Labor and Employment

Econ Piggy

According CSG's analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, state government employment remains below the peak level reached in August 2008, but has seen net gains for four consecutive months. From August 2014-December 2014, state government employment shrunk in 15 states, stayed the same in four states and grew in 31 states for a net gain of 38,000 positions, or a growth rate of about 0.8 percent. Over the same period, private sector employment grew by 1.19 million positions, or about 1.0 percent. California added the largest number of state government positions (5,800) followed by Indiana (5,500) and New Jersey (4,400).  North Carolina shed the largest number of jobs (6,200) followed by Illinois (2,200), Louisiana and Ohio (each decreased by 1,400).

Veterans are enrolling in postsecondary education institutions in large numbers, most of them with extensive occupational experience. Many colleges use Prior Learning Assessments to award academic credit when the knowledge and skills an individual has gained outside the classroom--including employment, military training and service, civic activities, and volunteer service--can be matched to college-level coursework. Veterans who earn credit for general courses are able to complete their degrees in a shorter period of time, reducing...

Insourcing is a practice that reverses the trend of multinational corporations operating overseas. Businesses increasingly are choosing to relocate to the United States, and in some cases, foreign-owned corporations are employing American workers for the first time. Insourcing saves and creates jobs, and state policy can play a pivotal role in affecting businesses’ decisions to locate stateside.

Econ Piggy

According to information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the union membership rate continued to decline in 2014. The rate, defined as the percent of wage and salary workers who are members of a union, was 11.1 percent in 2014, down 0.2 percentage points from 2013. Since 1983, the union membership rate has fallen or remained the same every year except two - in 2007 and 2008, the rate increased slightly. In 1983, the membership rate was 20.1 percent.   

The Solar Foundation, an independent nonprofit with a mission to increase understating of solar energy, recently published its annual National Solar Jobs Census 2014 report.  The report found the U.S. solar industry created jobs at a rate nearly 20 times higher than the average employment growth for a second consecutive year.

CSG Director of Education Policy Pam Goins outlines the top five issues in workforce development policy for 2015, including job driven-training, reducing the skills gap through the use of career pathways, alignment of education and workforce development systems, services for the hard-to-employ, and veterans' employment.

Jennifer Burnett, Program Manager for Fiscal and Economic Development Policy, outlines the top five issues in fiscal and economic development policy for 2015,  including job creations strategies, state innovations in health care spending, public pension solvency, and federal funding uncertainty. 

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Through a mix of legislation and actions taken by governors, new initiatives are being launched in states across the Midwest to remove workforce barriers and to help get more disabled individuals into the workforce.

Registered apprenticeship programs combine structured learning with on-the-job training and upon completion, participants receive an industry issued, nationally recognized credential that certifies occupational proficiency. Program duration ranges from one to six years with a majority lasting four years.

The U.S. Department of Labor is now accepting applications from public and private partnerships to receive one of approximately 25 grants to expand registered apprenticeship programs in high-skilled, high-growth industries like healthcare, biotechnology, information technology and advanced manufacturing. The grants will be worth $2.5 million to $5 million each with a total of $100 million awarded.