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COVID-19, Workers, and Policy
As coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) spreads around the world and across the United States, many policymakers and public health officials are encouraging employers to tell workers to work remotely or to stay home when they or their family members are sick. There are significant questions, though, about how many people can work from home. Many U.S. workers in retail, restaurants, manufacturing, and other occupations cannot do so. This Workforce Currents post will explore who can work from home and identify practices and policies to support workers who cannot work from home in the event of a pandemic ...
Leading, lagging, and left behind: identifying metropolitan leaders and labor market outcomes
From 1990 to 2010, the United States underwent significant changes in the makeup of the population and its educational attainment. During the period, bachelor's degree or higher attainment proportions rose significantly?7.9 percentage points?from 20.3 percent in 1990 to 28.2 percent in 2010. This growth happened unevenly, though. Of 283 metropolitan areas, only 78 were above the 7.9 percentage point increase, suggesting much more concentrated growth than would be expected if growth were experienced evenly. This paper documents the concentration of growth and examines four labor market ...
Reemploying the Unemployed
From March 14 to 28, roughly 9.9 million people (when seasonally adjusted) filed new claims for unemployment insurance across the country.1 That represents roughly 3 percent of the entire population of the United States actively filing for unemployment insurance in two weeks. In addition, the vast proportion of people who are eligible for unemployment insurance do not make a claim. During “normal” times, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 74 percent of unemployed workers do not file a claim, primarily because they think they are not eligible for unemployment insurance.
Introducing the Unemployment Claims Monitor
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unparalleled economic slowdown and record numbers of layoffs. Even casual economic observers have seen reports of millions of workers filing claims for unemployment insurance—between the weeks of March 21, 2020 and April 25, 2020, 19 percent of workers covered by unemployment insurance filed an initial claim—but what exactly does this mean for unemployment?1 It is important to understand exactly what an unemployment insurance (UI) claim represents and how it provides information on what is happening in the economy.
Financing workforce development in a devolutionary era
Workforce development financing has changed significantly over the last 25 years. In 2008, federal funding for the traditional workforce development system was 83 percent lower in real terms than it had been in 1980. As the federal system plays a smaller role in workforce development financing, the job training landscape better represents a "marketplace" where students and job seekers use federal training vouchers and grant and student loan money from various sources, primarily the Higher Education Act's Pell Grant and Federal Student Loan programs. Additionally, increasing volatility in ...
The new Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity will focus on employment and labor market issues. Director Stuart Andreason discusses the center's objectives in this post.
Will talent attraction and retention improve metropolitan labor markets?
Since the early 1990s, metropolitan entities and local governments have targeted incentives, policies, and investments with the goal of highly educated and skilled workers to locate in their communities. These efforts focus on attracting workers who hold a bachelor?s degree or higher and have had a profound effect on the form and management of metropolitan areas, but there is not clear evidence that growth in bachelor?s or higher degree attainment improves metropolitan labor market outcomes. I use an outcomes-based cluster-discriminant analysis to test whether or not metropolitan areas with ...
Fragmentation in workforce development and efforts to coordinate regional workforce development systems
The importance of human capital in regional economic competitiveness is increasingly apparent. However, structural changes, fragmentation, the instability of funding, and other factors have led to challenges for workforce development providers as well as workforce development systems. This fragmentation has created a less coherent and coordinated workforce development system. Often, metropolitan areas have many programs and policies in place to train workers for jobs that require sub-baccalaureate credentials or skills. The lack of coordination in local training systems may limit the ...
Automation and the Future of Work
There are numerous reports that highlight potential effects that new technology will have on the U.S. labor market, and many of them are not exactly what you would expect. For example, with the advent of the internet and ubiquity of spreadsheets in the 1980s, analyst employment soared. The new technology unlocked latent demand for more analysis that had been simply too expensive before the new communication and productivity technologies became common. The need for more analysis led to more analysts…even though there were new technologies that made the work more efficient or productive.
Policies to Close the Southern Skills Gap
Southern states have a number of economic and demographic characteristics that make them unique from the rest of the country—and increase the need to build skills to advance economic development in the region.