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Changes in Income Reported on Federal Tax Returns

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Changes in Income Reported on Federal Tax Returns
Source: Tax Policy Center (Brookings Institution and Urban Institute)

The composition of reported income has changed markedly since 1952. Investment income has continued to grow, along with business income, interrupted only by periodic economic downturns. Meanwhile, salaries and wages have declined as a share of income.

Seesaws and Social Security Benefits Indexing

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Seesaws and Social Security Benefits Indexing
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

The price indexation of Social Security benefit payments has emerged in recent years as a flashpoint of debate in the United States. I characterize the direct effects that changes in that price index would have on retirees who differ in their initial wealth at retirement and mortality rates after retirement. I propose a simple but flexible theoretical framework that converts benefits reform first into changes to retirees’ consumption paths and then into a net effect on social welfare. I calibrate that framework using recently produced data on Social Security beneficiaries by lifetime income decile and both existing and new survey evidence on the normative priorities Americans have for Social Security. The results suggest that the value retirees place on protection against longevity risk is an important caveat to the widespread enthusiasm for a switch to a slower-growing price index such as the chained CPI-U.

An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver – Partners in the United States

January 29, 2015 Comments off

An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver – Partners in the United States (PDF)
Source: Uber

This paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of Uber’s driver – partners, based on both survey data and anonymized, aggregated administrative data. Uber has grown at an exponential rate over the last few years, and drivers who partner with Uber appear to be attracted to the platform in large part because of the flexibility it offers, the level of compensation, and the fact that earnings per hour do not vary much with hours worked, which facilitates part – time and variable hours. Uber’s driver – partners are more similar in terms of their age and education to the general workforce than to taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Uber may serve as a bridge for many seeking other employment opportunities, and it may attract well – qualified individuals because, with Uber’s star rating system, driver – partners’ reputations are explicitly shared with potential customers. Most of Uber’s driver – partners had full – or part – time employment prior to joining Uber, and many continued in those positions after starting to drive with the Uber platform, which makes the flexibility to set their own hours all th e more valuable. Uber’s driver – partners also often cited the desire to smooth fluctuations in their income as a reason for partnering with Uber .

Annual Coal Report 2013

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Annual Coal Report 2013
Source: Energy Information Administration

Highlights for 2013:

  • For the first time in two decades, U.S. coal production fell below one billion short tons to 984.8 million short tons in 2013 from 1,016.5 million short tons in 2012 (3.1% lower than 2012).
  • Production in the Western Region, which represented about 53.8% of total U.S. coal production in 2013, totaled 530.2 million short tons (2.4% lower than 2012).
  • U.S. coal mine productive capacity decreased 2.5% to 1,252.0 million short tons in 2013, a decrease of 32.4 million short tons compared to 2012.
  • Average number of employees at U.S. coal mines decreased 10.5% to 80,396 employees, a decrease of 9,442 employees compared to 2012.
  • U.S. coal consumption increased 4.0% to 924.8 million short tons, an increase of 35.6 million short tons. The electric power sector consumed about 92.8% of the total U.S. coal consumption in 2013.
  • Average sales price of coal from U.S. mines decreased from $39.95 per short ton in 2012 to $37.24 per short ton in 2013 (6.8% lower than 2012).
  • Total U.S. coal stocks decreased 16.1% to 200.4 million short tons, a decrease of 38.4 million short tons. Electric power sector coal stocks decreased from 185.1 million short tons at the end of 2012 to 148.0 million short tons at the end of 2013 (20.1% lower than 2012).

IRS — Accumulation and Distribution of Individual Retirement Arrangements, 2011–2012

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Accumulation and Distribution of Individual Retirement Arrangements, 2011–2012
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Twelve tables presenting statistics for taxpayers with individual retirement arrangements (six each for Tax Years 2011 and 2012) are now available. The tables are organized by adjusted gross income, age, and marital status. Information for both traditional and Roth IRAs is provided.

Hazard Alert: Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Hazard Alert: Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Every year, workers are killed or seriously injured while performing snow or ice removal from rooftops and other building structures, such as decks. OSHA has investigated 16 such serious injuries or fatalities in the past 10 years—all of which could have been prevented.

Snow removal is performed for a number of reasons, such as to prevent overloading and collapse, or for construction or repair of decking or roofs. Often workers climb directly onto the roofs or structures and use equipment such as shovels, snow rakes, snow blowers, ladders, etc. Other times these operations may be performed from the ground level using snow rakes. Aerial lifts are sometimes used to access roofs and apply de-icing materials. Snow removal operations are often performed under extreme weather conditions (e.g., cold, high winds, icy surfaces). Workers who perform these activities (for example, building maintenance workers) may have little experience or training on the hazards of such operations or work.

Workers performing snow removal operations are exposed to many serious hazards. Based on the findings of OSHA investigations falls cause the most worker fatalities and injuries during rooftop snow removal. Workers may fall off roof edges, through skylights, and from ladders and aerial lifts. Workers may also be injured or killed by a roof collapse.

See also: Working in a Winter Wonderland: 4 Things to Know in the Snow

Offshoring, Low-Skilled Immigration, and Labor Market Polarization

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Offshoring, Low-Skilled Immigration, and Labor Market Polarization
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

During the last three decades, jobs in the middle of the skill distribution disappeared, and employment expanded for high- and low-skill occupations. Real wages did not follow the same pattern. Although earnings for the high-skill occupations increased robustly, wages for both low- and middle-skill workers remained subdued. We attribute this outcome to the rise in offshoring and low-skilled immigration, and we develop a three-country stochastic growth model to rationalize this outcome. In the model, the increase in offshoring negatively affects the middle-skill occupations but benefits the high-skill ones, which in turn boosts aggregate productivity. As the income of high-skill occupations rises, so does the demand for services provided by low-skill workers. However, low-skill wages remain depressed as a result of the surge in unskilled immigration. Native workers react to immigration by upgrading the skill content of their labor tasks as they invest in training.

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