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Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries (2010-2012)

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries (2010-2012) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Report findings

  • An estimated 70,450 firefighter injuries occurred annually. Of these injuries, 31,550 occurred on the fireground, and 4,150 occurred while responding to or returning from an incident.
  • The majority of fire-related firefighter injuries (87 percent) occurred in structure fires. In addition, on average, structure fires had more injuries per fire than nonstructure fires.
  • Injuries resulted in lost work time for 42 percent of firefighters with reported fire-related injuries.
  • Fires resulting in firefighter injuries were more prevalent in July at 12 percent and peaked between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.
  • Overexertion/Strain was the cause of 27 percent of reported fire-related firefighter injuries.

Great Gaps Persist in State Safety Nets, Interactive Policy Tool Shows

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Great Gaps Persist in State Safety Nets, Interactive Policy Tool Shows
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

Today, the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) launches an updated and enhanced edition of its 50-State Policy Tracker, a unique online tool for comparing safety net policies that are critical to the economic security of working families. The tool reveals striking variation among states, showing that state of residence has a major impact on whether low-income working parents succeed in making ends meet.

The Policy Tracker makes it easy for policymakers, journalists, social researchers, and advocates to quickly and accurately compare state policies and programs vital to the well-being of low-income families. It includes key state data for 10 important social programs:

  • Child care subsidies
  • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Family and medical leave
  • Income tax policy
  • Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Minimum wage
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Unemployment insurance

The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security

February 27, 2015 Comments off

The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security
Source: Center for American Progress

The nation’s Social Security system has long been a bedrock of economic security, protecting nearly all American workers and their families in case of retirement, disability, or the death of a primary breadwinner. Some 239 million workers ages 20 and older are insured under the program. In 2013, Social Security provided benefits to 58 million people, including 41 million retirees and dependents of retirees, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, and 11 million disabled workers and dependents of disabled workers.

Over the past three decades, however, rising inequality has increasingly threatened the notion of shared economic security. Those at the top of the income spectrum have seen tremendous gains, while most Americans have watched their wages decline or stagnate amid rising costs. In the wake of the Great Recession, the top 1 percent of households captured roughly 76 percent of inflation-adjusted income gains between 2009 and 2013.

Much of the leap made by the very rich is attributable to nonwage forms of income such as capital gains, but huge disparities also persist when looking only at wages, which form the basis for Social Security tax revenues because payroll taxes only apply to wage income. In 2013, for example, the top 1 percent of earners took home about 12.9 percent of the nation’s total wage income in 2013—nearly as much as the share received by the entire bottom half of workers, who captured approximately 13.7 percent of wage income. This growing divide in wages—combined with the fact that wages in excess of the taxable maximum are exempt from payroll taxes—means that millionaire and billionaire earners stop contributing to Social Security early in the year, while the average worker contributes all year long. In 2015, individuals with wage incomes of $1,000,000 stop contributing on February 12; those with higher incomes stop contributing sooner.

UK — Digital and technology skills matrix

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Digital and technology skills matrix
Source: Cabinet Office

This spreadsheet will help digital and technology specialists identify the skills that:

  • they need to work effectively in a digital environment
  • are needed by their organisation to complete a project or maintain a service
  • they want to develop

Any given role in an organisation will use skills from several of the skills groups, so users should choose the groups which are most relevant for their needs.

Each skills group is given a separate tab listing skills for that area of expertise, along with some helpful resources.

The matrix is also available in manual format as the Digital and technology skills reference guide.

Success Strategies for Well-Funded Pension Plans

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Success Strategies for Well-Funded Pension Plans
Source: Center for State and Local Government Excellence

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence examined the public pension systems in four states with a long tradition of being well-funded to determine what they have in common. The plans studied are: Delaware Public Employees’ Retirement System, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, and North Carolina Retirement Systems.

While each of the defined benefit plans has a unique history and legal framework, they share these practices:

+ a commitment to fund the annual required contribution in both good and bad financial times;
+ conservative, realistic assumptions that are adjusted based on experience; and
+ changes to benefit levels and contribution rates as needed.

The funded ratio for the plans studied ranges from 87.6 percent to 99.8 percent.

Wage Stagnation in Nine Charts

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Wage Stagnation in Nine Charts
Source: Economic Policy Institute

Our country has suffered from rising income inequality and chronically slow growth in the living standards of low- and moderate-income Americans. This disappointing living-standards growth—which was in fact caused by rising income inequality—preceded the Great Recession and continues to this day. Fortunately, income inequality and middle-class living standards are now squarely on the political agenda. But despite their increasing salience, these issues are too often discussed in abstract terms. Ignored is the easy-to-understand root of rising income inequality, slow living-standards growth, and a host of other key economic challenges: the near stagnation of hourly wage growth for the vast majority of American workers over the past generation. Countering that by generating broad-based wage growth is our core economic policy challenge.

With a group of simple charts, this paper brings the challenge we face into sharp focus, and lends clarity to the steps we must take to meet it.

Surging City Center Job Growth

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Surging City Center Job Growth
Source: City Observatory

For over half a century, American cities were decentralizing, with suburban areas surpassing city centers in both population and job growth. It appears that these economic and demographic tides are now changing. Over the past few years, urban populations in America’s cities have grown faster than outlying areas, and our research shows that jobs are coming with them.

Our analysis of census data shows that downtown employment centers of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas are recording faster job growth than areas located further from the city center. When we compared the aggregate economic performance of urban cores to the surrounding metro periphery over the four years from 2007 to 2011, we found that city centers—which we define as the area within 3 miles of the center of each region’s central business district—grew jobs at a 0.5 percent annual rate. Over the same period, employment in the surrounding peripheral portion of metropolitan areas declined 0.1 percent per year. When it comes to job growth, city centers are out-performing the surrounding areas in 21 of the 41 metropolitan areas we examined. This “center-led” growth represents the reversal of a historic trend of job de-centralization that has persisted for the past half century.

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