Families and Workers Fund Launches Collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor to Measure and Support Good Jobs
April 20, 2022 – Announcement
The Families and Workers Fund is pleased to announce the launch of the Job Quality Measurement Initiative, a collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of Labor to better measure the quality of American jobs. For too long, the US has largely measured how many jobs our economy creates, but not whether those jobs sustained and uplifted the people in them. This initiative aims to address this gap by analyzing current data and measurement systems and releasing bold, public recommendations for improving job quality measurement. The initiative is also in partnership with the Omidyar Network, Lumina Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.
Today, the United States is not facing an overall shortage of jobs but rather a shortage of quality jobs and equitable career pathways into them: while there are 4.75M more job openings than there are unemployed people, 53 million workers still struggle to make ends meet. Women represent nearly two-thirds of the workforce in the 40 lowest-paying jobs, and Black workers are overrepresented in the industries that pay less than $30,000/year on average.
The country needs more jobs that provide family-sustaining pay, adequate benefits, and equal access to opportunity. But we can’t fix what we don’t measure. By more systematically measuring all aspects of job quality, the country will be better able to shape an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19 and target public and private investments to maximize economic mobility for all.
The Job Quality Measurement Initiative is convening a network of nearly 70 researchers and data experts and drawing on guidance from leaders in business, labor, workforce development, and policy to help strengthen and catalyze job quality measurement. Officially launched in April 2022, members are already meeting to share ideas and together examine questions to strengthen data collection, analysis, and utilization, for example: What if monthly jobs statistics told us not just how many workers are employed, but whether their jobs offer stable hours, opportunities for advancement, and family-sustaining pay? What if investors had more thorough job quality data to assess companies’ long-term value and vulnerabilities?
As Department of Labor leaders Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Raj Nayak, and Teresa Acuña recently wrote in a blog post about the Job Quality Measurement Initiative, “In the federal government, we track lots of data about jobs. But… we aren’t tracking many of the key attributes that workers say are most important in a job… This gap between what workers value and what the government tracks matters.”
“We are constantly measuring and monitoring the US economy and yet one of the most important indicators of its health – the quality of the jobs it produces for the American people – has gone largely unmeasured,” said Rachel Korberg, Executive Director of the Families and Workers Fund. “The recovery from COVID-19 has reminded us that job quality metrics must be a staple of our economic and workforce data systems, and we’re honored to partner with the Department of Labor and a brilliant group of leaders to help make this a reality.”
Co-Chairs of the Job Quality Measurement Initiative’s working groups include:
- Administrative Data:
- Bill Congdon, Senior Fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute
- Kathy Stack, Chief Executive Officer, KB Stack Consulting, former Deputy Associate Director for Education, Income Maintenance and Labor, White House Office of Management and Budget
- Commercial/Employer Data:
- Kavya Vaghul, Senior Director of Research, JUST Capital
- Matthew Walsh, Research Manager, Emsi Burning Glass
- Performance Data:
- Brooke Valle, Independent Consultant, former Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, San Diego Workforce Partnership
- Renise Walker, Assistant Director of Systems Innovation, Colorado Workforce Development Council
- Federal Statistical Data:
- Susan Houseman, Vice President and Director of Research, W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
- Susan Lambert, Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, University of Chicago
YK Vandekamp – Director of Philanthropy & Operations