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 2015

Workforce Information Council Meets May 22 in Indianapolis, IN
WIC State Reps LMI Town Hall Meeting on May 19
BLS National LMI Conference
High Technology Taxonomy Study Group Releases One Pagers
LMI Institute Annual Forum Scheduled for June 10-12
Potential Benefits/Uses of Enhanced UI Wage Records
WIOA Draft Regulations - Comments Due June 15, 2015
Workforce Information Portal

Workforce Information Council Meets May 22 in Indianapolis, IN

The Workforce Information Council (WIC) federal and state members meet in Indianapolis, IN on May 22, 2015. WIC Co-Chairs Michael Horrigan/BLS and Phil Baker/NE will lead the WIC agenda for the half day meeting that Friday. This is the last meeting of the WIC as it sunsets with the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA).

An assortment of topics will be on the agenda. A particular item of importance is the new Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which replaces the Workforce Investment Act (WIA, the 1999 legislation creating the WIC). A new Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC) with broader representation will be discussed as the Secretary of Labor establishes this new group later this year and will seek nominations.

After many meetings and conference calls special projects and study groups, the WIC performed well and contributed to the efficiency of the national, state, and local labor market information system. Below is a snapshot of several accomplishments over the past 15+ years:

Workforce Information Council (WIC) - February 1999 to June 2015

LMI Matters (Volumes 1-4), LMI System Technology Forum, and Policy Councils

Study Groups - Administrative Wage Record Enhancement, Customer Consultation, Green Jobs, High Technology Taxonomy, & Skills Initiative

LMI Collaboration/Coordination, Directors' Orientation, Infrastructure, & Level of Demand

Past Work Groups -- Benefits Survey Users Group, Customer Satisfaction, Funding Allocation, Funding Agreements, Job Vacancy Statistics, Joint Council-NASWA Local Data Needs, Joint Council-NASWA Marketing, Plant Closings/Mass Layoff Statistics, State Employment Dynamics Partnership, and Wage Records Committee

Quality Information ... Informed Choices

WIC State Reps LMI Town Hall Meeting on May 19

The WIC State Representatives will conduct a State-only Town Hall style meeting on May 19 in Indianapolis, Indiana. A major goal of the session will be for capacity building and networking among the state LMI directors to discuss of current LMI issues. States will be sharing their views on various topics throughout the agenda.

Morning sessions center on the WIOA's impact on the LMI infrastructure, WIC transition to the new WIAC and the new BLA Oversight Council, LMI strategies for WIOA state/local board implementation, and WIOA concerns/possible solutions.

The afternoon agenda will focus on real time LMI and a leadership discussion (including sections on federal legislation, budgeting strategies, and LMI analyst capacity building/training).

BLS National LMI Conference

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will hold a National Labor Market Information (LMI) Directors' conference on May 20-21 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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, priorities, and projects. The keynote presentation on May 20 is scheduled to be Mark Schweitzer, Senior Vice President of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.

During the two day meeting on May 20-21, 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 Thursday, the morning will start with state topics led by WIC State Co-Chair Phil Baker, discussing the Workforce Data Quality Initiative followed by reports from the WIC's three Study Groups: High-Technology Taxonomy; Skills Initiative; and Administrative Wage Record Enhancement.

The conference will also include presentations on BLS research projects either underway or planned for the near future - autocoding, JOLTS, QUEST project, and replacement rates. These couple of 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.

High Tech Taxonomy Study Group Releases One Pagers

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/BLS researchers.

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.

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.”

This WIC study group used, to an extent, Hecker's approach to calculating concentrations of high-tech occupations among four-digit NAICS industry sectors. 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. This was first released last year.

In 2015, after reviewing the national average concentrations of STEM jobs across all industry sectors, concentration levels of 2.5 and 5.0 times the national level were identified as producing a robust list of industries. A total of 11 four-digit industries comprise the final list of core concentration of 5 times the average concentration in STEM occupations (see graphic in the one pager report which can be accesses by clicking this link.

High technology for health care industries in STEM subdomain 4 for this 2015 report centered on 10 industries with at least 5 times the average concentration in STEM Occupations (see graphic in the one pager Health Tech Industry Taxonomy report which can be accessed by clicking this link.

LMI Institute Annual Forum Scheduled for June 10-12

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) Annual Conference will be held in conjunction with the Labor Market Information (LMI) Annual Forum, creating a premier national event for economic development researchers and labor market information analysts. The 2015 Conference will be held in Portland, Oregon on June 10-12, at the Downtown Portland Hilton Hotel.

What does W.E.I.R.D. have to do with a successful economy and prosperous workforce? Learn more about how data can help your state or region differentiate its economy as World Class, Educated, Innovative, Resilient, and Dynamic. Come to Portland to gain an advantage for your community by tapping the latest tools and techniques as well as learning what other policy analysts and researchers are doing to gain a competitive edge.

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.

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.

Potential Benefits/Uses of Enhanced UI Wage Records

To a great extent, the ability of every state's economy to consistently perform at high levels depends on the efficiency of the labor market - the ability to quickly move individuals with the right skills to the right jobs. For this to happen, the participants in the market - employers, employees, jobseekers, educators, students, policy makers - must have accurate, timely, and geographically specific information to support effective decision-making. Sound decisions regarding careers, jobs, education, training, business expansion and contraction, and taxes and revenues all can hinge on accurate, relevant labor market information.

The public's wise investment of resources in education and job training can be critical to meeting business' needs for labor. Providing the necessary labor in a timely fashion is an essential factor in fostering labor market growth. An important piece of information infrastructure required to assess the labor market alignment of educational programs is the ability to determine post-completion outcomes: did graduates get a job, was the job related to their education, and did the program enhance their earnings and employment capacity? Current information systems do not allow us to know whether students and trainees successfully get jobs related to their education or training. Nor do we know the strength of their connection to the labor market - how many hours and weeks they work - or the career paths they follow. Lack of current, accurate, detailed data at all geographic levels has led to disconnections between labor market demand and supply, which in turn has added to unemployment, underemployment, and unfilled jobs.

The most effective, cost-efficient approach to improving the information infrastructure supporting these important decisions may be to build on the existing, robust Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage record administrative database. Employers in all states provide quarterly wage data for each of their employees to the state UI administrative agency. By adding a few new variables (e.g., pay by type, hours worked, payroll job title, gender and primary worksite) to the quarterly employer UI wage record report, thus creating an "enhanced" UI wage record, states would have the foundation for a comprehensive labor market decision and accountability support system.

An enhanced UI Wage Record System could benefit employers and employees by:

An enhanced UI Wage Record System could benefit the public by:

An enhanced UI Wage Record System could benefit state and local workforce agencies; other agencies that address education, disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, health and human services, housing, transportation, and workers compensation; and policy makers, by:

WIOA Notice of Federal Rule Making

The Federal Register of Thursday, April 16, 2015 contained an invite for comments on federal rulemaking for the "Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act."

There are multiple sections on operation of the new program, potential use of wage records, and the Workforce Labor Market Information System (WLMIS). Comments are due by June 15, 2015.

You may submit comments, identified by docket number ETA-2015-0001, for Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1205-AB73, by one of the following methods:

Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.

Mail and hand delivery/courier: Written comments, disk, and CD-ROM submissions may be mailed to Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-5641, Washington, DC 20210.

Instructions: Label all submissions with "1205-AB73"

See the Federal Register (Volume #79, Number 170) for more details and a summary of the comments in a future issue.

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.