While there’s always something exciting going on in the aviation industry, we’ve picked out a few of the more interesting stories to come out recently, including stories on the rising number of failed employer drug tests, job creation in the waste management industry and an effort by Apple to boost manufacturing jobs.

Failed drug tests make hiring harder

Positive drug tests on the US workforce are on the rise and that trend means hiring managers are having an even more difficult time hiring qualified candidates.

According to a recent report from Quest Diagnostics, the testing company is seeing the highest rates for positive drug tests in the last 12 years. And, these numbers aren’t simply being driven by the recent decriminalization of marijuana. Positive tests for cocaine use increased for the 4th consecutive year, a 12 percent increase since 2016. Positive tests for amphetamine use rose by more than 8 percent.

The Quest report did connect the legalization of marijuana in two states with higher rates of positive tests for the drug. In Colorado, the positive test rate increased by 11 percent, while in Washington it rose by 9 percent. Positive tests for marijuana nationwide increased by just 4 percent.

Despite the growing opioid epidemic, the Quest report did not indicate an increase in positive tests for heroin, and positive tests for prescription opioids actually declined slightly.

Making jobs out of trash

A waste product from the paper industry known as lignin could soon be used to make anything from tennis rackets to cars, a newly-published research study concluded.

Lignin comes from the structural part of a plant and approximately 50 million tons of it piles up annually as waste from the paper industry. Even more, Lignin is expected to come from biorefineries that create ethanol, which could mean another 100 million to 200 million tons of lignin waste each year. However, only approximately 2 percent of the lignin waste is now being recycled into new products.

In the new study, researchers divided lignin into various parts and discovered particular parts of it are useful for the production of high-quality carbon fiber. Study author Joshua Yuan, a research scientist from Texas A&M said his team’s work could lead to biorefineries that separate lignin into a variety of usable materials, and since the entire supply chain would be in the United States, such facilities would mean many new jobs.

Apple’s billion-dollar job-boosting fund

While Apple has received criticism in the past for manufacturing its devices overseas, the tech giant has been employing more and more Americans recently and CEO Tim Cook recently said his company is starting a $1 billion fund to boost advanced manufacturing jobs in the US.

According to Apple’s official web site, the company is responsible for creating around 2 million jobs in the US – 80,000 in its retail operations; 450,000 in its supply chain and manufacturing; and more than 1.5 million through the App Store.

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