After declining in the wake of the recession, workers' compensation benefits paid to injured workers and costs borne by employers increased in 2011 as the U.S. economy continued to recover, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).
Total benefits rose by 3.5 percent to $60.2 billion. The benefits include a 4.5 percent rise in medical care spending to $29.9 billion and a 2.6 percent rise in wage replacement benefits to $30.3 billion. Total costs to employers rose by 7.1 percent to $77.1 billion.
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to the administration's decisions to finalize two new employment rules despite federal data indicating no need for the new measures:
"The administration's decision to finalize two new oppressive employment regulations for federal contractors forces us to object to measures whose goals we support and objectives our members already meet. That is because these rules will force federal contractors to spend an estimated $6 billion a year to produce reams of new paperwork proving they are doing what the federal government already knows they are doing.
About 1 in 5 Households Experience Hardships in Meeting Basic Needs, Census Bureau Reports
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2011, 22 percent of households experienced one or more possible "hardships" in fulfilling their basic needs in the previous 12 months. These hardships included difficulty meeting essential expenses, not paying rent or mortgage, getting evicted, not paying utilities, having utilities or phone service cut off, not seeing a doctor or dentist when needed or not always having enough food. Among all households, 9 percent experienced exactly one of them, 7 percent experienced two of the hardships and 6 percent endured three or more.
A new U.S. Census Bureau report shows that the number of households with children under 18 who had at least one unemployed parent rose by 33 percent, from 2.4 million to 3.2 million, between 2005 and 2011. In some states, the rise was much sharper.
The statistics come from America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, a report using data from the American Community Survey and Current Population Survey.
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, college enrollment in fall 2012 plunged by half a million (467,000) from one year earlier. This decline, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment, follows a period of substantial growth, 3.2 million, between 2006 and 2011.
These statistics come from School Enrollment: 2012.
The issue of greatest concern to small businesses in the US is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). With 49 percent of respondents in the US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Outlook Survey, naming it as their biggest worry, "it's the highest level of concern we have seen," Montana Chamber of Commerce Webb Brown told attendees of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research's mid-year economic outlook up-date.
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