Insights and Perspectives

Insights and Perspectives

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Read the latest from Geographic Solutions.

Arrows painted on the ground point in multiple directions while a person stands over them, deciding which way to go.

Career-seekers are spoiled for choice these days. With unlimited iterations of job titles available under the 1,016 O*NET occupation titles, it can be a daunting task to determine exactly how a person will spend the next 50 years of their life. For decades conventional wisdom held that graduating high school seniors should seek a bachelor’s degree at all costs to obtain an upwardly mobile, high-paying career. The modern world, however, is trying to establish more alternative career paths pursuable without the heavy debt often associated with traditional college or university education.

Vocational education and trade schools are all solid options to learning a skill with great earning potential and embarking on a fulfilling career.  As early as high school,  Career and Technical Education concentrators are exploring career themes of interest while learning a set of technical and employability skills for current and emerging occupations; these programs prepare students for postsecondary degrees or certificates, apprenticeships, or employment. Entrepreneurship is another option which allows an individual to capitalize on their creativity, think outside the box, establish, manage, and grow a business. Careers in the military can also be the right path for the right person. Many of these pathways, and others, may include experience through travel, self-paced and free online courses, working your way up in an organization, and more. 

Career exploration platform Virtual Career Center (VCC), designed specifically for students and those reevaluating their career paths, takes a staged approach to guiding students through self-discovery, pathway exploration, and employment preparation. VCC assesses and capitalizes on users’ skills, interests, and goals to thoughtfully point young learners to potential job options and the education and training needed for successful job placement. Ideally, the system will also create a stream of talent supplying the most in-demand occupations. 

Know Yourself

By constructing an educational roadmap to complement individualized learning and/or career plans, VCC creates a conduit for young learners to discover and connect to lifelong, interest-driven careers that do not sacrifice a living wage for an individual’s passion. Career assessment results help students better understand their strengths and align viable career paths centered on their interests, goals, values, and skills. 
Once assessment results are received, VCC introduces detailed information on best-match occupations. The system’s integrated labor market information allows users to easily identify the quality pathways that prepare learners for high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand jobs.

Know Your Options

As users drill down into the careers and occupations they want to pursue, VCC maps the occupation to postsecondary certificate and degree programs, essentially tracing the path to the starting line for the user. It also maps related occupational codes to military occupational codes to easily transition between military and civilian opportunities. Typically, some kind of postsecondary education or certification will be a critical step in working towards employment or, perhaps, towards an advanced degree.

At this stage, users are able to clearly see the routes open to them through multiple career pathways. As they refine the occupations they would like to pursue, it is posible to sort and filter their results by the amount of training or education necessary to break into a specific field. Users can explore postsecondary programs throughout their state, and locate the right program to upskill, earn credentials, and ready themselves for the occupations with which they most identify. These results will include trade schools, certification courses, or other, non-traditional options for career learning – to explore all viable options to obtain experience and knowledge.

Know the World of Work

With an ability to capture and reflect upon the essential employability skills developed while building a strong, positive work history, VCC provides a way for users to find specific work-based learning opportunities. Users can identify and pursue opportunities in entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, internship, volunteering, and more.

In addition to the experiential learning opportunities, VCC connects users to the working world by providing real-world labor market information. Users can adjust expectations based on current salary ranges and projected growth for intriguing careers and occupations. Users are given the necessary information to align their possible career with their income needs. 

Know Your Starting Point

Whatever career path is pursued by the user, the goal is to find the way to a fulfilling and sustaining career. VCC provides users with intelligent tools to conduct manual or automated job searches, compose cover letters to employers, build résumés, practice interview skills, research employer/company information, and review job market trends based on real-time labor market information.  

According to recent research, the average American will have 12 jobs across the course of their career. It would appear to be more important than ever to choose a career that not only satisfies individual passions, but also develops transferable skills. Any individuals curious about non-traditional career pathways should explore the resources and tools available in VCC and discover for themselves the best path to their future. 

Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in May

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for May 2022 on Friday, June 3rd. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market.

Employment in the U.S. rose by 390,000 jobs. The jobs report exceeded the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 205,000.  While the result is significantly higher than expectations, it remains well within the prediction interval during such a volatile period. The Wall Street Journal forecast of 328,000 was closer to the result. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

The unemployment rate remained the same at 3.6%, exactly at the Geographic Solutions forecast and above the WSJ forecast of 3.5%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 

Job creation was strongest in Leisure & Hospitality (84,000), Professional & Business Services (75,000), and Education & Health Services (74,000). Job growth was flat to positive in all industries.

 

While Manufacturing employment did not emerge past its pre-pandemic level in May as expected, the Information sector did, joining Construction; Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; and Financial Activities as one of the sectors that has recovered all jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Leisure & Hospitality employment continues to grow but is the only sector to remain more than 3% below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate increased to 62.3% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment ticked up to 7.1%.

Employment may be settling into a monthly pattern of 400,000 new jobs which can be expected to continue for a few more months. However, the labor market picture becomes murkier afterwards as consumers deplete savings accumulated from pandemic relief while wage increases are still below the rate of inflation.

Geographic Solutions Forecasts for 05/22 Labor Market Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey (CPS) report for May 2022 on Friday, June 3rd. Geographic Solutions, Inc. has produced forecasts of the two most closely watched macroeconomic data series from the report: the monthly change in employment and the monthly unemployment rate.

The labor market has been running hot for several months, but it is uncertain when increasing wage gains are going to have a dampening effect on employment. Geographic Solutions’ data is pointing to a slowdown in job growth for May.  As seen in the chart below, jobs are predicted to increase in May by 205,000. Geographic Solutions derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

Portrayed in the chart below is the 3.6% unemployment rate that Geographic Solutions forecasts for May, holding steady from its rate in April. The unemployment rate forecast uses internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 After the release of the report, Geographic Solutions will post a full analysis of the results.

Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in April

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for April 2022 on Friday, May 6th. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market.

Employment in the U.S. rose by 428,000 jobs. The jobs report fell short of the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 580,000. The Wall Street Journal forecast of 400,000 was closer to the result. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

The unemployment rate remained the same at 3.6%, above the Geographic Solutions and WSJ forecast of 3.5%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 

Job creation was strongest in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (104,000) and Leisure & Hospitality (78,000). Job growth was flat to positive in all industries.

 

Manufacturing is poised in May to join Construction; Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; and Financial Activities as one of the sectors that has recovered all jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Leisure & Hospitality employment continues to grow but is the only sector to remain more than 5% below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate declined to 62.2% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment ticked up to 7.0%.

March employment continued its record streak of growing by more than 400,000 jobs per month since May 2021.  At this pace jobs should return to their February 2020 total in three months. The labor market has been running hot for several months, but it is uncertain when increasing wage gains are going to have a dampening effect on employment. 

LMI-Forecast_April.jpg

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey (CPS) report for April 2022 on Friday, May 6th. Geographic Solutions, Inc. has produced forecasts of the two most closely watched macroeconomic data series from the report: the monthly change in employment and the monthly unemployment rate.

The labor market has been running hot for several months, but it is uncertain when increasing wage gains are going to have a dampening effect on employment. Geographic Solutions’ data is pointing to another strong month of job growth in April.  As seen in the chart below, jobs are predicted to increase in April by 580,000. Geographic Solutions derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

Portrayed in the chart below is the 3.5% unemployment rate that Geographic Solutions forecasts for April, a decline from the March rate of 3.6%. The unemployment rate forecast uses internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 After the release of the report, Geographic Solutions will post a full analysis of the results.

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A record of involvement with the criminal justice system in the United States can pose significant barriers to employment, housing, education, and other things necessary for a productive, stable life. It also carries a widespread social stigma. All of this contributes to a ‘second prison,’ essentially sentencing affected individuals and their families to a life of poverty, and creating favorable conditions for the individual to return to criminal activity. And in some cases, these instances of recidivism trickle into the next generation.

Justice-involved individuals who establish employment and self-sufficiency are less likely to recidivate. According to research published by the National Association of Counties, employment has a positive effect on individuals released from incarceration by providing a source of income, transferable skills and experience, a defined routine, and a stable environment. It also creates a stronger bond for individuals within their communities.

More Common Than You Think

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans has some sort of criminal record – obviously to varying degrees of severity – all of which carry a certain level of stigma. Approximately 600,000 inmates are released from state and federal prisons each year, with millions more from county jails. It is in the best interest of the United States to provide these people with a fair chance at obtaining the employment for which they are best qualified — both for public safety and for the fiscal health of the nation.

Collectively, state governments spend billions annually to house and provide for inmate populations, averaging an annual cost of $25,000 to $30,000 per individual. The average cost of incarceration for a federal inmate is $39,158. Combined with the loss of revenue due to these individuals not earning income on which they pay taxes, the financial strain becomes apparent, and the need for a fair chance to reenter the labor market is clear.

What’s Being Done

The Second Chance Act was signed into law in 2008 to provide federal grants in support of government and nonprofit programs geared towards reducing instances of recidivism and improving the reentry experience for justice-involved individuals. And, the more recent addition of Fair Chance laws enacted at the municipal, county, or state level further these efforts by levelling the playing field for applicants.

To date, 37 states, including California, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, and approx. 150 cities and counties across the United States have adopted Fair Chance or ‘Ban The Box’ policies that stipulate the removal of conviction and arrest history questions from job applications. The policies also delay background checks until later in the hiring process. Policies of this nature oblige employers to consider an applicant’s qualifications without the stigma of a conviction on record.

The National Employment Law Project highlighted a study that shows hiring discrimination is likely to occur during the application review, and the negative effect of carrying a criminal record was reduced by almost 15 percent when the employer experienced personal contact with the justice-involved applicant. In a 2021 Literature Review from the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation at the University of Southern California, the authors found that Fair Chance hiring laws have been successful in increasing the number of justice-involved new hires by reducing criminal stigmatization from the initial recruiting process.

Benefits For Everyone

The individual isn’t the only one to benefit from second chance hiring practices. Data company Evolv calculates that justice-involved individuals are 1 to 1.5 percent more productive than employees without the same kind of history; and a 2018 study from the IZA Journal of Labor Policy found second chance hires have a longer tenure and are less likely to quit their job. The Second Chance Business Coalition reports that 82 percent of managers and 67 percent of HR professionals value what second chance employees bring to their organization -- as high as, or higher than, that of workers without records.

Employers are discovering a previously ignored pool of qualified talent by offering opportunities to those with a record. In 2012, CEO of Red Restaurant Group Brad Friedlander said, “In my experience, people with criminal records are often model employees. They are frequently the most dedicated and conscientious. A lot of doors are shut to them, so when someone gives them an opportunity, they make the most of it.”

Marking April as Second Chance Month

In 2017, Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and an advocate for justice reform, founded Second Chance Month® in an effort to raise awareness, improve perceptions of people with a criminal record, foster second-chance opportunities, and drive momentum for policy change.

To further support second chance hiring practices and provide a secure way for justice-involved individuals to engage in job search activity, Geographic Solutions developed Virtual OneStop Reentry Employment Opportunities (Virtual OneStop REO® or VOS REO). This system offers a secure environment for pre-parole individuals to line up employment prior to release, as well as make use of resources key to establishing stability in their lives. VOS REO also highlights employers and jobs that are identified as ‘offender-friendly’ and second-chance jobs. The system also seamlessly transitions the individual’s account, resource registration, and job search history to the state's workforce system.

If you would like to learn more regarding the unique features offered by this one-of-a-kind solution, please visit our VOS REO webpage.

LMI-Forecast_March1.jpg

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey (CPS) report for March 2022 on Friday, April 1st. Geographic Solutions, Inc. has produced forecasts of the two most closely watched macroeconomic data series from the report: the monthly change in employment and the monthly unemployment rate.

Employment growth has averaged 614,000 jobs over the previous five months. While this is an encouraging pace of recovery in the labor market, March numbers are unlikely to be as upbeat. It will be the first complete month since the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has roiled energy and agricultural markets on top of already high inflation rates and a tight labor market in the United States. As seen in the chart below, jobs are predicted to increase in March by 382,000. Geographic Solutions derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

Portrayed in the chart below is the 3.8% unemployment rate that Geographic Solutions forecasts for March, holding the same rate from February. The unemployment rate forecast uses internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 After the release of the report, Geographic Solutions will post a full analysis of the results.

Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in March

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for March 2022 on Friday, April 1st. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market.

Employment in the U.S. rose by 431,000 jobs. The jobs report exceeded the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 382,000, but the forecast outperformed the Wall Street Journal estimate of 490,000 new jobs. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

The unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, below the Geographic Solutions forecast of 3.8% and the WSJ forecast of 3.7%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 

Job creation was strongest in Leisure & Hospitality (112,000) and Professional & Business services (102,000). Job growth was widespread with all major industries seeing job increases in March.

 

In March the Construction industry joined Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; and Financial Activities as one of the sectors that has recovered all jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Leisure & Hospitality employment continues to surge but is the only sector to remain more than 5% below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate increased to 62.4% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment fell to 6.9%. A growing labor force participation rate along with strong job growth indicate that the labor market is on a healthy path.