Archive for December, 2011

Monthly Labor Review — December 2011

December 31, 2011 Comments off

Monthly Labor Review — December 2011
Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics


Employment growth by size class: comparing firm and establishment data
Sherry Dalton, Erik Friesenhahn, James Spletzer, and David Talan
Full text in PDF

Estimating an energy consumer price index from establishment survey data
Janice Lent
Full text in PDF


Monthly Labor Review, December 2011
Entire December 2011 MLR
in one PDF file (6.2 M)

What’s Ahead for Transportation in 2012?

December 31, 2011 Comments off
Source:  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

In the calm between the holidays, it’s time to consider what lies ahead in the new year for the transportation community – federal and state legislators, state departments of transportation, and the transportation industry at large. Many of these issues mirror the challenges facing the entire nation: job creation, funding shortfalls, integrating new technology into older systems, aging infrastructure.

From its vantage point as the voice of transportation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials offers this look at the top 10 issues that will be talked, written, or tweeted about and legislated in the year ahead.

Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems: 3rd Quarter 2011

December 31, 2011 Comments off
Source:  U.S. Census Bureau

This quarterly survey provides national summary statistics on the revenues, expenditures and composition of assets of the 100 largest state and local public employee retirement systems in the United States. These 100 systems comprise 89.4 percent of financial activity among such entities, based on the 2007 Census of Governments. This survey presents the most current statistics about investment decisions by state and local public employee retirement systems, which are among the largest types of institutional investors in the U.S. financial markets. These statistical tables are published three months after each calendar quarter and show national financial transactions and trends for the past five years. Internet address: <>.

Capital Punishment, 2010 – Statistical Tables

December 31, 2011 Comments off

Capital Punishment, 2010 – Statistical Tables
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2010, and persons executed in 2010. Preliminary data on executions by states during 2011 are included. Tables present state-by-state information on the movement of prisoners into and out of death sentence status during 2010, status of capital statutes, and methods of execution. Tables also summarize data on offender characteristics, such as sex, race, Hispanic origin, and time between death sentence and execution. Data are from the National Prisoner Statistics (NPS-8) series.

Highlights include the following:

  • At yearend 2010, 36 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons held 3,158 inmates under sentence of death, 15 fewer inmates than at yearend 2009.
  • Between January 1 and December 19, 2011, 13 states executed 43 inmates, which was 3 fewer than the number executed as of the same date in 2010.
  • During 2010, 119 inmates were removed from under sentence: 46 were executed, 20 died by means other than execution, and 53 were removed as a result of sentences or convictions overturned or commutations of sentences.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Five Key Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean from the Great Recession

December 31, 2011 Comments off

Five Key Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean from the Great Recession

Source:  World Bank

As 2011 comes to a close, the global economy is facing yet another economic slowdown. Based on household survey data from 2010 and labor market indicators through the third quarter of 2011, the World Bank draws key lessons from the impact of the Great Recession of 2008/2009 and the quick recovery on Latin America and the Caribbean’s poor and explores their implications for poverty reduction in the region going forward.

According to the new brief, On the Edge of Uncertainty: Poverty Reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean during the Great Recession and Beyond, even during the recession Latin America managed to reduce poverty levels. Then, as it quickly rebounded in 2010, poverty dropped even faster — by 12.6 million — and continued to decline throughout 2011. Today, we can safely say that moderate poverty in Latin America has dropped by 73 million since 2003.

On the Edge of Uncertainty: Poverty Reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean (PDF)

Little Change in Public’s Response to ‘Capitalism,’ ‘Socialism’

December 30, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have focused public attention on what organizers see as the excesses of America’s free market system, but perceptions of capitalism – and even of socialism – have changed little since early 2010 despite the recent tumult.

The American public’s take on capitalism remains mixed, with just slightly more saying they have a positive (50%) than a negative (40%) reaction to the term. That’s largely unchanged from a 52% to 37% balance of opinion in April 2010.

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction. Those numbers are little changed from when the question was last asked in April 2010.

Of these terms, socialism is the more politically polarizing – the reaction is almost universally negative among conservatives, while generally positive among liberals. While there are substantial differences in how liberals and conservatives think of capitalism, the gaps are far narrower. Most notably, liberal Democrats and Occupy Wall Street supporters are as likely to view capitalism positively as negatively. And even among conservative Republicans and Tea Party supporters there is a significant minority who react negatively to capitalism.

Full Report (PDF)

Questionable Billing Patterns of Portable X-Ray Suppliers

December 30, 2011 Comments off
Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
Twenty portable x-ray suppliers exhibited questionable billing patterns according to criteria we established. In addition, Medicare paid approximately $12.8 million for return trips to nursing facilities on a single day and, contrary to Federal regulations, Medicare paid approximately $6.6 million for services ordered by nonphysicians (which are not covered).
Medicare paid approximately $225 million for x-rays of the extremities, pelvis, spine, skull, chest, and abdomen rendered in 2009 by portable x-ray suppliers. Portable x-ray suppliers are entities that furnish x-rays at a beneficiary’s location using mobile diagnostic equipment. Medicare pays portable x-ray suppliers separately for the transportation and setup of the mobile equipment in addition to the administration of the test and interpretation of the results. Pursuant to Federal regulations, portable x-rays must be ordered by a licensed physician. We used 2008 and 2009 Medicare claims data, nursing home stay data, and provider enrollment data to examine portable x-ray suppliers’ billing patterns and to identify individual claims that may warrant further review.
We identified 20 suppliers with billing patterns that met our criteria for questionable billing patterns. We also found that Medicare paid approximately $12.8 million for return trips to nursing facilities on a single day. Lastly, contrary to Federal regulations, Medicare paid approximately $6.6 million for services ordered by nonphysicians.
We recommend that CMS:
(1) Take appropriate action on portable x-ray suppliers referred by OIG,
(2) Establish a process to periodically identify portable x-ray suppliers that merit greater scrutiny and follow up as appropriate,
(3) Determine what portion of the $12.8 million it paid for return trips in 2009 actually reimbursed suppliers for incorrectly billed transportation component claims and collect any overpayments,
(4) Collect the $6.6 million in overpayments it made for portable x-ray services rendered in 2009 that were ordered by nonphysicians, and
(5) Implement procedures to ensure that it pays for portable x-ray services only when they are ordered by a physician and establish appropriate controls.
CMS concurred with our recommendations.