This clear, accessible volume provides a comprehensive overview of the ongoing debate over the determining factors of and key influences on employment growth and labor market training, education, and related policies in the United States. Drawing on the work of distinguished labor economists, the chapters tackle questions posed by job and skill demands in the "new high-tech economy" and explore sources of employment growth; productivity growth and its implications for future employment; government mandates, labor costs, and employment; and labor force demographics, income inequality, and returns to human capital. These topics are central concerns for government, which must judge every prospective policy proposal by its effects on employment growth. Washington keeps at least one eye firmly on the jobs picture, and public officials at every level are constantly aware of the issues surrounding American job security. The jobs issue reaches beyond this focus on the unemployment rate and on total employment, including the rate at which employment is seen as growing, the growth of real wages, the security of employment, returns to human capital, uncertainty about the education and training best suited for a world of rapidly changing economic conditions, and the distribution of the gains from growth across economic classes and population groups.
Preface -- Introduction: The Historical Context of Current Labor Market Debates -- Job and Skill Demands in the "New" Economy -- Introduction -- Job and Skill Demands in the New Economy -- Meeting the Skill Demands of the New Economy -- U.S. Education and Training Policy: A Re-evaluation of the Underlying Assumptions Behind the "New Consensus" -- Sources of Employment Growth: Sectors, Size, and Reasons -- Introduction -- Gazelles -- Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing the Facts -- U.S. Productivity Growth and Its Implications for Future Employment -- Introduction -- Productivity, Employment, and Wages -- U.S. Productivity Revisited: It Remains Better Than You Think -- Government Mandates, Labor Costs, and Employment -- Introduction -- How Government Reduces Employment -- Observations on Employment-Based Government Mandates, with Particular Reference to Health Insurance -- Labor Force Demographics/ Income Inequalities/ Returns to Human Capital -- Introduction -- Relative Wages and Skill Demand, 1940–1990 -- Skills, Demography, and the Economy: Is There a Mismatch?