Subject: Studies in the News 06-54 (December 28, 2006)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News:
Employment, Training, Vocational Education and Welfare to Work Supplement


Contents This Week

Introductory Material ECONOMY
   NAFTA's impact on workers
   Innovation and economic growth
   Increasing science and engineering fellowships
EDUCATION
   Preparing the workforce through postsecondary education
   Workforce preparation guarantee
   Rethinking American schooling
   Readiness of young workforce
EMPLOYMENT
   Black workers in the Bay Area
   Study of employee benefits
   Employment rates in Europe and U.S.
   Benefits of flexible workplaces
   Second-generation Americans in workforce
   Immigrants displace native-born workers
   Comparing immigrant success in U.S. and Canada
   Activation and earnings of reservists
   US job growth slower than EU
   Transitional jobs
   Offshoring and labor market volatility
   Fading job opportunities in L.A.
   Minimum wage trends
   Work hours and energy consumption
   Cancer rates among semiconductor workers
   Occupational injury and the economy
   Taxing older workers
   Survey of state government compensation
   Work and retirement
   Measuring retirement income adequacy
   Employer-based retirement plans
   Social insurance after job loss
   Entry-level, hourly employees
   Benefits of supportive workplaces
   Wages, productivity and aging
   Work experience and high/low wage earners
   State sector strategies and workforce policy
   Employment retention and advancement
   Aligning education, workforce, economic development
   Workforce preparation and economic needs
HUMAN SERVICES
   Sustaining low-income families
   Seniors may face economic surprises in retirement
PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
   Studies in the News, September 2006 - December 2006
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

ECONOMY

NAFTA

Revisiting NAFTA: Still Not Working for North America's Workers. By Robert E. Scott and others, Economic Policy Institute. EPI Briefing Paper. No. 173. (The Institute, Washington, DC) September 28, 2006. 60 p.

Full Text at: www.epinet.org/briefingpapers/173/bp173.pdf

["Despite its name, the primary purpose of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was not to facilitate trade among separate sovereign societies. Rather, it was to promote an integrated continental economy and establish the rules to govern it.... Twelve years later, it is clear that the costs to workers outweighed the benefits in all three nations. The process differed from country to country, and given the greater size and wealth of the United States, the impact there has not been as great as it was in Mexico and Canada. But the overall pattern was similar. In each nation, workers’ share of the gains from rising productivity fell and the proportion of income and wealth going to those at the very top of the economic pyramid grew."]

[Request #S65401]

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Promoting Opportunity and Growth Through Science, Technology, and Innovation. By Jason E. Bordoff and others, Hamilton Project. (Brookings Institution, Washington, DC) December 2006. 20 p.

Full Text at: www.brookings.edu/views/papers/200612technology.pdf

["Maintaining our nation’s economic leadership in the world and promoting broad-based growth at home will require effective policies to support research, innovation, and access to advanced information and telecommunications technologies. Innovation has long fueled economic growth, often giving rise to new industries and new jobs.... The need for public investment in research arises because, left to itself, the private sector will invest less in R&D than is justified by the benefits that R&D offers to society."]

[Request #S65402]

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Investing in the Best and Brightest: Increased Fellowship Support for American Scientists and Engineers. By Richard B. Freeman, Harvard University. Discussion Paper. 2006-09. (Brookings Institution, Washington, DC) December 2006. 30 p.

Full Text at: www.brookings.edu/views/papers/200612freeman.pdf

["A policy of increasing the number and value of Graduate Research Fellowships will attract more Americans into science and engineering without limiting the potential for continued flows of immigrant specialists.... It will attract women and minorities to science and engineering. And it will do all this at a relatively modest cost compared to the potential gains. We should not forget, however, that maintaining our scientific and technological leadership will require not only increased numbers of fellowships, but also increases in government spending on basic research and a shift in the locus of that spending toward young researchers."]

[Request #S65403]

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EDUCATION

WORKFORCE PREPARATION

The Nexus Between Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development: A Workforce and Employer Perspective. By the California Postsecondary Education Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) December 2006. 16 p.

Full Text at: www.cpec.ca.gov/completereports/2006reports/06-19.pdf

["There is a growing gap between how well the State prepares and equips California’s workforce and what is demanded for preeminence in a highly dynamic, technology advanced, and globally-structured 21st century economy. Policymakers and industry leaders concerned with California’s economic future know a skills and knowledge gap exists, and are increasingly alarmed that it threatens to erode our ability to sustain robust economic success and maintain California’s high quality of life."]

[Request #S65234]

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"Redefining Public Education for the 21st Century: Toward a Federal Guarantee of Education and Training for America's Workers." By Shawn Fremstad and Andy Van Kleunen, Workforce Alliance. IN: Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy (May-June 2006) pp. 97-104.

Full Text at: tinyurl.com/y3fvxz

["All Americans should have opportunities for education and training beyond high school and throughout their lives. A broad-based 'lifelong education and training' movement is needed to ensure that federal law provides all Americans with a basic guarantee of access to two years of education and training after they turn 18. One way to reach this goal is to expand and reform the existing set of federal workforce and education programs, including the Workforce Investment Act, TANF, the Pell Grant program, and the Hope and Lifelong Learning Tax Credits."]

[Request #S65404]

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Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. By the National Center on Education and the Economy. (Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey) December 2006. 208 p.

["Warning that Americans face a grave risk of losing their prosperity and high quality of life to better educated workers overseas, a panel of education, labor and other public policy experts proposed a far-reaching redesign of the U.S. education system that would include having schools operated by independent contractors and giving states, rather than local districts, control over school financing.... Among other things, the report proposes starting school for most children at age 3, and requiring all students to pass board exams to graduate from high school, which for many would end after 10th grade. Students could then go to a community or technical college, or spend two years preparing for selective colleges and universities." New York Times (December 15, 2006). NOTE: Tough Choices ... will be available for loan.]

Executive Summary. 28 p.:
http://www.skillscommission.org/pdf/exec_sum/ToughChoices_EXECSUM.pdf

[Request #S65405]

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Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers' Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce. By the Conference Board. (The Board, New York, New York) 2006. 64 p.

Full Text at: www.conference-board.org/pdf_free/BED-06-Workforce.pdf

["The report examines employers' views on the readiness of new entrants to the U.S. workforce: recently hired graduates from high schools, two-year colleges or technical schools, and four-year colleges. Although employers expect young people to arrive with a core set of basic knowledge and the ability to apply their skills in the workplace, the reality is not matching the expectation. The report finds that they lack the basic skills in reading comprehension, writing, and math, which many respondents say are needed for successful job performance. The good news is that the workforce readiness of high school graduates was reported as adequate by a majority of survey participants in three areas considered critical for current and future workplace needs: information technology, diversity, and teamwork." Institute of Management and Administration (November 2006).]

[Request #S65427]

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EMPLOYMENT

AFRICAN AMERICANS

Black Workers in the Bay Area: Employment Trends and Job Quality: 1970-2000. By Steven C. Pitts, Center for Labor Research and Education, University of California, Berkeley. (The Center, Berkeley, California) November 2006.

["Recent transformations in the U.S. economy combined with the historical and contemporary nature of anti-Black racism has resulted in a two-dimensional job crisis facing the Black community: the crisis of unemployment and the crisis of low-wage jobs. Often, policy makers and key stakeholders focus exclusively on the unemployment dimension of the crisis. This narrow policy approach presents the Black community with a false choice between 'no jobs or low-wage jobs.' This report documents the low-wage dimension of the job crisis. It urges communities to identify public policies that raise labor standards and transform bad jobs as well as reduce the high levels of unemployment."]

Full Report. 86 p.:
http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/blackworkers/blackworkers_bayarea06.pdf

Summary. 16 p.:
http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/blackworkers/blackworkers_summary_bayarea06.pdf

[Request #S65407]

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EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Study of Employee Benefits: 2006 and Beyond. By Prudential's Group Insurance. (Prudential, Newark, New Jersey) 2006. 44 p.

Full Text at: www.prudential.com/media/managed/101624_BB_pantone_F1.pdf

["For many U.S. businesses, employee benefits have become a balancing act. With health insurance premiums continually on the rise, some employers have cut back on other company-paid benefits or shifted a greater share of the cost to their employees. At the same time, plan sponsors want to help protect the financial security of their employees, many of whom rely on certain workplace benefits - such as life, disability, and long-term care insurance - as an important part of their overall financial plan. Furthermore, employers still recognize that a competitive benefits program is important to attracting and retaining talent. The primary objective of this study is to better understand the evolving employee benefits marketplace and provide insight into the future. This research identifies current and future employee needs and how employers plan to respond to those needs."]

[Request #S65408]

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EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS

Old Europe Goes to Work: Rising Employment Rates in the European Union. By John Schmitt and Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research. (The Center, Washington, DC) September 2006. 6 p.

Full Text at: www.cepr.net/publications/europe_2006_09_19.pdf

["Europe’s welfare states have steadily narrowed their traditional employment gap with respect to the United States. The employment gap between the United States and Europe has shrunk considerably since 2000, falling to 1.1 percentage points in 2005 for prime-age workers. The report concludes that Europe has nearly closed the employment gap with the United States for workers aged 25 to 54 years old. The shift reflects both declining employment rates in the United States and increasing employment rates in Europe."]

[Request #S65409]

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FLEXIBLE WORKPLACE

What Workplace Flexibility is Available to Entry-Level, Hourly Employees? By James T. Bond and Ellen Galinsky, Families and Work Institute. Research Brief. No. 3. (The Institute, New York, New York) November 2006. 8 p.

Full Text at: familiesandwork.org/eproducts/brief3.pdf

["We found that employees in more flexible workplaces exhibited more desirable outcomes across the board. First, they exhibited more favorable outcomes of most direct interest to employers: greater job satisfaction; stronger job commitment/engagement; less negative spillover from life off the job to work that impairs productivity; and higher retention. Second, employees in more flexible workplaces exhibited more favorable outcomes that are of most direct interest to themselves and their families: less negative spillover from work to life off the job that reduces the quality of personal and family life; greater life satisfaction; and better mental health."]

[Request #S65410]

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IMMIGRATION

"Labor Force Characteristics of Second-Generation Americans." By Abraham Mosisa, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. IN: Monthly Labor Review, vol. 129, no. 9 (September 2006) pp. 10-19.

Full Text at: www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2006/09/art2full.pdf

["This article examines the labor force status, occupations, and earnings of second- and third-and-higher-generation workers by a variety of demographic characteristics including age, sex, race or ethnicity, educational attainment, and family status. It also looks at the labor market situation of the two groups that make up the second generation - persons whose parents are both foreign born (foreign parentage) and persons who have one native-born parent and one foreign-born parent (mixed parentage)."]

[Request #S65411]

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The Impact of New Immigrants on Young Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005. By Andrew Sum and others, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University. (The Center, Boston, Massachusetts) September 2006. 12 p.

Full Text at: www.cis.org/articles/2006/back806.pdf

["Over the 2000-2005 period, immigration levels remained very high and roughly half of new immigrant workers were illegal. This report finds that the arrival of new immigrants (legal and illegal) in a state results in a decline in employment among young native-born workers in that state. Our findings indicate that young native-born workers are being displaced in the labor market by the arrival of new immigrants."]

[Request #S65412]

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First and Second Generation Immigrant Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada. By Abdurrahman Aydemir, Statistics Canada, and Arthur Sweetman, Queen’s University and IZA Bonn. (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn, Germany) September 2006. 50 p.

Full Text at: ftp.iza.org/dp2298.pdf

["The educational attainment of US immigrants is currently lower than that in Canada and the intergenerational transmission of education is expected to cause the gap to grow. This in turn influences earnings. Controlling only for age, the current US second generation has earnings comparable to those of the third, while earnings are higher for the second generation in Canada. Interestingly, the positive wage gap in favor of first-and-a-half and second generation immigrants in Canada is exceeded by the gap in educational attainment, but a lower immigrant rate of return attenuates education’s impact."]

[Request #S65413]

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INCOME

Activation and the Earnings of Reservists. By David S. Loughran and others. (RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California) 2006.

["Activation imposes a variety of costs on reservists. Among those costs is a potential decline in earnings during the period of activation. In this study, RAND researchers compute how earnings change when a reservist is activated using administrative data on military and civilian earnings obtained from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Contrary to conventional wisdom and DoD survey evidence, the RAND study indicates that, on average, the earnings of reservists increase substantially when activated. Moreover, earnings gains increase with length of active duty service. Some reservists do experience an earnings loss when activated, but the probability of experiencing an earnings loss declines with length of active duty service."]

Full Document. 165 p.:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG474.pdf

Summary. 11 p.:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG474.sum.pdf

[Request #S65414]

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JOB CREATION

Whatever Happened to the American Jobs Machine? By John Schmitt, Center for Economic and Policy Research. (The Center, Washington, DC) October 2006. 6 p.

Full Text at: www.cepr.net/publications/jobs_machine_10_05_2006.pdf

["The United States is lagging behind Europe in job creation, according to this report. In the 1990s, the United States developed a reputation as a 'jobs machine' capable of creating jobs at a far faster rate than Europe. However, between 2000 and 2005, U.S. employment grew more slowly than in the European Union.... Since 2000, Spain, Ireland, Greece and Italy all have managed to create jobs at a faster rate than the United States. The UK and Belgium have matched U.S. job growth rates in the current decade through 2005. France, Finland, and Sweden have trailed fairly closely behind the United States."]

[Request #S65415]

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JOB TRAINING

Transitional Jobs: A Workforce Strategy for Cities. By Julie Bosland and Abby Hughes Holsclaw, Youth, Education and Families Institute. (National League of Cities, Washington, DC) 2006. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.nlc.org/content/Files/IYEF_Transitional_Jobs_Report.pdf

["This report focuses on key lessons for designing transitional jobs programs that serve individuals with significant barriers to employment. Transitional jobs are time-limited, wage-paying, publicly-subsidized jobs that provide the experience, skills and support services necessary for stable, unsubsidized work. Some findings include: new transitional jobs initiatives are most successful when their missions connect to the goals of a local champion; sustained efforts to build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders yield multiple dividends; a strong, diversified funding strategy requires creativity, collaboration and tenacity; and programs that are aligned with employer needs achieve better outcomes for participants." National Cities Weekly (October 6, 2006).]

[Request #S65416]

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LABOR MARKET CONDITIONS

Diversification, Offshoring and Labor Market Volatility. By Ashok Bardhan, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley and John Tang, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics Working Papers. Paper 299. (The Center, Berkeley, California) 2006. 23 p.

Full Text at: repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1039&context=iber/fcreue

["This paper asks a simple question: Are occupations that are well diversified across sectors less volatile, and maybe less susceptible to external shocks? Most external shocks (e.g. manufacturing offshoring, oil shocks) impact the labor market along sectoral lines, i.e. they impact product and output markets, and as a consequence they affect employment in various occupations. Some shocks, however, such as services offshoring affect horizontals or occupations. We find that an occupation spread out across many industrial sectors is less volatile, both in terms of numbers employed and the average wage. A dummy variable for offshoreable occupations does not affect the results; however, geographically clustered occupations seem more “at-risk,” after accounting for sectoral diversification."]

[Request #S65417]

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LOS ANGELES

Left Behind: Workers and Their Families in a Changing Los Angeles. By Alissa Anderson Garcia and others, California Budget Project. (The Project, Sacramento, California) September 2006. 28 p.

Full Text at: www.cbp.org/pdfs/2006/0609_lareport.pdf

["For decades, Los Angeles was a beacon of opportunity, promising good jobs and good wages in exchange for hard work. This report shows that the promise of the good life has faded in California’s most populous county. Low-wage jobs have replaced many of the jobs that once provided a decent standard of living for workers and their families. The report also finds that in Los Angeles County: 1) job growth has lagged that of the rest of the state; 2) workers tend to have lower wages, and families tend to have lower incomes than in the rest of the state; 3) residents have a higher rate of poverty than in the rest of the state; 4) workers are increasingly less likely to have job-based health coverage or a pension plan than in the rest of the state; and 5) the gap between the wages of workers in Los Angeles and the rest of California has widened."]

[Request #S65418]

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MINIMUM WAGE

Minimum Wage Trends: Understanding Past and Contemporary Research. By Liana Fox, Economic Policy Institute. Briefing Paper. No. 178. (The Institute, Washington, DC) October 24, 2006. 11 p.

Full Text at: www.epi.org/briefingpapers/178/bp178.pdf

["This Briefing Paper examines the evidence regarding the economic effects of state minimum wage increases, identifying the beneficiaries of an increase as well as any potential negative consequences.... There is a growing view among economists that the minimum wage offers substantial benefits to low-wage workers without negative effect. Although there are still dissenters, the best recent research has shown that the job loss reported in earlier analyses does not, in fact, occur when the minimum wage is increased."]

[Request #S65419]

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OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH

Are Shorter Work Hours Good for the Environment?: A Comparison of U.S. and European Energy Consumption. By David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot, Center for Policy and Economic Research. (The Center, Washington, DC) December 2006. 12 p.

Full Text at: www.cepr.net/documents/publications/energy_2006_12.pdf

["European employees work fewer hours per year - and use less energy per person - than their American counterparts. This report compares the European and U.S. models of labor productivity and energy consumption. It finds that if workers in all countries worked as many hours per week as U.S. workers do, the world would consume 15 to 30 percent more energy by 2050 than it would by following Europe's model."]

[Request #S65420]

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"Mortality Among Employees of a Large Computer Manufacturing Company: 1969-2001." By Richard W. Clapp, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health. IN: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, vol. 5, no. 30 (October 19, 2006) pp. 1-10.

Full Text at: www.ehjournal.net/content/pdf/1476-069X-5-30.pdf

["Previous studies suggested increased cancer incidence and mortality in workers exposed to solvents and other chemicals in computer manufacturing jobs. Most previous studies were of small cohorts and findings were inconsistent. A lawsuit involving a large U.S. company produced a data file for analysis. This study sought to elucidate patterns of mortality in workers who were engaged manufacturing computers and related electronic components in the largest database available to date. Mortality was elevated due to specific cancers and among workers more likely to be exposed to solvents and other chemical exposures in manufacturing operations. Due to lack of individual exposure information, no conclusions are made about associations with any particular agent."]

[Request #S65421]

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"The Impact of Occupational Injury Reduction on the U.S. Economy." By Eduard Zaloshnja and others, Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation. IN: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 49, no. 9 (September 2006) pp. 719-727.

["Preventing occupational injuries reduces labor and fringe benefit costs to employers. The related savings filter through the economy, impacting its performance. This study is a first attempt to measure the impact of occupational injury reduction on national economic output, gross domestic product, national income, and employment by using an input-output model of the U.S. economy.... Declining occupational injury between 1993 and 2002 increased employment by an estimated 550,000 jobs. The increase in gross domestic product (GDP) was $25.5 billion or 9% of the average annual GDP increase from 1993 to 2002. These estimates represent the benefits of injury rate reduction but ignore associated prevention costs."]

[Request #S65433]

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OLDER WORKERS

"The Implicit Tax on Work at Older Ages." By Barbara A. Butrica and others, Urban Institute. IN: National Tax Journal, vol. 59, no. 2 (June 2006) pp. 211-234.

Full Text at: www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001021_implicit_tax.pdf

["Encouraging work at older ages is a crucial policy goal for an aging society, but many features of the benefits and tax system discourage work. This study computes the implicit tax rate on work at older ages, broadly defined to include standard income and payroll taxes as well as changes in future Social Security benefits, employer-provided pension benefits, and health benefits associated with an additional year of employment. The results show that the implicit tax rate on work increases rapidly with age, rising from 14 percent at age 55 for a typical man to nearly 50 percent at age 70."]

[Request #S65422]

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PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

Total Compensation Survey. By the California Department of Personnel Administration. (The Department, Sacramento, California) 2006. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.dpa.ca.gov/tcs2006/contents.htm

["For several years, human resources professionals have recognized that because employers offer multi-faceted compensation programs, salary comparisons alone no longer provide valid measures of competitiveness in the labor market nor do such measures adequately track employer costs. Accordingly, DPA undertook the State’s first comprehensive survey in over 20 years to learn about the 'total compensation' packages provided by other employers with whom we compete for employees.... This survey marks the first step to developing a comprehensive database that the State employer can rely upon to make fiscally sound business decisions about its employee compensation policies."]

[Request #S65423]

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RETIREMENT

Work and Retirement. By Liqun Liu and Andrew J. Rettenmaier. Policy Backgrounder. No. 162. (National Center for Policy Analysis, Washington, DC) November 3, 2006. 23 p.

Full Text at: www.ncpa.org/pub/bg/bg162/bg162.pdf

["One way to soften the blow of the baby boomers’ retirement is to encourage them to stay in the workforce longer, or at least not encourage them to leave. Increasing work by boomers would also increase income tax revenues. In addition, Medicare’s finances would improve because older workers would receive some of their health coverage from employers rather than the government. It also would keep America’s most experienced employees in the workplace, boosting economic output."]

[Request #S65424]

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Measuring Retirement Income Adequacy: Calculating Realistic Income Replacement Rates. By Jack VanDerhei, Temple University. EBRI Issue Brief. No. 297. (Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, DC) September 2006. 36 p.

Full Text at: www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_09-20061.pdf

["A key weakness of many retirement income models is that they use average estimates for life expectancy, and, consequently, provide workers with only a 50 percent chance of having adequate income in retirement. This study uses expanded risk analysis and provides a range of probabilities of success. The EBRI model finds that the amount of money Americans will need for an adequate retirement varies widely based on individual factors and often is substantially higher than previously estimated."]

[Request #S65425]

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Employee-Based Retirement Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends, 2005. By Craig Copeland, Employee Benefit Research Institute. Issue Brief. No. 299. (The Institute, Washington, DC) November 2006. 36 p.

Full Text at: www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_11-20061.pdf

["This Issue Brief examines the level of participation by workers in public- and private-sector employment-based pension or retirement plans, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2006 Current Population Survey (CPS), the most recent data currently available. About 58 percent of all working-age (21–64) wage and salary employees work for an employer or union that sponsors a retirement plan. Of these working-age employees, slightly less than half (47 percent) participate in a retirement plan. Among full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 21–64 (those with the strongest connection to the work force), about 55 percent participated in a retirement plan."]

[Request #S65426]

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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Fundamental Restructuring of Unemployment Insurance: Wage-Loss Insurance and Temporary Earnings Replacement Accounts. By Jeffrey R. Kling, Hamilton Project. Discussion Paper. 2006-05. (The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC) September 2006.

["This paper describes a revenue-neutral proposal to fundamentally restructure the system of social insurance after job loss in order to improve the protection against long-term effects of involuntary unemployment, provide a more progressive allocation of benefits, reduce incentives for firms to lay off workers, and encourage reemployment. As part of this reform, the government would create a program of wage-loss insurance for reemployed workers that would augment the hourly wages of individuals who take jobs that pay a lower wage than was paid at their previous jobs. The reform proposal could reduce by half the share of laid-off workers who experience very large drops in wages at new jobs - from 14 percent to 7 percent."]

Full Report. 40 p.:
http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/views/papers/200609kling.pdf

Policy Brief. 8 p.:
http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/views/papers/200609kling_pb.pdf

[Request #S65428]

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UNSKILLED WORKERS

What do we Know About Entry-Level, Hourly Employees? By the Families and Work Institute. Research Brief. No. 1. (The Institute, New York, New York) November 2006. 8 p.

Full Text at: familiesandwork.org/eproducts/brief1.pdf

["If one compares the demographic characteristics of low-wage and -income employees to their more advantaged counterparts, it is not surprising that they are more likely than others to be younger, female, unmarried, single parents, minorities, and immigrants. However, significant numbers - and often majorities - do not fit those descriptions or stereotypes."]

[Request #S65429]

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How Can Employers Increase the Productivity and Retention of Entry-Level, Hourly Employees? By James T. Bond and Ellen Galinsky, Families and Work Institute. Research Brief. No. 2. (The Institute, New York, New York) November 2006. 17 p.

Full Text at: familiesandwork.org/eproducts/brief2.pdf

["Our findings strongly suggest that creating more effective workplaces for all employees - workplaces that empower and support them - has broad positive impacts on entry-level, hourly, low-wage employees that are similar to, and sometimes greater than, the impacts on more advantaged employees. When workers are given more responsibility, are accordingly held accountable and are supported at work, they are more effective workers - more satisfied with their jobs, more committed to their employers, potentially more productive, and more likely to be retained. They also exhibit better mental health, which bodes well for higher productivity and lower health care costs."]

[Request #S65430]

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WAGES

Wages, Productivity and Aging. By Benoit Dostie. IZA Discussion Paper. No. 2496. (Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany) December 2006. 32 p.

Full Text at: ftp.iza.org/dp2496.pdf

["In this article, we estimate age-based wage and productivity differentials using linked employer-employee Canadian data from the Workplace and Employee Survey 1999-2003. Data on the firm side is used to estimate production functions taking into account the age profile of the firm’s workforce. Data on the workers’ side is used to estimate wage equations that also depend on age. Results show concave age-wage and age-productivity profiles. Wage-productivity comparisons show that the productivity of workers aged 55 and more with at least an undergraduate degree is lower than their wages. For other groups, we find that wages do not deviate significantly from productivity estimates."]

[Request #S65431]

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Differences in Wage Growth by Education Level: Do Less-Educated Workers Gain Less from Work Experience? By Helen Connolly, Northeastern University, and Peter Gottschalk, Boston College and IZA Bonn. Discussion Paper. No. 2331. (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA,) Bonn, Germany) September 2006. 25 p.

Full Text at: ftp.iza.org/dp2331.pdf

["This paper revisits the old question of whether wage growth differs by education level. Do more educated workers invest more than less educated workers in firm specific, sector specific or general human capital? Do they gain more from improved job match? The paper makes both a methodological and a substantive contribution by offering an alternative strategy for separately identifying returns to general experience, sector specific experience, firm tenure, and job match. Our empirical results, based on the Survey of Income and Program Participation, show that overall wage growth is higher for more-educated workers. This reflects higher returns to general experience for college graduates and higher returns to sector experience for high school graduates. Improvements in job match grow monotonically with education."]

[Request #S65432]

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WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

State Sector Strategies: Regional Solutions to Worker and Employer Needs. By Sarah Oldmixon, National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices. (The Center, Washington, DC) October 12, 2006. 19 p.

Full Text at: www.nga.org/Files/pdf/0610SECTOR.PDF

["Governors in a significant number of states are making sector strategies a central element of their state workforce and economic development policies. Sector strategies build partnerships of employers, training providers, community organizations, and other key stakeholders around specific industries to address the workforce needs of employers and the training, employment, and career advancement needs of workers.... This issue brief explains sector initiatives and their advantages and offers examples of state initiatives."]

[Request #S65434]

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Staying on, Stepping up: How Can Employment Retention and Advancement Policies be Made to Work for Lone Parents? By Kate Bell and others, One Parent Families. (One Parent Families, London, England) 2006. 28 p.

Full Text at: www.clasp.org/publications/staying_on_stepping_up.pdf

["The issue of promoting employment retention and advancement is an important topic in UK policy debates, as it is in the U.S. This report discusses research and experience that might be used to strengthen the U.K.’s efforts. In the third chapter - 'Employment retention: evidence from the UK and the US' - Elisa Minoff and Mark Greenberg from CLASP and Natalie Branosky from the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion provide a survey and discussion of the employment retention research and experience for single parents in the U.S. and U.K." Center for Law and Social Policy (December 1, 2006).]

[Request #S65435]

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The Career Pathways How-To Guide. By Davis Jenkins and Christopher Spence. (Workforce Strategy Center, Brooklyn, New York) October 2006. 56 p.

Full Text at: www.workforcestrategy.org/publications/WSC_howto_10.16.06.pdf

["This report showcases an increasingly popular means for aligning educational, workforce, and economic development systems to strengthen local and regional economies. It is a practitioner's guide to implementing career pathways on the local level and emphasizes how state-level officials can support these efforts. The guide walks readers through a five-stage approach to building successful regional career pathways partnerships, citing examples from state leaders including Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington."]

[Request #S65436]

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WORKFORCE PREPARATION

Workforce Preparation: Aligning State Systems and Policies for Individual and Regional Prosperity. By Christopher Mazzeo and others, Workforce Strategy Center. (The Center, Brooklyn, New York) December 2006. 45 p.

Full Text at: www.workforcestrategy.org/publications/WSC_workingtogether_12.1.06_3.pdf

["Despite evidence that both individuals and regions benefit economically when state systems effectively prepare skilled workers to participate in the knowledge economy, policymakers often come up short in optimizing the performance of their public systems of education and training. This paper details how policymakers can take immediate action to align policies and improve these systems, with numerous examples of best practices in numerous states. These cutting edge states have all learned that low-skill and low-wage workers are an important untapped potential resource for regional economic growth, and that enhancing the skills and employment prospects of these workers can and will benefit a state’s overall economy."]

[Request #S65233]

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HUMAN SERVICES

LOW INCOME

An Assessment of the Income and Expenses of America's Low-Income Families Using Survey Data from the National Survey of America's Families. By Gregory Acs and Austin Nichols, Urban Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) September 28, 2006. 50 p.

Full Text at: www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411382_surve.pdf

["This paper examines the income and expenses of low-income working families to see if they are able to sustain themselves with the limited resources at their disposal. The researchers found that families with at least one full-time, full-year worker fared better than one expected in 2001, thanks to their work effort, earnings, and the earned income tax credit. Low-income families without a full-time, full-year worker did not have enough income to cover their basic expenses."]

[Request #S65437]

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RETIREMENT

Retirements at Risk: A New National Retirement Risk Index. By the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. (The Center, Boston, Massachusetts) 2006. 35 p.

Full Text at: www.bc.edu/centers/crr/special_pubs/NRRI.pdf

["The National Retirement Risk Index was conceived as a way to raise the profile of a host of issues that affect Americans' preparedness for retirement. While ensuring retirement security for an aging population is one of the most compelling challenges facing the nation, no single widely-used measure defines the size and scope of the problem.... Unfortunately, many current workers do not appear to understand the nature of the problem that they are likely to confront in retirement."]

[Request #S65438]

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PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Employment, Training, Vocational Education and Welfare to Work Supplement.]

EMPLOYMENT

"Employment, Training, Vocational Education and Welfare to Work" IN: Studies in the News, 06-42 - 06-52, September 2006 - December 2006

[Includes: "Apprenticeship programs," "Nursing shortage solution," "Reforming unemployment insurance," "Decision that nurses are management," "Workers' compensation update," "Day laborers win discrimination case," and "Impact of immigrant entrepreneurs."]

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