Workforce Currents

2021

Challenges in Today's Unemployment Insurance System
Katherine Townsend
April 7, 2021
Last year, the CARES Act expanded the unemployment insurance (UI) program to address system-wide shortcomings, but these new measures revealed long-term challenges in the UI system. This article contextualizes these challenges and explores potential solutions.

The Workforce Development Field or a Conduit for Maintaining Systemic Racism?
Clair Minson
February 19, 2021
The field of workforce development connects people to opportunity and employers to talent, but it often focuses on “race neutrality,” which ignores how racism can limit access and opportunity for people of color. This article examines the origins of racism in workforce development and discusses what it will take to create a more equitable and inclusive system.

2020

Utilizing Opportunity Occupations Data for Recovery
Pearse Haley and Stuart Andreason
December 23, 2020
Millions of lower-wage American workers have lost their jobs in the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Helping these workers find new job opportunities requires innovative workforce development programs that connect them to employment that can use their existing skills without requiring additional education. This article examines how these opportunity occupations create a pathway for displaced workers to quickly transition into better, higher-paying jobs.

Who Has COVID-19 Impacted and What's Been Done to Help?
Stuart Andreason and Katherine Townsend
December 18, 2020
For workers who have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Congress provided relief through the CARES Act and its three unemployment programs. This article examines how these pandemic unemployment programs have helped workers, and where they stand as 2020 comes to an end.

Toward an Inclusive Recovery
Rachel Vilsack
November 20, 2020
The COVID-19 recession and public health crisis have hit low-income people the hardest and magnified existing structural inequities. This article contends that timely, accurate public data on who is being included in the recovery must be a foundation of national skills policies.

Can Community Colleges Step Up as Engines of Economic Recovery?
Tamar Jacoby
November 13, 2020
Businesses have accelerated their reliance on automation in the wake of the COVID-19 economic crisis, leaving millions of workers needing new skills. This article looks at how community colleges can become the nation’s premier providers of training and education for those skills.

Talent Finance: Exploring the Future of Workforce Partnerships
Stuart Andreason, Sarah Miller, and Katherine Townsend
September 21, 2020
Our Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity has joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and other organizations on a new initiative, Talent Finance. The initiative will explore public- and private-sector financing options to develop workers’ skills. Learn more in this article.

Older Workers Face New Risks because of the COVID-19 Recession
Siavash Radpour, Aida Farmand, and Teresa Ghilarducci
September 3, 2020
The combined effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and recession pose particular risks to older workers, including unemployment, illness, or disability. This article examines policy measures that can help these workers.

Transitioning from Hospitality to Health Care Occupations
Sarah Miller and Pearse Haley
August 28, 2020
Many workers in the hospitality industry returned to work when businesses reopened, only to be sent home again as states saw increased COVID-19 cases. This article explores how these workers could transition to health care occupations, which pay better than most hospitality jobs.

Rework America Alliance: Helping Workers Move into Good Jobs
Stuart Andreason and Sarah Miller
August 12, 2020
The Atlanta Fed’s Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity is partnering with the Markle Foundation and other organizations on a nationwide initiative, the Rework America Alliance, to help workers move into good jobs. Learn about the partnership in this article.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Wage Replacement Rates
Sarah Miller and Katherine Townsend
July 17, 2020
Many CARES Act provisions will expire on July 31 such as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $600 weekly benefit to workers claiming unemployment. This article considers how the termination of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will affect workers.

Public Libraries and the Workforce
Stephanie Holcomb
July 8, 2020
Libraries are vital institutions in our society, offering numerous services beyond lending books. This article explores how public libraries are supporting job seekers during the pandemic.

The Digital Divide and the Pandemic: Working from Home and Broadband and Internet Access
Stuart Andreason, Pearse Haley, Sarah Miller, and Mels de Zeeuw
June 29, 2020
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional economies have been disproportionate. Read this article to learn about the factors that can contribute to an area’s resiliency and those that result in less resiliency.

Can Lessons from the Great Recession Guide Policy Responses to the Pandemic-Driven Economic Crisis?
Jane Oates and Carl Van Horn
June 16, 2020
This article introduce a new series—Leading Workforce Resurgence—a joint effort of the Atlanta Fed’s Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, and WorkingNation. The article compares government responses to the Great Recession with those during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introducing the Unemployment Claims Monitor
Stuart Andreason
May 6, 2020
Millions of workers have filed claims for unemployment insurance since the COVID-19 shutdowns began. The Atlanta Fed’s new data tool helps users monitor initial and continued claims for unemployment insurance. Learn about the Unemployment Claims Monitor in this article.

Reemploying the Unemployed
Stuart Andreason
April 2, 2020
Millions of U.S. workers have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance due to COVID-19. This article discusses some workforce development programs that could help unemployed workers train for reemployment.

COVID-19, Workers, and Policy
Stuart Andreason
March 18, 2020
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some employees are being asked to work remotely. This post explores the majority of workers who cannot work from home and considers policy responses to sick leave and other workplace issues.

Opportunity Occupations and the Future of Work
Mels de Zeeuw
February 12, 2020
How will technological changes like automation, artificial intelligence, and robots affect well-paying jobs for workers without college degrees? This article examines some recent research.

2019

Aligning Capital, Training, and Economic Mobility
Sameera Fazili
October 7, 2019
How can community development financial institutions and workforce development organizations work together to support economic mobility? This article explores a conference that discussed this and other topics.

Opportunity Occupations in the Southeast
Keith Wardrip, Kyle Fee, and Lisa Nelson
September 4, 2019
Do certain regional economies offer greater opportunities for adults who lack a bachelor's degree? Learn about the authors’ findings on 10 southeastern metro areas.

Automation and the Future of Work
Stuart Andreason
March 27, 2019
Where you live or work could play a significant role in how you experience—or do not experience—technological change and disruption of the labor market. This post discusses a recent report on the topic.

Promising Workforce Development Approaches
Alexander Ruder, Mels de Zeeuw, and Ann Carpenter
January 30, 2019
The New York Fed hosted the Investing in America's Workforce book launch in November 2018, and participants on three panels discussed best practices in workforce development based on themes from each volume. This post features highlights from the sessions.

Early Childhood Education and the Economy
Tamilore Toyin-Adelaja
January 8, 2019
Programs to educate young children can increase future labor force productivity, lower societal costs, and lead to a more robust economy. This post discusses initiatives that support early childhood education.

2018

Policies to Close the Southern Skills Gap
Stuart Andreason
July 3, 2018
Across the country there are not enough workers to fill middle-skills positions, which require training beyond high school. This article summarizes a recent report on how southern states are responding with new approaches to workforce development.

Hiring Difficulties across Industries and Location
Mels de Zeeuw
April 24, 2018
How are firms addressing hiring challenges like having too few applicants? This article examines recent survey data for the reasons behind firms' hiring difficulties and how they are responding.

Creating Opportunities for Young Workers
Stuart Andreason
March 28, 2018
Millennials are a diverse group that make up one-third of the workforce, but many lack education and are disengaged from the job market. This article discusses strategies to integrate millennials into the job market.

Racial Disparities in the Labor Market
Ashley Bozarth
February 28, 2018
What factors account for labor market disparities in wages, employment, and participation? This article delves into Federal Reserve and other research and explores policy proposals.

Career Pathways in a Changing Labor Market
Ashley Bozarth
January 31, 2018
What are the effects of automation and shifting labor demands on the future of work, particularly for middle-skill workers? Hear about researchers' findings in this article.

2017

Opportunity Occupations: Well-Paying Jobs for Middle-Skill Workers
Mels de Zeeuw
November 8, 2017
What opportunities and decent-paying jobs exist for workers who don’t have a college degree? Workforce Currents gives an overview of recent Fed research on the topic.

Director's Welcome
Stuart Andreason
October 2, 2017
The new Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity will focus on employment and labor market issues. Director Stuart Andreason discusses the center's objectives in this post.