Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rose 4 percent over the past year, outpacing the increase in workers’ wages and the rate of inflation, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are now $7,470 for a single plan and $21,342 for a family plan, up 4 percent from the previous year. Those dollar amounts include both worker and employer contributions.

Meanwhile, wages increased by 3.4 percent alongside 2.1 percent inflation. 

About 157 million people get their insurance through work, and the costs have steadily risen over the years.

The average premium for family coverage, including the employer contribution, has increased 22 percent over the last five years and 55 percent over the last decade.

In 2020, on average, workers contributed 17 percent of the premium for single coverage — about $1,243 — and 27 percent for family coverage, or about $5,588.

Rising health care costs have been one of the reasons behind stagnant wages.

Eighty-three percent of covered workers had an annual deductible for single coverage that must be met because most services are paid for by the plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

The average deductible for single coverage was $1,644 in 2020, similar to the average deductible last year.

Sixty-five percent of covered workers have coinsurance that requires they pay for a percentage of their care of meeting their deductible.

The analysis concluded that health care costs were stable in 2020, with premium increases modest and consistent with recent years. However, as the analysis was conducted in the early days of the pandemic, it doesn’t address how employers responded to it.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Katy is faring well when it comes to sales receipts, at least this month.

For the month of October, the city is receiving a payment of more than $1.05 million, up 5.56 percent compared to October 2019. For the year, total payments of more than $10.6 million represent a modest rise of 1.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Wednesday that his office is sending “cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $751.5 million in local sales tax allocations for October, 2.8 percent less than in October 2019.”

The allocations this month represent sales made in August.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on the Texas economy and sales tax revenue,” according to the Comptroller’s Office.

Nearly every city in Fort Bend County has seen their year-over-year sales tax receipts rise, with the exception of Sugar Land.

Sugar Land, by far the largest city in Fort Bend County, is receiving a payment of $41.8 million, a decline of more than 11.56 percent compared to last year. For the year, the city has received nearly $41.2 million, an overall drop of 8.36 compared to 2019.

The only other city in Fort Bend County which has seen a year-over-year drop in tax receipts is tiny Kendleton with a population of less than 500 people. For the year, the city has received nearly $15,000 from the state, down about 10.5 percent compared to 2019.

Other cities in Fort Bend County have been more fortunate.

Rosenberg has seen a modest increase with its $1.61 million payment from the state, up 0.48 percent over a year ago.

Brazil’s economy is set to shrink by 5.8 percent in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said Monday, revising up an earlier forecast but warning the country faced “excpetionally high” risks.

“The economy is projected to shrink by 5.8 percent in 2020, followed by a partial recovery to 2.8 percent in 2021,” the IMF said in its annual report on Latin America’s largest economy.

The report released Monday revised upwards the more pessimistic forecast of a 9.1 percent contraction in June.

Aerial view showing factories at the Manaus Duty Free Zone (ZFM), Amazonas state, Brazil, in September 2020 Aerial view showing factories at the Manaus Duty Free Zone (ZFM), Amazonas state, Brazil, in September 2020 Photo: AFP / Michael DANTAS

It praised the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro for its “swift and substantial” response to the economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The government increased health spending, boosted financial support for state governments, extended state-backed credit lines and introduced employment retention schemes, which helped protect formal jobs during lockdown.

“The strong policy response averted a deeper economic downturn, stabilized financial markets, and cushioned the effects of the pandemic on the poor and vulnerable.”

A man holds his Brazilian working document during a weekly job fair in Rio de Janeiro in June 2019 A man holds his Brazilian working document during a weekly job fair in Rio de Janeiro in June 2019 Photo: AFP / MAURO PIMENTEL

However, it warned that given a sharp rise in primary fiscal deficit, gross public debt is projected to jump to around 100 percent of GDP in 2020, remaining high over the medium term.

An excavator pushes earth over coffins at a mass grave at the Nossa Senhora cemetary in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil in September 2020 An excavator pushes earth over coffins at a mass grave at the Nossa Senhora cemetary in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil in September 2020 Photo: AFP / MICHAEL DANTAS

“Risks are exceptionally high and multifaceted,” the Fund warned, “including a second wave of the pandemic, long-term scarring from a protracted recession, and vulnerability to confidence shocks given Brazil’s high level of public debt.”

The South American giant

The unemployment rate for September fell to 7.9 percent , down from 8.4 percent in August, the Labor Department said Friday. Since April, the jobless rate has tumbled from 14.7 percent . But last month’s drop in joblessness reflected largely a drop in the number of people seeking work, rather than a surge in hiring. The government doesn’t count people as unemployed if they aren’t actively looking for a job.

Including part-time workers who would prefer full-time work and people who have stopped looking for a job a broader measure of what is called under-employment was 12.8 percent in September, down from 14.2 percent in August.

Last month’s job gains appeared to reflect mainly temporarily laid-off workers who were recalled to their old jobs, continuing a trend in place since April, rather than people joining new employers. In a worrisome sign, the number of Americans who say their jobs are gone for good rose to 3.8 million from 3.4 million.

The September jobs report coincides with other data that suggests that while the economic picture may be improving, the gains have slowed since summer. The economy is under pressure from a range of threats. They include the expiration of federal aid programs that had fueled rehiring and sustained the economy — from a $600-a-week benefit for the unemployed to $500 billion in forgivable short-term loans to small businesses.

Friday’s data offers voters a final look at the most important barometer of the US economy before the Nov. 3 presidential election — an election whose outcome was thrown into deeper uncertainty by the announcement early Friday that President Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The rise in confirmed viral cases that is occurring in much of the country could force new business shutdowns or discourage consumers from traveling, shopping