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Workforce Development News

How Much Does Knowledge of Labor Market Outcomes Effect a Student’s Choice of Major? A Lot.

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently published a fascinating study examining the way what a community college student knows about the labor market effects their degree choice. A significant effect? Yes, indeed.

Here’s an overview of the study, plus a few takeaways.

Intro & Background

“An important goal of community colleges is to prepare students for the labor market. But are students aware of the labor market outcomes in different majors? And how much do students weigh labor market outcomes when choosing a major?”

These are the opening questions posed by the report, which goes on to reveal that by and large, community college students don’t know which majors are more likely to lead to successful careers. They also overestimate and underestimate certain things like salaries and employment probabilities (respectively) in ways we might not expect.

The study, which interviewed nearly 400 college students at two community colleges in California’s Bay Area at the end of 2014, is the first report to examine major choices for students in community colleges.

Results & Takeaways

Stat: Less than 40% of the students correctly ranked majors according to employment outcomes. Takeaway: They don’t intuitively know which degrees are in greater demand and hence more likely to lead to successful careers.

Stat: Students believed salaries are 13% higher than they really are. Takeaway: They’re too optimistic about money.

Stat: They underestimated the probability of employment by as much as 25%. Interestingly, they far more significantly underguessed the likelihood of getting a job in STEM and business than they underguessed liberal arts. (They estimated almost the same probability for all three categories.) Takeaway: Despite the raging popularity of STEM jobs, students somehow aren’t getting the message. They anticipate a bigger battle getting hired.

So far, students’ knowledge of labor market reality is alarmingly off. But when it comes to picking a major, this “knowledge” doesn’t necessarily weigh in. Students put the most weight on factors other than labor market outcomes. Choosing a degree, they focus on these issues:

  • Whether they think they’ll like the course.
  • Whether they think they’ll be good at it (earn good grades).
  • Whether they think the connecting career pays well (the only factor related to labor market outcomes).

Now, the two leading factors aren’t necessarily bad. As the creator of Find Your Calling, we’re invested in helping students discover careers and programs they actually excel at and enjoy. We just want to see these factors balanced with more solid labor market intel. Notably absent from students’ list of factors shaping their degree choice is whether they believe they’ll have a good chance at getting hired in the corresponding occupation; in other words, whether or not the career is growing and workers are in demand.


The report says: “The preeminence of factors other than labor market outcomes in major choice is partly explained by students’ lack of information about these labor market outcomes,” and recommends that colleges increase “the salience of information about labor market outcomes” to improve students’ prospects. But naturally (and importantly), this is “a good strategy only so far as students have access to accurate information” (emphasis mine).

We see this as a call to action. Indeed, our mission the past two decades has been to put this very information in the hands of students to help them make better decisions. One of the primary ways we’ve done this is through Career Coach, a web-based portal that offers self-assessment and career exploration services. Today, Career Coach serves over 300 community colleges across the US. In 2016 alone, over a million students used Career Coach to receive exactly the kind of insight encouraged by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

If this report shows that students’ (lack of) knowledge of the labor market negatively effects their choice of major, we would love to one day see a new study detailing a turn of the tide—when students’ solid understanding of careers (and themselves) is the prevailing force shaping their education strategy.

To learn more about Emsi data and Career Coach, contact us today.

The post How Much Does Knowledge of Labor Market Outcomes Effect a Student’s Choice of Major? A Lot. appeared first on Emsi.

Early-Bird Registration Is Open for Emsi Conference 2017

Register today to get the early-bird discount for the Emsi conference! Our seventh annual conference takes place in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, September 18-20. The theme this year is “Visualizing the New Economy and Building the Future Workforce.” The keynote address and panel discussions will consider the changing trends in talent initiatives for business—and how communities and education can respond to those needs.

Over the three-day event, you will learn how your peers are using innovative, data-informed approaches to improve recruiting, workforce planning, program development, student services, and economic development policy. You will hear some of Emsi’s best users offer practical applications for your daily operations and leave the conference with great ideas and winning strategies.


Conference speakers and panelists include esteemed Emsi clients such as Gordon Freedman, president of National Laboratory for Education Transformation; Megan Buttita, associate manager of research at Allstate; and Vince Giovannini, economic development analyst for Gilbert, Arizona. See more.

  • The Six-Figure Question for Every IT Firm: Fantastic Unicorns & Where to Find Them
  • Analyzing the Relationship Between Courses, Job Postings, and Alumni Data
  • At the Intersection of Data & Vision: Influencing the Talent Strategy of the 22nd-Century Corporation
  • Academic & Economic Alignment: A Web-Based Tool for Real-Time Assessment of Demand
  • Playing to Your Strengths: Leveraging Emsi Analytics for Business Attraction
  • How Dayton Workforce & Economic Development Leaders Partnered to Help Businesses & Jobseekers

See more.


An optional preconference will provide a full day of hands-on training with Emsi experts and top power users. The conference will also conclude with free learning labs that allow more time for you to gain experience overseen by Emsi staff.

A welcome reception, dinner cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene (always a big hit), opportunity to golf, and plenty of time for socializing with the Emsi team and other clients make the conference one of the highlights of our year. We hope to see you there!

See detailed schedule.

Early-bird registration ends June 9. Email Gwen Burrow with questions:

The post Early-Bird Registration Is Open for Emsi Conference 2017 appeared first on Emsi.

Workforce Resume and Demand Analysis

All Prototypes


  • Select an industry
  • Select a county
  • Click “Run” to view exports


This prototype shows the estimated domestic exports of an industry from the exporting region to all counties in the country. This data comes from Emsi’s multi-regional input-output model. Hover over a region to see how much is spent importing goods produced by your selected industry in your selected area (county or state).
For example, by inputting “Breweries” and “Multnomah County, OR,” and hovering over King County, WA, you would see how much money King County spent on Breweries in Multnomah County. Click to pin a purchasing county for comparisons.

Use Case

Who purchases from software publishers (5112) in Santa Clara County, CA (6085)?

The post Workforce Resume and Demand Analysis appeared first on Emsi.

Emsi Hires Yustina Saleh To Lead Workforce Analytics Research

MOSCOW, Idaho, May 16, 2017 – Emsi is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Yustina Saleh, who formerly led labor market and demographic research for the State of New Jersey, analytics at Burning Glass, and financial reporting at Rutgers University.

Saleh will serve as Emsi’s senior VP of data and analytics, joining the experienced data team and rapid prototype group where she will help develop new and improved products and assist in the integration of traditional labor market data, job posting analytics, online profiles, and program-level data.

“At Emsi we really want to push the use of and practice around data to new levels. So, as you can imagine, we are very excited to have Yustina on the team,” Emsi CEO Andrew Crapuchettes said. “We love her energy, her willingness to think differently about data, and her desire to use data to create real meaning for our clients.”

Saleh brings an array of highly complementary experience to Emsi.

  • At Rutgers University, she co-led the administrative system integration between the university and New Jersey Medical School, implementing a cloud-based solution for the way the two organizations shared financial, procurement, and human resources aspects. She also served senior management, composing critical key performance metrics that drove university-wide dashboards and change.
  • As the director of analytics at Burning Glass Technologies, Saleh led the design and development of their well-known text-mining algorithms, information-retrieval tools, and data feeds products, and enhanced the machine learning-based matching engine.
  • As the director of labor market and demographic research for the New Jersey Department of Labor, Saleh created the first nationally recognized and replicated model (called the Real Time Jobs in Demand tool) to redirect and strategize reemployment efforts in response to the Great Recession.

“I’m thrilled to continue my journey in labor market and workforce analytics, and honored to work alongside a distinguished team that is passionate about helping students, higher ed professionals, workforce and economic developers, and talent acquisition professionals,” Saleh said. “Nothing gives me greater fulfillment than working to help people get new value through tapping the gold mines of labor demand and supply we have here at Emsi.”

Added Emsi chief innovation officer Rob Sentz: “Everyone knows they should be using data in program development, student success, community development, and hiring. But very few people know how to derive actionable insight from all the data that’s available. With Yustina, Emsi is taking a big step towards turning our mountains of data into even better insight. In short, get ready for lots of cool stuff coming from Emsi land.”

Media Contact:

Rob Sentz


About Emsi

Emsi provides labor market data that helps colleges and universities measure their economic impact, align programs with regional demand, prepare students for the right careers, and determine employment outcomes. Emsi data compiles both real-time and traditional sources, including U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, and an aggregation of 6-8 million unique job postings each month. Since 2000, Emsi’s high-quality, user-friendly services have helped hundreds of institutions promote student success and strengthen workforce and economic development in the communities they serve.

The post Emsi Hires Yustina Saleh To Lead Workforce Analytics Research appeared first on Emsi.

The Select Few Metros Where Wages Are Really Growing

The labor market is tightening. We’re either at or very close to full employment. Employers in many sectors are finding it difficult to fill jobs with qualified workers.

These statements are all true. But this is also true: Wages aren’t growing as robustly as economists would expect given an unemployment rate of 4.4%. Not nationally, and not in most metro areas.

Emsi analyzed 2012-2016 private-sector industry earnings, adjusted to 2016 dollars, for every metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area. Here’s what we found:

  • Real wages per job grew by 3% or more on average annually the last five years in just 19 of 934 MSAs. Only four of these—San Jose; Sioux City, Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota; Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Grand Forks, North Dakota-Minnesota—have populations above 100,000.
  • A slightly broader group, 51 MSAs, grew real wages by 2% on average per year. Of these, San Jose and Seattle were the only major metros.
  • Only five of the 100 most populous metros experienced real wage gains of at least 2%: San Jose, Seattle, San Francisco, Raleigh, and Madison.
  • Real wages declined in 139 MSAs from 2012-2016. Bridgeport, Connecticut, was the largest metro to see real wage decline (-0.3% on average per year). Durham-Chapel, North Carolina, Peoria, Illinois, and Lafayette, Louisiana, were three mid-sized metros that also saw drops.
  • These trends aren’t isolated to the last five years. From 2001-2016, real wages increased by at least 3% annually in just 10 MSAs. Three of these are small, oil-dominated MSAs, led by Williston, North Dakota, where salaries have dipped or flatlined since 2012, coinciding with the oil and gas bust.

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Rapid growth in wages is a clear sign of a potential labor shortage. If businesses truly can’t find the workers they need to operate, they usually offer higher and better compensation. So the higher the wage growth, the more competitive the market is for workers (though other variables should be weighed).

Nationally from 2012-2016, real wages increased 0.8% per year in the private sector, according to our analysis. That’s better than 2001-2007, a period of economic expansion (except for the 2001 recession) during which real wages averaged 0.5% annual growth.

A handful of communities are doing far better than the nation in wage growth, and a larger group is doing far worse. What follows is a look at the top MSAs over the last five years and the industries influencing these trends in these regions. (Note: Strong wage growth in a metro is good news for workers. For employers, however, it could mean they can’t find talent and need to look at other markets to find workers or expand/move operations.)

Top MSAs for Wage Growth

The San Jose metro area is leaps and bounds above every major city in average real wage growth. Annually from 2012-2016, salaries in San Jose increased 3.8% in inflation-adjusted terms. That’s a jump of 19% for the five-year period, better than the 14% uptick in private-sector jobs over the same time.

In 2016, the average private-sector salary in San Jose was $118,541—the highest average salary of any MSA in the U.S. and $31,000 higher than second-best Bridgeport, Connecticut ($87,573). Real wages in Bridgeport, as mentioned above, have declined since 2012 (and since 2007).

Wages are up across every major industry sector in San Jose. Management of companies and enterprises—mostly corporate headquarters jobs in San Jose—is the fastest-growing sector for wages (up 136% adjusted to 2016 dollars). The average salary in the information sector is up 27% to nearly $310,000, and most of this growth has come in internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals (NAICS 51913).

San Jose has the highest density of tech workers in the nation, per CompTIA’s analysis of Emsi data. The innovation sector in Silicon Valley is clearly lifting compensation in the service sector. Case in point: wages grew 6% in retail trade and 9% in educational services (9%) in San Jose.

Wages are also up in other tech metros—but not in every case. For example, Seattle’s inflation-adjusted average salary rose 2.1% annually from 2012-2016, and San Francisco’s rose 1.9%. But Austin’s real wages increased right at the national average (0.8% per year) while Denver (0.6%) and Boulder (0.7%) were below the national average.

No. 2 in real wage growth behind San Jose is Sioux City, Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota, at 3.7%. This MSA of almost 170,000 people has seen a massive boom in construction jobs (up 99% since 2012) and wages (up 71%).

Manufacturing is the largest-employing sector in Sioux City, with more than 15,000 jobs (almost 20% of all private-sector employment). Manufacturers in Sioux City have increased average real wages 13% the last five years, three times faster than the increase in manufacturing jobs (4%).

Other fast-growing MSAs for average annual real wages are mostly small MSAs:

  • Central City, Kentucky (3.7%)
  • Americus, Georgia (3.5%)
  • Fort Madison-Keokuk, Iowa-Illinois-Missouri (3.1%)
  • Hood River, Oregon (3.1%)
  • Susanville, California (3.0%)
  • Heber, Utah (2.9%)
  • Austin, Minnesota (2.8%)
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana (2.8%)
  • Grand Forks, North Dakota-Minnesota (2.7%)
What This Means

These numbers indicate the job recovery hasn’t been coupled with a wage rally in most of the U.S., especially in the biggest cities. That said, inflation grew less than 1% in 2014 and 2015 and has hovered at or below 2% every year since the recession. This means in metros with at least solid wage growth, workers are getting ahead, if ever so slightly.

After the jobs report last week, Neil Irwin of the New York Times wrote that because of low inflation and weak productivity growth it’s not surprising to see marginal wage gains. Nonetheless, our analysis suggests that the labor market might not be as tight as the data shows—or at least not tight enough for businesses in aggregate to significantly drive up wages.

About This Analysis

We used Emsi’s Q2 2017 data release and looked at average annual salaries for wage-and-salary employees in all private-sector industries. These earnings numbers show wages and salaries for all workers in each industry, from C-suite executives to administrative staff, using QCEW-reported earnings and include commissions, overtime pay, hazard pay, bonuses, stock options, and severance pay. They do not include supplements to income like pensions and contributions to 401(k) plans.

Data for this post comes from Emsi Developer. Find out more about Emsi data here. Contact Josh Wright, the author this post, via email or Twitter.  

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Oakland Community College: Measuring & Meeting Community Need


Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Meyer, Chancellor, Michigan’s Oakland Community College (OCC) has created and tested a method to measure and meet needs in their community. Using this method—outlined in a recently published article in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice—OCC has a reliable framework and formula for program planning decisions. The structure relies heavily on Emsi’s labor market data and methodology to identify community need.

Key Takeaways:

  • In a recent article published in a peer-reviewed journal, titled “Community College Program Planning: A Method to Measure and Meet Community Need,” members of OCC’s institutional effectiveness team lay out their methodology for aligning programs with regional demand.
  • OCC employs Emsi’s methodology to identify gaps in regional supply and demand. The college also uses Analyst to instantly get the data needed for their program planning efforts.
  • Through their data-driven program planning efforts, OCC has gone from 58 zero-graduate programs in 2006 to just 8 in 2016.
A Passion for Outcomes-Oriented Programs Kelly Perez-Vergara, Associate Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness at OCC

For Kelly Perez-Vergara, Associate Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness at OCC, program planning is a passion that stems from personal experience.

“I majored in psychology and by the time I learned that I needed to complete grad school to find a quality job, it was too late to change my path. That experience, plus a six-figure student loan debt, plays a big role in my work now. Students shouldn’t have to guess whether their degree will lead to a strong career,” said Perez-Vergara.

Now, Perez-Vergara plays a key role at OCC in aligning programs with regional economic need. In a recent publication in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Perez-Vergara and two colleagues outlined the college’s methodology for measuring and meeting community need.

“The whole point of the article was to share the method and encourage others to use a similar data-informed process. We’ve seen some of our peer colleges get really excited about what we’re doing and we want to help others get excited about it too,” said Perez-Vergara.

Identifying Community Need

OCC’s approach centers around a community need profile, which focuses largely on analyzing employer demand in the local community in relation to the supply of graduates. To calculate the gaps in supply and demand, OCC turned to Emsi’s methodology used in our Program Demand Gap Analysis. The college adapted the methodology to focus on specific programs and uses the results to assign each program a score associated with a level of community need.

“The article wouldn’t have been possible without Emsi. I didn’t create that gap analysis methodology, you all did. You taught us how to interpret the data and equipped us to use those methods moving forward,” said Perez-Vergara.

Along with using Emsi’s methodology, Perez-Vergara and her team rely on Analyst to employ this strategy on an ongoing basis.

“Analyst gives us the data we need, in the format we need it. It saves us time and allows us to focus on so much more than just gathering the data,” said Perez-Vergara.

Effectiveness of Community Need Review Process

There’s no doubt that Perez-Vergara and her team put serious effort into this work—from creating the review process to getting buy-in from stakeholders across the college.

That work is paying off.

In 2016, 47% of programs met their completion benchmark—a noticeable increase from 42% the year prior.

As of August 2016, academic deans had worked with OCC faculty to create 148 actions for existing and proposed programs—65 of which had already been completed at the time the article was written.

And while OCC didn’t put this particular method into place until 2014, the college has used labor market information to thoroughly refine their program offerings over the last decade.

In 2006, OCC had 58 programs with zero graduates. Now? That number is down to eight.

“There were programs that we felt needed to go away, but citing Emsi in our community needs profile gives the evidence needed for the evaluation team to move forward with a decision. The data really speak for themselves and helps administration decide whether our institution should continue to offer that program.”


OCC is a shining example of how a mindset shift can substantially impact an entire institution. By allowing data to be the objective mediator, administration and faculty can work together efficiently to make program decisions that benefit everyone—including students.

For more information on OCC’s approach to program planning and meeting community need, you can access the recent journal article here.

To learn more about taking a data-driven approach to program planning at your institution, contact us today.

The post Oakland Community College: Measuring & Meeting Community Need appeared first on Emsi.

The Best Jobs for Young Workers Are in the Arts, Skilled Trades, and Sciences

Young jobseekers looking for good places to launch their careers should consider three areas in particular: arts, skilled trades, and sciences. We analyzed hundreds of job categories across the country and found these three to be especially hospitable to young people.

Besides boasting remarkably solid wages and employing a high concentration of workers age 19-24, each category contains plenty of jobs that don’t require a college education—allowing more flexibility for young workers that might not have a full college education or are still finishing their degree.

Although let’s be clear: No college education doesn’t mean no talent. Cream, as they say, rises. Especially in the arts, workers must be uniquely skilled if they want to stand out in the throng of other actors, dancers, choreographers, and athletes.

In the following sections, we provide two lists for each category: the occupations that require a high school diploma, and the occupations that require at least some form of postsecondary education. (Science jobs consistently demand an associate, if not bachelor’s, degree, so they appear in only one list.)

Careers in the Arts

Three eye-catching facts here. First, art/entertainment/media jobs pay better than either of the other categories. Second, even without a college education, workers can earn nearly as much as if they did. For occupations that require a degree, the average hourly wage is $29.55; for those that don’t, only slightly lower at $27.85. And third, a greater chunk of jobs in the arts (especially those that don’t require a degree) belong to workers sub-25, in contrast with science and skilled trade jobs. For example, 32% of choreographers, 31% of dancers, 23% of costume attendants, and 22% of coaches & scouts are age 19-24.

A few more observations. Film and video editors earn the most (average $38.89/hour), followed by actors ($38.81), athletes ($34.12), and media & communication equipment workers ($33.81). Also, check out the remarkably high number of fitness trainers, the largest occupation at over 260,000 jobs.

Where’s the best opportunity for getting hired? We could consider factors such as job count and recent growth, but for now let’s just look at the cities where arts jobs are the most concentrated.

Concentration is measured by location quotient (LQ). The national average concentration of any job in any given area is 1.0, so (for example) a concentration of 2.0 means an occupation is twice as concentrated as the national average, and a concentration of 1.5 means it is one and a half times as concentrated as the national average.

Whether or not they require a degree, arts jobs are most concentrated in hubs like Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and Denver. See the top five cities for degree/non-degree occupations below.

High concentration of arts jobs (degree required)

  • Washington, DC (2.43)
  • Grand Rapids, MI (1.94)
  • Los Angeles (1.83)
  • Bridgeport, CT (1.61)
  • Austin (1.57)

High concentration of arts jobs (no degree required)

  • Los Angeles (2.37)
  • Bridgeport, CT (2.08)
  • Baton Rouge (1.7)
  • Des Moines (1.58)
  • Denver (1.51)
Careers in Skilled Trades

Luckily for hard workers who enjoy hands-on tasks, none of the top jobs in skilled trades demand more than a certificate. Most simply require a high school diploma, which makes these jobs perfect for that year off before college, during summers, or while taking classes.

Skilled trade jobs pay surprisingly well: an average of $20.35/hour for jobs requiring a high school diploma, and a bit higher at $22.27/hour for those needing a certificate. Jobs as electrical/electronics installers & repairers for transportation equipment (yes, you need a certificate) pay the highest ($28.03/hour).

Automotive service technicians & mechanics have the most jobs (nearly 657,000) and added the most new jobs since 2011 (45,000), but insulation workers have grown the fastest (18%).

Skilled trade jobs are especially concentrated in Florida—thanks to intense demand for insulation/roofing/construction workers. And of course, we all know the Sunshine State’s love for motorboat and recreational vehicles, which translates to a need for those automotive technicians.

High concentration of skilled trades jobs (no degree required)

  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL (3.13)
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL (2.86)
  • Baton Rouge (2.5)
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL (2.24)
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL (1.88)

High concentration of skilled trades jobs (degree required)

  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL (1.51)
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL (1.5)
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL (1.47)
  • Jackson, MS (1.47)
  • Lancaster, PA (1.44)
Careers in the Sciences

As we mentioned in the beginning, all the top jobs for young people in life/physical/social sciences require at least an associate’s degree. Wages are solid at $22.81/hour, though (interestingly) still lower than the wages of jobs in the arts that don’t require a degree ($27.85). This further proves our earlier point: Young workers can’t go wrong trying out the arts!

Jobs in life/physical/social sciences are most concentrated in Albany, New York (2.28), San Francisco (2.19), and DC (2.09)—all over twice the national average.

High concentration of science jobs:

  • Albany (2.28)
  • San Francisco (2.19)
  • DC (2.09)
  • Sacramento (1.98)
  • Tucson (1.92)

To learn more about Emsi data, contact Rob SentzFollow Emsi on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The post The Best Jobs for Young Workers Are in the Arts, Skilled Trades, and Sciences appeared first on Emsi.

Emsi Reintroduces ZIP Code Demographic Data

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reintroduced ZIP code demographics in our Q2 2017 data release.

Our new ZIP code demographic data is based on the latest five-year American Community Survey (ACS) and includes historic and projected population estimates by age, gender, and race and ethnicity.

Last year we discovered issues with the previous version of our ZIP code demographic data. After a thorough review, we decided to remove the data from our research software until we could provide improved population estimates at the ZIP code level—which is what we’ve done with this new data.

Emsi strives to provide the most accurate, decision-ready labor market and economic analytics available. This includes estimates of data points that are either not available from government statistical agencies or are incomplete (e.g., suppressed employment and wage numbers). ZIP code population estimates— particularly current-year or projected population estimates—are not publicly available, and thus we researched and vetted a new approach that we are fully comfortable with.

What’s Changed?

In our previous methodology, we used 2000 Census data as a starting point and projected forward using the Census’s Population Estimates and county-level projections. We still use same approach to project demographic data, but we now rely on more up-to-date ACS as the backbone for our historic and current ZIP code demographics.

ACS releases population estimates at the census tract level. We map census tracts, more than 73,000 in all, to over 43,000 ZIP codes using a crosswalk from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Note: We also have historic and projected demographic data by census tract; this data is not yet in our research software but is available upon request.)

Ultimately, this new methodology provides more robust and reliable ZIP code demographic data. We appreciate your patience through the period that this data was unavailable and are confident this new and improved data will help many of our clients who need more granular insights on their region’s population.


  • Emsi also provides industry and occupation job counts, job multipliers, and other economic variables (industry GRP, exports/imports, sales) by ZIP code.
  • ZIP codes are assigned by the U.S. Postal Service and change frequently. Emsi accounts for these changes in our quarterly data updates.
  • ZIP code estimates allow you to parse data at a finer level than a single county or group of counties. However, city boundaries rarely match a group of ZIP codes.

For more information, email Josh Wright or call us at (208) 883-3500. Learn about our data and research software: Analyst and Developer.

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2017 College Grads Are Entering the Best Job Market in 10 years — But Are They Ready?

Glad news for 2017 college graduates: According to a new study by CareerBuilder, college grads are entering the best job market in 10 years.

The recent survey (in which CareerBuilder polled almost 2,400 hiring managers and HR professionals) shows that 74% of employers plan to hire college grads this year—up from 67% last year. Half of them (50%) plan to offer higher wages than they offered last year, whereas in 2016, a mere 37% of employers were planning on these higher salaries. And while last year, only 27% of grad-hiring employers offered starting salaries of $50K minimum, this year that  number has risen to 40% of employers.

  • Business – 30%
  • Engineering – 26%
  • Computer and Information Sciences – 23%
  • Engineering Technologies – 16%
  • Communications Technologies – 13%
  • Math and Statistics – 11%
  • Construction Trades – 11%
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences – 10%
  • Science Technologies – 9%
  • Architecture and Planning – 8%
  • Communication and Journalism – 7%
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies – 7%
  • Social Sciences – 6%
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities – 6%
  • Law and Legal Studies – 5%
  • Education – 5%

A few caveats, however. CareerBuilder’s survey confirmed yet again a long-held opinion among many employers: New college grads are not entirely ready for the workforce. In 2016, 24% of employers thought graduates lacked key skills, and although that number has shrunk to only 17% of employers in 2017, the fact remains: Numerous businesses see a mismatch between the skills they need and graduates’ actual abilities.

What skills in particular? Here’s the rundown. As other studies have also proved, technical skills tend to be well covered—it’s the soft skills that need significant work.

  • People skills: 50%
  • Problem-solving: 45%
  • Teamwork: 39%
  • Oral communication: 39%
  • Leadership: 38%
  • Written communication: 35%
  • Creative thinking: 34%
  • Project management: 26%
  • Research and analysis: 17%
  • Computer and technical: 17%
  • Math: 14%

Colleges and currently enrolled students alike can draw action items based on these survey results. Students should check their majors and skills against these lists to gauge the ease with which they might land a job post graduation or even earlier, since the majority (60%) of employers who intend to hire graduates are planning to extend job offers before students have completed their studies.

As for colleges, they—as many have already done—should continue to focus on demonstrating program outcomes. If their students pursue business or engineering, for example, they should know they are earning a top-flight degree, as determined by employer demand.

And both students and colleges should take this opportunity to remember that balancing their tech studies with a dose of the soft skills (such as problem-solving and oral communication) will help them become the well-rounded, multi-purpose employee that organizations so desperately need. Engineering is great. But don’t leave your people skills behind.

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Career Outcomes for Non-Technical Degrees

Nursing graduates usually become nurses. Mechanical engineering graduates, mechanical engineers. But what about programs with less obvious career outcomes?

It isn’t an easy question to answer. But it’s a relevant one.

The workforce is competitive. College debt is at an all-time high. Students—and colleges—should be preparing accordingly.

To shed more light on the issue, we created a prototype search tool that taps into a database of over 182 million job postings to reveal how often employers mention your degree in their jobs ads. It also shows the following:

1. Companies hiring for specific majors
2. Occupations related to those majors
3. Major skills mentioned in the job postings
4. Cities that show the highest demand, based on job posting activity

Try the Prototype: Our Experiment

We ran three majors with a bad reputation for non-employability: liberal arts proper, history, and English, through the prototype.

Here’s what we discovered: The career options available to graduates of general liberal arts degrees are far more diverse and attractive than we usually assume. Of course, liberal arts grads need to develop additional skills (either on the job or through separate courses, such as a writer who learns some coding to be a more effective blogger), but the truth remains: Employers in every sort of industry are interested in people with these majors.


“The career options available to graduates of general liberal arts degrees are far more diverse and attractive than we usually assume.”


Why? Employees hailing from a liberal arts background have honed valuable skills that might be left underdeveloped in other majors. Businesses value these graduates’ critical thinking skills, communication abilities, and creativity. The breadth of focus gives the students knowledge that can help them thrive in a wide variety of fields. In fact, to many employers, the name of your degree doesn’t really matter as much as you might think. English? Communications? History? Job postings call for one and all in the same breath.

Let’s consider the real-life career opportunities for the three degrees.

Liberal Arts

Numerous companies want these graduates. At the top of the list is Leidos (spelled incorrectly as “Leids” in the prototype): a large defense, intelligence, and homeland security contractor. Other companies include American Express and The Hartford Financial Services Group.

The jobs with highest demand for liberal arts majors are surprisingly diverse: intelligence analyst, client service specialist, signals intelligence (SIGINT) analyst, business development manager, and project manager—compelling, high-demand careers.

The top skills sought after are management, communications, research, and operations. Some of the top cities for these jobs are Columbia, Maryland, and McClean and Reston, Virginia (think about all the defense contracting).


What can you do with a degree in history? A lot more than teach! (Though there’s certainly an ample number of professorial positions.) Not surprisingly, the National Park Service and institutions such as the University of Maryland-University College are seeking history majors, but so are Aecom, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Deloitte.

Career options for history majors include intelligence analyst, management consultant, research analyst, and patient services rep. The top desired skills are management, research, teaching, communications, project management, and writing. Among the top cities for history majors are Washington, D.C., New York, Bethesda, Columbus, and Denver.


As with history, a degree in English doesn’t restrict you to dull-wage teaching jobs. The top positions for English majors include writer/editor, communication specialist, marketing coordinator, and sales manager. Companies seeking English majors are all over the map, ranging from health care to technology to logistics: United Health Care, Oracle, Amazon, and others.

Surprisingly, the most sought-after skill (after writing) is management. Other skills vary widely—everything from marketing to recruitment to operations. The top cities hiring for English majors are New York, Seattle, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco.


Data shows that as long as graduates are equipped with relevant skills, non-technical programs can lead to quality career outcomes.

This is a meaningful distinction. Students ought to pursue degrees that align with their passions—even if those passions don’t fall under STEM. And colleges ought to create programs that set those students up for career success by taking a close look at the skills employers are asking for.

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