The average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed toward $19,000 for a family plan this year, while the share of firms providing insurance to workers continued to edge lower, according to a major survey.
Annual premiums rose 3% to $18,764 for an employer plan in 2017, from $18,142 last year, the same rate of increase as in 2016, according to an annual poll of employers performed by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation along with the Health Research & Educational Trust, a nonprofit affiliated with the American Hospital Association.
The gap between the median income women and men make in the U.S. narrowed significantly for the first time since the recession. Men ages 15 and older employed full-time brought in a median income of $51,640 in 2016 for year-round work, compared with the $41,554 median income women made, adjusted for inflation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. This pushes the widely cited female-to-male earnings measure to 80.5%—or 81 cents for every dollar a man makes—up 0.9 percentage point from 79.6% in 2015. Median income for men declined in 2016 after years of sluggish or no growth, while women’s median pay increased slightly, boosting the earnings measure higher.
Female college students aren’t more likely than male students to take bad grades as a sign they should switch their majors – unless they’re studying male-dominated STEM subjects like computer science and physics, according to a new study. Three Georgetown University researchers – economists Adriana Kugler and Olga Ukhaneva and management professor Catherine Tinsley – wrote in a recent working paper that receiving low grades in a stereotypical male discipline where men already are overrepresented may present a potent combination of disincentives for women to continue their studies in that field.
Labor market conditions tightened further, and upward wage pressure intensified in most parts of the District. Shortages of software engineers, particularly those with experience in cloud computing, boosted wages in the technology industry. Robust labor demand in the online retail sector boosted hiring in the Seattle area. Shortages of skilled labor somewhat restricted production in the manufacturing sector. While employee levels were unchanged in the pharmaceutical industry, contacts noted that some large companies began to move some production facilities to lower cost locales outside of the District. Wages in the construction sector continued to climb due to shortages of qualified contractors. Investments in automation in the agriculture sector picked up further, as labor shortages persisted and businesses sought to increase production efficiency. Legalization of cannabis increased demand for low-skilled workers in parts of the District.
More than half a century since the Civil Rights Act became law, U.S. workers continue to experience different levels of success depending on their race. Analysis using microdata on earnings shows that black men and women earn persistently lower wages compared with their white counterparts and that these gaps cannot be fully explained by differences in age, education, job type, or location. Especially troubling is the growing unexplained portion of the divergence in earnings for blacks relative to whites.