.

This year’s top honor of "America’s Safest Driving City" is Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the fifth time in the history of the report that the city has held the top spot. According to the report, the average driver in Sioux Falls will experience an auto collision every 13.8 years, which is 27.6 percent less likely than the national average of 10 years.

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