May 2007, Vol. 130, No. 5
Labor month in review
Private compensation costs
2006 Klein Awards
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Labor month in review from past issues
The May Review
At only a few months removed, it is easy to forget that 2006 was a year in which consumer price inflation slowed from the previous year, and that the slowing was led by, of all things, energy. Todd Wilson recaps the rest of 2006’s Consumer Price Index developments in the lead article.
As we at the Bureau of Labor Statistics suspected, the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is proving to be a rich resource for researchers both within and outside of the Bureau. Rachel Krantz-Kent and Jay Stewart study the ways older Americans use their time. In the array of variables available for study, employment status has the greatest impacts on a wide variety of time use patterns, from sleep hours to social contact.
Mary Dorinda Allard, Suzanne Bianchi, Jay Stewart, and Vanessa R. Wight compare data on time spent caring for children fromATUS and from earlier time-diary studies. They find that the data are "nearly identical" when measuring child care as the primary activity, but that ATUS measures of child care as a secondary activity were far larger than those from the time diary. The differences may be attributable to differences in the way the questions were structured.
Shirley L. Porterfield and Anne E. Winkler analyze the ways time use by teenagers is influenced by the educational level of their parents. They find that hours spent on homework are highest among the children of the more highly educated, that work hours peak among the teenaged children of parents in the middle of the educational attainment spectrum, and that hours spent on extracurricular activities, hobbies, and other "traditional activities" are considerably higher in the most-educated families.
Private compensation costs
In December 2006, private industry employer compensation costs averaged $25.67 per hour worked. Wages and salaries averaged $18.11 per hour. Employer costs for legally required benefits averaged $2.20 per hour worked, insurance benefits averaged $1.92, paid leave averaged $1.76, retirement and savings averaged 94 cents, and supplemental pay averaged 75 cents. Legally required benefits include employer costs for Social Security and Medicare, Federal and State unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. For additional information, see "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation–December 2006," news release USDL 07–0453.
Labor productivity—defined as output per hour—rose in 2005 in 88 percent of the specific manufacturing industries studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Output (the production of manufactured goods) rose in 83 percent of the industries, while hours fell in 65 percent of the industries.
The share of industries with productivity increases over a longer period was even greater. From 1987 to 2005, labor productivity increased in all but one manufacturing industry. Output rose in 80 percent of the industries, while hours fell in 80 percent. Additional information is available from "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Manufacturing, 2005," news releaseUSDL 07–0561.
2006 Klein Awards
The Trustees of the Lawrence R. Klein Award announced the winners of the 2006 awards. The award for best Review article by aBLS author went to the contributors to the special issue on Hurricane Katrina (August 2006). The contributors to this issue include: Brian I. Baker, Edith Baker, Catherine D. Bowman, Bruce Boyd, Sharon P. Brown, Patrick Carey, Kristy S. Christiansen, Richard L. Clayton, Richard M. Devens, Molly Garber, Diane E. Herz, Leslie Brown Joyner, Sandra Mason, William Parks II, Edith W. Peters, Anne E. Polivka, Edwin L. Robinson, James R. Spletzer, Keith Tapscott, Allison Tarmann, Richard Tiller, Linda Unger, James White, and Linda Wohlford.
For the best article by an outside author, the trustees selected "Earnings mobility and low-wage workers" (July 2006) by Brett Theodos, a research associate at the Urban Institute, Washington,DC, and Robert Bednarzik a visiting professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Washington, DC.
The Klein Awards were established by Monthly Labor Review Editor-in-Chief, Lawrence R. Klein, upon his retirement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1968 to encourage articles that exhibit originality of ideas or method of analysis, adhere to principles of scientific inquiry, and are well written.
Communications regarding the Monthly Labor Review may be sent to the Editor-in-Chief by e-mail to email@example.com, by mail at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Room 2850, Washington, DC, 20212, or by fax to (202) 6917890.
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