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Rapid economic change over the past 25 years has dramatically altered the character and performance of the labor market, making it increasingly difficult for workers, particularly those with low skills, to find jobs and careers that will enable them to attain a decent standard of living. A few workforce development programs are seeking to overcome this challenge by developing sectoral employment strategies that seek to alter the labor market in a targeted occupation to the benefit of all low-income workers in that sector, not just their own program participants. This report discusses the key elements of a sectoral employment strategy and highlights the experiences of thirteen seasoned workforce programs implementing such sectoral strategies as business development, job training, organizing, and research and policy analysis.
Pew Hispanic Center;
Reviews the monthly trends in the major labor market indicators for Hispanics since January 2000. Analyzes changes in Hispanic employment and wages during 2003, and examines changes in employment by selected characteristics of Hispanic workers.
Pew Hispanic Center;
Tracks the labor market trends for Hispanics from the first quarter of 2003 to the first quarter of 2004. Examines job gains by citizens and non-citizens nationally, and explores the political impact of the employment picture.
Center for Urban Economic Development;
Based on a survey of low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, examines the prevalence of workplace violations by employer, job, and worker characteristics, including gender and nativity. Calls for a policy agenda to protect workers' rights.
Over the past two decades, an innovative approach to workforce development known as sectoral employment has emerged, resulting in the creation of industry-specific training programs that prepare unemployed and underskilled workers for skilled positions and connect them with employers seeking to fill such vacancies. In 2003, with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, P/PV launched the "Sectoral Employment Impact Study" to rigorously assess whether mature, nonprofit-led sector-focused programs could increase the earnings of disadvantaged workers and job seekers. P/PV selected three organizations to participate in the study -- a community-based organization focused on medical and basic office skills in Boston, a social venture focused on information technology in the Bronx, and an employer-union partnership focused on healthcare, manufacturing and construction in Milwaukee. The study's findings show that program participants earned about $4,500 -- 18 percent -- more than the control group over the course of the study and $4,000 -- 29 percent -- more in the second year alone. Study participants were also more likely to find employment, work more consistently, work in jobs that paid higher wages, and work in jobs that offered benefits. Furthermore, there were earnings gains for each subgroup analyzed, including African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, formerly incarcerated individuals and young adults. Tuning In to Local Labor Markets also examines the strategies employed by the three organizations that took part in the study, as well as the common elements that appeared to be critical to their success. Implications for practice, policy and future research are explored; a forthcoming piece will provide detailed recommendations for policymakers.
The Pew Charitable Trusts;
Focuses on minimum wage laws and unions in surveying the literature on the impact of labor market institutions on employment, economic growth, and income distribution, as well as their effects on intragenerational and intergenerational mobility.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
We use Bureau of Justice Statistics data to estimate that, in 2008, the United States had between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatly lowers ex-offenders' prospects in the labor market, we estimate that this large population lowered the total male employment rate that year by 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points. In GDP terms, these reductions in employment cost the U.S. economy between $57 and $65 billion in lost output.
This executive summary highlights the main findings and conclusions from "Tuning In to Local Labor Markets: Findings From the Sectoral Employment Impact Study" -- the first random assignment evaluation of sector-focused training efforts. We studied three nonprofit organizations -- a community-based organization focused on medical and basic office skills in Boston, a social venture focused on information technology in the Bronx, and an employer-union partnership focused on healthcare, manufacturing and construction in Milwaukee -- and found that participants in these programs worked more, had higher earnings and found better jobs (as measured by hourly wages and access to benefits) than members of the control group.The executive summary examines strategies used by the three organizations in the study, describes the people served, and outlines common elements that likely contributed to the programs success.
Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings;
Employment prospects for teens and young adults in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas plummeted between 2000 and 2011. On a number of measures -- employment rates, labor force underutilization, unemployment, and year-round joblessness -- teens and young adults fared poorly, and sometimes disastrously. While labor market problems affected all young people, some groups had better outcomes than others: Non-Hispanic whites, those from higher income households, those with work experience, and those with higher levels of education were more successful in the labor market. In particular, education and previous work experience were most strongly associated with employment.Policy and program efforts to reduce youth joblessness and labor force underutilizationshould focus on the following priorities: incorporating more work-based learning (such as apprenticeships, co-ops, and internships) into education and training; creating tighter linkages between secondary and post-secondary education; ensuring that training meets regional labor market needs; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; and facilitating the transition of young people into the labor market through enhanced career counseling, mentoring, occupational and work-readiness skills development, and the creation of short-term subsidized jobs.
IZA World of Labor;
Reducing youth unemployment and generating more and better youth employment opportunities are key policy challenges worldwide. Active labor market programs for disadvantaged youth may be an effective tool in such cases, but the results have often been disappointing in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The key to a successful youth intervention program is comprehensiveness, comprising multiple targeted components, including job-search assistance, counseling, training, and placement services. Such programs can be expensive, however, which underscores the need to focus on education policy and earlier interventions in the education system.
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
This paper forecasts the post-recession labor market experiences of less-skilled men and women. It uses empirical relationships and the Bush Administration's 2004 and 2005 forecasts of the national unemployment rate to predict the employment-population ratios, employment rates, and labor force participation rates of Americans with the least skills. It also describes the econometric models estimated in the paper; presents estimates of the relationship between aggregate demand and the participation, employment, and unemployment of young non-enrolled Americans and 10-year forecasts of their labor market outcomes; and discusses findings and their implications.
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College;
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has greatly increased the proportion of non-elderly Americans with health insurance. One justification for the ACA is that improving individuals' access to health insurance would improve their health outcomes, mostly by increasing the probability that they have a regular source of care. Another is that increasing the availability of health insurance outside of employment reduces the "job lock" that ties poorly matched workers to their jobs only because they want to maintain coverage. This study reviews the literature on the relationships between health insurance and health, between health and work, and between health insurance and labor market outcomes directly. The review uses evidence from recent policy expansions in Oregon and Massachusetts, and among Social Security disability beneficiaries and Medicare enrollees, to evaluate the extent to which expansions have the expected effects on labor market outcomes, indirectly and directly.This paper found that:Health insurance generally improves health. The gains in mental health are the most consistent across studies, though most studies also find notable improves in physical health measures, including mortality.Greater health generally allows for increased labor supply, though the strength of this relationship depends crucially on whether the health measure is objective or subjective, the group under consideration, and the study's strategy for accounting for the endogeneity of the relationship.Expanded access to health insurance increases transitions into self-employment and allows older workers to retire earlier, but the effect on labor force participation, employment, and job mobility is less clear. The policy implications of this paper are:Coverage expansions, including the ACA, are likely to result in a healthier and more productive pool of potential workers, and this effect is likely to increase labor supply.But not many studies have examined the full chain of relationships directly, by following recipients of expanded coverage to see if their improved health causally increased labor supply, so further work is needed in evaluating coverage expansions.