Last week, the Department of Justice announced it would be seeking to reduce and eventually end the practice of using privately operated prisons. In a memo to the Bureau of Federal Prisons, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explains that about a decade ago, the Bureau began contracting with privately operated correctional institutions to handle a fast increasing federal prison population. Now, however, the prison population has started to decline.
Over the past 20 years, violent crime* has decreased considerably – down 35 percent from 1995. The violent crime rate (number of violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants) fell precipitously over this period, from 684.5 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants to 365.5 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2014, there were about 1.2 million violent crimes nationwide; in 1995 there were 1.8 million, despite the fact that the U.S. population grew by approximately 21 percent over this period.
In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans. Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions. Despite the risks, many drivers admit to distracted driving and the problem is particularly pervasive for young drivers.
The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country and that has a big impact on jobs in the health care field. Employment in the health care field has grown significantly in recent years and will likely continue to grow at a strong pace in the next decade.
In 2015, the U.S. exported over $56 billion in merchandise to the United Kingdom. That represents nearly 4 percent of all U.S. exports and makes the U.K. the fifth largest export market for the U.S. After
hitting a 10-year low in 2013, exports have been on the rise to the U.K. for the past two years, but recent political developments could put those gains at risk.
In May 2016, most states – 44 – saw nonfarm payroll employment grow over the previous year. Employment in five states (Florida, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington) grew by more than 3 percent. In six states (Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming) year-over-year employment declined. Employment declined the most in North Dakota and Wyoming, each falling by more than 3 percent. Across all states and the District of Columbia, employment grew by 2.4 million (1.7 percent) from May 2015 to May 2016.
Researchers and politicians often say that small businesses are the economic engine of the U.S. economy – that these businesses are the job creators. While small businesses (generally defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees) are certainly integral to economic prosperity – they make up about half of all private sector employment – it is the age of the business, not the size, which often drives job creation.
Governors’ salaries in 2016 range from a low of $70,000 to a high of $190,823 with an average salary of $137,415. Maine Gov. Paul LePage earns the lowest gubernatorial salary at an annual rate of $70,000, followed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who earns $90,000 per year. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has the highest gubernatorial salary at $190,823, followed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s salary of $187,500 per year, although Haslam returns his salary to the state. Governors in four states—Alabama, Florida, Illinois and Tennessee—do not accept a paycheck or return all or nearly all of their salaries to the state.
On July 1, 2016 the minimum wage increased in Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The total number of states with a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25/hour is 29, ranging from $7.50 in New Mexico and Maine to a high of $10.00 in Massachusetts and California and $11.50 in the District of Columbia.