Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Urban Planning 539:
Using data on employment, education, occupation, and other relevant demographic characteristics, answer the following questions about your two case study locations:
1. What is the current occupational profile and labor market status of your locations (e.g., employment by occupation, unemployment, labor force participation rates)? How does this compare to the larger geographic context (e.g., the region, state or nation)? What can you say about skill and education levels?
Be sure to find all the relevant data (or note why it is not available), such as:
2. Given the locations' current labor/occupational structures, what are their prospects for the future? That is, how well or poorly positioned are the two local economies to weather economic uncertainties and meet the demands of the changing labor market? Can you find evidence that suggests that the locations' occupational structures have led to the local economies doing either better or worse than the national economy as a whole? [question updated 9 Nov 2015]
Note: Q#1 involves a quantitative analysis of current (or recent past) conditions. Q#2 addresses the future (e.g., the next 1-10 years), so is predictive and involves intelligent speculation and interpretation. You have flexibility in how you answer Q#2 given the lack of one clear answer.
[updated Nov 14, 2015]
Here are some comments/advice for Assignment 3 on labor markets/occupations:
The assignment is, in some ways, similar to Assignment 2, though this time you are looking through the framework/lens of occupation (what people do at work) rather than of industrial sector (what firms produce). However, rather than using several specific methods (e.g., shift-share, LQ, etc.) with Assignment 3 you have more flexibility & discretion about how you analyze and present your results. So, do cover the basics (Q1), but I encourage you to also be creative and exploratory -- the labor side (since it involves people, skills, education, culture, neighborhoods, race and gender politics, migration, etc.) is arguably more complex and rich than the firm side (Assignment 2).
Q#1 involves a quantitative analysis of current (or recent past) conditions. Q#2 addresses the future (e.g., the next 1-10 years), so is predictive and involves intelligent speculation and interpretation. You have flexibility in how you answer Q#2 given the lack of one clear answer.
Also: you can generally find employment-by-occupation data for the recent past (for Q1). But finding employment-by-occupation projections for local areas may be hard; projections (looking to the future) tend to be at the national level. One strategy is to take national-level projections by occupation, and then see how your cities occupational profiles compare: does your city have a concentration in fast or slow-growing occupations? (like shift-share analysis, only here a measure of "occupational mix
Looking for Differences / Looking for Similarities: You will likely find differences (e.g., in wages, occupational structure, unemployment rate, etc.) between your cities (or metro areas) and the U.S. as a whole. This is a significant finding, but how to interpret? Are these patterns specific to your case studies (e.g., they are distinctive metro areas?), or are these patterns general to all US metro areas? (e.g., you're picking up, through your two cases, a more general metro vs. non-metro difference).
For examples of understanding local economies through analyzing occupations and labor markets, please see the links for the Nov 11 class session on New York, Los Angeles and Detroit. (You might also see the optional reading in ctools: Koo, J. 2005. How to analyze the regional economy with occupation data. Economic Development Quarterly 19, no 4: 356-72.)
Please be sure to...
International Cases and Challenges in Finding Data:
Each country seems to have different practices and traditions about what and who is counted -- and not counted. In the US, we look at employment both by industry (defined by the sector) and occupation (defined by the nature of the individual's work tasks). But other countries often don't go into detailed occupational data. Sometimes they just compare blue-collar (manual labor), white-collar (mental labor) -- and sometimes have a third category of civil servant (which is often white collar, but some countries have a clear tradition of civil servants so they separate this category).
For this assignment (especially if you are looking at non-US cities), those if you can't find all the elements for ....
... then briefly explain what data you can and CANNOT find, and then do the best with the data you can find. If there are useful statistics about work and the labor force (beyond the ones listed above), feel free to substitute some other measures of the labor force.
So: I will not penalize assignments in cases where the data is not available, especially if you explain the limits to the available data -- and do your best to find and document measures of the labor market.
Finally: PRESENTATION (Nov 16)
As with earlier assignments, each group will briefly present their findings in class. Please therefore upload a copy of your assignment to your drop-box in ctools before the start of class (pdf format). For the presentation images, you have two choices:
Advice: don't just march through a long, numbing display of statistics; instead, use the statistics to illustrate your narrative analysis of your city's economy through the lens of its workers, labor force, education, skills, etc. Organize your presentation around several main points.
Since Wednesday's class also covers labor issues (and may trigger some ideas for your Assignment 3), I am extending the deadline for the WRITTEN submittal to the end of the day Friday, Nov. 20. (So: presentations on Monday, and upload your visuals for the presentations to ctools drop box before Monday's class; final written version uploaded by end of Friday.)
IMPORTANT FINAL WORD: Use complete and correct citations (really small footnotes or references fine -- or perhaps use footnotes on one page and have a separate "sources" page). Refer to all sources used (including data, maps, images, tables, graphs, course readings and materials found on the Internet). Please familiarize yourself with standard practice of academic integrity in coursework. --> See this link for complete information.