January 2019 Jobs Report and Industry Update

 


Economics & Job Creation:

“THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — December 2018”

Life Sciences:
“Telemedicine may increase patient satisfaction with medical care”

Technology:
“Sustainable ‘plastics’ are on the horizon”

Healthcare:
“Engineers create delicate sensor to monitor heart cells with minimal disruption”

The Industrials:
“Study on low noise, high-performance transistors may bring innovations in electronics”

Human Capital Solutions, Inc. (HCS) www.humancs.com is a Retained Executive Search and Professional Recruiting firm focused in Healthcare, Life Sciences, the Industrials, and Technology. Visit our LinkedIn Company Page to learn more about HCS and receive weekly updates.

HCS has created the Prosperity at Work proposition which focuses on creating prosperous relationships between companies and their employees (associates). HCS assists companies in improving bottom line profitability by efficiently planning, organizing and implementing optimized, practical and value-added business solutions.

 

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Economics & Job Creation:

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — DECEMBER 2018

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in December, and the unemployment
rate rose to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains
occurred in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, manufacturing,
and retail trade.

Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data

Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal
adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally
adjusted estimates back to January 2014 were subject to revision. The unemployment
rates for January 2018 through November 2018 (as originally published and as revised)
appear in table A, along with additional information about the revisions.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 3.9 percent in December, and the
number of unemployed persons increased by 276,000 to 6.3 million. A year earlier, the
jobless rate was 4.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.6 million.
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.6 percent) and
Blacks (6.6 percent) increased in December. The jobless rates for adult women (3.5
percent), teenagers (12.5 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Asians (3.3 percent), and
Hispanics (4.4 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1,
A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of job leavers increased by 142,000 in December to
839,000. Job leavers are unemployed persons who quit or otherwise voluntarily left
their previous job and immediately began looking for new employment. (See table A-11.)

In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was little changed at 1.3 million and accounted for 20.5 percent of the unemployed.
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 205,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 63.1 percent, changed little in December, and the
employment-population ratio was 60.6 percent for the third consecutive month. Both
measures were up by 0.4 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers), at 4.7 million, changed little in December but was
down by 329,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were
unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In December, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
changed from a year earlier. (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 375,000 discouraged workers in December, down
by 99,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available
for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in
December 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 312,000 in December. Job gains occurred
in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, manufacturing, and
retail trade. Payroll employment rose by 2.6 million in 2018, compared with a gain of
2.2 million in 2017. (See table B-1.)

Employment in health care rose by 50,000 in December. Within the industry, job gains
occurred in ambulatory health care services (+38,000) and hospitals (+7,000). Health
care added 346,000 jobs in 2018, more than the gain of 284,000 jobs in 2017.

In December, employment in food services and drinking places increased by 41,000. Over
the year, the industry added 235,000 jobs, similar to the increase in 2017 (+261,000).

Construction employment rose by 38,000 in December, with job gains in heavy and civil
engineering construction (+16,000) and nonresidential specialty trade construction
(+16,000). The construction industry added 280,000 jobs in 2018, compared with an
increase of 250,000 in 2017.

Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in December. Most of the gain occurred in the durable
goods component (+19,000), with job growth in fabricated metal products (+7,000) and
in computer and electronic products (+4,000). Employment in the nondurable goods
component also increased over the month (+13,000). Manufacturing employment increased
by 284,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the gain in durable goods
industries. Manufacturing had added 207,000 jobs in 2017.

In December, employment in retail trade rose by 24,000. Job growth occurred in general
merchandise stores (+15,000) and automobile dealers (+6,000). These gains were partially
offset by a job loss in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000). Retail
trade employment increased by 92,000 in 2018, after little net change in 2017 (-29,000).

Over the month, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up
(+43,000). The industry added 583,000 jobs in 2018, outpacing the 458,000 jobs added
in 2017.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation
and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change
over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour
to 34.5 hours in December. In manufacturing, both the workweek and overtime increased by
0.1 hour to 40.9 hours and 3.6 hours, respectively. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 33.7 hours. (See
tables B-2 and B-7.)

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
11 cents to $27.48. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 84 cents,
or 3.2 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 9 cents to $23.05 in December. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up from +155,000
to +176,000, and the change for October was revised up from +237,000 to +274,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 58,000 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.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 254,000
per month over the last 3 months.

 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

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Life Sciences:

“Telemedicine may increase patient satisfaction with medical care”

Cardiovascular disease pervades Appalachia, yet many Appalachians live far from any heart and vascular specialist. Follow-up doctor’s visits in the weeks after cardiovascular surgery can involve hours-long drives down narrow, winding roads.

A recent study led by Albeir Mousa, a professor in the West Virginia University School of Medicine, suggests telemedicine may improve these patients’ satisfaction with their postoperative care as well as their quality of life. Their results have been accepted for publication in The Annals of Vascular Surgery.

With telemedicine, a healthcare provider can use a computer, tablet or other electronic device to remotely evaluate their patients’ symptoms, diagnose illnesses or injuries, and prescribe treatments. They can also field their patients’ questions.

The 30 participants in Mousa’s study were recovering from vascular surgery. In each case, the surgeon made an incision in the patient’s groin to access the arteries that needed rebuilding or rerouting. Whether the incisions healed without complications was the study’s focus.

Sixteen patients received tablets with Enform — a telemedicine app developed by TeleMed 2020 Inc. — that facilitated communication with nurses managing their care. As part of an in-home monitoring kit, patients also received thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, scales and devices to measure blood oxygen saturation levels.

Each day, patients who had been discharged from the hospital weighed themselves, took their temperature, measured their pulse and blood pressure, and determined their blood oxygen levels using the Enform app. They completed a wellness and symptom tracking quiz that included questions like “How is your pain today?” Each week they answered satisfaction and emotional wellness questions as well. These data, along with photos of the surgical incision sites that patients captured with the app — were made available to the patients’ care team.

Care managers, in turn, logged into the telemedicine platform daily to review the information patients had submitted from their homes. Cares managers received notifications of abnormalities, such as blood pressure spikes and fevers. Based on the information they gathered, the care managers intervened, answered patients’ questions about symptoms or wound care, called in prescriptions, scheduled appointments with physicians, and modified care plans based on consultations with the medical director.

Meanwhile, the other 14 participants had standard-of-care treatment. They received no monitoring equipment, tablet or telemedicine app.

After 30 days, the researchers made a number of comparisons between the two groups. For example, were wound infections more common in one group than the other? Did one group require more hospital readmissions? How did members of each group rate their own well-being? Were they happy with the postoperative care they received?

Hospital-readmission and wound-infection rates did not differ significantly between groups. The researchers attribute this fact to the study’s small sample size. But patients in the telemedicine group scored better on measures of their physical function, mental health and role limitations due to physical health problems. In addition, the vast majority of patients who used the app found it intuitive to use. Using a five-point scale to measure ease of use, 91 percent of patients gave it a score of 4 or 5. A similar percentage of patients said the app enriched the quality of care they received.

Likewise, the telemedicine patients’ scores on quality-of-life assessments surged more dramatically between the study’s beginning and end.

Patients assigned to the telemedicine group lived an average of 60 miles from their vascular care center. Almost a third of them lived more than 77 miles away and had to drive for two to three hours to get there.

“Telemedicine would save a lot of headache in Appalachia — in areas where people don’t even have the money to get in the car to get to the hospital,” said Mousa, who teaches surgery at the WVU Health Sciences Charleston Campus.

He envisions that, one day, patients will be able to download a cell phone app that provides these telemedicine services. That way, they won’t even need a tablet. “Each household has at least one cell phone, and most likely, it’s a smartphone.”

“You’re getting the same service,” he said, “but with a very minor hassle for the patient and the physician.”

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190102112900.htm

 

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Technology:

“Sustainable ‘plastics’ are on the horizon”

A new Tel Aviv University study describes a process to make bioplastic polymers that don’t require land or fresh water — resources that are scarce in much of the world. The polymer is derived from microorganisms that feed on seaweed. It is biodegradable, produces zero toxic waste and recycles into organic waste.

The invention was the fruit of a multidisciplinary collaboration between Dr. Alexander Golberg of TAU’s Porter School of Environmental and Earth Sciences and Prof. Michael Gozin of TAU’s School of Chemistry. Their research was recently published in the journal Bioresource Technology.

According to the United Nations, plastic accounts for up to 90 percent of all the pollutants in our oceans, yet there are few comparable, environmentally friendly alternatives to the material.

“Plastics take hundreds of years to decay. So bottles, packaging and bags create plastic ‘continents’ in the oceans, endanger animals and pollute the environment,” says Dr. Golberg. “Plastic is also produced from petroleum products, which has an industrial process that releases chemical contaminants as a byproduct.

“A partial solution to the plastic epidemic is bioplastics, which don’t use petroleum and degrade quickly. But bioplastics also have an environmental price: To grow the plants or the bacteria to make the plastic requires fertile soil and fresh water, which many countries, including Israel, don’t have.

“Our new process produces ‘plastic’ from marine microorganisms that completely recycle into organic waste.”

The researchers harnessed microorganisms that feed on seaweed to produce a bioplastic polymer called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). “Our raw material was multicellular seaweed, cultivated in the sea,” Dr. Golberg says. “These algae were eaten by single-celled microorganisms, which also grow in very salty water and produce a polymer that can be used to make bioplastic.

“There are already factories that produce this type of bioplastic in commercial quantities, but they use plants that require agricultural land and fresh water. The process we propose will enable countries with a shortage of fresh water, such as Israel, China and India, to switch from petroleum-derived plastics to biodegradable plastics.”

According to Dr. Golberg, the new study could revolutionize the world’s efforts to clean the oceans, without affecting arable land and without using fresh water. “Plastic from fossil sources is one of the most polluting factors in the oceans,” he says. “We have proved it is possible to produce bioplastic completely based on marine resources in a process that is friendly both to the environment and to its residents.

“We are now conducting basic research to find the best bacteria and algae that would be most suitable for producing polymers for bioplastics with different properties,” he concludes.

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181225162808.htm

 

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Healthcare:

“Engineers create delicate sensor to monitor heart cells with minimal disruption”

For the first time, engineers have demonstrated an electronic device to closely monitor beating heart cells without affecting their behavior. A collaboration between the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Women’s Medical University and RIKEN in Japan produced a functional sample of heart cells with a soft nanomesh sensor in direct contact with the tissue. This device could aid study of other cells, organs and medicines. It also paves the way for future embedded medical devices.

Inside each of us beats a life-sustaining heart. Unfortunately, the organ is not always perfect and sometimes goes wrong. One way or another research on the heart is fundamentally important to us all. So when Sunghoon Lee, a researcher in Professor Takao Someya’s group at the University of Tokyo, came up with the idea for an ultrasoft electronic sensor that could monitor functioning cells, his team jumped at the chance to use this sensor to study heart cells, or cardiomyocytes, as they beat.

“When researchers study cardiomyocytes in action they culture them on hard petri dishes and attach rigid sensor probes. These impede the cells’ natural tendency to move as the sample beats, so observations do not reflect reality well,” said Lee. “Our nanomesh sensor frees researchers to study cardiomyocytes and other cell cultures in a way more faithful to how they are in nature. The key is to use the sensor in conjunction with a flexible substrate, or base, for the cells to grow on.”

For this research, collaborators from Tokyo Women’s Medical University supplied a healthy culture of cardiomyocytes derived from human stem cells. The base for the culture was a very soft material called fibrin gel. Lee placed the nanomesh sensor on top of the cell culture in a complex process, which involved removing and adding liquid medium at the proper times. This was important to correctly orient the nanomesh sensor.

“The fine mesh sensor is difficult to place perfectly. This reflects the delicate touch necessary to fabricate it in the first place,” continued Lee. “The polyurethane strands which underlie the entire mesh sensor are 10 times thinner than a human hair. It took a lot of practice and pushed my patience to its limit, but eventually I made some working prototypes.”

To make the sensors, first a process called electro-spinning extrudes ultrafine polyurethane strands into a flat sheet, similar to how some common 3D printers work. This spiderweb like sheet is then coated in parylene, a type of plastic, to strengthen it. The parylene on certain sections of the mesh is removed by a dry etching process with a stencil. Gold is then applied to these areas to make the sensor probes and communication wires. Additional parylene isolates the probes so their signals do not interfere with one another.

With three probes, the sensor reads voltage present at three locations. The readout appears familiar to anyone who’s watched a hospital drama as it’s essentially a cardiogram. Thanks to the multiple probes, researchers can see propagation of signals, which result from and trigger the cells to beat. These signals are known as an action or field potential and are extremely important when assessing the effect of drugs on the heart.

“Drug samples need to get to the cell sample and a solid sensor would either poorly distribute the drug or prevent it reaching the sample altogether. So the porous nature of the nanomesh sensor was intentional and a driving force behind the whole idea,” said Lee. “Whether it’s for drug research, heart monitors or to reduce animal testing, I can’t wait to see this device produced and used in the field. I still get a powerful feeling when I see the close-up images of those golden threads.”

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190101094534.htm

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The Industrials:

“Study on low noise, high-performance transistors may bring innovations in electronics”

A research study on low noise and high-performance transistors led by Suprem Das, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, in collaboration with researchers at Purdue University, was recently published by Physical Review Applied.

The study has demonstrated micro/nano-scale transistors made of two-dimensional atomic thin materials that show high performance and low noise. The devices are less than one-hundredth of the diameter of a single human hair and could be key to innovating electronics and precision sensing.

Many researchers worldwide are focusing attention on building the next generation of transistors from atomic scale “exotic” 2D materials such as molybdenum di-selenide. These materials are promising because they show high-performance transistor-action that may, in the future, replace today’s silicon electronics. However, very few of them are looking at yet another important aspect: the inherent electronic noise in this new class of materials. Electronic noise is ubiquitous to all devices and circuits and only worsens when the material becomes atomic thin.

A recent study conducted by Das’ research team has systematically shown that if one can control the layer thickness between 10 and 15-atomic thin in a transistor, the device will not only show high performance — such as turning the switch “on” — but also experience very low electronic noise. This unique finding is essential to building several enabling technologies in electronics and sensing using a number of emerging 2D materials. This research is a comprehensive effort of a previous finding, where Das’ team conducted the first study on noise in MoSe2 transistors.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181219124313.htm

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