Category Archives: Workforce

The Job Ahead: Advancing Opportunity for Unemployed Workers

Source: Claire McKenna, National Employment Law Project (NELP), February 2015

…This paper presents a menu of state policy options that respond to the continued crisis of long-term unemployment and the nation’s growing reliance on part-time and temporary work. It highlights tried-and-true policy responses as well as new innovations that address the needs of the current workforce. Key steps for state lawmakers to take are as follows…

Preventing Long-Term Unemployment
1. Prioritize funding for comprehensive reemployment services, to offset declining federal commitment. ….
2. Encourage part-time employment while claimants look for full-time jobs by amending state partial unemployment insurance rules. ….
3. Prevent job losses during recessions by enacting work-sharing programs. ….
4. Prohibit hiring discrimination against jobless workers and enlist businesses to recruit qualified unemployed job applicants. ….

Expanding Unemployment Insurance Access for Lower-Wage Workers
1. Extend eligibility to part-time workers and anyone who wants to reduce their schedules for compelling reasons. ….
2. Strengthen state partial unemployment insurance rules to supplement earnings for underemployed workers. ….
3. Eliminate arbitrary temporary worker disqualifications. ….
4. Broaden good-cause rules for workers who voluntarily quit their jobs. ….

Providing Greater Help for Long-Term Unemployed Jobseekers
1. Establish subsidized work programs for long-term jobless workers, including unemployment insurance exhaustees. ….
2. Provide up to 26 weeks of additional unemployment benefits for jobless workers receiving training. ….
3. Better connect long-term unemployed workers and families with government support programs. ….
4. Provide 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to jobless workers. ….

Shoring Up Unemployment Insurance Infrastructure
1. Adopt responsible financing measures to ensure preparation for the next recession. ….
2. Dedicate greater resources to state unemployment insurance program administration. ….
3. Reduce access barriers for low-income workers and workers with language and literacy limitations. ….

Healthcare Hiring: Looking Back, Looking Forward to 2015

Source: Jennifer Larson, AMN Healthcare News, January 2015

Healthcare hiring took a major leap in 2014, with statistics showing major employment gains over 2013.
Healthcare Hiring Continues Upswing News & Features
Source: AMN Healthcare News, January 2015

The year 2014 wrapped up with impressive gains in healthcare hiring. Healthcare sector jobs continued to open up at the end of 2014, adding almost 29,000 jobs in November and 34,100 in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Enhancing Unemployment Insurance Wage Records: Potential Benefits, Barriers, and Opportunities – A Summary of First Year Study Activities and Findings

Source: Workforce Information Council, September 2014

In late 2012, the federal-state Workforce Information Council established an Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group to examine the feasibility of adding variables to the quarterly wage record reports that employers submit to all states as part of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program. They began looking at the administrative records as an alternative source for improving local and state labor market information amid concerns over the adequacy of existing survey-based statistical data for state and local education and training program planning and accountability, economic analysis, career planning, and workforce program administration. In its first year of investigation, the Study Group has surveyed state agencies responsible for UI wage record collections, user organizations that might benefit from wage record enhancement, and payroll services/software companies that compile and report the wage records for many employers. Those activities have resulted in some key findings and recommendations for future steps.

World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015

Source: International Labour Organization (ILO), 978-92-2-129260-9[ISBN], January 20, 2015

From the abstract:
Formerly entitled Global Employment Trends, the World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015 includes a forecast of global unemployment levels and explains the factors behind this trend, including continuing inequality and falling wage shares. It looks at the drivers of the rising middle class in the developing world as well as the risk of social unrest, especially in areas of elevated youth unemployment. The report addresses structural factors shaping the world of work, including an aging population and shifts in the skills sought by employers.

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
(subscription required)

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.