Assignment Three

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modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Urban Planning 539:
Methods of Economic Development Planning

College of Architecture and Urban Planning
University Of Michigan, Winter 2011
Prof. Scott Campbell (home page)


Assignment

Task Concepts/techniques assignment posted by date due (tentative) Unit(s) of analysis suggested page length percent of grade
3. Labor Analysis understand the local economy through its labor structure occupations, unemployment, labor force, human capital, skills Feb 17 Mar 15 occupation several data tables, sources, several paragraphs 15

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?

2. Given the locations' current labor/occupational structure, how well or poorly will the locations' populations weather the current economic crisis as compared to the larger geographic context? Can you find evidence that suggests the locations have done either better or worse than the national economy as a whole?

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.

 

More advice:

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). And 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.

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").

And overall:

Please be sure...
to provide a clear, logical presentation of the data
tables are properly labeled
sources provided
major trends/patterns in the data are noted

Be sure to find all the relevant data (or note why it is not available), such as:
employment by occupation
unemployment
labor force participation rates
income levels
measure(s) of skill and/or education levels.

some additional data sources:
http://www.bls.gov/data/
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.toc.htm
http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm
http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/steclab.html

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 ....
employment by occupation
unemployment
labor force participation rates
income levels
measure(s) of skill and/or education levels.

... 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

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:
a. simply use your pdf version
b. create a separate powerpoint file( since sometimes pdf files present well -- e.g., small fonts, scaling problems, etc)

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.

 


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.