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Winter 2002-03 Vol. 46, Number 4

Grab Bag

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Grab Bag from past issues 

Creating a future steeped in the past

You live in the present and plan for the future. Why study the past? Career options, for starters.

Earning a degree in history provides opportunities in a wide range of fields. Advocacy historians, for example, may become paralegals and lawyers, litigation support personnel, and legislative staff members. In information management, historians may work as archivists, records managers, and librarians. And historians in communications might work as writers and editors, journalists, and producers of multimedia materials.

The American Historical Association posts on its Web site several reports and essays of interest to history majors and historians. Topics range from "Redefining Historical Scholarship" to "Why Study History?" The Association also sells numerous publications. Titles include "The Constitution and Economic Change," "Ethnicity and Immigration," and "Intellectual and Cultural History." For more information, contact the Association, 400 A St. SE., Washington, DC 20003-3889; (202) 544-2422. To visit its Web site, set your browser to

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Employment and earnings: Longitudinal survey sheds light on baby boomers

Do workers during their early employment years hold more jobs, stay in those jobs for shorter periods, and experience rapid growth in earnings? They did if they’re baby boomers, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) longitudinal survey conducted between 1979 and 2000.

Among the findings were that workers born between 1957 and 1964—the latter part of the 1946-64 "baby boom" in the United States—held an average of nearly 10 jobs from ages 18 to 36. Between ages 18 and 22, workers held about 4 jobs. The number of jobs held decreased as workers got older: just over 3 for workers aged 23 to 27, fewer than 3 for those aged 28 to 32, and 2 for workers aged 33 to 36. Job changes varied by sex and race or ethnic group.

Other data show that when they were young, surveyed workers were in their jobs for shorter periods than they were as they got older. For example, about 72 percent of the jobs that workers began when they were aged 18 to 22 ended in less than a year, and 94 percent ended in fewer than 5 years. In contrast, 43 percent of the jobs begun by the workers when they were 33 to 36 years old ended in less than 1 year, with 76 percent ending in fewer than 5 years.

The survey also found that workers’ inflation-adjusted earnings increased most rapidly when they were young. Hourly earnings grew an average of nearly 7 percent per year when workers were 18 to 22 years old, slowed to about 5 percent annually from ages 23 to 27, then slipped to under 3 percent per year between ages 28 and 32. From ages 33 to 36, however, average annual wage growth increased to about 4 percent. Growth rates generally were higher for more-educated workers.

Data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of 9,964 men and women aged 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and aged 35 to 43 when interviewed most recently in 2000. Respondents were interviewed annually between 1979 and 1994 and biennially thereafter. For technical information about the survey, call (202) 691-7410. View the news release, which also includes data on labor force participation and employment promotions, online at


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Paying for grad school

You probably don’t need data to confirm that most students in graduate and first-professional degree programs receive financial aid. But if you’re interested in details about that assistance, such as the types and amounts of aid they get, the National Center for Education Statistics has them.

According to a Center study, 60 percent of all graduate and first-professional students received some type of aid—including grants, loans, assistantships, or work study—in 1999-2000. The proportion was even higher (82 percent) for those enrolled full time for a full year. Financial aid awards varied by degree program, too, with 88 percent of full-time, full-year doctoral and first-professional students receiving aid, compared with 79 percent at the master’s level.

Aid in the form of grants to full-time, full-year recipients was awarded to doctoral students in larger average amounts (about $13,400) than to either master’s ($7,600) or first-professional ($6,900) students in 1999-2000. But those first-professional students also took out larger loans, on average ($20,100), than did their counterparts at the master’s ($14,800) and doctoral ($14,100) levels.

More information about student financing and other facets of graduate and first-professional education is in the "National Postsecondary Student Aid Study," available from the National Center for Education Statistics, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20006; (202) 502-7300. See the executive summary online:

Still wondering if it’s worth the expense to earn a doctoral degree? See "Beyond supply and demand: Assessing the Ph.D. job market," elsewhere in this issue of the OOQ.

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Truckdrivers have the most lost-time injuries—again

Although it may not strike you as an unsafe occupation, truckdriver accounted for the most occupational injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2000, according to BLS data on occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. The 136,000 work-related injuries and illnesses truckdrivers experienced that year continued their streak, every year since 1993, of the highest number of such injuries and illnesses of any occupation. Truckdrivers also had the highest average number of days—9—away from work to recuperate.

The chart shows the number of injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work for the 10 occupations that accounted for nearly one-third of such cases in 2000. The good news for truckdrivers and other workers is that there has been a steady decline in the number of these cases since 1992, when the health and safety data series began. For more information about the latest data or the series, call (202) 691-6170 or visit the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program online,


Number of occupational injuries and illnesses involving time away from work
for selected occupations, 2000

Number of occupational injuries and illnesses involving time away from work for selected occupations, 2000

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: May 22, 2003