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Over the last several years, there has been increasing interest among labor market analysts in what has come to be called real-time labor market information (RT LMI). RT LMI is information gleaned from a large number of on-line job postings. Several private sector entities have developed software that collects online job postings by "scraping" or "spidering" the listings from the Internet and organizing them into standardized data categories, especially the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. These private sector entities have also built tools that permit analysis by those looking for current and detailed information on hiring trends and employer demand (including certifications and skill prerequisites). Diverse users including state and local governments, workforce boards, educational institutions, economic development entities, and research organizations license the RT LMI tools to better understand state, regional, and local labor market conditions. Many view RT LMI as an important new data source, but are unfamiliar with how best to use it and place it within the context of traditional survey-based LMI. Although many states and localities already use RT LMI, others have yet to do so.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has for several years supported research on the use of RT LMI.  In late 2013, ETA began a technical assistance project to increase knowledge of the RT LMI landscape and support selected states in building their capacity to utilize the new data sources. ETA awarded a technical assistance contract to Maher & Maher, which is collaborating with Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the New York City Labor Market Information Service (NYCLMIS).

As part of the technical assistance project, this report seeks to inform people in the workforce development system in particular about the most common uses, successes, and challenges of RT LMI. It provides an overview of major RT LMI vendors and their products and services. It also profiles how three states and three regional workforce development knowledge centers are using RT LMI to identify and address labor market issues.  Click here