Category Archives: Workforce

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2013

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS Reports, Report 1050, August 2014

In 2013, the overall unemployment rate for the United States was 7.4 percent; however, the rate varied across race and ethnicity groups. The rates were highest for Blacks (13.1 percent) and for American Indians and Alaska Natives (12.8 percent) and lowest for Asians (5.2 percent) and for Whites (6.5 percent). The jobless rate was 9.1 percent for Hispanics, 10.2 percent for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and 11.0 percent for people of Two or More Races. Labor market differences among the race and ethnicity groups are associated with many factors, not all of which are measurable. These factors include variations across the groups in educational attainment; the occupations and industries in which the groups work; the geographic areas of the country in which the groups are concentrated, including whether they tend to reside in urban or rural settings; and the degree of discrimination encountered in the workplace. This report describes the labor force characteristics and earnings patterns among the largest race and ethnicity groups living in the United States—Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics—and provides detailed data through a set of supporting tables. The report also includes a limited amount of data for American Indians and Alaska Natives and for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, people who are of Two or More Races, detailed Hispanic ethnicity and, for the first time, detailed Asian groups. Due to their relatively small sample size, estimates for these additional groups are not included in all tables. …

The Future of Work – A journey to 2022

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 2014

Tremendous forces are radically reshaping the world of work as we know it. Disruptive innovations are creating new industries and business models and destroying old ones. New technologies, data analytics and social networks are having a huge impact on how we communicate, collaborate and work. Many of the roles and job titles of tomorrow will be ones we’ve not even thought of yet. This report takes you on a journey to 2022 and explores how the changing business landscape will impact your people management strategy. What path will you take? … …In this report, we look to 2022 and consider how the characteristics of these three worlds of work are likely to be shaped by the changes coming up over the next eight years. This includes setting out the recruitment, reward and employee engagement strategies that are likely to be most relevant as these worlds evolve, and what this means for businesses, workforces and HR. This report draws on a specially commissioned survey of 10,000 people in China, India, Germany, the UK and the US, who told us how they think the workplace will evolve and how this will affect their employment prospects and future working lives. Further input comes from a survey of almost 500 HR professionals across the world, who share their insights on how they’re preparing for the changes ahead…

Public-Sector Cuts Drag Down State and Local Economies

Source: David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, August 21, 2014

Some states and cities struggling to dig themselves out of post-recession job losses are suffering from additional self-inflicted wounds. State lawmakers can affect state labor markets through the budgetary choices they make about the state and local public-sector workforce. As the recession took hold and revenues dropped, lawmakers in states and localities were faced with difficult decisions on how to achieve budget balance. While some state lawmakers attempted to preserve public-sector jobs—such as by raising taxes on the wealthy—too many chose to slash vital investments in the public sector, weakening the critical services provided by police, firefighters, teachers, and social workers. As the chart below shows, since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, 28 states plus the District of Columbia have added state and local government jobs, while 21 states have cut public sector workers….

Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages and Skill Mismatches: Evidence for the US

Source: Peter Cappelli, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20382, August 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Concerns that there are problems with the supply of skills, especially education-related skills, in the US labor force have exploded in recent years with a series of reports from employer-associated organizations but also from independent and even government sources making similar claims. These complaints about skills are driving much of the debate around labor force and education policy, yet they have not been examined carefully. The discussion below examines the range of these charges as well as other evidence about skills in the labor force. There is very little evidence consistent with the complaints about skills and a wide range of evidence suggesting that they are not true. Indeed, a reasonable conclusion is that over-education remains the persistent and even growing situation of the US labor force with respect to skills. I consider three possible explanations for the employer complaints as well as the implications associated with those changes.

Largest industries by state, 1990–2013

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Editor’s Desk July 28, 2014

In 1990, the manufacturing industry was the leading employer in most U.S. states, followed by retail trade. In 2003, retail trade was the leading employer in a majority of states. By 2013, health care and social assistance was the dominant industry in 34 states. This animated map shows the top industry in each state and the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2013.

U.S. States: For Richer, For Poorer? Winning the battle for talent and securing our standard of living

Source: Accenture, 2014

From the press release:
According to Accenture, the U.S. standard of living is in danger of declining by 9 percent by 20301 – back to the level it was in 2000 – due to three major economic threats: an aging population, lower workforce participation and a flat or declining labor productivity growth rate. The Accenture analysis is outlined in a new report, U.S. States: For Richer, For Poorer? Winning the battle for talent and securing our standard of living, which advocates that state governments develop and execute strategies to ensure a sufficient supply of talent to meet the country’s workforce demands. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, current workforce participation rates are at their lowest since 1977. …

….Accenture identified three factors threatening the U.S. standard of living:

Population: As Baby Boomers retire, the working age population (15- to 64-years-old) is shrinking as a share of the total population. By 2030, the working age population could shrink by 9 percent, declining to a 1970 level.

Participation: There are not enough people of working-age actually working today, driven in part by youth unemployment (16- to 24-years-old).

Productivity: States are facing an unreliable growth rate in workforce productivity, which has fallen below 1 percent for five of the past 10 years and is now at one of its lowest points since 1960.

Accenture’s analysis, as well as survey findings, point to several factors affecting participation and productivity growth rates: Employers are not finding the skills they need for open positions, the long-term increase in high school and college graduation rates is forecast to end and more than half of recent college graduates consider themselves either under-employed or working in positions that do not require their college degrees…..

…Recommendations for Action
The report recommends a number of strategies and tools to increase workforce participation and accelerate productivity growth, including:

Real-time information on the demand and supply of skills and competencies. Today’s jobs and skill needs are different from those in the past, making historical data an unreliable predictor of future talent demand or supply. Accenture recommends that states provide real-time, skill- based information about jobs that are in high demand and promote the workforce qualifications needed to fill those jobs; this will result in better directing employers to the right pools of talent, helping job seekers match their skills with employer needs, and engaging educators to focus on developing the employment skills needed for today’s economy.

Talent supply pipelines. States should create talent supply pipelines that can provide employers, including government, with reliable access to the skills and competencies they need.

Roadmaps showing pathways to jobs. States should offer every job seeker a personalized road map that shows him or her how to put unique talents to work to gain the skills and competencies needed for the desired job.

United talent agenda focused on increasing standard of living. States should create a unified, statewide talent agenda that pulls together all related agencies, programs and budgets that focuses on increasing the standard of living….

Labor Market Transitions and the Availability of Unemployment Insurance

Source: Katharine Bradbury, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, No. 14-2, July 9, 2014

From the abstract:
Economists often expect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to elevate unemployment rates because recipients may choose to remain unemployed in order to continue receiving benefits, instead of accepting a job or dropping out of the labor force. This paper uses individual data from the Current Population Survey for the period between 2005 and 2013—a period during which the federal government extended and then reduced the length of benefit availability to varying degrees in different states—to investigate the influence of program parameters in the UI system on monthly transition rates of unemployed individuals. The main finding is that unemployed job losers tend to remain unemployed until they exhaust UI benefits, at which point they become more likely to drop out of the labor force; transitions to a job appear to be unaffected by UI benefit extensions. These findings imply that the longer periods of benefit eligibility under the federal programs EUC08 and EB—up to 99 weeks in many states in 2011 and 2012—contributed to the elevated jobless rates observed during that period, but not via lower employment. By the same token, the sharp contraction of benefit weeks that occurred in 2012 and continued more gradually in 2013 likely contributed to declines in unemployment and participation rates beyond what one would expect based on the improving economy alone. Similarly, the December 28, 2013 sudden cutoff of federal UI payments to an estimated 1.3 million jobless Americans who had been looking for work for more than six months is adding to the pace of transitions from unemployment to dropping out of the labor force, thus reducing the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate further in the first half of 2014, although very modestly.

AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs

Source: Aaron Smith and Janna Anderson, Pew Research Center, August 2014

From the Key Findings:
The vast majority of respondents to the 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing anticipate that robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025, with huge implications for a range of industries such as health care, transport and logistics, customer service, and home maintenance. But even as they are largely consistent in their predictions for the evolution of technology itself, they are deeply divided on how advances in AI and robotics will impact the economic and employment picture over the next decade.

We call this a canvassing because it is not a representative, randomized survey. Its findings emerge from an “opt in” invitation to experts who have been identified by researching those who are widely quoted as technology builders and analysts and those who have made insightful predictions to our previous queries about the future of the Internet. ….

Key themes: reasons to be hopeful
∙ Advances in technology may displace certain types of work, but historically they have been a net creator of jobs.
∙ We will adapt to these changes by inventing entirely new types of work, and by taking advantage of uniquely human capabilities.
∙ Technology will free us from day-to-day drudgery, and allow us to define our relationship with “work” in a more positive and socially beneficial way.
∙ Ultimately, we as a society control our own destiny through the choices we make.

Key themes: reasons to be concerned
∙ Impacts from automation have thus far impacted mostly blue-collar employment; the coming wave of innovation threatens to upend white-collar work as well.
∙ Certain highly-skilled workers will succeed wildly in this new environment—but far more may be displaced into lower paying service industry jobs at best, or permanent unemployment at worst.
∙ Our educational system is not adequately preparing us for work of the future, and our political and economic institutions are poorly equipped to handle these hard choices. ….

Who Benefits from State Corporate Tax Cuts? A Local Labor Markets Approach with Heterogeneous Firms

Source: Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Owen M. Zidar, NBER Working Paper No. w20289, July 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper estimates the incidence of state corporate taxes on workers, landowners, and firm owners in a spatial equilibrium model in which corporate taxes affect the location choices of both firms and workers. Heterogeneous, location-specific productivities and preferences determine the mobility of firms and workers, respectively. Owners of monopolistically competitive firms receive economic profits and may bear the incidence of corporate taxes as heterogeneous productivity can make them inframarginal in their location choices. We derive a simple expression for equilibrium incidence as a function of a few estimable parameters. Using variation in state corporate tax rates and apportionment rules, we estimate the reduced-form effects of tax changes on firm and worker location decisions, wages, and rental costs. We then use minimum distance methods to recover the parameters that determine equilibrium incidence as a function of these reduced-form effects. In contrast to previous assumptions of infinitely mobile firms and perfectly immobile workers, we find that firms are only approximately twice as mobile as workers over a ten-year period. This fact, along with equilibrium impacts on the housing market, implies that firm owners bear roughly 40% of the incidence, while workers and land owners bear 35% and 25%, respectively. Finally, we derive revenue-maximizing state corporate tax rates and discuss interactions with other local taxes and apportionment formulae.

Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts, 2010 – Final

Source: Tracey Kyckelhahn, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 247019, July 1, 2014

Presents data from the Census Bureau’s Annual Government Finance Survey and Annual Survey of Public Employment. This series includes national, federal, and state-level estimates of government expenditures and employment for the following justice categories: police protection, all judicial and legal functions (including prosecution, courts, and public defense), and corrections. Data for large local governments (counties with populations of 500,000 or more and cities with populations of 300,000 or more) are also included.
Comma-delimited format (CSV)
Historical Overview
Definitions of Terms and Concepts
Comparability issues

Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts, 2009 – Final

Source: Tracey Kyckelhahn, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 247018, July 1, 2014