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Workers Comp Data As An Economic Indicator

Workers compensation claims are at a recent low. Most may view this as a great thing. Lower workers comp claims mean that there are fewer injuries happening in the workplace. Fewer injuries means fewer employees missing out on work, less money employers are being forced to pay out for claims, and fewer injured individuals. And that is a great thing, right?

Workers compensation data could be sign of either a struggling or booming economy depending on your perception.

Well, it depends on what you think these workers compensation claims are telling us. If the only thing you link to them are injured individuals, then yes, these lower numbers are great indicators of the safety of our work environments.

What else could these numbers be telling us?

In a recent article, Roberto Ceniceros spoke about what these workers comp claims can tell us about our economy. He discusses being able to use these workers comp claim trends as economic indicators. He explained that many times workers comp claims increase as more people are able to find jobs. Basically, as more individuals find jobs, there are more employed people. As there are more people in the workplace, there are more people who run the risk of getting hurt in the workplace. So, as more people become employed, workers comp claims usually see an increase.

So when you take a look at this logic, you can also reverse it. More people in the workplace usually means more workers comp claims. So, more workers comp claims can also mean more people in the workplace. So, he explained that, if we see large increases in the workers comp claims, then we can usually assume that there are higher employment rates that are paired with it.

Why is this information helpful?

So, why is this information helpful? Can’t we just take a look at the reported employment rates to get an idea of how the employment in our country is growing/decreasing? Yes, absolutely… if you trust the reported numbers. With the most recent Labor Department reports on the decreases in our nation’s unemployment rates, many have speculated that these numbers have been “tampered with” because of the upcoming election. So, depending on which side you favor, you may not completely trust the reported unemployment rates.

So what is the workers comp data telling us about our current economic environment?

If you want to take a look at workers comp data to arrive at some conclusions about the economy, here you go: it is reported that claims have recently been on the downward trend. Which, if we use the logic above, that would tell us that employment rates are still down and the economy isn’t in the best shape.

But Ceniceros also spoke about some more promising trends. He explained that “insurers have reported seeing a rise in payrolls.” So that could tell us that employment rates are indeed rising. He also wrote that “The U.S. Department of Commerce reported a 1.1% increase in retail sales volume for September,” and that “housing starts surged 15% in September, reaching the highest level in four years.” So those also could be indicators of improved economic conditions.

No matter what your political view are, we all want our employment rates and economy to start seeing some healing. Hopefully these type of numbers will continue to improve so that we can look to them for proof of an improved economic environment.

Nicole is a guest author for Malman Law. They are Chicago personal injury attorneys, protecting the rights of the injured. Find out more about them.

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