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U.S.

Labor Market Overview:


Recommendations to improve
access and participation

A Presentation to the Atlanta Federal Reserve

Harin J. Contractor
Since the recession, American job growth is at a steady
and constant pace
Most occupations have recovered from the depths of
the recession, yet construction & manufacturing still lag
The National Unemployment Rate is back below pre—
recession levels
Much slack remains in the labor market as the U6 to U3
ratio is the highest on record
Prime Age workers have not recovered and remain
below their pre-recession peak
Wage growth remains far too slow for many Americans
The lack of up-skill and training opportunities are
hindering the supply of labor and hurting wage growth
The dramatic rise in occupational licensing over the last
few decades are creating barriers to entry for workers
Non-violent offenders face more barriers to re-enter the
workforce, adversely effecting minorities in the U.S.
Fundamental reforms to licensing can reduce barriers,
increase mobility of labor, & reduce inequality
• Working with State Legislatures to ensure license restrictions target health & safety
occupations
• Regional Compacts
• Applying the results of comprehensive cost-benefit assessments of licensing laws to reduce the
number of unnecessary or overly-restrictive licenses
• Working with community colleges, trade schools, and online learning to facilitate access to training
for licenses
• Employer sponsored third-party oversight onto licensing paperwork, requirements, and
processing time
• Public participation in licensing boards
• Public-Private Scholarships to pay for training or licensing fee
• Career Academies that bring at-risk youth into trade craft (significant long term
earnings) – should qualify for license