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The Urban Institute has tracked job trends for four decades, following unskilled workers during the 1990s boom, welfare leavers taking jobs, and, more recently, older workers during the recession. Our experts study workforce development, disability and employment, and the low-skill labor market. Read more.

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State Economic Monitor: January 2015 (Series/State Economic Monitor)
Richard C. Auxier

The State & Local Finance Initiative’s State Economic Monitor tracks economic-performance data across the states and the District of Columbia, highlighting differences in key indicators including employment, wages, housing, and taxes. This quarter’s report finds the unemployment rate fell in 46 states and DC between December 2013 and December 2014, but national real average weekly earnings only increased in 16 states. Total tax revenue over the past four quarters was 1.6 percent higher than the previous year.

Posted to Web: January 29, 2015Publication Date: January 29, 2015

Building Alaska's Science and Engineering Pipeline: Evaluation of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (Research Brief)
Hamutal Bernstein, Carlos Martin, Lauren Eyster, Theresa Anderson, Stephanie Owen, Ananda Martin-Caughey

The Urban Institute conducted an implementation and participant-outcomes evaluation of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP). ANSEP is a multi-stage initiative designed to prepare and support Alaska Native students from middle school through graduate school to succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. The Brief summarizes the findings of the full-length Report, providing an overview of the major takeaways from the evaluation project. The findings inform ANSEP’s programming and provide lessons for other STEM education programs that serve underrepresented minorities nationwide.

Posted to Web: January 20, 2015Publication Date: January 20, 2015

The Labor Force in an Aging and Growing America: Mapping America's Futures, Brief 4 (Research Report)
Austin Nichols, Steven Martin, Nan Astone, H. Elizabeth Peters, Rolf Pendall, Kaitlin Franks, Allison Stolte

From 2010 to 2030, patterns of labor force participation will change across regions of the United States. In some regions, the primary demographic effect will be changes in age structure, which will drive declines in labor force participation rates. In other regions, in-migration and changes in the racial and ethnic composition of the adult population will primarily increase the numbers of the "dependent population"-people not in the labor force. Still other regions will have to accommodate both sharply declining participation rates and sharply increasing nonparticipants. These diverse patterns of changes in labor force participation pose different challenges to regions.

Posted to Web: January 20, 2015Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Can California Teacher Pensions Be Distributed More Fairly? (Research Report)
Richard W. Johnson, Benjamin G. Southgate

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System has been grossly underfunded for the past decade. State policymakers have responded by cutting plan benefits for new hires and raising teachers’ required plan contributions. These changes, however, have undermined teachers’ retirement income security. Only 35 percent of new hires will receive pensions worth more than the value of their required plan contributions. Most new hires would have better financial outcomes if they could opt out of the mandatory retirement plan and invest their contributions elsewhere. Additional plan reforms should focus on changing the benefit formula to distribute pensions more equitably across the workforce.

Posted to Web: December 05, 2014Publication Date: December 05, 2014

Literature Review in Brief: Healthcare Occupational Training and Support Programs under the Affordable Care Act (Research Brief)
Randall R. Bovbjerg, Shayne Spaulding

This brief highlights key points from the report Literature Review: Healthcare Occupational Training and Support Programs under the ACA—Background and Implications for Evaluating HPOG regarding the structure of and employment trends in the healthcare industry, implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for entry-level employment in healthcare, and resulting challenges and opportunities for training and support programs. The brief was developed as part of the HPOG Implementation, Systems and Outcome Project, which is being led by Abt Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute.

Posted to Web: November 20, 2014Publication Date: November 20, 2014

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