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A cohort component analysis of the 2007–2009 recession

March 21, 2014 Comments off

A cohort component analysis of the 2007–2009 recession
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

A model of employment change between 2007 and 2010 in the absence of the recession was compared with actual employment change as measured by the Current Population Survey. Not surprisingly, results show that actual employment was lower than the model predicted for all age groups; however, differences were much larger for younger workers. Full-time employment was much lower than the model predicted, while part-time employment was much higher. Actual employment change varied widely among occupation and industry groups, but nearly all groups had employment that was lower than the model predicted.

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National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS): 2012 Data on Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

March 21, 2014 Comments off

National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS): 2012 Data on Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities (PDF)
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This report presents results from the 2012 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), an annual census of facilities providing substance abuse treatment. Conthe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), N-SSATS is designed to collect data on the location, characteristics, and use of alcohol and drug abuse treatment facilities and services throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions. It is important to note that values in charts, narrative lists, and percentage distributions are calculated using actual raw numbers and rounded for presentation in this report; calculations using rounded values may produce different results.

Trends in Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings

  • The percentage of out-of-hospital births increased from 1.26% of U.S. births in 2011 to 1.36% in 2012, continuing an increase that began in 2004.
  • In 2012, out-of-hospital births comprised 2.05% of births to non-Hispanic white women, 0.49% to non-Hispanic black women, 0.46% to Hispanic women, 0.81% to American Indian women, and 0.54% to Asian or Pacific Islander women.
  • In 2012, out-of-hospital births comprised 3%–6% of births in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington, and between 2% and 3% of births in Delaware, Indiana, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Rhode Island (0.33%), Mississippi (0.38%), and Alabama (0.39%) had the lowest percentages of out-of-hospital births.
  • In 2012, the risk profile of out-of-hospital births was lower than for hospital births, with fewer births to teen mothers, and fewer preterm, low birthweight, and multiple births.

Atlanta Fed — Annual Report Asks: Where Are the Jobs?

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Annual Report Asks: Where Are the Jobs?
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

The Atlanta Fed in its 2013 Annual Report explores a timely and important economic question: where are the jobs?

“For most Americans the critical element of our ongoing economic recovery is employment,” says Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart in a video introduction to the report. “Since the end of the worst recession in the post–World War II era, jobs in the nation and the Southeast have been growing more slowly than in earlier recoveries.”

Combining rich text and videos, sleek infographics, and interactive charts, the annual report guides readers through the complex issues at work in the nation’s labor market. Want more information about something you just read? Related links throughout the report lead to more research and data.

The report also highlights the Atlanta Fed’s major accomplishments in 2013 and introduces readers to the Bank’s management, boards of directors, and advisory councils.

Trends in Substance Use Disorders among Males Aged 18 to 49 on Probation or Parole

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Substance Use Disorders among Males Aged 18 to 49 on Probation or Parole (PDF)
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

In 2012, an estimated 3.2 million males aged 18 to 49 were on probation, and 900,000 were on parole; the percentage of males aged 18 to 49 who reported being on probation or parole during the past 12 months remained relatively stable between 2002 and 2012 (about 5 percent).

XXRates of substance use disorders among males aged 18 to 49 on probation or parole were generally similar to rates in previous years; in 2012, 40.3 percent of male probationers and 38.3 percent of male parolees had an alcohol or illicit drug use disorder in the past year.

XXThere were few statistically significant changes in need for treatment, receipt of substance use treatment (including receipt of treatment in prison or jail), or unmet treatment need between 2002 and 2012 among male probationers and parolees aged 18 to 49.

Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

This factsheet discusses laws that require members of the clergy to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. The issue of whether a member of the clergy can claim privileged communications as a reason for not reporting also is discussed. Full-text excerpts of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.

Employment Situation of Veterans – 2013

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Employment Situation of Veterans – 2013
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001–a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans–edged down to 9.0 percent in 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent. Twenty-nine percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2013, compared with 15 percent of all veterans.

Government Involvement in Residential Mortgage Markets

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Government Involvement in Residential Mortgage Markets
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

With the federal funds rate effectively at the zero lower bound, the Federal Reserve has used unconventional forms of monetary policy. Specifically, the central bank has issued forward guidance about the policy path and purchased large amounts of U.S. Treasury bonds and agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in an effort to lower long-term interest rates. In the case of agency MBS purchases, a goal was to stimulate the housing market by lowering mortgage rates. Two papers presented at the recent Atlanta Fed/University of North Carolina—Charlotte conference, “Government Involvement in Residential Mortgage Markets,” examine the extent to which the Federal Reserve has been successful.

New From the GAO

March 20, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

General Services Administration: GSA Should Clarify Its Reporting Exemption and Collect Additional Data on Executives’ Use of Aircraft for Nonmission Purposes. GAO-14-151, February 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-151
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661253.pdf

Postal Service Knowledge Management Process: Audit Report

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Postal Service Knowledge Management Process: Audit Report
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

BACKGROUND:
As a result of downsizing in response to declining mail volume and the retirement eligibility of about 31 percent of its workforce (152,000 employees), the U.S. Postal Service is at risk of losing the extensive knowledge required to manage its vast operations. The Postal Service had annual revenue of about $67.3 billion, delivered over 158 billion mailpieces, and managed over 31,700 retail locations in fiscal year (FY) 2013. It also operates one of the largest information technology infrastructures in the world, with an inventory of 795 computer applications. It spent at least $59 million on 49 contracts for studies or consulting services during FYs 2011 through 2013.

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s knowledge management practices, systems, roles, and responsibilities. Accordingly, we compared Postal Service knowledge management processes with eight organizations to identify best practices the Postal Service might adopt to optimize its resources and efforts.

WHAT THE OIG FOUND:
The Postal Service does not have a comprehensive knowledge management policy or process or a chief knowledge officer to ensure that knowledge sharing is systematic and collaborative. Although not well-defined, there are knowledge management elements within several Postal Service systems to capture some tacit and explicit knowledge. In addition, we could not find any of the 49 studies or consultant reports in the Postal Service Headquarters library where they could be shared among all postal departments, as required by policy.

A comprehensive Postal Service knowledge management process would enable management to leverage information from throughout the organization for strategic decision- making and new initiatives. In the near term, knowledge management activities would also mitigate the possible loss of extensive tacit knowledge due to anticipated Postal Service downsizing and the retirement eligibility of about 31 percent of its workforce.

WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:
We recommended the vice president, Employee Resource Management, develop a comprehensive Postal Service knowledge management strategy. We also recommended the Postal Service join the Federal Knowledge Management Working Group, which has experts to assist, inform, and support development and implementation of a comprehensive knowledge management strategy.

USPS OIG — Officers’ Travel and Representation Expenses for Fiscal Year 2013: Audit Report

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Officers’ Travel and Representation Expenses for Fiscal Year 2013: Audit Report
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

Officers’ travel and representation expenses totaling about $771,000 were properly supported; however, the officers did not always comply with Handbook F-15, Travel and Relocation, which requires that all employees, including officers, adhere to the General Services Administration’s published lodging rates or justify why they chose lodging rates that exceeded the published rates. The Officers’ Travel and Representation Expense Guidelines does not reference this portion of Handbook F-15 or otherwise make it clear that officers should adhere to the General Services Administration’s rates. Rather, officers are directed to “shop around for the best possible rate.”

We identified 13 of 60 travel reimbursements filed by 11 officers where lodging costs were between 108 and 239 percent of the published General Services Administration’s lodging rate for the area, totaling about $1,200 in extra costs.

Value of U.S. Mineral Production Decreased in 2013

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Value of U.S. Mineral Production Decreased in 2013
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Last year, the estimated value of mineral production in the U.S. was $74.3 billion, a slight decrease from $75.8 billion in 2012. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s annual Mineral Commodity Summaries 2014 report, the 2013 decrease follows three consecutive years of increases. Net U.S. exports of mineral raw materials and old scrap contributed an additional $15.8 billion to the U.S. economy.

“To put this in context, the $90.1 billion value of combined mined, exported, and recycled raw materials is more than five times greater than the 2013 combined net revenues of Internet titans: Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo. This illustrates the fundamental importance of mineral resources to the nation’s economy, technology, and national security,” said Larry Meinert, USGS Mineral Resources Program Coordinator.

Minerals remain fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product at several levels, including mining, processing, and manufacturing finished products. The U.S. continues to rely on foreign sources for raw and processed mineral materials.

This annual USGS report is the original source of mineral production data for the world. It includes statistics on about 90 mineral commodities essential to the U.S. economy and national security, and addresses events, trends, and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries.

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (PDF Booklet) (2014)

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (PDF Booklet) (2014)
Source: National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative information on the some of the questions that continue to be asked.

Climate Change makes clear what is well-established and where understanding is still developing. It echoes and builds upon the long history of climate-related work from both national academies, as well as on the newest climate-change assessment from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It touches on current areas of active debate and ongoing research, such as the link between ocean heat content and the rate of warming.

New From the GAO

March 19, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Whistleblower Protection Program: Opportunities Exist for OSHA and DOT to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms. GAO-14-286, March 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-286
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661769.pdf

CRS — Whether Logging Road Runoff Requires a Clean Water Act Permit: Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Whether Logging Road Runoff Requires a Clean Water Act Permit: Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

U.S. forests are crisscrossed by thousands of miles of logging roads. When it rains or snow melts, runoff from these roads can be environmentally harmful, so how to address this runoff under the Clean Water Act (CWA) has long been an issue.

On March 20, 2013, the Supreme Court in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center addressed one aspect of this issue: logging road runoff that is discharged into CWA-covered waters from ditches, culverts, or other channels. Such conveyances arguably make the runoff a “point source” under the CWA, which normally means that a permit under the act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is required. Special CWA provisions, however, exempt stormwater runoff, unless, as relevant here, it is “associated with industrial activity.” In Decker, the Supreme Court upheld 7-1 EPA’s long-standing reading of its Industrial Stormwater Rule that logging road runoff, even if channeled, is not “associated with industrial activity” and so does not require a NPDES permit. This reversed the Ninth Circuit and affirmed EPA’s view that logging road runoff is subject only to a requirement of best management practices.

CRS — Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2015

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2015 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)
Chart

CRS — Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990 (updated)

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report, updated as warranted, discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan, or Republic of China (ROC), including policy issues for Congress and legislation. Congress has oversight of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), P.L. 96-8, which has governed arms sales to Taiwan since 1979, when the United States recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) instead of the ROC. Two other relevant parts of the “one China” policy are the August 17, 1982, U.S.-PRC Joint Communique and the “Six Assurances” to Taiwan. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have been significant. The United States also expanded military ties with Taiwan after the PRC’s missile firings in 1995-1996. However, the U.S.-ROC Mutual Defense Treaty terminated in 1979.

CRS — The Berry Amendment: Requiring Defense Procurement to Come from Domestic Sources (updated)

March 19, 2014 Comments off

The Berry Amendment: Requiring Defense Procurement to Come from Domestic Sources (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report examines the original intent and purpose of the Berry Amendment and legislative proposals to amend the application of domestic source restrictions, as well as potential options for Congress. In order to protect the U.S. industrial base during periods of adversity and war, Congress passed domestic source restrictions as part of the 1941 Fifth Supplemental Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act. These provisions later became known as the Berry Amendment. The Berry Amendment (Title 10 United States Code [U.S.C.] §2533a, Requirement to Buy Certain Articles from American Sources; Exceptions) contains a number of domestic source restrictions that prohibit DOD from acquiring food, clothing (including military uniforms), fabrics (including ballistic fibers), stainless steel, and hand or measuring tools that are not grown or produced in the United States. The Berry Amendment applies to DOD purchases only.

CRS — The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues

March 19, 2014 Comments off

The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Military Order (M.O.) pertaining to the detention, treatment, and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism. Military commissions pursuant to the M.O. began in November 2004 against four persons declared eligible for trial, but the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld invalidated the military commissions as improper under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). To permit military commissions to go forward, Congress approved the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), conferring authority to promulgate rules that depart from the strictures of the UCMJ and possibly U.S. international obligations. Military commissions proceedings were reinstated and resulted in three convictions under the Bush Administration.

Upon taking office in 2009, President Obama temporarily halted military commissions to review their procedures as well as the detention program at Guantánamo Bay in general, pledging to close the prison facilities there by January 2010, a deadline that passed unmet. One case was moved to a federal district court.

This report provides a background and analysis comparing military commissions as envisioned under the revised MCA to those established by the MCA 2006. After reviewing the history of the implementation of military commissions in the armed conflict against Al Qaeda and associated forces, the report provides an overview of the procedural safeguards provided in the MCA. Finally, the report provides two charts comparing the MCA as amended by the MCA 2009 to the original MCA enacted in 2006 and to general courts-martial. The first chart describes the composition and powers of the military tribunals, as well as their jurisdiction. The second chart, which compares procedural safeguards in courts-martial to the MCA as enacted and as amended, follows the same order and format used in CRS Report RL31262, Selected Procedural Safeguards in Federal, Military, and International Courts, as well as CRS Report R40932, Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court, both by Jennifer K. Elsea, to facilitate comparison with safeguards provided in federal court and international criminal tribunals.

CRS — Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses (updated)

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A priority of Obama Administration policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. Well before Iran’s nuclear issue rose to the forefront of U.S. concerns about Iran in 2003, the United States had seen Iran’s support for regional militant groups, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, as efforts to undermine U.S. interests and allies. To implement U.S. policy, the Obama Administration has orchestrated broad international economic pressure on Iran to try to compel it to verifiably demonstrate to the international community that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. That pressure harmed Iran’s economy, created Iranian domestic sentiment for a negotiated nuclear settlement that would produce an easing of international sanctions, and paved the way for the June 2013 election of the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran. Three rounds of subsequent multilateral talks with Iran achieved a November 24, 2013, interim agreement (“Joint Plan of Action”) that halts the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for modest and temporary sanctions relief. Subsequent negotiations led to a decision to implement the JPA beginning January 20, 2014, and that mutual implementation has proceeded as planned. A framework for talks on the permanent resolution were agreed between Iran and the six negotiating powers on February 20, 2014.

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