July 2017 Prosperity at Work E-Tip
Economics & Job Creation:
“THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — June 2017”
“Controlling a single brain chemical may help expand window for learning language and music”
“‘Near-zero-power’ temperature sensor could make wearables, smart devices less power-hungry'”
“Vitamin D may improve sunburn, according to new clinical trial”
“10 Reasons Why Some Candidates Fail to Land the Job”
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Economics & Job Creation:
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JUNE 2017
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June, and the unemployment
rate was little changed at 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Employment increased in health care, social assistance, financial activities,
Household Survey Data
In June, the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons,
at 7.0 million, were little changed. Since January, the unemployment rate and the
number of unemployed are down by 0.4 percentage point and 658,000, respectively. (See
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.0 percent),
adult women (4.0 percent), teenagers (13.3 percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks
(7.1 percent), Asians (3.6 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or
no change in June. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged
at 1.7 million in June and accounted for 24.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the year,
the number of long-term unemployed was down by 322,000. (See table A-12.)
The labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, changed little in June and has
shown no clear trend over the past year. The employment-population ratio (60.1 percent)
was also little changed in June and has held fairly steady thus far this year. (See
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers), at 5.3 million, changed little in June. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time
job. (See table A-8.)
In June, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by
197,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a
job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 514,000 discouraged workers in June, little
different from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking
for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million
persons marginally attached to the labor force in June had not searched for work for
reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June. Employment rose in health
care, social assistance, financial activities, and mining. Employment growth has averaged
180,000 per month thus far this year, in line with the average monthly gain of 187,000 in
2016. (See table B-1.)
In June, health care added 37,000 jobs. Employment increased in ambulatory health care
services (+26,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Health care has added an average of 24,000
jobs per month in the first half of 2017, compared with a monthly average of 32,000 jobs
Social assistance employment increased by 23,000 in June. Within the industry, employment
continued to trend up in individual and family services (+12,000) and in child day care
services (+8,000). Social assistance has added 115,000 jobs over the last 12 months.
Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in June and has grown by 169,000 over
the year. Securities, commodity contracts, and investments added 5,000 jobs over the
In June, mining employment grew by 8,000, with most of the growth in support activities
for mining (+7,000). Since a recent employment low in October 2016, mining has added
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in June (+35,000)
and has grown by 624,000 over the last 12 months.
Employment in food services and drinking places also continued on an upward trend in June
(+29,000). The industry has added 277,000 jobs over the year.
Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale
trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed
little change over the month.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to
34.5 hours in June. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours,
while overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.
(See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by
4 cents to $26.25. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 63 cents, or 2.5
percent. In June, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 4 cents to $22.03. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised up from +174,000 to
+207,000, and the change for May was revised up from +138,000 to +152,000. With these
revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 47,000 more than previously
reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and
government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of
seasonal factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 194,000 per month.
“Controlling a single brain chemical may help expand window for learning language and music”
Learning language or music is usually a breeze for children, but as even young adults know, that capacity declines dramatically with age. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have evidence from mice that restricting a key chemical messenger in the brain helps extend efficient auditory learning much later in life.
Researchers showed that limiting the supply or the function of the neuromodulator adenosine in a brain structure called the auditory thalamus preserved the ability of adult mice to learn from passive exposure to sound much as young children learn from the soundscape of their world. The study appears June 30 in the journal Science.
“By disrupting adenosine signaling in the auditory thalamus, we have extended the window for auditory learning for the longest period yet reported, well into adulthood and far beyond the usual critical period in mice,” said corresponding author Stanislav Zakharenko, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. “These results offer a promising strategy to extend the same window in humans to acquire language or musical ability by restoring plasticity in critical regions of the brain, possibly by developing drugs that selectively block adenosine activity.”
The auditory thalamus is the brain’s relay station where sound is collected and sent to the auditory cortex for processing. The auditory thalamus and cortex rely on the neurotransmitter glutamate to communicate. Adenosine was known to reduce glutamate levels by inhibiting this neurotransmitter’s release. This study also linked adenosine inhibition to reduced brain plasticity and the end of efficient auditory learning.
Researchers used a variety of methods to demonstrate that reducing adenosine or blocking the A1 adenosine receptor that is essential to the chemical messenger’s function changed how adult mice responded to sound.
Much as young children pick up language simply by hearing it spoken, researchers showed that when adenosine was reduced or the A1 receptor blocked in the auditory thalamus, adult mice passively exposed to a tone responded to the same tone stronger when it was played weeks or months later. These adult mice also gained an ability to distinguish between very close tones (or tones with similar frequencies). Mice usually lack this “perfect pitch” ability.
Researchers also showed that the experimental mice retained the improved tone discrimination for weeks.
“Taken together, the results demonstrated that the window for effective auditory learning re-opened in the mice and that they retained the information,” Zakharenko said.
Among the strategies researchers used to inhibit adenosine activity was the experimental compound FR194921, which selectively blocks the A1 receptor. If paired with sound exposure, the compound rejuvenated auditory learning in adult mice. “That suggests it might be possible to extend the window in humans by targeting the A1 receptor for drug development,” Zakharenko said.
Zakharenko and his colleagues also linked the age-related decline in ease of auditory learning to an age-related increase in an enzyme (ecto-5′-nucleotidase) involved in adenosine production in the auditory thalamus. Researchers reported that mature mice had higher levels than newborn mice of the enzyme and adenosine in the auditory thalamus. Deletion of this enzyme returned the adenosine level in adult mice to the level of newborn mice. Therefore, researchers are currently looking for compounds that target ecto-5′-nucleotidase as an alternative approach for extending the window of auditory learning.
“‘Near-zero-power’ temperature sensor could make wearables, smart devices less power-hungry”
Electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a temperature sensor that runs on only 113 picowatts of power — 628 times lower power than the state of the art and about 10 billion times smaller than a watt. This near-zero-power temperature sensor could extend the battery life of wearable or implantable devices that monitor body temperature, smart home monitoring systems, Internet of Things devices and environmental monitoring systems.
The technology could also enable a new class of devices that can be powered by harvesting energy from low-power sources, such as the body or the surrounding environment, researchers said. The work was published in Scientific Reports on June 30.
“Our vision is to make wearable devices that are so unobtrusive, so invisible that users are virtually unaware that they’re wearing their wearables, making them ‘unawearables.’ Our new near-zero-power technology could one day eliminate the need to ever change or recharge a battery,” said Patrick Mercier, an electrical engineering professor at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the study’s senior author.
“We’re building systems that have such low power requirements that they could potentially run for years on just a tiny battery,” said Hui Wang, an electrical engineering Ph.D. student in Mercier’s lab and the first author of the study.
Building ultra-low power, miniaturized electronic devices is the theme of Mercier’s Energy-Efficient Microsystems lab at UC San Diego. Mercier also serves as co-director for the Center for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego. A big part of his group’s work focuses on boosting energy efficiencies of individual parts of an integrated circuit in order to reduce the power requirement of the system as a whole.
One example is the temperature sensor found in healthcare devices or smart thermostats. While the power requirement of state-of-the-art temperature sensors has been reduced to as low as tens of nanowatts, the one developed by Mercier’s group runs on just 113 picowatts — 628 times lower power.
Their new approach involves minimizing power in two domains: the current source and the conversion of temperature to a digital readout.
Researchers built an ultra-low power current source using what are called “gate leakage” transistors — transistors in which tiny levels of current leak through the electronic barrier, or the gate. Transistors typically have a gate that can turn on and off the flow of electrons. But as the size of modern transistors continues to shrink, the gate material becomes so thin that it can no longer block electrons from leaking through — a phenomenon known as the quantum tunneling effect.
Gate leakage is considered problematic in systems such as microprocessors or precision analog circuits. Here, researchers are taking advantage of it — they’re using these minuscule levels of electron flow to power the circuit.
“Many researchers are trying to get rid of leakage current, but we are exploiting it to build an ultra-low power current source,” Hui said.
Using these current sources, researchers developed a less power-hungry way to digitize temperature. This process normally requires passing current through a resistor — its resistance changes with temperature — then measuring the resulting voltage, and then converting that voltage to its corresponding temperature using a high power analog to digital converter.
Instead of this conventional process, researchers developed an innovative system to digitize temperature directly and save power. Their system consists of two ultra-low power current sources: one that charges a capacitor in a fixed amount of time regardless of temperature, and one that charges at a rate that varies with temperature — slower at lower temperatures, faster at higher temperatures.
As the temperature changes, the system adapts so that the temperature-dependent current source charges in the same amount of time as the fixed current source. A built-in digital feedback loop equalizes the charging times by reconnecting the temperature-dependent current source to a capacitor of a different size — the size of this capacitor is directly proportional to the actual temperature. For example, when the temperature falls, the temperature-dependent current source will charge slower, and the feedback loop compensates by switching to a smaller capacitor, which dictates a particular digital readout.
The temperature sensor is integrated into a small chip measuring 0.15 × 0.15 square millimeters in area. It operates at temperatures ranging from minus 20 C to 40 C. Its performance is fairly comparable to that of the state of the art even at near-zero-power, researchers said. One tradeoff is that the sensor has a response time of approximately one temperature update per second, which is slightly slower than existing temperature sensors. However, this response time is sufficient for devices that operate in the human body, homes and other environments where temperature do not fluctuate rapidly, researchers said.
Moving forward, the team is working to improve the accuracy of the temperature sensor. The team is also optimizing the design so that it can be successfully integrated into commercial devices.
“Vitamin D may improve sunburn, according to new clinical trial”
High doses of vitamin D taken one hour after sunburn significantly reduce skin redness, swelling, and inflammation, according to double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial out of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. The trial results were recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
In the study, 20 participants were randomized to receive a placebo pill or 50,000, 100,000, or 200,000 IU of vitamin D one hour after a small UV lamp “sunburn” on their inner arm. Researchers followed up with the participants 24, 48, 72 hours and 1 week after the experiment and collected skin biopsies for further testing. Participants who consumed the highest doses of vitamin D had long-lasting benefits — including less skin inflammation 48 hours after the burn. Participants with the highest blood levels of vitamin D also had less skin redness and a jump in gene activity related to skin barrier repair.
“We found benefits from vitamin D were dose-dependent,” said Kurt Lu, MD, senior author on the study and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “We hypothesize that vitamin D helps promote protective barriers in the skin by rapidly reducing inflammation. What we did not expect was that at a certain dose, vitamin D not only was capable of suppressing inflammation, it was also activating skin repair genes.”
The trial is the first to describe acute anti-inflammatory benefits from taking vitamin D. According to the authors, despite widespread attention given to vitamin D deficiency, “there is a lack of evidence demonstrating that intervention with vitamin D is capable of resolving acute inflammation.” By measuring gene activity in the biopsies, the researchers also uncovered a potential mechanism behind how vitamin D aids skin repair. The results suggest vitamin D increases skin levels of an anti-inflammatory enzyme, arginase-1. The enzyme enhances tissue repair after damage and helps activate other anti-inflammatory proteins.
The study may have people flocking to vitamin supplement aisles, but Lu stresses that the trial tested very high doses of vitamin D that far exceed daily allowances. The Food and Drug Administration’s recommended adult daily allowance for vitamin D is 400 IU. Said Lu, “I would not recommend at this moment that people start taking vitamin D after sunburn based on this study alone. But, the results are promising and worthy of further study.” Lu and colleagues are planning additional studies that could inform treatment plans for burn patients.
“10 Reasons Why Some Candidates Fail to Land the Job”
It is no secret that the job search process has a lot of moving parts. Crafting resumes, practicing your pitch or planning for questions and answers for your interviewer are just a few matters you are responsible for. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook “small” things that can torpedo your candidacy.
As a result, certain job rejections can be puzzling, especially when you’re unsure what went wrong, according to a new report issued by The Execu | Search Group, a recruiting firm that focuses on serving accounting firms, boutique hedge funds and private equity funds.
To ensure that you’re aware of what to avoid, Execu | Search offers 10 reasons why you might have been turned away, with comments by executive recruiters:
1. You gave a bad first impression.
It’s no surprise that first impressions mean a lot during the interview process. Although the actual interview might have gone well, the little things you did might come back to haunt you. For example, you arrived five minutes late, your attire wasn’t entirely professional, or you were fidgety.
2. You didn’t follow directions.
“Please send your resume in a pdf format.” “Please bring at least five copies of your resume to the interview.” These are typical requests a hiring manager might have throughout the interview process. If you chose to send your resume as a “doc” or forgot their specific request, this will indicate a lack of attention to detail—a quality that employers tend to expect in new hires.
“Following directions is critical,” said Stacy Pursell, CEO of executive search firm The Pursell Group. “Attention to detail is key. You are being tested throughout the interview process. If you can’t handle the small details, how can they expect you to handle the big ones?”
3. You were unprepared.
You should always be putting your best foot forward when going into an interview. Regardless of what stage of the interview process you are in, not preparing answers to common interview questions, or thoughtful questions for your interviewer can be an immediate deal breaker.
“Since a job interview is your chance to make a great first impression and an opportunity to prove that you’re right for the job, you need to do your homework before the interview,” said Dan Charney, president and CEO of Direct Recruiters, Inc. “This includes browsing the company’s website, researching the people you would be interviewing with on LinkedIn and reading their company reviews on Glassdoor. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask questions about the company and why the position is open. Also, try to find out the core values. Many companies post those online now.”
4. You lied about something.
Lying about anything throughout the interview process never ends well for the candidate, as employers have ways to fact-check and verify what you’ve said. For starters, avoid being dishonest about your education, experience or personal references.
5. You weren’t a good cultural fit.
Keep in mind, “fit” plays a major role when employers evaluate whether they want to hire certain candidates. Whether you prefer working in a certain type of environment, or working with a particular management style, if your prospective employer practices the opposite, this could be the making for a poor cultural fit down the road.
6. You were too casual or overconfident.
If your interview seems to be going well, it can be tempting to let your guard down and start building a friendlier rapport with your interviewer. Becoming too casual, however, by using slang or making jokes could be a big mistake. As a result, you can appear to be playing around and not taking the role seriously.
7. You have an unprofessional online presence.
Social media is a great way to express your ideas and opinions, but without proper context some postings can be misconstrued and work against you in the interview process. If a quick Google search reveals that your online presence might be an issue, a hiring manager might just move on to another candidate.
Ms. Pursell said: “One candidate had a different employer listed on his resume than was on his LinkedIn profile. Why? His resume was current but his LinkedIn profile was not. The hiring manager felt the candidate was not “up with technology” since his LinkedIn profile didn’t match his resume.”
“Your online presence matters. It is one of the first things hiring managers look at,” she said. “Another candidate’s Facebook presence was littered with drinking pictures. The hiring manager was not impressed and moved on to another candidate.”
8. You didn’t send a ‘thank you’ note or follow up.
Whether you have gone through a first-round phone screen, or have made it to the final interview stage, writing a thank you note to the hiring manager is more than a best practice; it conveys your respect for your interviewer’s time, demonstrates your interest in the role and keeps you top of mind during the decision-making process. Failing to send a thank you note will be viewed as a major red flag to a prospective employer. Remember, if a recruiter has coordinated your interview for you, they will most likely facilitate all of the conversations outlining next steps.
“Never underestimate the value of a thank you note after you finish an interview,” said Mr. Charney. “Here’s an example why: After our candidate had two phone interviews, one face-to-face interview and an invitation to their headquarters for a final face-to-face interview with one of our clients, both parties shared that it was a perfect match. However, several days went by and our client went silent. The reason was that the candidate failed to send a thank you note or email when interviews were concluded. To them, that was a deal breaker,” he said.
“I’ve had it come down to two candidates at the end of the interview process,” Ms. Pursell said. “One candidate sent a thank you note and the other candidate did not. The candidate who sent the note got the offer because the hiring manager said it made the difference in his hiring decision. He felt the candidate who did not send the thank you was not courteous to not follow up with a note after the interview.”
9. You didn’t sell yourself well enough.
All too often, exceptional candidates miss out on great opportunities because they fail to use their interview time strategically enough to sell their skills and experience. Instead of rehashing the skills and experience already listed on your resume, clearly articulate what about your background specifically makes you the best candidate.
“In this candidate-driven market, many candidates think they can just show up to get the job,” Mr. Charney said. “It doesn’t work like that. Even in a candidate-driven market, you need to sell yourself upfront. This way, you’re more likely to get an offer and have greater negotiation power. Many of the positions we fill are customer-facing and commercial roles so our clients are looking for signs of a sales demeanor during the interview. We always suggest to candidates to close the interview as if you were closing a sale.”
10. You didn’t connect with the hiring manager.
In the end, the connection you establish with your interviewer will play a major role in their decision to hire you or not. Although you might be qualified, have stellar credentials and were enthusiastic throughout the interview, if the chemistry isn’t there, there’s not much you can control about this.
“In a job interview, it helps to establish a connection with the hiring manager right from the start,” said Mr. Charney. “First, a solid handshake, good posture, eye contact, and a smile are critical. Next, because you checked out their profile on LinkedIn, you may have something in common which could start a rapport.”
“Then, and most importantly, you will need to listen more than you talk,” he said. “Jobs are lost when you talk too much. You can actually end up talking your way right out of the job. Also, pay close attention and listen to what’s important to the hiring manager and what they reference. Model your answers accordingly. For example, if they refer to percentages and metrics, you need to do the same. Make sure to talk about such things as how much you saved your company or by how much you exceeded your sales quota. But stay humble and don’t overdo it.”
“It is not always the most qualified candidate who gets hired,” said Ms. Pursell. “It usually comes down to the person the hiring manager and/or team like the best. Building rapport, finding common ground and ‘fitting in’ with the team and culture is key.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media