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Work Less, Live Longer

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Recent evidence continues to mount that the job recovery in the U.S. is indeed slowing: on Thursday, we learned that initial weekly jobless claims jumped by 16,000 to cross back over the 500,000 barrier. The four-week average, used to smooth out volatility in the data, moved to 482,500, the highest since December. (HT: Markman Capital Insight)

But, as Monty Python reminds us, it’s important to always look on bright side of life: the BLS this week released its annual report on "Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2009" with the following highlights:

1. A preliminary total of 4,340 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2009, down from a final count of 5,214 fatal work injuries in 2008. The 2009 total represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program was first conducted in 1992.

2. Economic factors played a major role in the fatal work injury decrease in 2009. Total hours worked fell by 6 percent in 2009 following a 1 percent decline in 2008, and some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of fatal work injuries, such as construction, experienced even larger declines in employment or hours worked.

3. Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined by 16 percent in 2009 following the decline of 19 percent in 2008.

4. Of the 4,340 occupational fatalities in 2009, male deaths represented 92.9% of the total (4,021) and female deaths represented 7.1% (309) of the total.  Expressed as a ratio, there were more than 13 male deaths in 2009 for every female death in 2009. (HT: Carpe Diem)

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.