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OECD Economic Survey of the United States: Key Research Findings

image of OECD Economic Survey of the United States: Key Research Findings

This volume collects four studies that were prepared as background research to the 2018 OECD Economic Survey of the United States. Using micro-data survey responses, regional and sectorial data, these studies seek to provide insights into how employment responds to labour market disruption and the drivers of household financial vulnerability in the United States. This volume represents a collaborative effort by a team of OECD and academic researchers.

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The decline of US labour force participation: some insights from regional divergence

The U.S. labour market has continued a long expansion following the great recession. While unemployment has fallen to very low levels and income is starting to pick up, other signs point to a less rosy picture. Labour force participation, including those of prime age, has declined. Facing possible future shocks from automation taking stock of factors that help workers find jobs and remain in employment can help improve labour market performance. There are a number of economy-wide features, including providing workers with adequate skills, easing barriers to taking jobs arising from child and elderly care responsibilities, and addressing the problems of felony records and drug abuse can pose for job search. But there is also a geographical dimension. Facilitating the return to employment can be complicated when there are barriers to migration in search of new jobs, such as those created by idiosyncratic occupational licensing requirements varying across states. Barriers can also emerge when mobility within shorter distances is low, due to lack of mass transit, which can limit job opportunities and also access to retraining. Due to the heterogeneity of challenges across States and localities, policy tailored to the local level is needed, but co-ordination is also required to ensure policy effectiveness.

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