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The COVID-19 recession that began in March 2020 has had a disparate effect on workers depending on many factors: industry, occupation, level of education, parental status, race, and gender. For example, declines in employment have been largest for workers of color and those with less formal education. Such disproportionate effects owe in large part to the fact that those groups are overrepresented in the industries that have been particularly hard hit. For example, significant reductions in business travel and in-person activities have led to permanent closures across the leisure and hospitality industry. In contrast, some groups of workers, including those who have higher levels of education, and those working in some industries, including transportation and warehousing, have seen employment largely recover. In this analysis, we examine the impacts of the pandemic recession across different dimensions, including employment, labor force participation, and the need to switch industries. This analysis provides texture and evidence to the emerging understanding that women and people of color, working in the service industry, have been the most negatively affected. The challenge of long-term unemployment for some workers, coupled with the high likelihood that some industries will see weaker labor demand for some time, requires a workforce development strategy that supports workers who will need to switch industries and occupations. The Crisis in the Labor Market for Women and for Black and Hispanic Workers Since falling sharply in the spring, the fraction of the population that is employed has only partially recovered. This recovery has been predominantly driven by white workers; the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) remains particularly dampened for Black and Hispanic workers. Figure 1 shows EPOP by race/ethnicity among the civilian population ages 16 and older. For Black and Hispanic people, EPOP was between 5 and 6 percentage points lower in December 2020 relative to February; by comparison, the fraction of white people over the age of 16 that were employed was only 3.5 percentage points lower. The decline in EPOP among Asian people fell in between, at about 4.5 percentage points. Those declines in the fraction of population employed reflect both increases in the unemployment rate among those in the labor force as well as decreases in participation in the labor force. In April, when layoffs peaked at unprecedented levels, the unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic workers were 16.7 percent and 18.9 percent respectfully, while the unemployment rate for white workers was 14.1 percent. While the unemployment rate has declined since then, the racial gap still persists. There are also gaps between men and women, with women of color and young women experiencing particularly high unemployment rates. With the crisis persisting and the recovery slowing, many are falling into long-term unemployment, which has serious consequences for a person’s overall economic security. Another reason for the significant decrease in EPOP has been that millions of people have dropped out of the labor force since February. The reasons that have been cited are many, including a lack of job opportunities, health risks from working, and a significant increase in caregiving responsibilities with childcare centers closed, schools operating remotely, and family members falling ill. A greater number of women have dropped out of the labor force, with a particularly large decline in September when many schools committed to remote learning through the fall and winter (figure 2). In addition, the declines in the labor force have been sharpest among Black and Hispanic women. Both groups saw their labor force participation rising before March as a strong economy ushered more people into the labor market. From February to December, the number of Black and Hispanic women in the labor market fell 6.0 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, outpacing the 2.3 percent decline for white women and the 2.0 percent decline for all men. The Crisis in the Labor Market in Certain Industries The disproportionate effects on certain demographic groups largely owes to those groups being disproportionately employed in particularly hard-hit industries. Figure 3 shows which industries have lost the most jobs. As noted, leisure and hospitality industry experienced significant job loss with nearly 4 million fewer jobs in December compared to February. Notably, employment in government, education and health industries have also materially declined. In general, the industries that have fared worse disproportionately employed women and people of color. For example, as Betsey Stevenson wrote in a Hamilton Project essay in July 2020, “the most rapid declines in March were in employment in leisure and hospitality, an industry in which 53 percent of workers were female in February.” Another Hamilton Project report, by Bradley L. Hardy and Trevon D. Logan, pointed out the disparate employment shocks to Black workers. They also note that public sector employment is the largest employer of Black workers and that “Black Americans are more than twice as likely as the average worker to be employed in the healthcare support service industry.” Many people previously employed in harder-hit industries have felt compelled to change industries. As certain industries continue to face pressures and the benefits of switching out of struggling industries do not abate, additional broad-based workforce training would help to facilitate these transitions. Figure 4 shows how workers in different industries fared from December 2019 to November 2020 (solid colors) and from December 2018 to November 2019 (hatched colors). Using the Current Population Survey, we constructed consecutive four-month periods over which the same worker is observed. Conditional on the industry in which the person reports working in month one, we describe the share of workers who changed industries. We note whether they also saw a change of employment status (in any direction between employed, unemployed, and not in the labor force) within those four months. In almost every sector, there were more cross-sector moves from December 2019 to November 2020 than the prior year. More than 20 percent of those who started their four-month panel in the leisure and hospitality, service, agricultural, transportation, wholesale, and retail sectors were reported to be in a different sector within three months. Among those who changed sectors the share who reported a change in employment status (a spell of unemployment or labor force nonparticipation) vastly outstripped those who did not in almost every sector. More and Better Workforce Training is Needed to Help Workers Adjust There are numerous policies needed to address the labor market challenges facing the millions of people who are out of work. First, measures are needed to ensure people feel safe to resume overall economic activity so that job growth accelerates. Second, household financial resources must be bolstered by the social insurance system, including unemployment insurance, in order to support their spending while the economy is weak and in order to support a more robust economic recovery. Third, overall job quality must be improved including protection for workers who would be at risk as they return to jobs and the assurance of a fair, living wage. As a result of the long-term unemployment wrought by the COVID-19 recession and the expected changes in labor demand going forward, investments in education and training are also a needed part of the policy solutions. As a group, those with lower levels of education still had not made up their Great Recession employment losses before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Those with lower levels of education were more likely to have lost their job and were more likely to have to start over in a new industry to find a new job during the pandemic. Providing access to training and education helps people who want to get into higher paying careers do so and is also necessary for some whose jobs will not be coming back. As some industries might be quite slow to recover and indeed some changes in the labor market are likely permanent, the ability to find employment in different occupations and industries will be an increasingly critical factor in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. David Autor and Elizabeth Reynolds argue that an acceleration in automation as a result of the response of firms to the pandemic will change the composition of labor demand. They write: “We can expect leaner staffing in retail stores, restaurants, auto dealerships, and meat-packing facilities, among many other places. Like the decline of retail, these developments were sure to happen over the longer run. But the crisis has pulled them forward in time, hastening both the accompanying productivity gains and the inevitable labor market adjustments.” Indeed, as we described above, already we can see that many people who are getting jobs are getting them in different industries than they were before. Federal support for workforce training, to help equip people with the different skills they will need for the different labor force they will return to, will be essential for a strong labor market recovery. That support will need to address affordability and access to training both outside and inside of companies. In addition, the most effective policies would ensure that workforce training is of high quality and leads to better labor market outcomes. Efforts to increase affordability are needed at community colleges, as many have proposed, but also at other training providers such as community-based training programs and union-connected training. The Markle Foundation has put forward the following proposals: an Opportunity Account to help people pay for effective education and training; investments to support unions, colleges, and other organizations that create training for quality jobs; matching funding for employers making significant investments in training new workers; and career coaching that is available to all unemployed and low-wage workers. Later this month, Harry Holzer will offer a new Hamilton Project policy proposal that recommends substantial investments in postsecondary education and workforce development. Investments are also needed in complementary systems such as core social safety net programs like unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance that help support workers while in training. In addition, addressing the need for affordable and high-quality childcare is a critical challenge for parents of young children (particularly women) trying to take advantage of workforce training opportunities. Acknowledgments: The authors thank Lauren Bauer for valuable input. Moriah Macklin provided exceptional research assistance and Desmond Amuh provided superb research support.  Using the Current Population Survey monthly data for two consecutive twelve month periods, we construct a dataset of respondents who can be observed in four consecutive months within that period. We use the IPUMS-constructed panel weights for month-in-samples 1-4 and 5-8. We remove from the sample those respondents who do not match on gender in subsequent observations or report aging more than one year over the course the the four months, which results in the exclusion of “movers” from these data. As a result, these statistics do not represent how people who moved addresses have fared, and how the propensity to move addresses may intersect with employment status changes and industry-switching; by excluding movers, we are likely under-identifying churn. Co-authored by Paige Shevlin, Director of Policy and National Initiatives, Markle Foundation, and Wendy Edelberg, Director, The Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow, Brookings.
A new Framework for Inclusive Capitalism: A New Compact Among Business, Government and American Workers, aims to address some of the structural challenges facing workers and their families. At Markle, we are working with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism to put forward this framework that sets forth guidelines for rebuilding our economy, including policy changes that support investment in training. As jobs change in the digital economy, we need to make training accessible and affordable for workers, including labor-management training, so we grow opportunities throughout our workforce. You can see the full list of signatories and read more about the Framework on the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism website. Read the Framework here:
New York, NY - The Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance, a unique partnership of civil rights organizations, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor organizations and educators, is releasing the first of a new suite of resources to help unemployed job seekers move into better jobs. With many workers facing the possibility they will not be able to return to the jobs they held before the pandemic, and other low wage workers seeking better jobs with higher wages, the first tools being released by the Alliance include an innovative new resume builder to help job seekers show how skills from their past experience are relevant to new jobs as the economy recovers. The Alliance is also releasing new training for career coaches that can be accessed remotely so they can provide better guidance to workers looking to move into good jobs. Working with employers, the Alliance is also developing resources to support job growth and drive greater racial equity in hiring and workforce practices. The Alliance brings together deeply committed partners, including the National Urban League, NAACP, UnidosUS, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Google, IBM, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Workday and other leading businesses, training and workforce organizations. These partners are joined by an expanding list of new members, including Boeing, Burning Glass Technologies, CVS Health, Zurich North America, and nonprofit partners, Patrick J McGovern Foundation, Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC), WorkRise, and Center for Employment Opportunities. “We must drive an economic recovery that enables low income workers, particularly people of color, to achieve greater equity and economic mobility,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. “The Alliance partner organizations are deeply connected within their communities. They will lead collaborations to share these resources to help unemployed workers move into good jobs.” “The pandemic triggered the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history,” National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said. “Low-wage workers lost their jobs at eight times the rate of more affluent workers, and many of them have fallen into the ranks of the permanently unemployed. The depth of this crisis cries out for Rework America Alliance’s bold agenda, and we are proud to work with this forward-thinking and deeply committed coalition of partners.” Markle formed the Rework America Alliance to support an inclusive recovery for unemployed and low wage workers, particularly people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by the current economic and health crisis. The Alliance will help millions of workers, regardless of formal education, move into good jobs by accelerating the development of a nationally scaled system of worker training aligned to jobs that employers will need to fill. Going forward, Alliance partners will provide additional resources that support the end-to-end process of connecting workers to good jobs. The Alliance will help those most in need of support by working closely with organizations nationwide which are already making a difference in the communities they serve. The Alliance’s integrated set of capabilities will include job market insights on roles that are most relevant to workers who have been displaced; guidance on affordable, effective training options that connect workers with good jobs; better training and support for career coaches so they can more effectively support workers in their job search; and resources that will drive employers to increase the hiring, training and advancement of people who have previously been overlooked or excluded. The First of a New Suite of Digital Resources for Worker-Facing Organizations and Employers Includes: Rework America Alliance’s new resume builder, Skill My Resume, developed in partnership with workforce data experts Emsi. This free tool creates a skills-based resume which draws on data from thousands of job postings to help job seekers use their past experience to create a resume with the skills employers are looking for. Career coaches can use this tool to show job seekers how their past jobs can be applied to other roles or sectors for which employers are hiring. The Alliance is also working with employers to drive the adoption of more equitable hiring practices that open opportunities for more workers. Developed with input from leading employers and small businesses, the first new resources for employers include the Rework America Alliance Sourcing and Hiring Playbook which provides a guide to hiring workers from more diverse backgrounds and recognizing talent in candidates that may otherwise be overlooked, without relying solely on credentials such as a four year college degree. In early 2021, the Alliance will provide new labor market insights through an interactive data tool to highlight good jobs that employers are hiring for and how these align with the skills many displaced workers already possess. To help workers move into good jobs, the Alliance is also creating resources that will provide actionable, vital information on training options that succeed in preparing workers for good jobs with strong career mobility potential, including community college, online and union training programs. Additional remote career coaching training modules will also be released. The Alliance will be collaborating with worker-serving organizations — including Alliance partners the National Urban League, UnidosUS, Goodwill Industries International and Rural LISC ¬— to bring these resources to workers who have been hard hit by the current economic crisis. About The Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues. Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include Skillful and Rework America, and most recently, the Rework America Alliance. They follow Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment. For media inquiries, please contact Carrie Gonzalez at [email protected] or 917-705-6531
We are committed to connecting the resources of the Rework America Alliance with local communities in partnership with our delivery partners. We believe in-community delivery is important because we want to get the tools and resources of the Alliance into the hands of those who need them the most, particularly people of color, women, those working low-wage jobs and those without a bachelor’s degree, as quickly as possible. These local efforts are also nested within a broader delivery outreach strategy where we will make tools and resources available widely through Alliance channels. In the first half of 2021, we will begin the planning for our local community engagement, starting with efforts designed with four key Rework America Alliance partners, Goodwill, National Urban League, Rural LISC, and UnidosUS. Through this direct in-community engagement we will both make available the collective resources of the Alliance, such as labor market insights, guidance on effective training prioritization, coaching resources, and employer toolkits, and help our partners coordinate a robust workforce development ecosystem with key stakeholders such as local employers, training providers, and government agencies. During this process, we will also collect insights about what resources have the most impact and develop best practices to inform the work of the Alliance as we scale. “Goodwill Industries International’s partnership with Rework America Alliance is accelerating the way we connect job seekers to in-demand occupations with sustainable wages. Together, we will collaborate to modernize the workforce system to provide products and services to job seekers so they can excel in the evolving labor market.” Sonya N. Francis, Senior Director, Mission Innovation and Strategy, Goodwill Industries International Translating data from insight to action We believe it is crucial to harness the power of data to help individuals navigate this time of unprecedented job loss and uncertainty. Millions of workers develop extensive skills through their work experience, yet these skills often go unrecognized – both by employers and by workers themselves. Too many workers do not have the guidance to leverage their experiences to access a next job, let alone an in-demand job with greater income, resilience, and quality. When empowered with the right data, job coaches can far more effectively help job seekers access the right next opportunity – and employers can better recognize and value the experience of applicants. This Fall, the Alliance has focused on making labor market data actionable for the people and organizations (coaches, employers, unions, workforce systems, community advocacy groups, training providers, etc.) who support workers coming from lower-wage occupations, many of whom must rely on their experience rather than academic credentials to secure their next job. It is this “last mile” that makes all the difference in truly having an impact. Thanks to the diverse members of the Alliance, we are drawing on 360 degrees of perspective, capability, and frontline experience. What we have been doing We are developing analytics to enable worker-serving-organizations, employers, labor, and coaches to better support lower-wage workers in accessing good jobs and economic mobility. Crucially, we are shaping and validating the insights together with these organizations and the workers they support to be as useful as possible through the uncertainties of the economic recovery.
New York, NY – The Markle Foundation is pleased to announce today that Dr. Christopher Howard has been elected to its Board of Directors. Dr. Howard is the President of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and saw active service as both a helicopter pilot and an intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command. At Oxford, he received a Doctorate in Politics and he also earned an MBA with distinction at Harvard Business School. Prior to his current role at RMU, Dr. Howard served as President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia for six years. “Chris Howard is one of the nation’s most innovative education leaders. He understands the challenges many Americans face in obtaining promising careers in good jobs, and the need for educational design to help them meet those challenges,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. “We are delighted to have Chris join our Board and look forward to working together to contribute to an equitable economic recovery for all Americans.” Suzanne Nora Johnson, Chair, Markle Board of Directors, added, “I am delighted that Chris Howard will be joining the Board of Directors; I have known Chris to be a steadfast champion and advocate for educational and economic opportunities for people of all backgrounds, including those who have historically lacked access.” “I’m pleased to be joining an organization which is addressing one of the most pressing issues that we face today in this country, economic opportunity for all Americans,” said Dr. Howard. “Markle’s leadership in addressing the urgent crisis of employment opportunity is one of the most fundamental issues of our time and I look forward to contributing to the strategies Markle is pursing.” The Markle Foundation has formed the Rework America Alliance, a nationwide collaboration to enable unemployed and low wage workers to emerge from the current public health and economic crisis stronger. The Alliance aims to help millions of workers, regardless of formal education, move into good jobs in the digital economy by accelerating the development of a nationally scaled system of worker training aligned to jobs that employers will need to fill. About The Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues. Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include Skillful and Rework America, and most recently, the Rework America Alliance. They follow Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment.
Dr. Christopher B. Howard became the eighth president of Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh on February 1, 2016. A nationally ranked, doctoral granting institution, RMU enrolls approximately 5,000 students. Dr. Howard is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he earned a B.S. in political science in 1991. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned his doctorate in politics at the University of Oxford and an M.B.A. with distinction from the Harvard Business School. He is a recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletic careers. Dr. Howard has received the Armed Forces Merit Award from the Football Writers Association of America. He is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and a former member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. A retired Air Force reserve lieutenant colonel, Dr. Howard served as a helicopter pilot and then became an intelligence officer for the elite Joint Special Operations Command. Defense Secretary William Cohen asked Dr. Howard to accompany a 1999 U.S. delegation to South Africa as a political-military advisor. He was called back to active duty during 2003 in Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star. Dr. Howard also served as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia. Prior to his appointment as president of RMU, Dr. Howard for six years was the president of Hampden- Sydney College, near Richmond, Va. During Dr. Howard’s tenure as president, enrollment, retention, and alumni giving increased. Previously he served as vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives at the University of Oklahoma, where he also served as the director of the Honors College Leadership Center and a President’s Associates Presidential Professor. Dr. Howard enjoyed a successful career in the corporate world, working at General Electric and Bristol- Myers Squibb. At both companies, Dr. Howard’s responsibilities included sales, marketing, international project management, strategic planning, internal consulting, and business development. Dr. Howard is highly sought after as a speaker by the nation’s premiere higher education organizations, including the College Board, the Education Advisory Board, Ruffalo Noel Levitz, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Dr. Howard has taught seminars in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and spoken at the Arizona State University-Georgetown University Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership. Dr. Howard is married to Barbara Noble Howard from Johannesburg, South Africa. Barbara is a Temple University graduate, director of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, a member of the Virginia War Memorial Board of Directors, and a trustee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Howards have two sons, Cohen and Joshua.
Supporting Success in Online Learning
The Aspen Strategy Group hosted a discussion on Domestic and International (Dis)Order: A Strategic Response, the latest edition of the Aspen Strategy Group’s series of annual publications that address the most pressing foreign policy challenges facing the United States. This volume reflects the discussions that occurred during the 2020 Aspen Strategy Group Summer Workshop, a resolutely nonpartisan meeting of experts from the fields of government, academia, journalism, and business. Markle CEO and President Zoë Baird contributed the chapter below to this book. Panelists include: Zoë Baird, Nicholas Burns, Diana Farrell, Naima Green-Riley, Anja Manuel, Joseph Nye, and Tom Pritzker and Torrey Taussig. Equitable Economic Recovery Is a National Security Imperative by Zoë Baird A strong and inclusive economy is essential for American national security and global leadership. As the nation seeks to return from a historic economic crisis, the national security community should support an equitable recovery that helps every worker adapt to the seismic shifts underway in our economy. Broadly shared economic prosperity is a bedrock of America’s economic and political strength—both domestically and in the international arena. A strong and equitable recovery from the economic crisis created by COVID-19 would be a powerful testament to the resilience of the American system and its ability to create prosperity at a time of seismic change and persistent global crisis. Such a recovery could attack the profound economic inequities that have developed over the past several decades. Without bold action to help all workers access good jobs as the economy returns, the United States risks undermining the legitimacy of its institutions and its international standing. The outcome will be a key determinant of America’s national security for years to come. An equitable recovery requires a national commitment to help all workers obtain good jobs—particularly the two- thirds of adults without a bachelor’s degree and people of color who have been most affected by the crisis and were denied opportunity before it. As the nation engages in a historic debate about how to accelerate economic recovery, ambitious public investment is necessary to put Americans back to work with dignity and opportunity. We need an intentional effort to make sure that the jobs that come back are good jobs with decent wages, benefits, and mobility and to empower workers to access these opportunities in a profoundly changed labor market. To achieve these goals, American policy makers need to establish job growth strategies that address urgent public needs through major programs in green energy, infrastructure, and health. Alongside these job growth strategies, we need to recognize and develop the talents of workers by creating an adult learning system that meets workers’ needs and develops skills for the digital economy. The national security community must lend its support to this cause. And as it does so, it can bring home the lessons from the advances made in these areas in other countries, particularly our European allies, and consider this a realm of international cooperation and international engagement. Read the Full Chapter Here Read the Book Here
An Opportunity Account to Help All Workers Identify and Pay For Effective Training
Investing in High Quality Career Coaching
Panelists: Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation Raphael Bostic, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Liz Hilton Segel, Managing Partner, North America McKinsey & Company Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League Rework America Alliance: Empowering Workers to Recover Stronger Please join us for a virtual event hosted by the Rework America Alliance, a Markle Initiative as we share new insights into the impact of the pandemic on our workforce and the disproportionate effect this crisis is having on people of color and those without a formal post-secondary education. We will discuss - for the first time - how we are working together to meet the urgent needs of millions of workers who are facing an uncertain future in the current economic crisis. This event will feature a conversation with Zoë Baird, CEO and President of the Markle Foundation, Raphael Bostic, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Liz Hilton Segel, Managing Partner, North America, McKinsey & Company and Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. We will speak to why we have brought together a unique set of diverse organizations to form the Rework America Alliance and how our collaboration will work to create systemic change to help unemployed and low wage workers emerge from this crisis stronger.
Incentivizing Employers to Hire and Train for Quality Jobs