May 2011, Vol. 134, No. 5
Labor month in review
The May Review
2010 Klein Awards
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Labor month in review from past issues
Technical jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM occupations, as they are commonly called) “play an instrumental role in expanding scientific frontiers, developing new products, and generating technological progress,” according to the authors of the visual essay that opens this month’s issue. These occupations are of significant interest to jobseekers, employers, educators, and others with an interest in the shape and direction of the U.S. economy. STEM jobs tend to be concentrated in “cutting edge” industries such as computer systems design, scientific research and development, and high-tech manufacturing industries. In addition, most require a bachelor’s degree or higher and tend to be high-paying occupations. The authors use data from the Occupational Employment Statistics program to illustrate various facets of employment for these occupations, including geographic concentration and the percentage of employment that STEM occupations account for in various industries.
As noted in this space in February, a symposium was held at BLS about the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) program last December. The symposium marked a 10-year milestone of publishing monthly data for the JOLTS program and brought together leading academic and policy-oriented users of the data. This month we present a paper that was delivered at the symposium, and we are hopeful that other papers from the symposium also will be published in the Review.
The authors discuss how JOLTS data can be used to shed light on patterns of hiring and separations in business establishments of various sizes. Using other data series for comparison, they evaluate the accuracy of JOLTS data on small establishments. The authors conclude with recommendations that they believe could improve the JOLTS program with regard to methods and research.
Every 2 years the Bureau produces a series of 10-year projections on important aspects of the U.S. labor market. Pivotal among these are projections of the size of the labor force. The projected labor supply in the model BLS uses is a product of two factors: the projected size and growth of the population, and expected future trends in labor force participation (the percentage of the population in the labor force). Our final article this month examines a behavioral model that takes into account various factors—such as wages, school enrollment, and marital status—that may affect the labor force participation of various groups of workers. The author finds that this model, which is the Bureau’s first attempt to test the effects of behavioral variables on projections, yields results similar to those obtained from the current BLS model. Other work has to be performed on the experimental model before it can be used as a supplement to the standard model, including extending it to include other explanatory variables.
The Trustees of the Lawrence R. Klein Award announced the winners of the awards for articles published in the MLR in 2010. The winner of an article published by an author from BLS is Kathryn J. Byun for “The U.S. housing bubble and bust: impacts on employment,” published in the December 2010 issue.
Among the authors submitting articles from outside the Bureau, Sylvia Allegretto and Devon Lynch were recognized for “The composition of the unemployed and long-term unemployed in tough labor markets,” which was published in the October 2010 Review.
Also this year, a “hybrid” winner with authors from inside and outside BLS was selected: “Labor costs in India’s organized manufacturing sector,” by Jessica R. Sincavage, Carl Haub, and O.P. Sharma, appeared in the May 2010 edition.
Each year since 1969, the Lawrence R. Klein Award has honored the best articles appearing in the Review. The award was established in honor of Lawrence R. Klein, who retired in 1968 after 22 years as editor-in-chief of the Review and established a fund to encourage articles that (1) exhibit originality of ideas, methods, or analysis, (2) adhere to the principles of scientific inquiry, and (3) are well written.
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