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  • Sep 2017: In a New York Times article, Canada Letter: Health Care Comparisons, Canada was knocked out early by Britain in a recent tournament setup by UpShot to determine the world's best health care system. UpShot is the Times group that examines the world through data. The tournament was designed to pick the world's best healthcare system by using a head-to-head comparison of systems evaluated by a panel of professionals including physicians/professors and economists. Canada's early knock out was due to long wait times. However, Canadian Professor Carroll points out that "the reason for longer wait times in Canada is not the system's design" but due to the lack of spending on the system. Professor Carroll further states that "Canada spends, on average, about half of what the United States does for health care." According to Professor Carroll, "wait times are most likely an economic decision, not one inherent to single-payer." Click here to read the full article.
  • Sep 2017: Employer Health Benefits 2017 Annual Survey results are in. The annual premium for Employer-sponsored family health coverage is up 3% bringing annual premiums up to $18,764 with workers paying approximately one-third of the cost according to the study by Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Education Trust 2017 Health Benefits Survey. Single coverage came in at $6,690 per year with worker contribution at only 18% of the total premium cost. Click here for the full report. Please note this report may take a few minutes to load.
  • Aug 2017: Will the low unemployment rate cause inflation to spike? Not according to James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. According to Mr. Bullard the relationship between unemployment rates and inflation is minimal. Click here to view his analysis on this issue.
  • Aug 2017: The Regional Economist published its 3rd Qtr 2017 "Economy at a Glance"for a graphical look at each economic sector of the United States Economy
  • Apr 2017: Forecasters lower growth outlook according to Fox Business article by Josh Zumbrun of the WSJ. Click here to read the complete article.
  • Jan 2017: The 2017 Economic Report of the President reviews the economic record of the Obama Administration, focusing on how policies have promoted inclusive growth. The opinions expressed in this report are political in nature and do not necessarily represent the opinion of this office. However, this report is a source of extensive economic data with statistical tables starting on page 559 in Appendix B.
 

Dr. Mellish is a specialist in the valuation of loss due to business damages, wrongful termination, personal injury and death. He has been qualified as an expert witness in the majority of the Circuit Courts in Florida and many Federal Courts in various states including FL, GA, AL, NY, TX, CA, US Virgin Islands, and others.

This office has a reputation for providing expert witness consultation at the highest standards. We assist attorneys in identifying areas of damages as well as calculating the present value of future losses including lost wages, benefits, the value of household services, the amount necessary to provide medical care in the future, hedonic damages (value of the loss of enjoyment of lifestyle issues) as well as punitive damages in cases that warrant it. In worker’s compensation cases, our reports are often made a part of the fee petition package. We have designed a computer-assisted format for presenting the results of our analysis in the worker’s compensation cases. We have also developed a computer-assisted format for calculating the present value of future medical care items required in a life care plan for catastrophic injury cases. These computer assisted formats allows us to keep billing to a minimum by reducing the amount of professional time needed. Please refer to our Services page for a detailed list of services provided.

What does it take to evaluate economic damages?

Quite often attorneys call us to quickly estimate the level of economic damages in an injury or death case. When the attorney can give us a short description of the nature of the injury, we can typically identify the probable damage elements:

  • Loss of income or support
  • Loss of value of services
  • Probable future medical expenses

We can usually provide an estimate in a 5 to 15 minute phone call. We do not charge for such brief consultations. By contrast, a written report requires documentation for underlying data. That is what takes the most time – and is billable. Business damages cases are different from personal injury cases when it comes to quick estimates. That said, we can usually describe the type of underlying data that will be needed to estimate business damages in a 5 to 15 minute consultation.

What's happening with the unemployment rate? The latest BLS figures for the U.S. Labor Force as of August 2017 shows the Unemployment rate at 4.4% with a rise in unemployed persons of 151,000 resulting from a drop of 74,000 in the employment level and a net rise of 77,000 in the civilian labor force. A rise in the civilian labor force can be age-related, education-related, or health-related. Factoring in this increase in the number of persons available to seek work explains the discrepancy between the increase in the unemployed persons of 151,000 and the decrease in the employed persons of only 74,000. Likewise, this phenomenon can cause an increase in job creation to have less of an impact on the overall unemployment rate due to additional people being added to the labor force for these other reasons such as graduating from school or college, completing a rehabilitation program, or simply reaching age 16 which is the countable age for the Survey.

Are interest rates on the rise? In Dec 2016, the Federal Reserve started increasing the Federal interest rate by .25% bringing the rate to .50% to .75%. According to a NY Times article dated 12/14/2016, Janet Yellen, Chairwoman for the Federal Reserve, expected to raise rates more quickly in 2017 to “prevent the economy from growing too quickly.” To date, she has followed through with her plan with an increase in Feb 2017 and a similar increase in May bringing the current Fed rate to 1% to 1.25%. Click here to read the article and find out more about why the Fed raised the rate for three consecutive quarters (Dec 2016, Feb 2017 and May 2017). If you’re wondering what these hikes mean to you, Click here to view an article published by Forbes that lays out “What you need to know” .

How does this affect the present value of future economic loses? When the interest rate or discount rate is low, the present failure of future economic losses will be higher. However, the other element in the present value calculation is the growth rate in wages, or in future medical expenses. When interest rates are low, these other two elements of the present value calculations will also be low. Therefore, the present value will not be substantially different than in a period of high interest rates.

Economic Forecasts:

According to Bankrate.com’s survey of economists, we can expect another Fed Rate hike in December 2017. The full results of their 1-year prediction poll is shown below:

Click on image to enlarge.
Source: Bankrate's Economic Indicators Survey, Q3 2017

Unemployment is expected to drop slightly, 10-yr treasury bills are predicted to rise from 2.19% to 2.94% although jobs added per month are expected to decrease from 209,000 to 168,000. If you want to discuss this in greater detail, please give me a call.


On the lighter side, check out some humorous Videos from an economic standpoint on our

Humor & Interest Page

You can also find interesting links to information such as the current gas prices and what makes up the gas price as well as Tax Facts 2017 and proposed tax policies for 2018 on our Humor & Interest Page.

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