While jobless claims and the unemployment rate are showing some improvement in the overall employment picture, it’s interesting to look behind these numbers and examine just who is suffering – and benefiting — the most during this modest recovery.
How Workers Are Faring in the Recovery
A recent report, Employment Patterns During the Recovery: Who Are Getting the Jobs and Why? (PDF) examines the distribution of employment gains among certain populations since the beginning of the current recession. This report, authored by two Federal Reserve Bank assistant vice-presidents, provides good insight into current labor market trends that local Goodwill® agencies can leverage to better support the needs of their local communities.
The report finds that workers with higher levels of education have experienced the strongest employment gains during the recovery, while workers with less than a high school education and workers ages 25 to 54 have remained stuck in recession and continue to experience employment declines.
These findings reflect current industry hiring trends. Lower education industries, such as manufacturing, construction and transportation, have been suffering the worst employments gains since the recession began, while employment growth in the education, health and business services industries has been strongest during the recovery.
Goodwill’s Commitment to Supporting Job Seekers
In consonance with these findings, GII’s 2012 Public Policy Agenda was drafted in close consultation with Goodwill members and leaders of GII’s mission advancement team.
The agenda includes community college and community-based organization partnerships as a top level funding priority. Issues such as improving educational attainment outcomes, training in high-growth sectors and improving private-public partnerships are all areas in which local Goodwill agencies can concentrate their efforts to assist unemployed individuals in gaining valuable new skills they need to re-enter the workforce.
To further support Goodwill’s efforts in local communities, GII will continue to urge Congress to reauthorize important pieces of legislation, including the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Older American’s Act (OAA), and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in 2012.