May 26, 2016

Researchers Take a Closer Look at the Income-Life Expectancy Link

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the correlation between income and life expectancy in the U.S. from 2001-2014. Researchers found that the differences in life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of individuals were 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women. In discussing their results, the researchers highlighted the following observations:
  1. Based on the data, life expectancy continuously increases with income, i.e., “there was no dividing line above or below which higher income was not associated with higher life expectancy.”
  2. Over the course of the study, inequality in life expectancy increased. “Between 2001 and 2014, individuals in the top 5% of the income distribution gained around 3 years of life expectancy, [while] individuals in the bottom 5% experienced no gains.”
  3. Life expectancy varied significantly across regions. For example, life expectancy of individuals in the lowest income bracket quartile (25%) varied across different local areas by about four years for women and five years for men. These differences may be attributable to additional factors such as regional differences in healthcare access or air pollution. 
Click here to read the full study (free registration required).

May 25, 2016

States See Rise in Number of “Fragmented” School Districts

http://bit.ly/1sFW7TT
Governing magazine describes “fragmented” school districts as those with a very small number of students that are “prime targets for consolidation.” According to the magazine, 2013-14 federal data shows that nearly one-third of all local school districts serve only one or two public schools, and 46% of districts nationally serve fewer than 1,000 students. Many states have considered legislation to combine these types of districts to achieve budget savings.
 
Proponents of merging districts or combining their administrative duties believe that consolidation will lead to the more efficient use of limited resources. They argue that consolidation could also cut overhead costs and allow districts to offer a greater variety of subjects.

Opponents believe that smaller districts can be more efficient than larger systems because their educators perform multiple duties. Parents who fear consolidation believe that it will lead to the closing of schools and argue that parents should have the choice to keep their children in smaller schools just as they have the choice to enroll their children in charter schools.

Oklahoma’s legislature is currently considering bills addressing fragmentation. Massachusetts and New York have examples of fragmentation at the regional or metro level. To learn about various states’ approaches to this topic, visit the April issue of Governing.


May 24, 2016

Alberta, Canada Changes its Economic Development Game Plan



http://bit.ly/255GjY2
Connecticut isn’t the only jurisdiction reeling from the shock waves of volatile tax revenues. Alberta, Canada is being hammered by the economic swings of its oil and natural gas industry, one of the province’s economic mainstays. In the wake of rising unemployment, Alberta adopted last October a $178 million plan to give businesses and nonprofit organizations up to $5,000 for each new employee they hire, up to a $500,000 maximum per employer.

So after launching this program, the business community weighed in on it. “Quite frankly, businesses and industry provided us feedback,” the provincial government’s economic development and trade minister told the press, “to say ‘You know what, that isn’t quite going to give you the outcomes you’re looking for,” according to press reports cited in the State Science and Technology Institute’s April 21, 2016 SSTI Digest. So, the government changed its game plan and now concentrates its resources on diversifying its industries.

That plan is mapped out in the 2016 Alberta Jobs Plan, the centerpiece of which is a 30% tax credit for investing in small and medium-size information technology, clean technology, health technology, interactive digital media and game products, and post-production visual effects and digital animation. The credit’s price tag: $90 million over two years.

But the plan has more: $10 million in new funding for Alberta Innovates, a quasi-public agency that runs business incubators aimed at encouraging innovation and job growth. The plan also provides:
  • $25 million to support apprenticeship and training programs,
  • $25 million to spur knowledge economy innovation and growth,
  • $10 million to support the Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator Program, and
  • $10 million for promoting industrial diversification on a regional basis.

May 23, 2016

Integrated Domestic Violence Courts

OLR Report 2016-R-0012 summarizes the key elements of New York’s integrated domestic violence (IDV) court.

In an IDV court, one judge handles all cases in family, criminal, and matrimonial cases in which domestic violence is an underlying issue.  IDV courts are intended to reduce contradictory court orders and enhance services to victims and families. These courts are staffed by judges trained in many areas of law and the underlying aspects of domestic violence.

Under the New York model, IDV court judges and non-judicial staff participate in statewide training and education programs. These programs address the dynamics of domestic violence, staff roles and responsibilities, program coordination among court agencies and outside organizations, and the use of specialized computer systems.

May 20, 2016

As Speed Limits Increase, So Do Fatalities

According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), higher speed limits have caused 33,000 deaths nationwide since 1995.  The study found that each 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit resulted in a 4% increase in fatalities.  States began increasing their maximum speed limits after the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was repealed in 1995.

The act was signed by President Nixon in 1974 in response to the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries' embargo against the United States, which caused oil prices to quadruple.  The law set all national highway speed limits at 55 mph (they previously ranged from 40 mph to 80 mph) and penalized states that did not comply with the new speed limit by withholding federal funds.  The law was intended to force Americans to drive at a more fuel-efficient speed, but it also decreased the number of automobile-related fatalities.   

The IIHS study found that travel speeds increased after the act was repealed.  Researchers found that fatalities increased on rural interstates when the law was partially repealed in 1987, then on all interstates after it was repealed in its entirety.  Today, every state has a maximum speed limit over 55 mph.  Six states have 80 mph limits, and drivers in Texas can drive 85 mph on certain roads.      

May 19, 2016

The Race to Recycle CO2

There is a $20 million prize at stake from the X Prize Foundation (an organization that incentivizes scientific advancement via financial competition, which it coins ‘prize philanthropy’). The challenge is to find ways to recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) - capturing it as it is emitted from smokestacks and turning it into useful products or new fuel – by 2020.

A recent New York Times article highlighted the efforts of several groups of researchers participating in this project. One of the difficulties the researchers have is figuring out how best to split CO2 molecules, which takes a significant amount of energy. One group of scientists is trying to take CO2 and water and turn them into fuel using sunlight – as plants do via photosynthesis. Other groups are working on developing synthetic crude oil with CO2 and water and a CO2 conversion device.

May 18, 2016

PulsePoint: App Sends Alert When CPR Is Needed

PulsePoint, the subject of a recent Governing article, is an app that alerts users when someone nearby is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.  The alert is sent through local fire departments and emergency medical services agencies.  The idea behind the app is that an everyday citizen with CPR-training is likely to reach the person faster than emergency services personnel and can administer CPR until they arrive.  The app also allows users to report the locations of auto external defibrillators (AEDs), devices that work faster and are easier to use to jump start a person's heart than traditional CPR. 

Approximately 325,000 people die each year in the U.S. from sudden cardiac arrest, and about 57 percent of American adults are trained in CPR.  The American Heart association estimates that administering CPR immediately can double or even triple a person's chance of survival after suffering cardiac arrest.  

May 17, 2016

Are Healthy School Lunch Options Successful?

When schools across the nation improved the nutritional quality of lunches in the 2012-2013 school year, it left many people wondering whether the change would improve children’s eating habits.

The Pew Charitable Trusts issued a brief recently that includes results from four of multiple studies conducted.  The four studies represent those that tracked the largest number of children, and the results indicate that children have been eating healthier.  Three of the four studies measured student food consumption and the fourth evaluated the changes in the nutritional quality of the lunches students chose.

One of the studies completed by researchers from Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity compared the amount of food children consumed at 12 Connecticut schools from 2012 to 2014.  The results show an increased consumption of 12.7% for entrees, 18% for vegetables, and 2% for fruits.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health, and the University of Washington who studied the eating habits of students from selected schools in Texas, Massachusetts, and Washington also reported positive findings from their studies.


May 16, 2016

The Sale That Isn’t…

Consumer Reports recently published advice about the meaning of store discounts and how consumers should be on the lookout for retailers that are offering goods at a discount that were never sold at a higher price.  The article cites several high-profile retailers that have been accused of misleading customers by such things as using price tags with false “suggested retail prices” or basing discounts on made-up list prices.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, which the article quotes, before a store sells a good on sale, the good should be available at a list price for a “reasonably substantial period of time.” The article encourages consumers to not be swayed by retailers’ claims of big sales – look for deceptive store tags or advertisements. It also provides links to four online pricing-comparison tools for consumers to see how much other retailers charge for the same product.

By the way, have you ever wondered why the cars in Consumer Reports have Connecticut license plates?  It’s because the magazine’s auto test track is located in Colchester, CT!

May 13, 2016

Higher Education Institutions’ Definitions of Sexual Consent

OLR Report 2016-R-0006 provides each Connecticut higher education institution’s current definition of “consent” in sexual relationships and provides a source for each. Also, the report indicates whether each institution submitted a report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee in 2015 about its sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence policies as required by law.

Currently, each Connecticut public and private higher education institution defines sexual “consent” for purposes of the institution’s conduct codes and disciplinary proceedings.  Such definitions are typically found in the institution’s student conduct code or Title IX policy handbook.

Generally, each institution’s definition contains all or many of the following: (1) a basic definition of “consent,” (2) method(s) of expressing consent, (3) duration, (4) parties’ relationships, (5) revocation, (6) coercion, and (7) legal age.

Institutions may soon be required to incorporate a “yes means yes,” or affirmative consent standard, into their campus policies.  Substitute House Bill 5376, which passed in both the House and Senate, requires all Connecticut colleges and universities to use a standard of affirmative consent when determining whether sexual activity is consensual in the context of their institutional policies on sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence.  This requirement would be in place beginning with the 2016-17 academic year.

The bill defines “affirmative consent” as an active, clear, and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person. It specifies that higher education institutions are not required to adopt the bill's definition verbatim but must use a definition that has the same or a substantially similar meaning.

The governor must now decide whether to sign the bill into law.

For more information, read the full OLR report here and a summary of the bill here.


May 12, 2016

Electric Competition in Connecticut

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has just published its annual report to the legislature on the state of electric competition in Connecticut. Since shortly after the deregulation of Connecticut’s electric industry in 1998, the law has required PURA to monitor and report on the state of electric competition (CGS § 16-245x(a)). Deregulation generally allowed customers to choose among competitive offers from various licensed electric suppliers.

Public Act 14-75, among other things, required PURA to redesign the standard billing format for residential customer electric bills. This year’s report includes sample bills showing the new formats, which, according to PURA, allow customers to review future pricing policies and changes.     

The report also discusses customer complaints regarding electric suppliers. In 2015, PURA received a total of 809 complaints on electric suppliers, down from 2,161 in 2014, as shown in Figure 1.


Read the full report on PURA’s website.

May 11, 2016

Connecticut Innovations' $5 Million Investment Challenge

Connecticut Innovations (CI), a quasi-public agency that is a source of financing and support for Connecticut's innovative, growing companies, recently announced a $5 million global investment challenge called VentureClash.  Starting April 28, 2016, early-stage digital health and financial technology companies can apply for a chance to win a CI investment. 

The first-place winner will receive a $1.5 million investment, the second-place winner will receive a $1 million investment, and four runners-up will each receive a $500,000 investment.  The winners will also receive mentoring, grants, and other assistance.  First-round applications must be submitted by June 30, 2016.

To qualify, a company must:

  1. have been in business for at least 12 months;
  2. have paying customers or customers who are actively testing the applicant's product;
  3. be willing to establish a Connecticut presence; and
  4. be focused on digital health or financial technology.

The selection process will include two rounds of judging, an in-person competition at Yale University, and a four-week development and orientation program.

Read more about the challenge on CI’s website.


May 10, 2016

Youthful Offenders

OLR Report 2016-R-0067 summarizes the youthful offender laws in Connecticut.  Youthful offender laws provide a special status in adult court for cases involving minors charged with committing certain felonies when age 15 through 17.  The laws provide these cases with greater confidentiality than regular adult cases and give judges different sentencing options (CGS §§ 54-76b, et seq.).

A minor, someone charged with committing a crime when under age 18, begins his or her case in juvenile court.  If the minor is charged with committing a felony when age 15 through 17, his or her case may or must be transferred to adult court depending on the charge.  Once in adult court, the court must determine whether the minor qualifies as a "youthful offender."  To qualify, the minor cannot be charged with certain crimes (such as a class A felony) and cannot have any prior felony convictions or certain juvenile adjudications.  Even if the minor qualifies, a prosecutor can request, and the court can order, that a minor's case be moved to the regular adult criminal court docket.

If a minor is granted youthful offender status, the proceedings are private and conducted separately from adult criminal court.  Records related to the minor have greater confidentiality and the records are erased once the minor reaches age 21 if he or she has completed any required supervision or commitment from the case and has no later felony convictions.  The court also has a different list of sentencing options than those available in either adult or juvenile court. 

For more information, read the full report here.

May 9, 2016

Connecticut Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Tips for Buying Prom and Graduation Apparel

The Connecticut BBB is warning students and parents to be cautious when shopping for prom and graduation apparel online.  BBB warns that unethical sellers will switch stock garments' labels with designer labels; sell cheaply-manufactured, low-quality merchandise that looks different than the online advertisement; and ship merchandise late or not at all.

Online shoppers should take the following precautions.

  1. Check the website's reputation.  BBB business reviews contain information about the quality of the seller's products and services as well as a record of complaints and government actions against the seller.
  2. Look for hidden costs and policies.  Keep shipping and handling fees in mind and ask whether you can return the garment for a full refund.
  3. Stick with a safe payment method.  Credit cards and online payment processing services (such as PayPal) protect consumers when there is a dispute over unauthorized charges.  Debit cards do not offer the same protection.  Do not trust websites that require payment by wire transfer or prepaid gift card.
  4. Make sure you can find the seller.  The seller's website should list a physical location and a working phone number.
  5. Look for HTTPS:// along with a padlock icon in your browser's address bar.  This tells you that the website is taking precautions with its payment processing system.
Consumers who encounter a problem with an unethical seller can file a complaint with the Connecticut BBB, Federal Trade Commission, or FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center

May 6, 2016

California Law on Service Dogs and Pit Bulls

OLR Report 2016-R-0049 answers several questions about California laws pertaining to service dogs in housing and pit bulls in private homes.

The report specifically examines whether the law pertaining to service dogs references different breeds. It turns out it does not. Instead, the law prohibits denying a person with disabilities equal access to housing accommodations, other than renting a room in a single-family home, including refusing to lease or rent to someone because he or she uses a guide dog (for the visually impaired), signal dog (for the hearing impaired), or service dog (for other disabilities).  The law does not define guide dog, signal dog, or service dog based on breed.

California law does not set requirements specifically for pit bull owners. Instead, it establishes restrictions for “potentially dangerous” and “vicious” dogs as defined in the law, based on the individual dog’s conduct (Cal. Food & Agric. Code. § 31601 et seq.). If a dog is found to be potentially dangerous, it must be properly licensed and vaccinated.  When on the owner’s property, the dog must be kept indoors or in a fenced in area to prevent the dog from escaping the area and children from entering it. When the dog is off the owner’s property, a responsible adult must keep it under control on a substantial leash.  The local animal control department can destroy a vicious dog, if after due proceedings, it is determined that the dog’s release would create a significant threat to public health, safety, and welfare.

For more information, read the full report here.



May 5, 2016

CLYNK Recycling Growing in Popularity

Are you tired of having to redeem your bottle and can recyclables one by one?  Are you looking for a more streamlined process?  Maine and some New York residents already have access to one, and it’s called CLYNK.  As reported by The Daily Gazette, CLYNK recently began accepting returns at its new capital region Hannaford Supermarket in Latham, NY.  According to CLYNK’s website, CLYNK has several sites in Maine and New York, where it plans to open more this year. 

CLYNK is a Maine-based redemption company that allows consumers to bag up to 20 pounds of bottles and cans, seal it with a specific barcode tag linked to a personal account or a consumer-designated charity, and return it to a participating CLYNK supermarket. 

Consumers can sign up for a CLYNK account online at CLYNK.com or at a participating supermarket kiosk.  Once registered, a consumer receives 10 free 100% recyclable bags, 10 unique bag tags, and a key and wallet card.  When the bags are full, the consumer tags the bags and brings them to a participating supermarket where tags are scanned and the bags left at the drop center.  CLYNK processes the bags and credits the customer’s CLYNK account or the account of a charity the customer designated.   

The consumer gets the first 10 bags for free but must pay $1.75 for another 10-pack which covers manufacturing costs.  The consumer can printed additional tags at a kiosk or, if the consumer wants to donate the funds, he or she may contact a participating charity. The consumer or the charity can check account balances online or at a kiosk.  To withdraw funds, the consumer can go to a kiosk, scan his or her card, enter the pin number, and print out a payment slip, which can be applied against sales, cashed out, or electronically transferred to the designated charitable fund.  

May 4, 2016

DCP Warns Consumers and Resellers about Potentially Fatal Cedar Chest Models

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s (DCP) October 2015 press release warns consumers and resellers to immediately disable “Lane” and “Virginia Maid” brand cedar chests with lids.  The warning came in the wake of the 2014 deaths of a brother and sister who suffocated in a chest after the lid closed and automatically latched shut.    

The Lane Furniture Company, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), initially recalled 12 million chests in 1996, with subsequent recalls in 2000 and 2014.  To avoid further tragedies, DCP and CPSC conducted over 50 compliance checks at second hand stores and educated businesses on how to identify the recalled items before consumers purchase them. 

Lane recalled 12 million chests since 1996 with latches that automatically lock with the lid is closed, the article states. The company continues to offer new latches for these chests without charge. Despite past recalls, press releases, and replacement offers, approximately six million locks still need replacements according to Lane’s product safety webpage

More information can be found on the Department of Consumer Protection’s website.

May 3, 2016

The Right to an Attorney – Paying for Public Defenders

Nationally, most public defender’s offices do not have enough lawyers to appropriately handle the caseload.  In 2011 the Justice Policy Institute found that only 27% of county-based and 21% of state-based public defender’s offices had enough lawyers for the offices’ caseload. The Pew Charitable Trusts citied the institute’s findings in a recent article discussing how the problem arose and its unintended consequences.  

How did this problem arise? According to a National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers representative the article cited, state and local governments have been cutting funds for public defender offices while legislatures have simultaneously elevated many infractions from civil to criminal penalties. 

The unintended consequences of these trends can be seen in Louisiana where the Public Defender Board has been sued for putting new clients on a waiting list due to a shortage of attorneys. The unintended consequences can also be seen in Missouri, where, according to the article, the state’s public defenders spend nine hours on certain felony cases that require 47 hours of work.  The U.S. Department of Justice noted this trend, finding that because of the size of the public defender’s caseloads, defendants in St. Louis County, Missouri, were experiencing an unconstitutional denial of due process.

The article describes what appears to be a vicious cycle in which an unrepresented defendant charged with a misdemeanor, such as petty theft or marijuana possession, may end up taking a disadvantageous plea deal that results in a fine he or she cannot afford to pay, an outcome that causes him or her to end up back in jail.  The costs associated with housing people in the correctional system and the negative impact conviction has on a person’s employability are also negative outcomes of a stretched public defense system.

The Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office is attempting to address this crisis by making attorneys available to monitor misdemeanor cases, but the effectiveness of this approach is still being studied, per the article.

The full article is available below:
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2016/04/11/right-to-an-attorney-not-always-in-some-states

May 2, 2016

FDA Finalizes Rules on Food Transport

The FDA recently issued final rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) setting new requirements for the sanitary transportation of human and animal food.

As explained in this FDA fact sheet, the rules generally apply to shippers, receivers, loaders, and carriers who transport food in the U.S. by motor or rail vehicle. They also apply to shippers from other countries who ship food to the U.S. for distribution here. There are certain exemptions, such as for small companies and transportation by farms. The rules do not apply to transportation by ship or air.

The rules set requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, operations, records, training, and waivers. Businesses subject to the rules have one or two years to comply, depending on their size.

For example, the rules require:

  • vehicles and transportation equipment to be suitable and adequately cleanable for its intended use and capable of maintaining temperatures necessary to safely transport food;
  • specified safety measures, such as temperature controls and protecting food from contamination; and
  • training of carrier personnel when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible to maintain sanitary conditions during transport.
The FDA intends to publish waivers, under certain conditions, for companies who are:

  • subject to inspection under the Grade “A” Milk Safety program or
  • food establishments with valid permits issued by a state or tribal agency (such as restaurants or supermarkets), for operations in which food is relinquished to customers after transport.



April 29, 2016

The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in America

A recent Forbes article discusses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifying projections for the 20 fastest-growing jobs in the United States between 2014 and 2024. Wind turbine service technician topped the list with a projected growth rate of 108%. Occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant, physical therapist aide, and home health aide rounded out the top five with projected growth rates between 38% and 43%. 

While these jobs are estimated to experience the most growth, they don't necessarily pay well and many do not require a four-year college degree. Forbes points out that:
  1. The six jobs with the most projected growth do not require a four-year college degree.
  2. Four jobs on the list have a median wage under $30,000.
  3. Eight jobs on the list pay less than the national median wage of $54,000.
However, optometrist, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner also made the list, each having a median salary over $95,000.

Thirteen of the jobs are in the health care industry, likely due in part to the growing percentage of seniors in the population. Five jobs are related to physical and occupational therapy. 

April 28, 2016

FDA Proposes Limit on Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed a limit on the amount of inorganic arsenic permissible in infant rice cereal. Additionally, the agency recommended that (1) parents vary the starter cereals they provide their toddlers and (2) pregnant women eat a variety of grains. As noted in the New York Times, “as rice plants grow, the grain tends to absorb more arsenic than other crops.”

The FDA’s proposed limit of 100 parts per billion for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal mirrors the limit currently in place in Europe on such arsenic in rice.

According to the FDA, the proposed limit is based on a 2016 agency risk assessment, which found that “inorganic arsenic exposure in infants and pregnant women can result in a child’s decreased performance on certain developmental tests that measure learning . . . .” The agency also noted that, of 76 rice cereals sampled from retail stores, only 47% had arsenic levels that complied with the proposed limit.

The FDA will accept public comments for 90 days before finalizing the proposed guidelines.

For more information, see the full FDA risk assessment and the agency’s press release on the proposed rule.

April 27, 2016

Surge in Fentanyl-Related Deaths

According to a recent Governing article, the number of reported deaths linked to fentanyl has increased dramatically. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, in 2014 there were at least 28,000 deaths related to opioid overdoses, of which 5,554 involved fentanyl, a 79% increase from 2013. Additionally, unpublished data for the first half of 2015 indicates an even steeper increase in fentanyl-related deaths.

Fentanyl is a legal pharmaceutical used to treat severe pain. It is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.  Fentanyl is relatively cheap to produce illegally and is often mixed with heroin. Users may be unaware they are taking the drug.

A fentanyl overdose can shut down the lungs within two or three minutes. Therefore, victims are less likely to be rescued than those who overdose on other opioids. As a result of the drug’s potency, overdose victims often need multiple doses of naloxone to be revived and need immediate follow-up treatment.

Drug Enforcement Administration data has shown a twelvefold increase in law enforcement seizures of fentanyl since June 2013.

April 26, 2016

Feelin’ Young but Feelin’ Old

The Genworth Aging Experiment exhibit was on display earlier this month at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. The exhibit allows museum-goers to experience what it feels like to age. Participants can don an electronic suit that mimics many of the common ailments suffered by seniors, including muscle degeneration and limited vision and hearing. The museum then asks participants to complete a variety of everyday tasks to understand how difficult these activities become as individuals age.

Andy Newman, a reporter from the New York Times, recently took the suit for a test-drive. After 10 minutes in the suit, he reports “a remarkable amount of frustration, depression and hopelessness” associated with completing daily activities. After struggling to walk the equivalent of half a block on a treadmill, he called his parents to determine the suit’s accuracy. Could it really be that difficult to go such short distances?
My father, Aaron Newman, happens to be 85. I called him up. I described the treadmill experience and asked if that sounded about right.
“No,” he said. “It’s much worse.”
My mother, Helen Newman, who is only 84, got on the phone. I told her how the suit made me feel like nothing was worth the effort.
“That’s actually how I reacted this morning,” she said. “I got up with all my bones creaking, I staggered to the bathroom, and I said, ‘Ahh, I’ll go back to bed.’”
According to the suit’s creators, the point is to connect participants’ experience wearing the suit with their understanding towards older adults. Or, as Andy Newman puts it, wearing the suit “makes you a little less likely to lose patience and a little more likely to feel empathy with the older people in your life.” You can watch a video of the suit in action at Genworth.com’s exhibit webpage.

April 25, 2016

Job Creation by Startups and Young Companies

OLR Report 2016-R-0003 describes how startups and young companies contribute to job creation.

Research shows that startups are the primary driver of job growth in the U.S. economy and account for nearly all net new jobs in a given year.  Job creation by startups has driven net job growth in nearly every year since 1977. 

Although startups are the primary driver of net job creation in the U.S. economy, young firms contribute disproportionately to net job growth among existing firms.  Firms age one to five account for nearly two-thirds of net job creation.  While the oldest firms account for the largest share of current employment, the youngest companies account for the largest share of net job creation.

The research on new and young firms driving job growth runs counter to the commonly-held belief that small businesses drive job creation.  While early empirical research found a relationship between firm size and job creation, subsequent studies have found significant pitfalls with the studies’ supporting data, such as the lack of information on firm age. Research including data on firm age shows that it is new and young firms, which are generally also small due to their age, that drive job creation.  In fact, small, mature businesses have negative net job creation.

For more information, read the full report here.