Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers

Source: Editors: Stuart Andreason, Todd Greene, Heath Prince, Carl E. Van Horn, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2018

How can well-structured and effective workforce programs and policies result in better economic outcomes for individuals, businesses, and communities?

Explore contemporary research, best practices, and resources from more than 100 authors in the book Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers.

The book is divided into three volumes: Investing in Workers, Investing in Work, and Investing in Systems for Employment Opportunity. Within each volume are discrete sections made up of chapters that identify specific workforce development programs and policies that provide positive returns to society, to employers, and to job seekers. Download the three volumes and individual chapters below.

Note: The policies and practices presented in the book are intended to spur innovative thinking that results in context-specific solutions. The perspectives are not intended as an endorsement from the Federal Reserve System or its partnering institutions.

VOLUME 1: INVESTING IN WORKERS
Front Matter and Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Foreword: The Evolving U.S. Labor Market by Patrick T. Harker
Introduction: Investing in America’s Workforce by Stuart Andreason, Todd Greene, Heath Prince, and Carl E. Van Horn

– Building Employer Investment in Workforce Development
– Investing in Undervalued Human Capital
– Investing in Historically Black Colleges and Universities
– Investing in Workers with Different Abilities
– Investing in Workers of the Future

VOLUME 2: INVESTING IN WORK
Front Matter and Table of Contents
Introduction: Investing in Work by Prabal Chakrabarti and Jeffrey Fuhrer

– Investing in Opportunities to Create Good Jobs
– Investing in Work and Wealth
– Investing in Rural Work
– Investing in Human Capital to Support Local Economic Development

VOLUME 3: INVESTING IN SYSTEMS FOR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
Front Matter and Table of Contents
Introduction: Investing in Systems for Employment Opportunity by Stuart Andreason and Alexander Ruder

– Financial Innovations in Workforce Development
– Government Investment in Workforce Development
– Investing in Technology
– Investing in Skills and Credentials
– Investing in Regional Workforce Development Systems
– Appendix: Investing in America’s Workforce

Why Aren’t U.S. Workers Working?

Source: Mary C. Daly, Joseph H. Pedtke, Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau, and Annemarie Schweinert, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, FRBSF Economic Letter 2018-24, November 13, 2018

Labor force participation among U.S. men and women ages 25 to 54 has been declining for nearly 20 years, a stark contrast with rising participation in Canada over this period. Three-fourths of the difference between the two countries can be explained by the growing gap in labor force attachment of women. A key factor is the extensive parental leave policies in Canada. If the United States could reverse the trend in participation of prime-age women to match Canada, it would see 5 million additional prime-age workers join the labor force.

Closing the Gap: The Effect of a Targeted, Tuition-Free Promise on College Choices of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students

Source: Susan Dynarski, C.J. Libassi, Katherine Michelmore, Stephanie Owen, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 25349, December 2018

From the abstract:
Low-income students, even those with strong academic credentials, are unlikely to attend a highly selective college. With a field experiment, we test an intervention to increase enrollment of low-income students at the highly selective University of Michigan. We contact students (as well as their parents and principals) with an encouragement to apply and a promise of four years of free tuition and fees upon admission. Materials emphasize that this offer is not contingent on completing aid applications (e.g., the FAFSA or PROFILE). Treated students were more than twice as likely to apply to (67 percent vs. 26 percent) and enroll at (27 percent vs. 12 percent) the University of Michigan. There was no diversion from schools as (or more) selective as UM. The enrollment effect of 15 percentage points (pp) comprises students who would otherwise attend a less selective, four-year college (7 pp), a community college (4 pp), or no college (4 pp). Effects persist through two years of follow-up. The intervention closed by half the income gaps in college choice among Michigan’s high-achieving students. We conclude that an encouragement to apply, paired with a promise of aid, when communicated to students and influential adults, can substantially close income gaps in college choices.

Women in State Legislatures for 2019

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, November 27, 2018

NOTE: This is preliminary post-election information, which is subject to change due to recounts, resignations, appointments and special elections.

Approximately 2,090 women will serve in the 50 state legislatures in 2019. Women will make up 28.3 percent of all state legislators nationwide.

This represents a significant increase from the 2018 session’s ratio of 25.3 percent, and the most women elected at one time.

Information about women in legislative leadership for 2019 coming soon.

Local Government – US: 2019 Outlook Remains Stable With Tax Revenue To Grow Modestly

Source: Sam Feldman-Crough, Gregory Max Sobel, Eva Bogaty, Naomi Richman, Leonard Jones, Alexandra S. Parker, Gail Sussman, Moody’s Investors Service, Outlook, December 5, 2018
(subscription required)

The stable outlook is underpinned by the largely steady and predictable growth in property taxes over the outlook horizon. Most cities, counties and school districts have financial flexibility from healthy fund balances to deal with unforeseen challenges. ….

Water And Sewer Utilities – US: 2019 Outlook Stable As Debt Service Coverage Strengthens But Capital Needs Rise

Source: Ryan Patton, Rachel Cortez, Naomi Richman, Alexandra S. Parker, Moody’s Investors Service, Outlook, December 5, 2018
(subscription required)

The stable outlook for the water and sewer utility sector incorporates revenue growth that will continue to strengthen debt service coverage and liquidity, and the ability to meet operating costs. ….

States – US: 2019 Outlook Remains Stable With Growing Revenue And Adequate Reserves

Source: Kenneth Kurtz, Nicholas Samuels, Emily Raimes, Timothy Blake, Moody’s Investors Service, Otulook, December 6, 2018
(subscription required)

The outlook for US states in 2019 remains stable, reflecting healthy economic and revenue trends, which have strengthened balance sheets and improved most states’ ability to afford fixed costs….

Public power electric utilities – US: 2019 outlook stable, aided by sound cost recovery, adaptability to clean energy shift

Source: Dan Aschenbach, A. J. Sabatelle, Doris Hernandez, Sarah Lee, Kevin G. Rose, Eriq Alexander, Thomas Brigandi, Michael Mulvaney, Moody’s Investors Service, Outlook, December 6, 2018
(subscription required)

The outlook for business conditions in the US public power electric utility sector over the next 12-18 months is stable, supported by self-regulated cost recovery, sound financial metrics and a competitive product. Challenges include the transition to clean energy, continuing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cybersecurity risks and lower electricity demand, but we think the sector can adapt to them….

Is the Quality of Nursing Homes Countercyclical? Evidence From 2001 Through 2015

Source: Sean Shenghsiu Huang, John R Bowblis, The Gerontologist, Advance Articles, Published: December 7, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background and Objectives:
To examine whether nursing homes (NHs) provide better quality when unemployment rates rise (countercyclical) and explore mechanisms contributing to the relationship between quality and unemployment rates.

Research Design and Methods:
The study uses the data on privately owned, freestanding NHs in the continental United States that span a period from 2001 through 2015. The empirical analysis relies on panel fixed-effect regressions with the key independent variable being the county-level unemployment rate. NH quality is measured using deficiencies, outcomes, and care process measures. We also examine nursing staff levels, as well as employee turnover and retention.

Results:
NHs have better quality when unemployment rates increase. Higher unemployment rates are associated with fewer deficiencies and lower deficiency scores. This countercyclical relationship is also found among other quality measures. In terms of mechanisms, we find higher nursing staff levels, lower employee turnover, and better workforce retention when unemployment rates rise. Improvement in staffing is likely contributing to better quality during recessions. Interestingly, these effects predominately occur in for-profit NHs for deficiencies and staffing levels.

Discussions and Implications:
NH quality is countercyclical. With near record-low unemployment rates in 2018, regulatory agencies should pay close attention to NH quality when and where the local economy registers strong growth. On the other hand, the finding of the unemployment rate–staffing/turnover relationship also suggests that policies increasing staffing and reducing employee turnover may not only improve NH quality but also have the potential to smooth quality fluctuations between business cycles.