The Post-COVID Economy: Pathways for Rebuilding a More Equitable and Inclusive Workplace
The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest public health emergency in our nation’s history, and the resulting economic recession has led to millions of people being unemployed and hundreds of thousands losing their lives. Both these challenges have disproportionally affected those people who were already vulnerable—low-income workers, especially those without equal access to economic opportunity due to their race, gender, education level, or ZIP code. This crisis has demonstrated just how imperative it is that workforce development reshapes the pathways to opportunity in this country.
Career Pathways in a Changing Labor Market
Recently, labor economists, workforce development policy analysts, and workforce development practitioners gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to examine the effects of automation and shifting labor demands on the future of work. Presenters included Dan Restuccia of Burning Glass Technologies, Sara Lamback of Jobs for the Future, Daniel Kreisman of Georgia State University, Chad Shearer of the Brookings Institution, Susan Lund of McKinsey Global Institute, and Nancey Green Leigh and Ben Kraft of Georgia Institute of Technology. The researchers collected data from job postings, ...
Creating Opportunities for Young Workers
Integrating young workers into the workforce, especially opportunity youth, takes a deliberate approach. Considering the needs and perspectives of young workers is critical to integrating them into the workforce. Involving young adults and opportunity youth in the design and development of programs and curricula that prepare them for work will help ensure that the programs address challenges young workers face in the labor market. Creating opportunities for early work experience also plays an important role.
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 ...
Racial Disparities in the Labor Market
Current research tells us that racial gaps in wages, employment, and labor participation have widened over recent decades. Many factors contribute to these disparities, including difficult to measure dynamics like discrimination, criminal conviction history, and skills gaps.
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.
Challenges in Today's Unemployment Insurance System
After a year of crippling economic impacts due to the coronavirus pandemic, at least 16 million workers remain unemployed. The national unemployment rate for February 2021 was 6.2 percent; in February 2020, it stood at 3.5 percent.* Many unemployed workers have struggled to make ends meet over the past year. Since March 2020, the unemployment insurance system was changed to help workers make ends meet during the pandemic. These measures created challenges for state unemployment insurance administrators and have often fallen short of the program's goals.
The Failure of Big Data to Address Problems in the Workforce during the COVID-19 Era
The COVID-19-driven recession has devastated the U.S. labor market and American workers. In March 2020, in the span of a month, initial unemployment weekly claims increased from 216,000 (U.S. Department of Labor 2020c) to a peak of 6.8 million, setting new records for unemployment since the Great Depression (U.S. Department of Labor 2020a). The total insured unemployment rate increased from 1.2 percent on March 14 to 14.8 percent on May 16, which translates to about 22 million unemployed (U.S. Department of Labor 2020b).
Hiring Difficulties across Industries and Location
In the current tight labor market with low levels of unemployment, it is not surprising that a large share of firms experience difficulty hiring candidates for open positions. However, much is unclear about the extent of these difficulties, their underlying reasons, and how firms respond. Using data from the Federal Reserve Banks' national 2017 Small Business Credit Survey, a recent paper examines the nature of firms' hiring difficulties and how they vary by industry and geographic location. The paper also explores how the reasons behind hiring difficulties relate to firms' responses. The ...
Early Childhood Education and the Economy
A child's first few years provide a strong foundation for future development. Early childhood education programs can increase future labor force productivity, decrease societal costs, and ultimately lead to a stronger economy.