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New Quick-Lesson Workforce Data Podcast Series

The U.S. Employment and Training Administration has just issued a new series of podcast instruction guides to help you identify and use labor market and workforce statistics.  The presentations are written simply, and presume no previous subject matter or statistical knowledge.  They should prove helpful for a broad variety of audiences and purposes, including grant applications; targeting growing industries and occupations; pinpointing labor market hardship; state and regional planning; and assessing program effectiveness.


Each is comprised of  a podcast roughly 10 minutes long plus a transcript of 2-3 pages.  The podcast and transcript can be used either separately or together:  the links can't be accessed from the podcasts, but the podcasts include visuals not available in the transcripts.


Some provide an overview of a topic (like unemployment data), while others explain in a step-by-step manner how to obtain a specific type of data or to use a specific data tool.  Each topical presentation includes basic definitions, a brief historical background, links to the most important sources (especially for state and local data), and practical tips on how to interpret and use the data and avoid common mistakes.  The tool- and data-specific presentations are designed to enable you to obtain useful data by the end of the lesson.


ETA intends to produce more of these presentations, but these exist now.  You can also access all of them from our Quick-Lesson Podcast folder.

New 2013 Podcasts

  1. Unemployment data
  2. Dislocated worker data
  3. Employment projections
  4. Industry data
  5. Geographic data
  6. Economic data

 2011 Podcasts

  1. The Data Dozen: Key Workforce Data and Information Sites
  2. Using E-Tools to Identify Growing Industries
  3. Using E-Tools to Identify Industry Concentration Ratios
  4. Using E-Tools to Identify Occupations  

Unemployment Rates 1890-2012

Tangled Up in Data image 

Tangled Up in Data? — Putting Workforce Data to Work in Employment & Education Programs

 In this U.S. Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Webinar, we show you how to use workforce data to identify growing and in-demand jobs, determine which of them are “good” jobs, and ascertain what preparatory education and training are needed to qualify for them.  Drawing upon the best governmental and private sector sources, we explain them, outline their strengths and limitations, provide guidance on oft-used terms like “high growth” and “good jobs,” and help you to avoid common pitfalls. 

The Webinar also identifies some of the best multi-purpose E-Tools that incorporate workforce data, job ads, and other job-related information in one place — including a new resource that explains what kind of information is available from different E-Tools. 

See especially the 


1. Webinar PowerPoint and Transcript.  The oral presentation (which you can access through either the recording or the transcript) has information and advice beyond that covered in the PowerPoint.  For your convenience, we’ve annotated the transcript with references to the PowerPoint slides, which closely mimics the experience of listening to the recording while taking much less of your time.  

2. Workforce Data, Job Openings and Other Information Available from Selected Federal Multi-Purpose E-Tools.

Workforce Data Presentation Outline

2013 Lower Living Standard Income Level Guideline Issued


Lower Living Standard Income Level (LLSIL) Guidelines are used by state and local employment programs to determine income eligibility for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs for youth and certain adult services, in addition to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

The link provided includes the 2013 Federal Register Notice announcing the LLSIL, as well as the guidelines for previous years.

See 2013 LLSIL Guidelines.


ETA has also issued special tabulations of combined 5-year samples (using 2006-11 data) of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), which are in part based on the LLSIL Guidelines.  Combined 5-year samples are necessary to attain a sufficient sample size to present usable data.


These special tabulations include separate sets of tables for the nation, states, counties, and other types of localities. ETA has also provided special tabulations for Native Americans.  For each type of geography, there are tables on all persons, the poor, persons earning less than 70 per of the LLSIL, and other data. 


See Data on Economically Disadvantaged Youth and Adults for WIA.  



The U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has now posted materials from its November 14, 2012 Webinar on “Using BLS and Census Disability Statistics for Employment and Training Decisions,” including the


     PowerPoint slides;

     transcript; and



To see and/or listen to these materials, go to Using BLS and Census Disability Statistics for Employment and Training Decisions.


This Webinar consolidated a wealth of information and resources in one place, including


1.      how disability is defined for statistical purposes, including the newest definitions;

2.      the most important and up-to-date findings on disability and employment;

3.      the most important U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Census Bureau sources, and how to decide which source best meets your needs;

4.      live demos of the two principal Census Bureau customized data tools; and

5.      a preview of the soon-to-be-released BLS findings from its special 2012 disability employment survey.


ETA has also published several related disability employment data sources on our Labor Market Information WIN-WIN Network Community of Practice.


1.      Data Sources for Workers with Disabilities, a brief  (just over 2 pages) resource to make it easy for you to understand and locate employment data for persons with disabilities, focusing on sources that supply information on labor market hardship.


2.      Usual weekly earnings tables by disability status (for full-time employees — not all employees) — and also by age, gender, race, and Hispanic ethnicity, for 2009, 2010 and 2011. 


3.      The Special CPS Disability Supplement Questionnaire — the verbatim questions (which were summarized during the Webinar itself). 

The Webinar on Bureau of Labor Statistics’ New Education and Training Data for Employment Projections was held on June 19, 2012.  For those who couldn’t attend, you can now obtain the PowerPoint presentation, a recording and a transcript of the Webinar, plus relevant resource links from both BLS and the U.S. Employment and Training Administration, at


In this Webinar, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics described its recently revised system for determining the education and training that individuals typically need to qualify for employment in an occupation, and showcased the results of its research using the new classification system.


We will also soon be posting answers to the questions not provided during the session itself (including a number of valuable sources).  Everyone who registered for the Webinar will receive an e-mail notifying them when this additional information is posted.

We’ve Got Your Number(s) — Key Workforce Trends

If you want to know how the workforce is faring without going through the effort of using customized data tools and checking many Web sites, we’ve done the work for you.

Our new series of tables and charts covers employment, unemployment, earnings, benefits, educational attainment, and poverty for  the entire labor force as well as illuminating trends for youth and older workers, and by gender, race, ethnicity, persons with disabilities, veterans, and foreign-born workers.

Each posting includes 1) a spreadsheet showing annual statistics for as far back as consistent data exist, 2) one or more charts, and 3) a narrative explanation of highlights and trends.  Each chart includes a narrative summary of the main findings, and data for selected historical high and low points.


For a sneak peek at a few of our charts, see below.

To see the full list, click HERE.  

Key Workforce Trends

The existence and extent of skill deficiencies, shortages, and mismatches has been a topic of keen interest for decades.  Since 2000, several new data sets — especially the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey — have shed light on this important topic.


Although many have used the foregoing terms interchangeably, they reflect separate but inter-related topics.  Labor shortages differ from skill shortages, and skill deficiencies, shortages and mismatches are different things.  Whatever topic analysts choose to examine, there has been considerable disagreement about whether a problem exists, and if so how serious it is.


To help inform this ongoing discussion, ETA staff have created this repository of research studies and other resources.  So far we have included about three dozen studies.  To access the full listings, click here:  SKILL SHORTAGE, MISMATCH AND DEFICIENCY REPOSITORY.


The most recent studies are shown first.  Since analysts typically cover several different sub-topics, a conventional bibliography is unworkable.  Instead, in the table we indicate the type of problem(s) each author analyzes; the supply and demand factors examined; whether the study examines the present or past trends vs. projections or forecasts; and whether the study examines the nation, states, and/or localities.  This detail will make it easier for you to determine which study best meets your interests.


This repository is a work in progress, and only includes complete information for the newest studies.  Except for a few clearly-written conceptual pieces, we are restricting this repository to studies that analyze at least some data.  We are certain that we’ve missed some useful work, especially at the state level, so PLEASE suggest additional research, tools, or resources by posting a comment in the field below or by sending documents to the LMI Win-Win Network at



In the table, we abbreviate survey names as follows.


ACS:  American Community Survey (Census Bureau)

CES:  Current Employment Statistics (BLS)

CPS:  Current Population Survey (Census Bureau and BLS)

HWOL:  Help-Wanted OnLine (Conference Board)

JOLTS:  Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (BLS)

OES:  Occupational Employment Statistics (BLS)