Better Jobs Information Benefits Everyone

Andrew Reamer in Issues: “Workers, employers, educators, and government officials all need access to more timely and more consistent middle-skills labor market data.

Economic growth and full employment require well-functioning labor markets—ones that enable workers to acquire skills that are in demand and employers to hire workers with necessary skills. Accurate and detailed information is essential to the functioning of a labor market that will make this possible.

To find a decent job in today’s economy, most workers need some level of specialized knowledge and skills, but it is not easy to figure out what specializations are in demand now and are likely to be needed in the future. Choosing poorly has long-term career consequences.

Unfortunately, the information needed to make good decisions, particularly concerning middle-skills jobs, either does not exist or is difficult to find. Neither Congress nor the executive branch has adequately fulfilled its responsibility to collect, organize, and make available reliable labor market information. A coordinated and adequately funded federal program to make this information available could provide enormous benefits to middle-skills workers and to employers as well as to a variety of other constituencies including students, educators, career and guidance counselors, state and federal policy makers, and researchers, all of whom play a role in creating an efficient labor market.

The needed information includes:

  • Occupational descriptions, including tasks performed and knowledge, skills, abilities, and training required.
  • Occupational demand and supply, current and projected, at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Employment outcomes of individual education and training programs and particular career pathways.
  • Extent of the match between existing talent pool and occupational and career options….(More)”.