With the location of Tesla/Panasonic in the Reno Area and Faraday in the Las Vegas Area, the interest in technical education or technically qualified local workforce has increased. In addition, one of Governor Sandoval’s targeted economic sectors is Advanced Manufacturing. Given the interest in technical workforce how one can analyzes the state’s workforce for addressing the needs of these technical sectors.
A study by Jaison Abel, Todd Gabe, and Kevin Stolarich will be a paper reviewed in this quarter’s Economic Edge. The paper is published in journal Growth and Change. This paper investigates job skills across urban and rural hierarchy. This paper provides a procedure that could be applied in Nevada to judge the state and area work skills.
Often we read about the skill level of a local labor force by education levels. This is called vertical analysis of labor force skills. This type of analysis would leave one with estimates of percentage of total labor force with a high school education, college education, graduate education, etc. Horizontal analysis would be an occupational analysis to derive the skill levels of the local labor force. This type of analysis employees the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network or what is often called the O*NET database. The O*NET data base is quite extensive and yields information as to workforce skills of different occupations which is meaningful given technical industries may require specialized skills that a vertical analysis does not yield.
The results of the analysis looked at different groupings of urban and rural counties. They found occupation clusters most prevalent in urban areas are scientist, engineers, and executives while rural areas are skewed to machinists, makers, and laborers. Given that the urban occupations require skills that employ resource and social skills as well as complex modeling skills these professions in urban areas are also ones that yield higher wages.
As for Nevada, the use of horizontal analysis of the labor force would provide leaders with information as to specific occupations needed for advanced manufacturing industries. Also the horizontal analysis would provide information as to educational programs needed to increase state labor skills to more effectively capture the employment opportunities of advanced manufacturing.
The papers that I used for this blog were:
- Jaison Abel, Todd Gabe, and Kevin Stolarick. Workforce Skills Across the Urban-Rural Hierarchy. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, Staff Report No. 522, February 2012
- Jaison, Abel, Todd Gabe, and Kevin Stolarich. “Skills Across the Urban-Rural Hierarchy”, Growth and Change, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2014.