A distinctly American phenomenon: Our workforce is dying faster than any other wealthy country, study shows
The engine that powers the world’s most potent economy is dying at a worrisome pace, a “distinctly American phenomenon’’ with no easily discernible cause or simple solution.
Those are some of the conclusions from a comprehensive new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University showing that mortality rates for U.S. adults ages 25-64 continue to increase, driving down the general population’s life expectancy for at least three consecutive years.
The report, “Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017,’’ was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study paints a bleak picture of a workforce plagued by drug overdoses, suicides and organ-system diseases while grappling with economic stresses.
“This looks like an excellent paper – just what we needed to help unravel the overall decline in life expectancy in the U.S.,’’ said Eileen Crimmins, an associate dean at the University of Southern California who’s an expert on the link between health and socioeconomic factors.
In a trend that cuts across racial and ethnic boundaries, the U.S. has the worst midlife mortality rate among 17 high-income countries despite leading the world in per-capita spending on health care.
And while life expectancy in those other industrialized nations continues to inch up, it has been going in the opposite direction in America, decreasing from a peak of 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 in 2017, the last year covered by the report.
By comparison, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, the average longevity in similar countries is 82.2 years. Japan’s is 84.1, France’s 82.4 and Canada’s 81.9. They left the U.S. behind in the 1980s and increased the distance as the rate of progress in this country diminished and eventually halted in 2011.
Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the VCU Center on Society and Health and the study’s lead author, said the reasons for the decline go well beyond the lack of universal health care in the U.S. – in contrast with those other nations – although that’s a factor.
“It would be easier if we could blame this whole trend on one problem, like guns or obesity or the opioid epidemic, all of which distinguish the U.S. from the other countries,’’ Woolf told USA TODAY. “But we found increases in death rates across 35 causes of death.’’
They were most pronounced in the industrial Midwest, the 13 Appalachian states and upper New England, which Woolf attributed partly to the decline in manufacturing jobs and the opioid epidemic.
Of the top 10 states with the highest number of excess deaths in the 25-64 age range – meaning deaths above projections based on U.S. mortality rates – eight were in the Rust Belt or Appalachia. Half of the excess deaths were concentrated in the latter region.
The Ohio Valley – comprising Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania – accounted for one-third.
Some of the other numbers mined by the study, based on data compiled by the U.S. Mortality Database and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are staggering:
Between 1999 and 2017, midlife mortality from drug overdoses spiked by 386.5%.
In that same age group and time period, deaths from hypertensive diseases increased by 78.9%, and those linked to obesity by 114%.
Suicides rose by 38% and climbed 55.9% among those ages 55-64.
Those are a lot of lives snuffed out in prime years, a long-range threat to an economy that ranks No. 1 globally in gross domestic product.
“Not only are employers more likely to see premature deaths in their workers, but also greater illness rates and greater disability, and that puts U.S. businesses at a disadvantage against businesses in other countries that have a healthier and more productive workforce,’’ Woolf said, adding that employers here are already saddled with high health care costs.
US mortality rate ‘root causes’ include lack of education and living wages
The report showed mortality rates among those younger than 25 and older than 64 have decreased. That might point a finger at the country’s dysfunctional health care system for working adults, because many in those other age groups can be covered by either the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicare.
Woolf disputes that notion, saying only 10% to 20% of health outcomes can be attributed to medical care. He said the bigger culprit is a lack of social programs and support systems more common in other wealthy countries for when working families run into difficult times.
Those rough spells, often associated with a job loss, can lead to the kind of unhealthy behaviors – drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, overeating, suicide attempts – that result in what have become known as “deaths of despair.’’
Woolf said a noticeable increase in those is yet another indication of the seriousness of the problem the U.S. faces, one he said will require investment from the public and private sectors to address.
Even if Americans were to reverse their recent backward trend, one estimate says that at its rate of longevity growth from the past several years it would take the U.S. more than 100 years to catch up to the average life expectancy other wealthy countries reached by 2016.
“We’re making a huge mistake if we don’t step back and look at the root causes,’’ Woolf said, including a lack of educational opportunities and living wages among the likely causes. “The prescription for the country is we’ve got to help these people. And if we don’t, we’re literally going to pay with our lives.’’
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY
The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in October, handily topping estimates even as a protracted strike was anticipated to weigh on hiring growth.
The unemployment rate held near a 50-year low, and wage increases picked up slightly.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest print on the U.S. employment situation Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus economist expectations compiled by Bloomberg:
•Change in non-farm payrolls: +128,000 vs. +85,000 expected and 180,000 in September
•Change in manufacturing payrolls: -36,000 vs. -55,000 expected and -5,000 in September
•Unemployment rate: 3.6% vs. 3.6% expected and +3.5% in September
•Average hourly earnings month-on-month: +0.2% vs. +0.3% expected and 0.0% in September
•Average hourly earnings year-on-year: +3.0% vs. +3.0% expected and 3.0% in September
The October jobs report reflected the impact of a 40-day United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against General Motors (GM), which lasted from September 16 through October 26. This extended over the survey weeks for both the BLS establishment and household surveys, which captured the calendar and pay period week, respectively, that included the 12th day of the month.
Forty-six thousand workers were counted as part of the strike, according to the BLS strike report last Friday.
However, the results of the strike had less of a dampening effect than expected on the BLS establishment survey, which includes metrics including the change in non-farm payrolls.
“Manufacturing employment decreased by 36,000 in October,” the BLS said in its October report. “Within manufacturing, employment in motor vehicles and parts declined by 42,000, reflecting strike activity.”
Consensus economists had anticipated, on net, a loss of 55,000 manufacturing payrolls, steepening sharply from a revised loss of 5,000 in September.
Navy SEALs Use These 4 Psychology Tricks to Succeed Under Extreme Pressure How do you react in moments of extreme pressure?
By Scott MautzKeynote speaker and author, ‘Find the Fire’ and ‘Make It Matter’
I was recently keynoting at a company when the presenter before me (an ex-Navy SEAL) took the stage to discuss the importance of succeeding under extreme pressure. It was a topical comment, as this particular company was about to go through an intense period. He shared an training overview video from the Navy SEALs detailing a particularly onerous part of their training–what’s known as the underwater competency test.
It’s a test most SEAL trainees fail on their first attempt, and it features an exercise partially shown in the video, where instructors “attack” scuba-geared trainees underwater, tying knots in their air hoses, ripping masks off their faces, and causing general mayhem. It’s intended to help the SEALs be ready for any underwater situation. A 2009 History Channel program entitled The Brain first detailed this specific exercise, an exercise that only 25 percent of Navy seals were passing.
Until the Navy injected psychology and brain science.
Because so many recruits were failing the extreme underwater test, even with four attempts to pass, the Navy sought help from psychologists and devised what one instructor (who was featured on The Brain) called “The Big Four”: four psychology-based methods the SEALs could employ to help them get through the intense situation successfully, without panicking and coming up for air before the 20-minute session was completed. Pass rates for the training increased from 25 percent to 33 percent.
The four methods are powerful for anyone who has to weather a high-pressure situation.
1. Goal setting.
Specifically, setting goals in very small increments, then tackling one goal at a time. One former SEAL said this was the approach he took for the entire intense training period–make it to lunch that day, then the next goal was to make it to dinner.
I used this technique regularly in my corporate days when it came to achieving extremely difficult, pressure-laden goals. I’d break a big goal into a series of micro-goals. Then, when I was in the midst of the highest-pressure parts, I’d leverage achievement of the previous micro-goal to give me a boost of confidence and energy to attack the next one.
2. Mental rehearsal.
This is also called visualization, working at something over and over until it comes naturally and so that it’s easier under extreme duress. The Navy SEALs want their candidates to succeed in a real-world, terrifying, underwater situation, so they make them practice being under duress, without oxygen, to learn to fight one of the most fundamental human fears–drowning.
Now, giving a keynote is hardly this stressful, but it is definitely a high-stakes situation. The No. 1 thing I do to lower the stress levels of any keynote and to better enable me to succeed is mental rehearsal. I practice the keynote over and over until it feels second nature. I visualize the audience engrossed in what I’m saying, taking notes, or any number of other positive visual cues.
When you do enough mental rehearsal, muscle memory kicks in and you don’t have to concentrate on trying to remember what you were going to say. Instead, you’re freed up to focus on putting energy and passion into your performance. It’s this simple–you want the brain prepared and familiar with the high-pressure situation you’re going to be in. Familiarity nets flourishing.
Our brains can quickly take us into very unhelpful places when we’re panicking. Imagine the conversation you’re having with yourself when you’re 15 feet underwater and your air hose is knotted in three places. But the SEALs ae taught to recognize that we speak 300-1,000 words to ourselves a minute and so it’s about changing the nature and tone of those words.
I’ve found in high-stress situations it’s more important than ever to omit tones of panic and catastrophizing and replace them with a more focused, “let’s just do what needs to be done right now” dialogue.
4. Stay calm.
It’s important to stay cool and to specifically focus on your breathing. I would imagine it’s hard to focus on your breathing when you’re underwater and you can’t, but when coupled with the ability to stay calm, it’s a powerful duo.
I can’t say I get nervous anymore, even before a keynote to thousands of people (see point No. 2 above). But just to be sure, two minutes before I go onstage you can find me focusing on reaching a calm, centered state, and breathing slowly, aware of each breath and exhaling slowly.
Staying calm in any tense situation is easier said than done, but I can tell you first-hand, with practice, it really is a habit you can learn.
So use the combination of Navy SEAL toughness and psychology to succeed in any tension-laden scenario.
Published on: Sep 23, 2019
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Companies with more women in leadership positions are likely to experience better financial performance, according to the CEO of non-profit organization Women Who Code.
Speaking to CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Friday, International Women’s Day, Alaina Percival said companies have a “fiscal responsibility” to seek a gender balance in their top ranks.
“Companies experience a higher (return on investment) when they have women represented at the board, at the executive level, and on teams in general. So really, companies have a fiscal responsibility to have balance because it’s better,” Percival said.
Her sentiment is echoed by research from New York-based index company MSCI. According to a 2015 study from the firm, companies with “strong female leadership” generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent every year, compared to 7.4 percent for companies without.
For that research, “strong” representation was defined as a company’s board having three or more women, or the board’s percentage of women exceeding the country average.
The challenge of tech
Gender balance is especially important for the tech sector, Percival said. Companies need to take “aggressive measures to adopt best practices,” she added, saying that could include equipping women with skills and knowledge required to enter the technology workforce.
“What we’re going to be seeing is every industry becomes a technology industry. Looking forward, 10, 15, 20 years from now, having a technical background and an understanding of technical knowledge will be a basic foundation that executives need to have to lead the company,” she said.
Yet even as companies are starting to see the increasing importance of equal gender representation, Percival said the message is “getting through slowly.”
“Companies understand that they need to be making change — but most companies don’t understand how to accomplish that yet,” she said. Organizations have not built up the necessary budget to really see a big change, she added.
However, Percival acknowledged that it would take time for the results to show, and for women to be well-represented in the technology sector.
“Change also takes time, because it’s not just the number of people you hire, or the way that you’re paying,” she said. “It’s also the culture inside the company and inside of society.”
Companies added 213,000 jobs this month, the ADP and Moody’s Analytics data show. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected payrolls to grow by 178,000.
The strong jobs growth comes even after the longest U.S. government shutdown in history.
“The job market weathered the government shutdown well. Despite the severe disruptions, businesses continued to add aggressively to their payrolls,” says Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics.
Private payrolls grew in January at a much faster pace than expected as the labor market shrugged off the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, according to data released Wednesday by ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
“The job market weathered the government shutdown well. Despite the severe disruptions, businesses continued to add aggressively to their payrolls,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “As long as businesses hire strongly, the economic expansion will continue on.”
Medium-sized businesses, those that employ 50 to 499 people, led the charge by adding 84,000 payrolls. Large businesses, which have at least 500 employees, expanded their head count by 66,000. Small businesses added 63,000 jobs.
The services sector contributed the lion’s share of the jobs this month, with 145,000 jobs being added. Within the services sector, jobs in professional and business services grew by 46,000 while education and health services payrolls expanded by 38,000. The goods-producing sector, which includes construction, mining and manufacturing, added 68,000 jobs.
Wednesday’s report comes two days ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. Economists expect the government’s tally to show a gain of about 168,000 jobs for January.
THE U.S. ECONOMY ADDED 304,000 NON-FARM PAYROLLS IN THE FIRST MONTH OF 2019, AHEAD OF CONSENSUS EXPECTATIONS OF 165,000
Yahoo Finance February 1, 2019
The January jobs report shows the U.S. labor market is still chugging along.
The U.S. economy added 304,000 non-farm payrolls in the first month of 2019, ahead of consensus expectations of 165,000.
December’s number, however, was revised down to 222,000 from 312,000 previously.
Nevertheless, the net gains in jobs was stronger than expected. Following Friday’s jobs report, the new three-month average for job gains in the U.S. stands at about 241,000, up from 231,000 following December’s revised reading.
The unemployment rate rose to 4.0%, largely due to the government shutdown, which had government workers identifying themselves as temporarily laid off. December’s unemployment rate was left unchanged at 3.9%. The rise in January’s unemployment rate was also due in part to an increase in the labor force participation rate, which climbed to 63.2% from 63.1% in December. January’s participation level marks the highest since 2013.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% over December and 3.2% over last year. This compares to consensus estimates of a 0.3% increase and 3.2% increase, respectively, for January average hourly earnings. In December, wage growth increased 0.4% month-over-month and 3.3% year-over-year, after revisions. Hourly earnings are closely watched as a key gauge of inflation, and January’s average month-over-month hourly wage gain represents the slowest climb since October 2017.
The strong economy continues to add jobs, while inflation continues to be very low. This gives the Fed significant flexibility to be patient with future interest rate hikes, as had been their stated approach based on their most recent policy decision earlier this week. Fed officials in their policy statement Wednesday noted that inflation pressures were “muted.”
The labor market has by-and-large been a bright spot for the U.S. economy even as concerns ratcheted up over slowing international economic growth. In its latest policy statement Wednesday, the Fed also characterized labor market conditions as “strong,” while downgrading its assessment of the broader domestic economic activity from “strong” to “solid.”
“On the heels of a strong January this is another win for the bulls, and could help keep the momentum going,” said Mike Loewengart, VP of investment strategy for E-Trade Financial Corporation. “Fundamentals are standing strong—they haven’t seen their shadow just yet.”
Strong unemployment data could also translate into solid retail sales results on Monday, Loewengart added. And larger purchases – such as home sales – could get a lift based on unemployment levels and the Fed’s indications that they may pause rate hikes.
“For now it looks like we are back in a sweet spot of strong economic fundamentals and a dovish Fed,” Loewengart said.
Many economists noted that January’s results could contain some “noise” due to impact from the 35-day partial government shutdown. For the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ establishment survey – which produces data on non-farm payrolls, earnings and hours worked – furloughed workers were counted as employed since their back pay was guaranteed.
For household survey data – including results for household employment, unemployment and labor force participation – furloughed workers who were not working for the BLS survey’s entire reference week were counted either as unemployed or temporarily laid off.
According to the BLS, the impact of the shutdown had some effect on January’s results. “Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million, edged up in January,” the BLS said in a statement. “The impact of the partial federal government shutdown contributed to the uptick in these measures. Among the unemployed, the number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000.”
However, the BLS added, “There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours and earnings from the establishment survey.”
The protracted partial government shutdown did add weight to Friday’s jobs report as it impacted the release timing of other critical economic data used to inform market participants and policymakers. A first reading of fourth-quarter gross domestic product, for instance, was due for release this week, but has been delayed since a host of data that factors into the index has not been available due to the shutdown. Recent data on personal income and spending, durable-goods orders, retail sales and housing starts have also not yet been released.