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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta  Series:Workforce Currents 

Discussion Paper
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.
Workforce Currents , Paper 2020-04

Discussion Paper
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.
Workforce Currents , Paper 2019-01

Discussion Paper
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.
Workforce Currents , Paper 2018-02

Discussion Paper
Can Lessons from the Great Recession Guide Policy Responses to the Pandemic-Driven Economic Crisis?

In a 1948 speech to the British House of Commons, Winston Churchill warned, "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." As the U.S. economy struggles to reopen safely and recover, what are the lessons from the Great Recession that might help guide how policymakers respond to the pandemic-driven economic crisis?1 What should we expect over the coming months and years as the nation struggles to restore its economy, which before the pandemic had finally achieved historically low unemployment levels? In June 2020, there is much that we do not know or would even attempt to ...
Workforce Currents , Paper 2020-05

Discussion Paper
Opportunity Occupations in the Southeast

Opportunity occupations—or opportunity employment—are jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree and pay above a regionally adjusted median wage. This article takes a look at trends in the Southeast. For a deeper look at trends in opportunity occupations, see also "Opportunity Occupations Revisited: Exploring Employment for Sub-Baccalaureate Workers Across Metro Areas and Over Time."
Workforce Currents , Paper 2019-04

Discussion Paper
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, ...
Workforce Currents , Paper 2018-01

Discussion Paper
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 ...
Workforce Currents , Paper 2020-02

Discussion Paper
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.
Workforce Currents , Paper 2020-03

Discussion Paper
The Workforce Development Field or a Conduit for Maintaining Systemic Racism?

Not many people can say they deliberately chose the field of workforce development as a career path. Yet many amazing and formidable people have contributed to the growth and development of this field, despite its original focus: supporting white, dislocated workers.
Workforce Currents , Paper 2021-01

Discussion Paper
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).
Workforce Currents , Paper 2021-03

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