Category Archives: Workforce

Worker’s expectations about losing and replacing their jobs: 35 years of change

Source: Charles N. Weaver, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, January 2015

Workers were less secure about retaining their jobs in 2010 and 2012 than in 1977 and 1978; they also were less secure about the ease with which they would find a comparable job if they were separated. As might be expected, the two measures of job security track unemployment, although other factors certainly play a role as well. …. Compared with workers in 1977 and 1978, workers in 2010 and 2012 expressed significantly less job security. They were more afraid of losing their jobs (11.2 percent versus the earlier 7.7 percent) and were less likely to think that they could find comparable work without much difficulty (48.3 percent versus the earlier 59.2 percent). …. Across the 35 years examined, the unemployment rate fluctuated between 4.6 percent and 9.7 percent, a trajectory related chiefly to changes in major demographic characteristics of the workforce, advances in communications and transportation, the rise and subsequent popularity of computers and the internet, the decline of unions, global competition in the manufacturing sector, and growing inequality of wealth. Moreover, the nature of recoveries from recessions varied. Some recessions, such as that in 1980, were followed by relatively rapid recoveries, so that the cycle was V shaped, whereas other recessions, such as the one beginning in December 2007 and lasting through June 2009, were more extended, resulting in a U-shaped cycle. ….

Metro Labor Force and Unemployment Profile – Which U.S. metros currently have the strongest labor markets?

Source: Garner Economics LLC, January 2015

In this brief we examine labor force and unemployment rate changes for 372 U.S. metropolitan areas between November 2013 and November 2014 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The strong performance of the national economy in 2014 helped drive the national unemployment rate down from 6.6 percent in November 2013 to 5.5 percent in November 2014. Most U.S. metro areas have benefited from the improved national situation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, from November 2013 to November 2014, unemployment rates declined in 344 of the nation’s 372 metro areas (92 percent).

However, in many of these regions the lower unemployment rates have been a function of declining labor forces, rather than strong job growth. During the same 12-month period, the size of the civilian labor force increased in just 233 metro areas (63 percent). See how your MSA ranks and the full report by clicking here.

The Changing Roles of Education and Ability in Wage Determination

Source: Gonzalo Castex and Evgenia Kogan Dechter, Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 32 No. 4, October 2014
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This study examines changes in returns to formal education and cognitive skills over the past 20 years using the 1979 and 1997 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We show that cognitive skills had a 30%-50% larger effect on wages in the 1980s than in the 2000s. Returns to education were higher in the 2000s. These developments are not explained by changing labor market structure. We show that the decline in returns to ability can be attributed to differences in the growth rate of technology between the a980s and 2000s.

Good News for Private Sector Jobs, Bad News for State-Local Government Jobs

Source: Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Data Alert, January 12, 2015

The new employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released on January 9th, showed strong growth in private sector employment, but a rather gloomy picture for state and local government jobs. The longer-term trends indicate no rebounding in government employment. For the nation as a whole, state and local government employment is down 3.0 percent, or 598,000 jobs, from the peak level recorded in August 2008.

Public Sector Organizations Must Prepare to Integrate Generation Z Workers

Source: Paula M. Singer and Paige Dodson, HR News, Vol. 80 no. 12, December 2014
(subscription required) (scroll down)

….Given the unique qualities of Generation Z, the question all organizations must ask and answer is how it will accommodate the new workers while continuing to attract and retain its current, already diverse workforce?

An immediate and ongoing challenge will be finding positions for Generation Z employees over the next two decades as economic insecurity and a general “live to work” attitude leads baby boomers to delay retirement. The youngest boomers won’t even reach the minimum age of 63 for collecting federal retirement benefits for another 15 years.

HR professionals will have to minimize potential tensions and disruptions from several other generational differences in values and work styles. However, public sector organizations that take generational characteristics into consideration when implementing programs for succession planning/knowledge transfer and engagement/retention will reap the rewards of a five-generational workforce. These factors merit further discussion…..

To Cut or Not to Cut? On the Impact of Corporate Taxes on Employment and Income

Source: Alexander Ljungqvist, Michael Smolyansky, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20753, December 2014
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From the abstract:
Do corporate tax increases destroy jobs? And do corporate tax cuts boost employment? Answering these questions has proved empirically challenging. We propose an identification strategy that exploits variation in corporate income tax rates across U.S. states. Comparing contiguous counties straddling state borders over the period 1970 to 2010, we find that increases in corporate tax rates lead to significant reductions in employment and income. We find little evidence that corporate tax cuts boost economic activity, unless implemented during recessions when they lead to significant increases in employment and income. Our spatial-discontinuity approach permits a causal interpretation of these findings by both establishing a plausible counterfactual and overcoming biases resulting from the fact that tax changes are often prompted by changes in economic conditions.

Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills

Source: Jennifer Burrowes,Alexis Young, Dan Restuccia, Joseph Fuller and Manjari Raman, Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass Technologies, 2014

From the summary:
When it comes to middle-skills jobs in the United States—those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree—there is a misalignment in the overall system that should move a potential employee smoothly from a relevant educational program to a good job.

That’s one of the findings of a new report, “Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills,” a joint effort of Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass Technologies. Businesses worry about their ability to grow and compete because they cannot find workers with the right skills. At the same time, millions of Americans struggle to find full-time, life-long employment at a decent wage. Separating employers from employees is a growing chasm—a mismatch between the demand and supply of skills.

What can be done? The report contends that closing the middle-skills gap will depend on actions that go beyond simply improving the efficiency of today’s system. Rather, the focus must be on developing a new middle-skills ecosystem that provides employers sufficient access to talent with the skills to fill competitively important jobs. Coordinated work among employers, educators and policymakers will be essential.
View the Infographic: U.S. Companies Expect Demand for Middle-Skills Jobs to Increase
View the Infographic: Closing the Middle-Skills Gap: What Businesses Should Do

FACTS 1: Occupational projections for direct-care workers 2012–2022

Source: Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), December 2014 Update

From the blog post:
Personal care aides (PCAs) are expected to be the source of the largest number of new jobs across the U.S. economy over the next decade, with nearly 600,000 new PCAs needed, according to a new PHI analysis reported in Facts 1: Occupational Projections for Direct-Care Workers 2012-2022.

Growth for home health aides will also be dramatic — it ranks fourth on the list of occupations expected to add the most new jobs, with over 424,000 new jobs anticipated.

Personal care aides and home health aides will be the second and third fastest-growing occupations in the nation, respectively, increasing by nearly one half over this same period.

A New Measure of Skills Mismatch: Theory and Evidence from the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)

Source: Anne Fichen, Michele Pellizzari, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10280, December 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper proposes a new measure of skills mismatch that combines information about skill proficiency, self-reported mismatch and skill use. The theoretical foundations underling this measure allow identifying minimum and maximum skill requirements for each occupation and to classify workers into three groups, the well-matched, the under-skilled and the over-skilled. The availability of skill use data further permit the computation of the degree of under and over-usage of skills in the economy. The empirical analysis is carried out using the first wave of the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), allowing comparisons across skill domains, labor market statuses and countries