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Significant Digits for Friday, Dec. 6, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s number is 30, for the number of degrees that temperatures are expected to drop across the central U.S. next week due to another “Arctic blast.”

102-page report

The military and veteran-focused media company Task & Purpose says a recent study on the culture of the U.S. Marine Corps detailed exactly how sexism and workplace harassment go far beyond the nude photo scandal that was exposed in 2017. After researchers spoke with 267 active-duty male and female Marines, they compiled their findings and interviews in a 102-page report which provided examples of how female Marines were mistreated. [Task & Purpose]

1st black heroine in The Nutcracker

Even Christmas traditions can change to reflect and represent the children who love them. This year, the role of Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production of “Nutcracker” will be played by a black dancer for the first time: 11-year-old Charlotte Nebres. The School of American Ballet student also has a father from the Philippines and is one of several biracial young leads in the famous production this year. [New York Times]

17 House Republicans retiring

When things don’t look great for your political team, sometimes you decline to go another round. As of Thursday, 17 House Republicans have announced they are not seeking reelection in 2020. FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley pointed out many of these names have been members of the House for at least two decades, are from safe Republican districts and in their early-to-mid 60s, making them relatively young for retirement. Overall, it’s not a positive sign for the GOP. [FiveThirtyEight]

$11,172 per person in health care spending

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found a small one percent decrease in American retail drug prices in 2018 — the first decline in more than 40 years — but a significant jump in the cost per person for private health insurance. The study, which was published in the journal Health Affairs, says that last year health care spending overall grew by 4.6 percent to a total of $3.6 trillion, or an average of $11,172 per person. If you felt like you were spending more on out-of-pocket fees such as insurance deductibles and co-payments in 2018 , those also increased last year by 2.8 percent. [Washington Post]

30 percent more texting and driving

The holiday period means increases in spending and travel, as well as incidents of distracted driving, even with more laws guarding against the practice in several states. A new report from Bloomberg News analyzed the data of approximately 30,000 drivers and found distracted driving in New York City and Los Angeles rose during the summer, as well as increased by approximately 30 percent during the holidays. [Bloomberg News]

$2.3 billion battery plant

On Thursday General Motors announced a partnership with South Korea’s LG Chem for a new $2.3 billion electric battery factory near Lordstown, Ohio. It’s the same location where the carmaker recently shutdown an auto assembly plant. But the company will now build a plant focused on battery cells for electric vehicles, creating 1,100 jobs. The Lordstown facility had employed 1,600 people, many of whom relocated to other GM factories in other states. GM CEO Mary Barra refused to confirm whether former Lordstown workers would be prioritized for hiring purposes at the new plant. [USA Today]

SigDigs: Dec. 6, 2019