So, you’ve just finished a task or an assignment and figure you deserve a little mental break. Why not check Facebook or Twitter? It will only take you five minutes, right? Wrong.
As American students and workers spend more time on the Internet and on social media sites in particular, their levels of productivity are tanking. The average college student might spend three hours checking their various social media sites, but only two hours studying. That discrepancy is reflected in lower GPAs. Workers aren’t faring much better, either. Every time someone at work gets an IM, a Facebook message or a tweet, it takes them a whopping 23 minutes to get back on task. Taken all together, that costs the American economy $650 billion per year in lost productivity. The next time you think about checking a social media site, consider how much time and energy it will actually take.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
So, you’ve just finished a task or an assignment and figure you deserve a little mental break. Why not check Facebook or Twitter? It will only take you five minutes, right? Wrong.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics -
Nearly 3.0 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2011, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate reported for 2011 was unchanged for the first time in a decade during which the total recordable cases (TRC) injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers declined significantly each year since 2002, when estimates from the SOII were first published using the current OSHA requirements for recording occupational injuries and illnesses.
The incidence rate of injury and illness cases involving job transfer or restriction only among private industry establishments declined in 2011. Rates remained unchanged from 2010 for all other case types—cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restriction together; cases with days away from work; and other recordable cases not requiring time away from work.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was one of only two private industry sectors to experience an increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2011 compared to 2010, driven by increases in cases in both the crop production and animal production (primarily dairy cattle and milk production) industries. The rate of injuries and illnesses for the accommodation and food services sector also rose in 2011, driven largely by an increase in other recordable cases in both limited-service
restaurants and full-service restaurants.
Monday, October 29, 2012
$2.95 Billion in Financing for Small Businesses in FY12
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) debenture program provided a record $2.95 billion to small businesses in fiscal year 2012, a 14 percent increase over last year’s $2.59 billion and an 85 percent increase over 2010, also a record year.
“Over the past three years SBA has transformed the SBIC program to ensure small businesses have greater access to SBIC funds,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “These record-setting numbers are proof that our efforts to streamline and simplify the process have made it possible to get capital into the hands of small businesses more quickly. When an SBIC invests in a small business, it can scale up and create jobs.”
High-growth small businesses continue to face difficulties in accessing patient, long-term capital to grow and create jobs. Since 1958, the SBIC program has helped fill these gaps and has invested approximately $63 billion in more than 110,000 small businesses in the United States.
The FY 2012 volume is the highest single-year volume in the 54-year history of SBA’s SBIC debenture program. Increased volume in the program is due in part to a number of improvements that contributed to an increased number of new SBIC licenses and reduced license processing times.
The SBIC program was created in 1958 to stimulate the growth of America’s small businesses by supplementing the long-term debt and private-equity capital available to them. SBA’s SBIC FY 2012 results included the following:
• Record High Financing to Small Businesses: Total financings to small businesses by SBA’s SBIC debenture program grew to a 54-year record high of $2.95 billion in FY 2012 – 14 percent more than in FY 2011.
• Record High SBA Capital Commitment to SBIC Funds: SBA capital commitments to debenture funds broke another record, increasing to $1.92 billion in FY 2012, up from $1.82 billion in FY 2011.
• Record High Private Capital Attracted to SBIC Program: The SBIC debenture program has attracted more initial private sector capital in FY 2012 than in any year in the history of the program – approximately $1 billion compared to $840 million in FY 2011, the previous high. The average debenture SBIC has raised more than twice the private capital than the average debenture fund of a decade ago.
• More Licensed Debenture SBICs and Faster Processing Times: Thirty new debenture and unleveraged SBIC licenses were issued in FY 2012, exceeding last year’s total of 22 by 36 percent. Additionally, SBIC license processing time improved to just 5.4 months in FY 2012, down from 14.6 months in 2009.
SBICs are privately-owned and managed investment firms that are licensed and regulated by SBA. SBICs use a combination of funds raised from private sources and money raised through the use of SBA guarantees to make equity and mezzanine capital investments in small businesses. There are 301 SBICs with more than $18 billion in capital under management.
As part of the President’s Startup America initiative, the SBA leveraged the SBIC program to launch two initiatives with up to $1 billion in leveraged commitments each for impact investments and early stage investments. These commitments are available to SBICs targeting early-stage firms or businesses located in targeted economic areas or industries. To date, SBA has licensed two impact SBIC funds under its Impact Initiative, while another five have an impact focus in their investment strategies. SBA also has issued a call for Early Stage SBICs under the Early Stage SBIC Initiative, and has issued “green light” letters to six potential applicants.
For more information about the SBA’s Investment Division, SBIC program, Impact Investment Initiative and Early Stage Innovation Fund, go to www.sba.gov/INV. The web site offers much useful information including segments for: SBIC Applicants, SBIC Licensees, Private Partners & LPs, and Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners. The site also includes useful SBIC forms, up-to-date news and reports.
Friday, October 26, 2012
I love being in an office surrounded by contagious people. Not the sniffling, sneezing, coughing kind who don't stay home when they should, but the kind whose enthusiasm and attitude towards their products, customers and company is absolutely infectious.
Many use the term "evangelist" to describe this, but I think there's a distinction: Evangelism (which I also love) is mostly unidirectional -- true believers, preaching and hoping to spread the good word to the masses, whereas contagiousness is more personal and subtle. When you're truly, "professionally" contagious, the people you deal with catch the fever just by interacting with you.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Blogs provide an excellent platform to engage with customers. WordPress blogs reach more than 70 million readers and Tumblr blogs reach up to 39 million. With numbers like those, you can see how important a blog can be, both as an extension of a business site and as a standalone destination.
But many bloggers make basic errors that lessen their blogs' effectiveness. Are you making the same errors? Review the following list of nine unforgivable blogging offenses to make sure you are not committing any of them.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Now that we're in the fourth quarter of the year, it's time to get ready for 2013. There is much to do from a financial, legal and tax perspective. In this article are guidelines for mapping out your company’s financial plans for 2013. In upcoming articles, you’ll see what legal steps you should take and last-minute tax planning moves you should make before the end of the year.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Source: International Monetary Fund
The recovery has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook. A key reason is that policies in the major advanced economies have not rebuilt confidence in medium-term prospects. Tail risks, such as those relating to the viability of the euro area or major U.S. fiscal policy mistakes, continue to preoccupy investors. The World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast thus sees only a gradual strengthening of activity from the relatively disappointing pace of early 2012. Projected global growth, at 3.3 and 3.6 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively, is weaker than in the July 2012 WEO Update, which was in turn lower than in the April 2012 WEO (Chapter 1). Output is expected to remain sluggish in advanced economies but still relatively solid in many emerging market and developing economies. Unemployment is likely to stay elevated in many parts of the world. And financial conditions will remain fragile.
Monday, October 22, 2012
From Hispanic Business:
The U.S. Small Business Administration issued three final rules in the Federal Register, effective Oct. 24, increasing size standards for firms in three North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sectors: Real Estate and Rental and Leasing; Educational Services; and Health Care and Social Assistance.
Size standards define the maximum size a firm can be and still be considered a small business. The revised standards reflect changes in marketplace conditions and public comments that SBA received to the proposed rules...
To review the three rules and public comments, go to www.regulations.gov. Each has a separate RIN number:
-- Real Estate and Rental and Leasing - (RIN 3245-AG28)
-- Educational Services - (RIN 3245-AG29)
-- Health Care and Social Assistance - (RIN 3245?AG30)
The SBA issued a White Paper titled "Size Standards Methodology" which explains how SBA establishes, reviews and modifies its receipts-based and employee-based small business size standards. It is available at
Friday, October 19, 2012
From the National Science Foundation:
Businesses perform a large share of their research and development in a small number of geographic areas, two of the largest being the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area (CSA) and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport CSA, according to data from the Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS).
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Today we present a recent article written by Myriam Bouchard, a certified business advisor with the Mid-Hudson Regional SBDC. It presents information on the advantages of partnering with other companies as a marketing strategy:
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Dalai Lama describes himself as "a simple Buddhist monk," despite that his honorific is "His Holiness." Either way, it's important to note that [his] public talks... tend to have no religious overtones (or even undertones). On the contrary, his tremendous popularity and appeal... largely come from the fact that he reaches out to everyone, taking religion out of the equation. In fact, he stresses the importance and value of viewing human relationships through a universal, secular lens.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
We knew that our company wasn’t perfect – which one is? We also knew that some of our company’s practices wouldn’t go over well with our customers, and that would lead to unhappy customers calling in to complain.
Though they sometimes got vociferous in their argument, we would always listen, offer empathy and look for a way that we could both work together to resolve the issue.
Again, it worked. At the end of the call, the customer would apologize and say they were really sorry that they came over as argumentative – they were just frustrated and felt as if they had no-one to talk to about it. All they wanted was for someone to listen and show that their problems were being heard.
Even if nothing could be done about them, just knowing someone cared made a huge difference.
No complaints about this traffic cop
Monday, October 15, 2012
The October issue of The Small Business Advocate (vol. 31, no. 7) reports on the Office of Advocacy’s September conference in Seattle, “Small Business and Government: Maximizing Entrepreneurship, Driving Innovation.” In presentations, panels, and hands-on activities, representatives of government and research institutions came together with cutting-edge, visionary entrepreneurs, small business owners, and investors, to learn how government can most effectively promote innovation and businesses can benefit from a relationship with government.
In This Issue
Conference Sparks Dialog on Government and Innovation
Keynote, Recognition, and Takeaways
Panel 1: Small Business Innovators: The Public/Private Relationship
Panel 2: Maximizing Entrepreneurship: Showcasing Innovation Accelerators
Panel 3: Driving Innovation: Emerging Capital Strategies
Getting It Right—How Can the Public Sector Help the Innovation Sector Thrive? 3
Delaware and Pennsylvania Get Regulatory Flexibility
2012 Research Awards Announced
Friday, October 12, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
From CBS News MoneyWatch:
For those who aren't hip to Yiddish, the word mensch is the highest praise one can bestow on another person. It basically rolls all of the finest characteristics and aspirations of humanity into a convenient, punchy, one-syllable word. If someone describes you by saying "what a mensch!" you pretty much can't do better. And though the word originates from the German for "human being," your business can and should be mensch-like too.
The general attributes of a mensch are absolute integrity, steadfast reliability and unfailingly high standards of behavior and character. In other words, a very solid citizen. If you believe, as I do, that genuine humanity is at the core of all great businesses, then a great business should aspire to these same qualities.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
WASHINGTON – With loan volume steadily increasing for the past six quarters, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan programs posted the second largest dollar volume ever in FY 2012, supporting $30.25 billion in loans to small businesses. That amount was surpassed only by FY 2011, which was heavily boosted by the loan incentives under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.
Overall, the pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the economy and the credit markets and is one of the foundations for ensuring the availability of financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves, grow and create new jobs for Americans.
The near-record pace was driven in part by a record year for the Certified Development Company (504) loan program, which supported $15.09 billion in small business credits. The strong performance of 504 loans was boosted by the temporary 504 refinancing program, which was responsible for 26 percent of the 504 program loans made in FY 2012 and 34 percent of the dollar volume. The recently expired 504 refinancing program was part of the incentive package under the Jobs Act.
“Reaching such strong numbers is a clear sign that both the business and lending communities are regaining their confidence in the economic climate of the country,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “It means that the credit markets are increasingly willing to help small businesses establish themselves, grow and create new jobs for Americans.”
Over the past year, SBA began streamlining and simplifying many of the loan programs in order to provide more access and opportunity for both lenders and small businesses. As part of this effort, SBA encouraged lenders to use more of their own paperwork and the agency’s updated processing systems, so that more than 80 percent of its loan applications can now be processed online.
The reengineered CAPLines loan program recorded an increase of almost 400 percent in loan volume and 249 percent in dollar volume. The revamped program, which provides working lines of capital to small businesses such as manufacturers and government contractors, jumped from 108 loans and $118 million in FY 2011, to 532 loans and $410 million in FY 2012.
SBA’s streamlining of the Small Loan Advantage (SLA) and Community Advantage programs also produced encouraging results. The Advantage loan programs entice lenders to make low-dollar loans, which are an important tool for small businesses. Community Advantage jumped from 15 loans and $2.1 million in FY 2011, to 188 loans and $25.2 million in FY 2012, an 11-fold increase in both the number of loans and dollar amount. As of the end of May 2012, SLA had a volume of 188 loans for a little over $20 million. The program ended the fiscal year with 820 loans for $105.6 million. Nearly 80 percent of the year’s SLA loans came after SBA implemented simplified processes on June 1.
These efforts, among other loan enhancements, have resulted in nearly 1,300 lenders returning to SBA lending, and have opened up more points of capital access for small businesses wherever they do business.
During the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, SBA loan approvals supported $30.25 billion (53,848 loans) to small businesses in its two main loan programs, 7(a) and 504, compared to $30.5 billion (61,689 loans) in FY 2011 and $22.6 billion (60,771 loans) in FY 2010.
The totals for FY 2012 include 44,377 loans, $15.15 billion approved under the agency’s largest loan program, the 7(a) General Business Loan program, and 9,471 loans supporting $15.09 billion in small business lending under the 504 Certified Development Company program. The “supported” amount for 504 loans includes the SBA-backed portion and the third-party loans made by commercial lenders as part of the funding package.
For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov, or contact your local SBA field office.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
In 2010, 4.2 million more people worked at home than a decade before, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010 contains findings from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the American Community Survey. The combined analysis provides timely and comprehensive statistics on home-based workers in the United States.
According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the number of people who worked at home at least one day per week increased from 9.5 million in 1999 to 13.4 million in 2010, increasing from 7.0 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers. The largest increase occurred between 2005 and 2010, when the share grew from 7.8 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers, an increase of more than 2 million.
The Survey of Income and Program Participation has provided timely information on home-based workers since the mid-1990s and differentiates by those who work exclusively from home (home workers), those who worked only outside of the home (onsite), and those who worked both from home and at a location outside of the home (mixed workers). The survey revealed that median household income was significantly higher for mixed workers at $96,300, compared with $74,000 for home workers and $65,600 for onsite workers.
According to the American Community Survey, 5.8 million or 4.3 percent of the U.S. workforce worked the majority of the week at home in 2010. This is an increase of about 1.6 million since 2000. Because of its sample size and timeliness, with data collected from about 3 million households annually, the American Community Survey provides both reliable subnational estimates and detailed information about the class of worker, industry and occupation of home-based workers.
Estimates from the 2010 American Community Survey indicate that the Boulder, Colo., metropolitan area had among the highest percent of workers who worked from home most of the week with 10.9 percent, followed by Medford, Ore., with 8.4, Santa Fe, N.M., with 8.3, Kingston, N.Y. with 8.1; and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif., with 7.9.
Detailed class of worker information from the American Community Survey suggested that although nearly half of home-based workers were self-employed, government workers saw the largest increase in home-based work over the last decade. Home-based workers increased by 133 percent among state government workers and 88 percent among federal government workers. There was a 67 percent increase in home-based work for employees of private companies.
“As communication and information technologies advance, we are seeing that workers are increasingly able to perform work at home,” said Peter Mateyka, an analyst in the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch and one of the authors of the report. “These changes in work patterns have both economic and social implications. Researchers and policymakers, including those in the fields of technology, transportation, employment, planning and housing, will find this report helpful in future transportation and community planning as well as technological trends.”
• About one in 10 who worked exclusively from home were 65 and older in 2010.
• About one-fourth of home-based workers were in management, business and financial occupations.
• Home-based workers in computer, engineering and science occupations increased by 69 percent between 2000 and 2010.
• Mondays and Fridays were the most popular days to work at home for those who work both at home and at another location.
• Metro areas in the Southeast, Southwest and West had the largest percentage of workers who worked from home.
Monday, October 08, 2012
What Should Boards, Management, and Policymakers Do Now?
In 1991, in recognition that the acts of individuals can create criminal liability for their organizations, the U.S. Sentencing Commission expanded the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to include a new chapter on organizational crime. The intent was twofold: to provide a consistent set of guidelines to deter and punish organizational crime and to encourage positive behavior — specifically, the establishment of effective corporate compliance programs. In the two decades since, one of the chief aims of the guidelines has been to encourage basic cultural change within organizations in ways that might reduce both criminal and ethical risk. On May 16, 2012, RAND brought together a group of public company directors and executives, chief ethics and compliance officers, and stakeholders from the government, academic, and nonprofit sectors for a series of conversations about organizational culture, as well as to explore the business and policy ramifications of efforts to build better ethical cultures in corporations. The symposium discussions featured a range of viewpoints on the history and progress of compliance initiatives, the barriers to achieving a strong ethical culture, and what corporate boards, executives, and compliance and ethics officers, and policymakers can do to cultivate such cultures. Participants put forward a range of solutions, many of which sought to overcome the common tendency to view compliance as a legal issue more so than a cultural one.
Friday, October 05, 2012
Everyone's reacting to the jobs figures released this morning. I thought I would have a look at the Conference Board to see what they had to say: Press Release / News Job Growth Still Slow, But Not Slowing 05 October, 2012 Comment on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, The Conference Board With a gain of 114,000 jobs in September and an upward revision for August, this economy remains on a slow but not slowing growth path. More demand would help, as would fewer ill winds blowing in from a contracting Europe and slower emerging markets. More certainty on taxes post-election would also help. However, right now, slow job and income growth is about all the economy is capable of generating as businesses remain focused on cutting costs. That is the signal from The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. and is consistent with recent readings on consumer sentiment. Lack of demand plus concern about declining profits makes it difficult to generate new jobs at a faster pace.
I also saw that the New Yorker has also covered it, and broken it down to better understand how the Department of Labor crunches it's numbers: October 5, 2012 Obama, the Job Figures, and the Conspiracy Theorists Posted by John Cassidy Briefly,my understanding is that you need to take a long view to make sense of these figures. Data is coming from household surveys combined with data reported from employers do not share the same ebbs and flows resulting in re-adjusting figures once more information is received. In all, it is a slow recovery, but it is a recovery.
This bulletin presents 2011 annual averages from the Current Population Survey for census regions and divisions; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; and 54 large metropolitan areas, 22 metropolitan divisions, and 41 principal cities. Data from the CPS differ from the official estimates produced by the individual states through the LAUS program. CPS estimates are provided herein because they are a current source of information on the demographic and economic characteristics of the labor force in subnational areas, from the same source as the official labor force data for the United States as a whole.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
From CBS News MoneyWatch
Like most of you, I get cold calls and e-mails every day -- not spam, I mean "real" sales calls -- most of them for things in which I have no interest, or for which I am not even a prospect. And like most people (I'm making statistical assumptions), I almost never answer or respond. It's not because I have it in for all salespeople -- though probably most of us have a hard spot in our hearts for solicitations -- It's because the vast majority of them botch their door-opening efforts so badly.
I appreciate that these people are doing their jobs and trying to make a living. In fact, as I wrote recently, whenever I get a call, e-mail or message from a salesperson, I remind myself that at my company, and probably yours, we call people to try to sell stuff, too. So I'm not insensitive to the plight of the honest, hardworking sales professional.
The problem is, most of their hard work often goes into turning me off to the point of nearly total disinterest in whatever it is they're selling, even if they were straight-up giving away gold bullion.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Albany – The State University of New York and New York State Small Business Development Center (NYS SBDC) today announced that James King was recently elected Chairman of the Board for the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) at the organization’s 2012 national meeting in New Orleans. King is State Director of SBDC.
SUNY is the lead host for the statewide SBDC network, which includes the City University of New York (CUNY), Pace University, and Columbia University.
"Jim King’s election as chairman of the national small business development network is a well-deserved recognition of his outstanding leadership in New York State and of SUNY’s progress toward driving economic development," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "We are pleased to have Jim represent SUNY as he helps shape a national agenda for economic support in communities throughout New York and across the nation."
"I am honored and privileged to lead such a distinguished group nationally," said King. "The ASBDC is a vital part of the SBDC network and I look forward to helping contribute to the critical small business initiative that is so vital to our national economy. The support and partnerships we have in SUNY and within higher education throughout New York State, and the many local, regional, and individual contributors who collectively encourage new and existing small businesses to expand and grow, have made this possible, and I thank each of our partners for the critical roles they play in our ongoing success."
The ASBDC is a partnership program uniting private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations, hosted at higher education institutions throughout the nation. The organization is dedicated to the sound development of entrepreneurs and small business throughout America. Founded in 1979, the ASBDC provides a vehicle for continuous improvement of the Small Business Development Center program, exchange of information among all members regarding objectives, methods and results in business management and technical assistance, and advocacy of America's small business community.
The ASBDC officers and board members are made up of SBDC State and Regional Directors from across 11 different states. King replaces Al Salgado, Director for South-West Texas SBDC, as Chairman.
About the SUNY Small Business Development Center
The SBDC, administered by the State University of New York, has 24 regional service centers located throughout the New York State on SUNY, City University of New York (CUNY) and private university campuses. Since inception in 1984, the SBDC has provided small business advisement services to more than 354,000 New Yorkers. The SBDC also provides training and business research to existing business owners and entrepreneurs. SBDC clients have invested over $4.7 billion in NY, impacting 158,000 jobs.
The SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of New York, local communities, and host campuses. As a result of this leveraged support, the SBDC staff provides confidential one-on-one business advisement services at no direct cost to the citizens and entrepreneurs of New York.
For more information about the SBDC, visit www.nyssbdc.org.
About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating approximately 468,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012
SUNY Contact: David Doyle; David.Doyle@suny.edu; 518-320-1311
NYS SBDC Contact: David Carnevale; 518-641-0614
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
From World Economic Forum:
The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.
Monday, October 01, 2012
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average annual expenditures per consumer unit rose 3.3 percent in 2011 following a decrease of 2.0 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The rise in spending in 2011 barely outpaced the 3.2-percent increase in prices for goods and services from 2010 to 2011, as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). This was the first yearly increase in spending since the 1.7-percent rise from 2007 to 2008, as expenditures had declined in both 2009 and 2010.
All major components of household spending increased in 2011. The 8.0-percent rise in transportation spending was the largest percentage increase among all major components. Overall spending on food and cash contributions (including payments for support of college students, alimony and child support, and giving to charities and religious organizations) both increased by 5.4 percent. Other spending highlights include a 4.9-percent rise in health care spending, and modest increases in housing (+1.5 percent), apparel and services (+2.4 percent), entertainment (+2.7 percent), and
personal insurance and pensions (+0.9 percent).