Trump Administration Report Offers Ideas on Expanding U.S. Labor Force


Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek March 19, 2019

​A new report from the Council of Economic Advisers explores strategies to get more people in the labor force as millions of Baby Boomers are expected to retire. In 10 years, nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. Meanwhile, more U.S. workers are quitting their jobs now than at any time since 2000, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording the employee quit rate.

One way to draw more women into the labor force, the report suggested, is to make regulations around child care providers less onerous, which can increase the availability and cost of obtaining care. Another idea raised in the report is to re-examine and reform occupational licensing, which it said can act as a barrier into the workforce. Military spouses, for example, move much more frequently than the general population and potentially face relicensing requirements with each interstate move.

Other suggestions are working with employers to boost training and promoting second-chance hiring.

SHRM Online collected the following articles from its archives and other news outlets on how governments and employers can get more people into the workforce.

White House Seeks Ways to Get More People to Work

The White House highlighted the strength of the labor-force participation rate—the U.S. unemployment fell to 3.8 percent in February from 4 percent in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics—and pushed for policies to encourage more people to work as millions of Baby Boomers are expected to retire.

The government could achieve greater labor-force participation by advancing policies that help reduce the cost of child care, giving women greater incentive to work, according to the annual report from the Council of Economic Advisers said. 

Increased employer training and changes to the criminal justice system also are ways to boost the share of Americans who are working, it noted.

(Wall Street Journal)

Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers

Potential workers could be drawn back into the labor market through Administration policies that encourage additional people to engage in the labor market, according to the report. That includes reducing the costs of child care, working with the private sector to increase employer training and reskilling, and identifying ways to improve the reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals into the labor force.

It also highlights the potential benefits of reducing occupational licensing, and incentivizing investment in designated Opportunity Zones to improve economically distressed areas.

(Economic Report of the President)

Why Are Workers Quitting Their Jobs in Record Numbers?

Rising attrition shows employers that they need to get career plans and pay right. Employers should take steps to understand the needs, preferences and goals of their employees, focusing on new hires.

"Employers need to set more-realistic expectations and follow through to deliver on those expectations to improve retention of new hires," said Danny Nelms, president of Work Institute. "Employee feedback should be solicited, and onboarding and other training should be evaluated to better understand where employers are not meeting the expectations of newly hired employees."

(SHRM Online)

[SHRM toolkit: Getting Talent Back to Work]

Recruiting Is Tougher in 2019

Fewer applicants, and more jobs are forcing recruiters to get creative. Hiring candidates with nontraditional educational backgrounds, for example, has become increasingly common. Recruiters are considering factors such as self-education, online schooling, certification programs and experience when identifying potential employees.

(SHRM Online)

Workforce Advisory Board Wants to Shake Up Education, Recruitment, Training

Employers need to look for workers in new places, said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM is proposing that HR eliminate the obstacles that veterans, older workers and the formerly incarcerated face in the hiring process.

"HR is rethinking how we tap into these untapped pools," he said.

(SHRM Online

20 Unique Ideas for Finding Talent

Solving, or at least easing, the current labor crunch has risen to the top of nearly every CEO's priority list, demanding their unprecedented creativity in attracting qualified or trainable workers right now—and testing their strategic capabilities for keeping people far into the future.

Here are 20 creative ways CEOs and their companies are finding and hooking new employees in the most challenging environment in memory.

(SHRM Online)

New Benefits Help Parents and Caregivers

A small but growing group of employers offers subsidized backup child and adult care services. While subsidized caregiving is still rare, more employers offer caregiving tools and resources, according to SHRM's 2018 Employee Benefits survey.
(SHRM Online)

Female Factor: Women Drive the Labor-Force Comeback

The share of women participating in the workforce is rising much faster than men.

Rising wages, particularly at the low end of the pay scale, and a surge in jobs that have traditionally attracted women, such as in health care and education, are drawing people like Mary Jane Kelliher—a 53-year-old single mother in Boston—back into the job market.

The recent expansion of parental benefits at many American companies may have helped to reverse the decline in female workforce participation, but it's not the only reason. 

(Wall Street Journal)

Older Workers Are Driving Job Growth as Boomers Remain in Workforce Longer

Given the low unemployment rate, more employers are willing to hire and accommodate older Americans.

That's because while an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers a day are calling it quits at work, the group is so large that enough are staying in, or returning to, the workforce to provide a welcome labor supply in a tight market.

The portion of 65-and-older Americans in the labor force averaged 19.6 percent last year, the highest in decades, according to AARP and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Given the low unemployment rate, more employers are willing to hire and accommodate older Americans by letting them work from home, for example.

(USA Today)



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