Workforce Information You Can Use!

The Workforce Information Council helps guide the development and improvement of the nationwide workforce and labor market information system. This system provides information on labor market trends and conditions, job outlook and wages, skill requirements of jobs, and a wide variety of other information that helps customers make decisions about their businesses, careers, training, and job search.

At this web site you can find information about the Council and its activities, about the workforce information system and about how to access workforce and labor market information for your local area, state, or the nation.

Information about the workforce, labor market, and careers in your local area, state, and the nation can be located by going to the workforce information portal.


Update from the Workforce Information Council (WIC) May 2014

National Labor Market Information Conference Held on May 20-22 in Dallas, TX
WIC Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group First Deliverable Report and Next Steps
LMI Matters Volume 4 Released
High Technology Taxonomy Study Group Releases Report
LMI Institute Annual Forum Scheduled for June 2-6
Census Celebrates 20 Years on the Web
Workforce Information Portal

National Labor Market Information Conference Held on May 20-22 in Dallas, TX

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will hold a National Labor Market Information (LMI) Directors' conference on May 20-22 in Dallas, TX. This meeting will give participants an opportunity to learn about BLS program plans and to participate in discussions on topics of mutual interest. BLS Commissioner Groshen will provide an update on BLS activities, budget priorities, and projects.

The first day of the meeting (May 20) is a State-only meeting that will be organized by the Workforce Information Council (WIC) State Representatives. A major goal of the session will be for capacity building among the state LMI directors and discussion of current LMI issues. States will be sharing their views on various topics throughout the agenda.

The keynote presentation on May 21 is scheduled to be Robert Dye, Chief Economist of the Texas Comerica Bank. A data user panel will include representatives from the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, the University of North Texas, and the Texas LMI Director.

During the two day meeting on May 21-22, each of the four BLS programs (QCEW, CES, OES, and LAUS) will be highlighted and discussed by the respective federal and state policy council co-chairs.

On the last day Thursday, the morning will start with a couple of state topics from the following respective WIC Study Group chairs: High-Technology Taxonomy by Bob Uhlenkott, ID; and Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group by Raj Jindal, LA.

The conference will end with presentations on BLS research projects either underway or planned for the near future. These three days will provide both federal and state labor market specialists/leaders an opportunity to have a dialogue about key federal, state, and local labor market dynamics.

WIC Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group First Deliverable Report and Next Steps

The Workforce Information Council's (WIC) Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group has released their first deliverable titled, "Phase One Interim Report on the Current Practices of Unemployment Insurance Wage Record Collection and Use." You can access the report by clicking here Wage Report Final

The Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group is chaired by Raj Jindal of Louisiana and has members from a diverse group of stakeholders -- DOL ETA & BLS, NASWA, and state representatives from AK, FL, ID, IL, KS, LA, MN, NE, OK, PA, & TX.

This report summarizes the initial phase of investigation by the WIC Study Group into the potential benefits of, and barriers to, enhancing labor market information by adding data elements to the wage records collected by states as part of the administration of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program. In this initial phase, the work team has:

The Study Group is currently conducting surveys of payroll processing firms and user organizations to collect their thoughts on this issue. For more information on any of these projects, email wicedtoyou@yahoo.com.

LMI Matters Volume IV Released

In mid-2008, the Workforce Information Council (WIC) State Representatives responded to a request from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration who asked for state examples of how Labor Market Information (LMI) is used to help develop policy, answer program questions, and/or shape future state/local initiatives. A request to state workforce information directors across the country resulted in over 50 responses from 14 states being submitted and in December a report titled Workforce Information - Making a Difference was released.

This digest is a good testimony of how independent and objective data can be used to help shape policy. Data and surveys collected in a vacuum are meaningless unless the results can be studied and evaluated into meaningful relevance to the economy, industry base, population, and/or labor market trends.

LMI Matters, Volume IV of the ongoing project has been released. States were asked to submit any projects produced to assist in defining skill mismatches, address labor shortages, occupational wage or supply/demand studies, and/or economic recoveries at local, state, regional, and national levels. Like the previous volumes, the information is sorted by topic area (some submittals may be listed in more than one area). There is also a state by state directory of submittals.

The information in this follow-up report can be accessed by clicking here LMI Matters 4

High Technology Taxonomy Study Group Releases Report

The Workforce Information Council (WIC) has chartered a study group to research and develop a high technology taxonomy for state analysis and research. Bob Uhlenkott of Idaho chairs this group of WIC members and state researchers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has assisted in several aspects of the research. The project includes four parts - a STEM-Driven High-Tech Industry Taxonomy; The High-Tech Industrial and Occupational Cluster - National and State Comparisons; Pacific Northwest High-Tech Taxonomy Comparison; and, How to Create a State-Specific High-Tech Industry Taxonomy.

The high technology sector is being targeted by economic developers and local leaders for growth and workforce planning. But with no official industrial definition in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), developing a standardized, research-based definition for high-tech is important for analysts and decision makers across the country.

Often high-tech definitions are restricted to occupational analyses. An industrial classification definition lends itself to commonly used economic development and job creation metrics such as economic multipliers and associated analytical tools. While such a definition is not an official NAICS classification, it provides a way to compare high-tech to the official sectors in terms of its relative importance and its influence on the rest of the economy.

The most influential research and analysis on developing a high technology industrial taxonomy was published in the July 2005 Monthly Labor Review by Daniel Hecker of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, titled "High-Technology Employment: a NAICS-Based Update."

Hecker's approach to calculating concentrations of high-tech occupations among four-digit NAICS industry sectors was adopted to an extent. But rather than using the National Science Foundation's occupational scheme, this effort endorsed the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) official occupations. The effort focused on the first subdomain of the Standard Occupation Classification Policy Committee STEM occupation list - life and physical science, engineering, mathematics and information technology - and the fourth subdomain of health occupations. These two subdomains provide the strongest, most comprehensive list available that best represent high-tech occupations. This list of occupations was the basis of the concentration of occupations within the NAICS categories.

After reviewing the national average concentrations of STEM jobs across all industry sectors, a concentration level of 2.5 times the national level was identified as producing a robust list of industries without being overly cumbersome. Two industry categories were removed based on further research. The 9991-Federal Executive Branch was removed because it is primarily used as an Occupational Employment Statistics designation. Further state research on the 5511- Management of Companies and Enterprises industry suggests this industry would not be collectively reflective of the high-tech sector across all 50 states. A total of 46 four-digit industries comprise the final list (see graphic in the report which can be accesses in the link at the end of this article).

High technology generates over a fifth of all covered jobs nationally, but those paychecks account for more than 28 percent of earnings. As significant as this economic component already is, its impact will only increase. Through 2022 high-tech occupations will increase more than 63 percent faster than all occupations. Only 10 of these 161 occupations have median annual wages below the national median for all occupations.

Two categories were established. STEM Core focused on life and physical science, engineering, mathematics and information technology, and STEM Health Care focused on health occupations. The health occupations make up a slightly larger portion of the high-tech picture than the others. They also account for the largest portion of projected growth, both nominally and rate of growth. That likely reflects the aging population's increasing demand for health care. But what occupations in life and physical science, engineering, math and information technology lack in employment and growth is certainly made up in wages. National average earnings per worker in these occupations were just under $93,000 in 2012.

State rankings vary based on the statistic being compared, but well-known high-tech states like California and Washington perform well in most comparisons.

In developing the new national high technology industry taxonomy, the question of possible regional differences arose. This paper explores how a state's specific employment patterns differ from the national pattern and how this could lead to a different, and possibly more exact, definition of high-tech industries for a region.

Using the same methodology used for the national high-tech taxonomy, Washington, Oregon and Idaho analyzed their state's specific staffing patterns and developed their own high-tech industry taxonomies. While the national taxonomy included the majority of industries for each state, several unique industries were identified as high-tech, providing an interesting look at the specific geographic employment differences in the Pacific Northwest.

Creating a state-specific high technology taxonomy is a straightforward process in three basic steps. However, there were several methodological decisions made by the Workforce Information Council's High-Tech Study Group in creating the national High-Tech Industry Taxonomy that should be considered. This information is included in the Notes section at the end of the report.

Step 1 is to obtain and prepare the required data sets.

Step 2 would be to calculate the concentrations by industry in the subdomains.

Finally, Step 3 would be to analyze the results.

Employment concentrations should be derived keeping each chosen subdomain separate. This will mitigate the effects of STEM Health Care and its health care occupations from skewing the average since health care occupations are heavily concentrated in health care industries. The identified threshold for the national taxonomy was 2.5 times the subdomains' average concentrations. All industries above that threshold should be considered.

For a copy of this High Tech report, click here High Tech Report.

LMI Institute Annual Forum Scheduled for June 2-6

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) Annual Conference will be held in conjunction with the Labor Market Information (LMI) Annual Forum, creating the premier national event for economic development researchers and labor market information analysts. The 2014 Conference will be held in Pittsburgh PA on June 2-6, at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel.

Conference highlights include industry-leading keynotes, training classes and breakout sessions, the annual State Economic Researchers' Roundtable, presentation of the annual Community & Economic Research Awards and Charles Benefield Award, and opportunities to build important networks within the research community. Sponsors and exhibitors will showcase their latest products and services in the exhibit hall.

New to this year's conference will be: Three Education Tracks: Data Tools, Research, and Workforce; Transformation Tours of Pittsburgh revitalization efforts in three different neighborhoods Learning Labs showcasing the hottest products and services in the industry; and, Special programming for first-time attendees and new members.

The C2ER and LMI networks comprise over 700+ professionals, representing all aspects of community and economic development along with labor market data, in the U.S. and Canada. They include research professionals from: Chambers of commerce; Economic development organizations; Government agencies; Universities; Utility companies;

Workforce development boards; Community development organizations; Consultants and data providers; and, Labor market information agencies.

Census Celebrates 20 Years on the Web

The U.S. Census Bureau launched a new, interactive and redesigned census.gov website on May 13 as it celebrates 20 years on the Web. In 1994, the Census Bureau was among the first government agencies to create a public website, and the newest version offers many updated features to make finding and exploring statistics on America's people, places and economy easier for the nearly 5 million visitors who traffic the site every month.

"Our goal has always been to democratize the statistics we produce; to put them directly in the hands of the American people to make decisions based on accurate and factual data," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "The tools we use have changed over the years, and this redesigned website is our latest innovation to give statistical information we collect from the people, back to the people."

The new census.gov serves as a front door to the vast amount of statistics the Census Bureau produces on an annual basis. When census.gov first went live in 1994, the information published on the site contained 1990 Census results, which previously would have been released in printed publications. Today, the Census Bureau's site provides billions of statistics from not only the once-a-decade census and every five-year economic census, but also monthly economic statistics and detailed demographic statistics such as those from the American Community Survey.

The redesigned census.gov provides multiple entry points to data through new topic-based navigation, which centralizes statistical content from numerous surveys around 11 key topics. Additionally, many pages now include links to related content to more easily connect users with similar, relevant information.

The new design incorporates years of customer feedback and metrics showing challenges with navigating and searching the site. The census.gov home page and main topic pages were redesigned to provide improved access to information with featured content and data tools. In the coming months, all of the census.gov site will transition to the new look.

In addition, business information will be easier to access through the expansion of the smart search function to include NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes. This enhancement is one way business leaders can use Census Bureau data to find information essential to their industries.

Over the past 20 years, the Census Bureau's online tools have evolved with changing technology from static maps to interactive maps available both online and on mobile devices, making Census Bureau statistics easier to access than ever before.

Here are some of those online tools to check out --Census Explorer; Application programming interface; dwellr mobile app; America's Economy mobile app; Data visualizations; Population Clock; Easy Stats; and, TIGER Products - Geography - U.S. Census Bureau.

Workforce Information Portal

The Workforce Information Portal is an on-line resource, providing customers with a one-stop access point to workforce information sources on the web. The portal provides quick access to state on-line workforce information and career information sites, as well as national resources. This one-stop access point is especially important to customers who want information from more than one state, or are not sure where to go to get information for their state or locality.

The portal gives the customer different avenues to web resources: by type of customer (individuals, businesses, and researchers), by geography, or by agency. The site is at www.workforceinformation.org.