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Connecticut Economic Digest: May 2002 issue
Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2000 | Connecticut Emerging as "Hot Spot" for Bioscience and Information Technology | Occupational Profile: Home Health Aides | Agriculture Announced as State's Newest Cluster | Housing Update

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2000
By Grayson Gregory, Associate Research Analyst, DOL

Every year workers are injured or become ill in the course of their employment. These incidents result from many different causes and workplace environments. There are many different types of injuries and illnesses, and they occur to men and women of all ages, occupations, races and ethnic backgrounds.

The overall human, social, and economic toll of occupational injuries and illnesses is enormous. Accidents at the workplace claim the lives, damage the physical and psychological well being, and consume the resources of employees and their families. The resultant cost to business and the economy is in the billions of dollars.

Some injuries at work are the result of random events that are beyond anyone's control. But others can be prevented through a combination of engineering controls, protective equipment and technologies, management commitment to and investment in safety and health, enforcement of regulations, and education and training. Research into the development and application of prevention strategies for occupational injuries and illnesses must be driven by accurate data. The Connecticut Department of Labor conducts two federal-state programs in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics that produce accurate data on occupational injuries and illnesses. The data in this article are for the year 2000, the latest year for which we have data.

Nonfatal occupational injury and illness incidence rates
per 100 full-time workers, by industry division, 2000
How many injuries and illnesses occurred in 2000?
United States

A total of 5.7 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in private industry workplaces in 2000, resulting in a rate of 6.1 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. A total of 5,915 workers lost their lives due to a traumatic occupational injury in private and public sector workplaces.

Connecticut

A total of 82,700 nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in private industry workplaces in the State in 2000, resulting in a rate of 6.7 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. An additional 18,900 nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in the public sector, resulting in a rate of 12.0. A total of 55 fatal work injuries were recorded in the State in 2000.

Who is getting injured or becoming ill at work?
United States

Men accounted for 66 percent of the occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2000, slightly higher than their share of the workforce. White, non-Hispanic workers accounted for one half of the cases. Employees aged 25 to 44 years old accounted for 55 percent of the cases. Truck drivers suffered the highest number of cases, followed by non-construction laborers and nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants.

Connecticut

Mirroring the national totals, men (63 percent), white, non-Hispanic workers (50 percent), and workers aged 25 to 44 (56 percent) had the most cases in their respective categories. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants, truck drivers, police and detectives, and janitors and cleaners were the occupations suffering the most cases.

How are people getting injured or becoming ill at work?
United States

The two leading causes of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that involved days away from work in 2000 were overexertion and contact with objects and equipment, each accounting for about 27 percent of the total. Transportation incidents accounted for 43 percent of all fatal work injuries, while contact with objects and equipment (17 percent), assaults and violent acts (16 percent), and falls (12 percent) accounted for an additional 45 percent.

Connecticut

Overexertion was also the leading cause of disabling cases in the State, accounting for 28 percent of the total, followed by contact with objects and equipment (20 percent) and falls to the same level (16 percent). Transportation incidents accounted for 33 percent of all fatal work injuries, while contact with objects and equipment (29 percent), assaults and violent acts (16 percent), and falls (13 percent) accounted for an additional 58 percent.

In which industries are people getting injured or becoming ill the most?
United States

Manufacturing (9.0), construction (8.3) and agriculture, forestry, and fishing (7.1) had the highest incident rates of nonfatal injuries and illnesses of all the major industry divisions.

Connecticut

As the chart on the front page shows, state and local government (12.0), agriculture, forestry, and fishing (11.2) and construction (8.8) had the highest incident rates in the State.

How much do occupational injuries and illnesses cost?

The Connecticut Department of Labor does not attempt to identify the economic impact of injuries and illnesses. However, the National Safety Council provides estimates of the cost of workplace injuries. Wage and productivity losses include the value of wages, fringe benefits, and household production. For fatalities, the present value of after-tax wages, fringe benefits, and household production was computed using the human capital method, a procedure that incorporates data on life expectancy, employment likelihood, and mean earnings. Medical expenses include the costs of medical treatment, hospitalization, and ambulance and helicopter transport costs. Administrative expenses include the administrative cost of private and public insurance, including motor vehicle, workers' compensation and property. It also includes police and legal costs for motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle damage costs were included for work-related travel accidents. Employer costs for work injuries is an estimate of the productivity costs incurred by employers. It assumes each fatality or permanent injury, disabling injury and minor to moderate injury resulted in various lengths of disruption to productivity.

United States

The National Safety Council1 estimates that the total cost of occupational injuries was $131.2 billion for 2000. This includes wage and productivity losses of $67.6 billion, medical costs of $24.2 billion, and administrative expenses of $22.3 billion. It also includes employer costs of $11.5 billion such as the money value of time lost by workers other than those with disabling injuries, who are directly or indirectly involved in injuries, and the cost of time required to investigate injuries, write up injury reports, etc. It also includes damage to motor vehicles involved in work injuries of $2.2 billion and fire losses of $3.4 billion.

Connecticut

Using this same methodology and applying it to the number of workers in Connecticut, the total cost of occupational injuries and illnesses for 2000 was $1.6 billion. This includes wage and productivity losses of $824.4 million, medical costs of $295.1 million, administrative expenses of $271.9 million, employer costs of $140.2 million, motor vehicle damage of $26.8 million and fire losses of $41.5 million.


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Connecticut Emerging as "Hot Spot" for Bioscience and Information Technology
By Mark Prisloe, Senior Economist, DECD

On December 18, 2001, in a major public announcement at a widely attended annual "Team Connecticut" program convened in Southington, a new campaign promoting Connecticut as a high-tech "hot spot" was launched. In addition, as part of Connecticut's effort to further develop the State's bioscience industry, the creation of a top-level office within State government, including a new senior-level advisory post, was announced.

The "hot spot" campaign is the next extension of the "You Belong in Connecticut" strategy. The campaign is a partnership among the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and the BioScience and IT/Software Clusters, represented by CURE (Connecticut United for Research Excellence) and the Connecticut Technology Council's offshoot, eBizCT. The campaign will highlight the bioscience and information technology strengths of Connecticut and utilize a broad-based strategy incorporating public relations, advertising and special events.

Both bioscience and IT continue to exhibit strong growth in the State; information technology being one of the fastest growing sectors of Connecticut's economy. The BioScience Cluster economic report for 2001, released March 26, 2002, finds research and development (R&D) expenditures totaled $3.6 billion in 2001, an 18 percent increase over 2000. It is estimated that as many as 266 firms are involved in bioscience and employ nearly 16,500. Meanwhile, the IT sector represents nearly 5,000 businesses employing 74,041.

The new Office of BioScience will be housed within DECD, and was created in response to recommendations from leaders of the State's BioScience Cluster. Guided by an industry advisory board, it will facilitate the growth of existing Connecticut companies, encourage new company formation, and work to make the State's policies and programs, as well as its permitting and regulatory practices, conducive to bioscience growth, and spotlight Connecticut as a global center of bioscience through participation in projects such as BIO 2002, the largest biotechnology event in the world.

The Office of BioScience is one of the nation's first state offices devoted exclusively to providing business-development assistance to bioscience firms, distinguishing Connecticut significantly from competing states.

The bioscience industry cluster reportedly generated indirect employment of an additional 14,167 jobs, and an induced employment (because of the multiplier effect of spending) of 21,237 jobs, ultimately affecting a total of almost 52,000 jobs (chart below). Average annual bioscience employee salaries are $63,000. The top six industry sectors affected by the BioScience Cluster and its employees include services, retail, finance, transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

Taking advantage of new legislation enabling the exchange of unused tax credits for 65 percent of their face value from the State during the years 2000 and 2001, companies making R&D investments exchanged a total of $10.5 million and $6.3 million, respectively. In comparison, Connecticut biotechnology companies invested $503 million in R&D spending during the same period, nearly 30 times the amount reimbursed by the State. The exchange is a tax program believed to be a national model for the industry, and a source of capital not available to biotechnology companies only two years ago.

In addition to the growth in R&D spending, the BioScience Cluster reports expansion of occupied laboratory space in 2001 by nearly 400,000 square feet or 8 percent, to a total of 5.6 million square feet. Clinical studies investments also increased 22 percent during 2001 to nearly $512 million from $418 million in 2000. For the first time, data were collected regarding "clinical milestones." Reporting companies noted work on 25 clinical trials, a 57 percent increase from 2000. Seven new investigational drug applications (INDs) were filed in 2000 as compared with two in the previous year.

There are numerous indications of the early success of the BioScience Cluster that was officially launched in the fall of 1998 and likely to bolster the new campaign as well. Among them are the recognition last November by the highly respected Ernst & Young, LLP Biotechnology Report that ranked Connecticut seventh in the nation, relative to population, with respect to the number of biotechnology companies now operating within its borders.

In announcing the ranking, CURE noted that the report, considered to be a key reference for entrepreneurs and investors in this field, places Connecticut ahead of such states as Georgia, Florida, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Only the longer established biotechnology centers of Massachusetts, Maryland, California, North Carolina, New Jersey and Washington are ranked ahead of Connecticut.

Speaking on the report, Stephen Buckley, Jr., New England Director of Ernst & Young's Life Sciences Practice, noted the ranking is a tribute to the tremendous economic growth that recently has occurred in biotechnology in Connecticut. Between 1995 and 2001, for example, biotechnology company-related research and development expenditures grew by 139 percent according to CURE's Annual Economic Report for 2001. The CURE report also noted that biotechnology companies raised nearly $557 million in private and public capital last year despite a difficult financial environment nationally.

One reason Connecticut is gaining in prominence in the biotechnology field, Buckley observed, is that all three segments of the industry - international pharmaceutical companies, emerging biotechnology companies, and nationally known academic research institutions - are located here. This gives the State a "distinct advantage" over other states that may have only one or two of these segments.

In terms of the future, Buckley regarded the best strategy the State can follow is to continue to encourage the kind of collaboration and competition that has generated success so far. A strong supporting role for State government was also cited. Buckley credited the State for pursuing a strategy that assists early-stage companies to become established and grow, as opposed to "trying to hit home runs" by recruiting single, large companies.

Besides citing the overall progress the State is making, the Ernst & Young report also made reference to the $1.5 billion collaborative agreement reached by New Haven-based CuraGen Corporation and Bayer Corporation in West Haven last year. It noted the agreement "could be the most valuable drug discovery and development alliance ever for a biotech company."

Overall, the report noted, U.S. biotechnology companies are in "the best financial shape of their 25-year history," despite recent downturns in the public markets. Other key findings in the report included:

  • The market capitalization for the 339 publicly traded companies, calculated on June 29, 2001, declined only a modest 6 percent to $330.8 billion from its record 2000 level of $353.5 billion, despite recent market decreases.
  • Between July 1, 1999 and June 29, 2001, the AMEX Biotech Index was up 177 percent, while the AMEX Internet Index was down 39 percent.

"Biotech companies - established, emerging and start-up - are not like the dot-com shooting stars of the late 1990s," the report noted. "Now 25 years old overall, the industry is in a strong position to bridge the current downturn with its seasoned executives, accelerated scientific discoveries and continued public policymaker support."

CURE (Connecticut United for Research Excellence) is the organizational center of Connecticut's BioScience Cluster. It is a not-for-profit statewide  coalition whose more than 110 members include educational and research institutions, health related corporations (including biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies), hospitals and health care systems, professional societies, supporting agencies and businesses together with voluntary health organizations. 

In October 1998, the BioScience Cluster was the first to be formally launched. Overseen by CURE, the cluster started with $300,000 in State seed money and $700,000 from industry contributions. Currently, 93 Connecticut organizations are members of CURE. The cluster's activities so far have led to the establishment of a biotech facilities fund totaling $40 million. Administered through Connecticut Innovations, the State's technology investment arm, the fund will underwrite the development of 150,000 square feet of incubator and lab space. 

Similarly, the Information Technology Cluster was launched in October 1999 and is led by the industry-supported affiliate eBizCT, a partnership of high-technology firms, and the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC), a membership organization of Connecticut providers and users of technology committed to growing and diversifying the State's technology base.  The Council is an advocate for technology businesses, and the science, technology, business, education and public policy issues relevant to the interests of its members. The mission of the Connecticut  Technology Council is to stimulate and facilitate the growth and awareness of technology business in the State. 

Reports referenced in this article are:
2001 Gains and Future Opportunities, Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE) BioScience Cluster; http://www.curenet.org 
Focus on Fundamentals: The Biotechnology Report, 15th Annual Review, Ernst & Young LLP; http://www.ey.com

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Occupational Profile: Home Health Aides
By Wanda Izdebski, Research Assistant, DOL

Introduction

Home health aides help elderly, convalescent, or disabled persons live in their own homes instead of in a health facility. Aides do whatever is needed for patients who cannot live alone without help, and make it possible for the sick to stay at home instead of moving to a nursing home. Some help discharged hospital patients who have relatively short-term needs.

Nature of the Work

Following a doctor's treatment plan, home health aides work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physical therapist, and take care of and do house chores for the elderly and disabled.

Some typical duties of home health aides include helping patients move from bed, and helping them to bathe, dress, groom and use the toilet or bedpan. They check pulse and breathing rates; they change bandages, and they help patients take their medicine. They clean a patient's room, kitchen and bathroom, do the laundry, and change linens. Aides also shop for food, and plan and fix meals. On top of their regular duties, they give patients emotional support and teach them how to get along independently. Home health aides report changes in the patient's condition to the nurse supervisor and keep records of patient care.

Working Conditions

Most full-time aides work about 40 hours a week, but because patients often need care 24 hours a day, some aides work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. Many work part time. Aides spend many hours standing and walking, and they often face heavy workloads. Most aides work with a number of different patients, each job lasting a few hours, days, or weeks.

This occupation can offer individuals an entry into the world of work. The flexibility of night and weekend hours also provides high school and college students a chance to work during the school year. Some Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) choose to become home health aides after receiving some additional training, even though the wage is slightly lower due to the flexibility found in this occupation.

Employment and Earnings

Nationally, approximately 561,000 home health aides were employed in 2000. In Connecticut, 11,340 home health aides were employed in 2000. Most home health aides are employed by home health agencies, visiting nurse associations, social service agencies, residential care facilities, and temporary-help firms. Others work for home health departments of hospitals and nursing facilities, public health agencies and community volunteer agencies.

National average hourly earnings of home health aides were $8.71 in 2000. In Connecticut, the average hourly wage was $13.25 or $27,585 annually in 2001. Home health aides in the Hartford area report the highest average hourly wage of $13.55 and those employed in the Bridgeport area report the lowest hourly wage of $11.55 an hour (chart).

Training and Education

Home health aides in Connecticut must complete a minimum of 75 hours of mandatory training comprised of both theory and clinical practice. There are only a few schools that offer home health aide training, but some employing healthcare agencies are approved by the Connecticut Department of Public Health to offer Homemaker-Home Health Aide Training and Competency program. To find training programs in Connecticut, contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health or Connecticut Association for Home Care, Inc. at the telephone numbers listed below.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of home health aides is projected to grow faster than the average through the year 2010, due to the growing demand for home healthcare from an aging population and efforts to contain healthcare costs by moving patients out of hospitals and nursing facilities as quickly as possible. The Connecticut Association for Home Care, Inc. states, "There aren't enough home health aides to fill all the available positions. The healthcare community is fighting for employees from the same pool of people as other high demand occupations, such as cashiers and casino workers."

Numerous openings for home health aides will arise from a combination of fast growth and high replacement needs for health services occupations. Turnover is high, a reflection of modest entry requirements, low pay, high physical and emotional demands, and lack of advancement opportunities. Over 390 annual openings are anticipated in Connecticut; therefore, persons who are interested in this work and suited for it should have excellent job opportunities. Most of the openings will be in the capital and southwest areas of the State.

Sources of Additional Information

Connecticut Department of Public Health (860) 509-7400 http://www.dph.state.ct.us/
Connecticut Association for Home Care, Inc. (203) 265-9931

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Agriculture Announced as State's Newest Cluster
May 2002 Economic Digest Article

Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell, in March, announced the State's newest cluster, Connecticut's Agricultural Businesses  Cluster (CAB) at Connecticut Ag Day, at the State Capitol. The industry is made up of producers of dairy products, eggs, mushrooms, fruits and vegetables, tobacco, wine and forestry products, and also includes aquaculture, nurseries, greenhouses and florists. 

According to industry sources, the State's agriculture industry currently consists of 4,000 farms, 400,000 acres of working landscape, and 68,000 acres in Long Island Sound leased to shell fishermen. The industry as a whole employs nearly 50,000 workers, and Connecticut's agriculture market produces more than 1 billion in annual sales, with an annual impact on the State's economy of an additional $1 billion. Seventy-four percent of its products are exported out of the State each year. 

The CAB cluster is seeking to raise  the level of competitiveness and increase profitability of individual agricultural businesses while maintaining responsible stewardship of the State's natural resources. By linking businesses with government, education and economic development  organizations, the State's industry cluster initiative is dedicated to keeping Connecticut companies  and industries competitive; private sector companies share their market knowledge and expertise with the public-sector organizations, working  to identify the overall needs of their industry.

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Housing Update
March Permits On the Rise

Commissioner James F. Abromaitis of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development announced that Connecticut communities authorized 762 new housing units in March 2002, a 35.8 percent increase compared to March of 2001 when 561 units were authorized.

The Department further indicated that the 762 units permitted in March 2002 represent a 20.4 percent increase from the 633 units permitted in February 2002. The year-to-date permits are down 5.7 percent, from 2,116 through March 2001, to 1,996 through March 2002.

The Hartford Labor Market Area added 275 new housing units, an increase of 52 units compared to a year ago. Danbury led all Connecticut communities with 39 units, followed by Shelton with 29 and Southington with 26 units. From a county perspective, Fairfield County had the largest percentage gain (67.9 percent) compared to a year ago.

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Last Updated: October 6, 2005