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Workforce

State and local governments face a tight labor market and a competitive disadvantage with the private sector. But salaries aren’t the only issue, with cities, counties and states all grappling with training, retention, remote work and increased union activity.

Governments and private employers are beginning to reap the benefits of this move, but sweeping changes in state and federal policy and adoption of new technologies are needed to make good on its promise.
Since the Great Recession, states have moved to reform their public pension plans, making tough choices and frequently doing so with bipartisan support. Federal lawmakers should keep these lessons in mind.
Two years after Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, some significant steps are now underway. Major manufacturers hope to position the nation as a player in global semiconductors.
The proposed rules would require indoor workplaces to be cooled below 87 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are present. They would require breaks and water and other cooling devices when 87 degrees cannot be met.
Federal mandates that steer contracts to unionized companies exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage. Taxpayers lose when responsible contractors that do a quality job at the best price are frozen out.
With most public retirement systems seeing improved actuarial funding levels, there’s an opportunity to offer options that could make government compensation more competitive. But any impetus for change should come from pragmatic public employers, not partisans or lobbyists.
Unions have recently enjoyed some success in both recruitment and labor actions. They now face resistance from lawmakers in red states, particularly in the South.
Transit agencies are facing overlapping crises, including a shortage of maintenance workers. They’ll need new recruiting and training regimens to hire more workers and transition to zero-emission fleets, per a new report.
Staff levels at Class I railroads declined about 28 percent between 2011 and 2021. Trains have also gotten longer, often reaching 2 or 3 miles long. Many are concerned that the combination poses a safety risk.
The workplace fatality rate for construction workers in North Carolina in 2022 was about 20 percent higher than the rest of the nation and about 2.5 times higher than the occupational death rate for all North Carolina workers.
Some interest groups don’t like project labor agreements, but new research shows that they benefit taxpayers and the construction industry while strengthening our skilled trade workforce.
Supplementing early childhood educators’ wages has gone a long way toward addressing a longtime crisis. Even if the program doesn’t survive the city’s budget process, it should remain an example for local, state and federal efforts.
State agencies are trying to address technical shortcomings that led to as much as $135 billion in fraud during the pandemic. But declining and volatile federal funding for administration is impeding those efforts.
Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order on Monday that pioneers several initiatives to attract public service workers. Approximately 18,000 state employees will become eligible to retire in the next five years.
Studies have found that four-day work weeks offer a variety of benefits to employees and employers. But not everyone is in favor of a shorter work week, especially amid a tight labor market and high inflation.
Research shows that traditional defined-benefit plans still play a key role in attracting and retaining government employees. To maximize these benefits’ impact, employers need to make sure their workers understand them.
New data from the New York City Economic Development Corporation shows that the city’s Black unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 percent. Overall unemployment has dropped to 4.9 percent and Hispanic unemployment is at 6.7 percent.
Absurd occupational licensing requirements are costly for the economy and harmful to the workforce, but we don't seem to be able to do much about them.
One in every four job postings seeks candidates with the data skills that companies need — and those jobs pay better. Schools should refocus their efforts.
Companies that grew tech talent rapidly during the pandemic are now firing workers in droves in an effort to reduce operating costs and improve profitability, creating an employer’s market.
Research shows that traditional defined-benefit retirement plans aren’t a path to improved recruitment or retention. When it comes to younger workers in particular, policymakers need to accept the new reality.
The state hopes that the training program will better prepare teachers with real classroom experience — and improve recruitment and retainment. Roughly one in three teachers hired in Texas in the 2024 academic year were uncertified.
Manufacturing companies are frequently turning to robotics in response to labor shortages, increased strike risks and the need for flexibility with the transition to electric vehicles.
Public schools in Chicopee, Mass., are working with a local ambulance company to train students. They can be qualified as emergency medical techs by the time they graduate.
The City Council unanimously approved a three-year, $815,000 contract with RollKall Technologies. The move comes in direct response to a 2018 audit that criticized the agency’s lack of oversight.
By 2030, an estimated 12 percent of people ages 75 and older will be working, more than doubling from 2000, due to longer lifespans and rising costs of living. In Florida, soaring insurance rates add to financial pressures.
The state’s Department of Labor and Industries has failed to collect millions of dollars from employers that the agency says it owed to more than 1,800 workers across the state.
After shedding nearly 1 million jobs, staffing levels are now higher than at the start of 2020. But severe shortages remain in several fields such as nursing, public safety and education.
It takes partnerships among school districts, higher education, employers and community leaders to unlock the potential for more students to earn a degree that leads to significantly higher lifetime earnings. States can do a lot to make that happen.
In February, the state reached an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, the highest in the country. Since 1976, California has created more jobs than any other state (9.7 million), accounting for 13 percent of all U.S. hires.
Total hired farm labor in the state dropped 23 percent from 2017 to 2022, more than twice the national rate of decline. Migrant farm labor fell even more.