Labor Market Information: Win-Win Network Community of Practice

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

Posted by LMI Win-Win Network - On July 23, 2013 (EST)

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

The U.S. Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has a series of tables and charts to track key workforce trends in employment, unemployment, earnings, and educational attainment, covering the entire labor force as well as data for youth and older workers, gender, race (including Native Americans), Hispanic origin, 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. At the bottom of each table are links to the sources used and other background explanations. Each chart includes a narrative summary of the main findings, and data for selected historical high and low points.

This series is primarily intended to assist state and local employment program staff, but should also be useful to grant applicants and recipients, the public, educators, policymakers, and Federal program staff.

Here’s what's available now, with more to come soon.


1. Unemployment Rates, 1890-Present, showing the U.S. unemployment experience for more than a century (and, since 1947, the proportion of the population that is not in the labor force), putting the recent recession in the context of previous major economic downturns.

2. Unemployment by Age, showing unemployment rate trends since 1948 for various age groups: 16-19, 20-24, 25-54, 55-64, and 65 and older. To better understand relative labor market hardship, we've shown the unemployment rate ratios of each age group to that of what are considered the prime working age range (25-54).

3. Unemployment by Gender, Race, and Hispanic Origin, showing unemployment rate trends as far back as 1948 (for gender), and unemployment ratios for women to men, and for African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans to Whites.

4. Unemployment for Veterans, Persons with Disabilities, and the Foreign-Born , showing the data for each group as well as for its counterpart (e.g., non-veterans, native-born, and persons without disabilities).

5. Reasons for Leaving Jobs: Trends, showing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from two different surveys that shed light on individuals who leave their jobs voluntarily and involuntarily, and how these patterns affect the overall unemployment rate.

6. Long-Term Unemployment, showing the rise in extended unemployment durations since the 1960s.

7. Discouraged Workers and Others Not in the Labor Force Who Want a Job, presenting various alternative BLS measures of labor market hardship for those who are not officially counted as unemployed.

8. Unemployed Job Seekers per Job Opening, tracking trends from two sources on job openings (vacancies) — including real-time data — and showing the ratio of unemployment to job vacancies.

9. Job Openings, Hires, Layoffs, and Quits, exploring the insights into employer layoffs, job openings and hiring — and employee behavior in quitting their job — provided by BLS’ newest important survey, JOLTS.

10. Recessions and Unemployment, analyzing the interaction between recessions and unemployment, and a potentially useful early warning indicator for recessions.


1. Part-Time Employment, Self-Employment, Multiple Jobholding, and Unionization, showing the rise of part-time work and declines in self-employment and unionization.

2. Occupational Distribution of the Workforce, showing the increase of managerial and professional occupations over the past several decades, and the relative decline of office and administrative support and production occupations.

3. Growth and Decline of Selected Industries Since 1800, showing the decline of agricultural employment as a share of the workforce over the past two centuries, the rise and fall of manufacturing employment, and the rise and stall of retail and wholesale trade employment since 1840.

4. Government Employment and Self-Employment Trends, showing trends in both since 1948.

5. Labor Force and Employment by Race and Hispanic Origin, showing trends in both these important indicators since the early 1970s. Low labor force participation rates are an important indicator of labor market hardship in addition to the unemployment rate.

6. Employment by Age and Gender, showing the rise of women in the paid workforce, the trend toward early retirement among older individuals and then its reverse in the last three decades, and the employment problems experienced by teenagers and young adults in recent years.


1. Annual Earnings for Full-Time, Year-Round Workers, showing how earnings have grown or stagnated over the past several decades, for men and women.

2. Compensation Trends (including benefits), showing the growth or decline of hourly compensation (including all benefit costs) over more than two decades. Also shown are total benefit costs and health insurance benefit costs as a share of total compensation.

3. Employer-Based Health Insurance for Workers, showing the decline in employer-based health insurance coverage among workers since 2000.

4. Youth Earnings and Work Experience, showing the significant decline in annual work time experienced by 16-24 year-olds, and stagnating and in some cases declining inflation-adjusted earnings.

5. Benefit Coverage Since 1979, showing the widespread (although not universal) pattern of decline in the coverage or participation rates for the most common types of employee benefits.


1. Educational Attainment Since 1940, showing the historic rise in educational attainment after World War II, by age and gender.

2. Educational Attainment and Unemployment, showing how better-educated individuals have consistently fared better in the labor market, and have been much less afflicted by unemployment.

3. Young Adults Who Didn't Finish High School , showing the steady drop in the share of 19-24 year-olds who have not obtained a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.

4. Educational Attainment Gap Between Young and Old , showing how younger workforce entrants have lost the educational attainment advantage they formerly held over older workers.

5. High School Test Scores in 8 Subjects, showing the discouraging results for tested achievement of high school seniors and 17 year-olds in National Assessment of Educational Progress scores dating back as far as 1969.

6. High School Coursework Over 3 Decades, showing that high school graduates have taken more courses, and more demanding courses, over a nearly 3-decade span since the early 1980s. The increases have been very large, but paradoxically haven’t boosted test scores.

7. NOT Hitting the Books — Limited Homework and Studying Time in High School and College, showing limited homework/study time for both high school and college students, far below the peaks reached during the 1960s.


1. Poverty Rates and the Working Poor, showing how poverty rates fell dramatically before progress stalled, and how the recent recession caused poverty rates to rise among workers.

2. Poverty Among Teens and Young Adults, showing how youth in their late teens and young adults have slipped into poverty or near-poverty in recessions and economic recoveries.


1. Criminal Offenders: Earnings, Educational Attainment, and Other Characteristics, showing the only regular source of employment-related data on this population.

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Modified On : September 18, 2013
Type : Text
Viewed : 6186
In Relation : Essential Documents

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