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SERVICES

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Input: Economic Factors

Market forces, structural changes, and emerging threats may affect levels of resources available for occupational safety and health initiatives within the Services sector.

Across the Sector

This industry sector is composed of a wide-range of industries and occupations with varied workforce characteristics and associated occupational safety and health concerns. Despite this diversity, a limited number of economic factors are common to the majority of industries.

Changes in business practices present new challenges to businesses:

  • Today's global economy requires businesses to be flexible in their responses to demands of consumers and producers, and to be prepared to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • For workers, the "just-in-time" business model can mean increased stress, more shift work, and intense production demands that can compromise worker safety and health.
  • More workers are choosing to stay employed due to financial needs such as health care insurance. Additional occupational health and safety needs may emerge for older workers.
  • Increasingly, workers in the United States may not use English as their primary language, presenting challenges to safety and health programs, especially in training materials.
  • Electronic technology is increasingly allowing work to be completed at locations away from employers' facilities, which may not provide adequate protection for the safety and health of the worker.

Rapid economic growth may require employing the majority, if not all, available financial resources in support of growth reducing the amount for occupational safety and health investment.

  • Overall the services-producing sector (including health care and social services) grew 5.1% in 2004, accounting for nearly 70% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The highest growth occurred in finance, insurance, real estate, and leasing followed by professional and business services.
  • In 2005, this sector employed just under one-half of the working population over 16 years of age in the United States . Furthermore, employment growth over the next decade in education (32%), professional and business services (28%), and leisure and hospitality (18%) are well above the national projections of 15%.

Terrorism is a threat to the safety and security of nearly all workers in public administration:

  • Emergency preparedness specialists at all levels of government are being trained to protect the public and to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
  • Schools and other facilities that are open to the public have increased security and reduced access.
  • The costs of intensive security measures reduce profit margins for businesses, and some of these costs will be passed on to consumers.
  • Increased security spending means that businesses and government programs may need to reduce spending elsewhere. Specifically, spending on other aspects of worker safety and health may be reduced.

NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheets
Includes the number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. agriculture industry by selected characteristics, 1992–2002.

Economic factors, working conditions, and safety and health outcomes in selected industry groups:

Education Services

The Educational Services Industry Group was the second largest industry in 2004 and continues to be fast growing. This industry has exhibited an increased emphasis on reducing expenditures, which may result in decreased investment in occupational safety and health. At the same time, changing demographics of workers may demand additional emphasis.

  • The U.S. Labor Department predicts that education will be one of the fastest growing sectors over the next decade, with employment rising by more than 32%.
  • Operating budgets for educational programs and institutions are increasingly being scrutinized to reduce expenditures and/or limit tax-based income.
  • Schools across the United States are evaluating year-round programs to make capital investments go farther.
  • Increases in energy costs place additional strains on already limited budgets.
  • Post-secondary education is increasing the use of distance-learning and internet-based technology to conduct lessons and coursework.
  • Teacher salaries have lagged behind increases in other sectors. In addition to providing a cost savings, these lagged salary levels provide a disincentive to young professional to enter this career.
  • According to some studies, more than half of primary and secondary public school buildings in the United States, particularly those in poorer neighborhoods, are substandard to the extent that indoor air quality impairs student learning and affects teacher and staff health.
  • The average teacher age has increased over the past decade, which may result in more injury and illness incidents with longer recovery periods increasing the burden.
Public Administration

Changing staffing patterns in public administration will impact the safety and health experience by altering the types of risk and the resulting nature of health outcomes. This industry group encompasses occupations with minimal risk to those occupations with some of the highest risks.

  • Apart from Homeland Security and similar programs at the State and local level, overall government employment is unlikely to increase substantially over the next decade. For example, Federal government employment is projected to grow by 1.6% compared with a 14.8% increase for all industries.
  • Careers in security, medicine, public health, engineering, sciences, program management and budget appear to be the most likely disciplines for continued hiring, according to a study by the Partnership for Public Service.
  • Employment declines are likely to be greatest in clerical and administrative support positions along with production occupations.
  • Increasingly at all levels of government, tasks are being completed by contract employees instead of civil service employees.
  • Public safety workers, including fire fighters and law enforcement, currently face heightened occupational safety and health risks. The conditions of work, such as the threat of terrorism, around the clock protection, and apprehending suspected criminals, present unique challenges to reduce the risk of injury and illness.
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

This industry group can be characterized by low income, part-time, seasonal, and comparatively younger workers. This industry is also experiencing an increasing demand because of changes in consumer preferences for health benefits associated with increased physical activities and increased leisure time.

  • The workforce is very diverse, ranging from musical entertainers that may work only a few hours per week but require substantial travel to professional athletes that may have reduced work hours because of occupational injury.
  • Many jobs require outdoor activity exposing , workers to inclement weather conditions that may result in poor health outcomes.
  • The physical requirements, such as strength and stamina, of many jobs in this group are considerable. Not meeting these requirements may result in occupational injury or illness and potentially subsequent job loss.
  • Large audience events are subject to unique challenges, including mob frenzy and more recently terrorist threats. These may be hazardous not only to the customer, but to the employee as well. In addition, increased security may divert resources from other safety and health activities.
Food Services

Workers in this industry group tend to be very young-more than 20% were between 16 and 19 years of age-contributing to high rates of turnover. Part-time workers, representing approximately 40% of the workforce, also contribute to high rates of turnover.

  • Increased use of technology in the food services industry, such as computers that track inventory, orders, and seating, may decrease operating costs, but will impact the safety and health experience of the worker.
  • In an effort to better serve customers, the use of wireless communication(headsets) may increase the number of hearing loss incidents. In addition, noise exposure in the kitchen areas may be problematic.
  • Wait and kitchen staffs are under enormous time pressure to accommodate customers in a time of "fast food" putting them at increased risk of falls, burns, cuts, and muscle strains.
  • Food services industry are required to comply with local fire, safety, and sanitation regulations, which may shift resources from other occupational safety and health efforts.
Hotels and Other Accommodations

Well over half (65%) the workers within this industry group are employed in service occupations. As in other services industries, hotels employ many young and part-time workers. In addition, they employ many seasonal workers and have average earnings that are lower than many other industries.

  • Because many hotels also provide food services, the economic factors may be identical to the food services industry.
  • Varying shiftwork, variable schedules, and long hours coupled with the need to be efficient, courteous, and accurate may negatively impact the safety and health of the worker.
  • Increased competition requires the industry to explore cost saving methods of operations that may divert resources from occupational safety and health expenditures.
  • Unlike many other industries, the hotels and other accommodations industry employ very young workers-nearly 1/5 were under the age of 25-with this being their first job.

Sources

Davies, Paul. What's This India Business?: Offshoring, Outsourcing, and the Global Services Revolution. Yarmouth , ME : Nicholas Brealy Publishing, 2004.

DOL [2006]. High Growth Industry Profile: Financial. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Available at www.doleta.gov/BRG/pdf/Financial.pdf Date accessed: March 16, 2006

DOL [2006]. High Growth Industry Profile: Hospitality. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Available at www.doleta.gov/BRG/pdf/Hospitality.pdf Date accessed: March 16, 2006

DOL [2006]. High Growth Industry Profile: Information Technology. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Available at www.doleta.gov/BRG/pdf/Information_Technology.pdf Date accessed: March 16, 2006

DOL [2006]. High Growth Industry Profile: Financial. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Available at www.doleta.gov/BRG/pdf/Financial.pdf Date accessed: March 16, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: NAICS 51 Information. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at www.bls.gov/iag/information.htm . Date accessed: March 15, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: NAICS 52 & 53 Financial Activities, Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at www.bls.gov/iag/financial.htm . Date accessed: March 10, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: NAICS 54-56 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at www.bls.gov/iag/ profbusservices.htm . Date accessed: March 10, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: NAICS 61 & 62 Education and Health and Social Services . Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. www.bls.gov/iag/ eduhealth.htm. Date accessed: March 13, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: NAICS 71 & 72 Leisure and Hospitality . Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at www.bls.gov/iag/ leisurehosp.htm. Date accessed: March 6, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: NAICS 81 Other Services . Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics .Available at www.bls.gov/iag/ eduhealth.htm. Date accessed: March 7, 2006

DOL [2006]. Industry at a Glance: Government. Washington , DC : U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at www.bls.gov/iag/government.htm. Date accessed: March 8, 2006

Garner, C. Alan. "Offshoring in the Service Sector: Economic Impact and Policy Issues." Economic Review-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 89, no. 3 (2004): 5-37.

Goodman, Bill, and Reid Steadman. "Services: Business Demand Rivals Consumer Demand in Driving Job Growth." Monthly Labor Review, April 2002.

Goodman, William C. "Employment in Services Industries Affected by Recessions and Expansions." Monthly Labor Review, October 2001.

McCarthy, John C. "3.3 Million U.S. Service Jobs to Go Offshore." WholeView TechStrategy Research, 11 November 2002.

Strassner, Erich H. and Thomas F. Howells III [2005] Annual Industry Accounts: Advance Estimates for 2004. Available at www.bea.gov/bea/ARTICLES/2005/05May/IndyAccts_ArticleB&W.pdf

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  • Page last updated: November 13, 2012
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