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Satya Rhodes-Conway, Laura Dresser, Mel Meder, and Mary Ebeling | May 23, 2016
Category: COWS, Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy, High Road, Transportation
During the 20th Century, Pittsburgh was known for the steel industry and the broad middle class prosperity that was shared by many residents. Today, Pittsburgh is in the process of rebuilding its economy around new sectors, such as tech start-ups. The city has found some success in this economic transition, and the population has stabilized as highly educated tech workers move into trendy neighborhoods, but too many working people are being left behind. Residents worry about displacement from their homes and high housing costs, median income has stagnated, and racial disparities persist. The good news is that there are meaningful steps the Mayor and City Council can take to lead the city into an era of fair, inclusive, democratic and economically sustainable growth. Once again, Pittsburgh can become known for a broad middle class prosperity that is shared by many. This report provides recommendations and best practices models for how to take those steps. The vision presented in this report is one in which Pittsburgh is known as the city that rebuilt its economy into one of broadly shared prosperity and strong labor standards; with a housing market that meets the needs of long-term residents while also welcoming newcomers; that offers equitable, accessible and safe transportation choices that connect all residents to employment and other critical destinations; and that prioritizes strong community-police relations with historically marginalized communities of color and new immigrants to ensure Pittsburgh is a most livable city for all residents.
Apr 22, 2016
Category: Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Wisconsin’s labor market grew dramatically in March as nearly 16,000 jobs were added. This is a strong showing and reflect a very significant improvement in the opportunities in the state. The vast majority of new jobs were created in the private sector: private industries contributed about 15,600 jobs, while the public sector added just 300. The employment rate, which has been stable at 4.6% for a year, dropped one tenth of percentage points last month. The current unemployment rate in Wisconsin is 4.5%.


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Joel Rogers | Apr 22, 2016
Category: High Road

What does “high road” mean?
Joel Rogers (1990)

First and foremost, “high road” (HR) denotes a family of strategies for human development under competitive market conditions that treat shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democracy as necessary complements, not tragic tradeoffs. READ MORE.

Apr 08, 2016
Category: Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Wisconsin added 7,200 jobs in February – one of the largest increases in number of jobs since October of 2015. Growth in February follows on the heels of good news in January as well (jobs up 7,200) and marks a strong start in 2016. Job growth was driven by expansion in the private sector, where 8,000 new jobs were created. (Roughly 800 government jobs were lost.) The unemployment rate held at 4.6% where it has been since mid-2015.

Apr 01, 2016
Category: Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy
Wisconsin’s labor market stalled at the start of 2016, losing 200 jobs according to federal data. Job losses were concentrated in the private sector with two – manufacturing (down 400 jobs) and construction (down 1000) – accounting for the entire private sector decline. Public sector growth of 1,200 jobs largely offset the private sector losses. The state’s job base is growing but only slowly. Compared to a year ago, Wisconsin has 27,000 more jobs today -- growth of less than 1%. The number of jobs available now is just slightly higher than it was in December 2007, just before the Great Recession. Unemployment held steady at a 4.6%. Low unemployment rates imply greater labor market opportunity. There is some national evidence that those who had dropped out of the labor force are being tempted to rejoin it. Sustained low levels of unemployment make this dynamic more likely.

Laura Dresser and Mel Meder | Mar 03, 2016
Category: Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Immigrants have been shaping Wisconsin’s economy since the state’s founding, and it is critical to ensure that today’s immigrants have access to the skills and education that will build shared prosperity and strengthen our economy into the future. This brief provides an overview of demographic trends among the immigrant population, and addresses pressing needs with regard to citizenship, language training, and access to higher education that prevent these working families from thriving economically. 

Jan 05, 2016
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

After a substantial increase in jobs over September and October – Wisconsin added 17,000 jobs over those two months – the state lost 4800 jobs in November. November losses thus take away nearly one one-third of the jobs created in the previous months.


Over the course of 2015, Wisconsin has added roughly 20,000 jobs. Compared to employment before the recession began, Wisconsin is now consistently above the 2007 benchmark. Given populaion growth in the state since 2007, however, the labor market still falls well short of the level of opportunity provided in 2007. Wisconsin still needs another 106,000 jobs for labor market opportunity to have expanded enough to provide opportunity to the growing population. 


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Dec 14, 2015
Category: Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show an increase of 16,000 jobs in Wisconsin this past month. While statistics are subject to monthly revisions, and the exact figure might change, this substantial increase is significant and likely to remain the best month for job growth of 2015. This increase in jobs is very good news for the Badger State which has been on a weak trajectory since the recovery began. Wisconsin now is firmly and consistently posting a job count well in excess of the number of jobs the state had on the eve of the Great Recession (December 2007).


Because the population has grown since the Great Recession, just getting back to the 2007 job base doesn’t provide the same sense of opportunity, however. For the labor market to provide the same level of opportunity for our current population, the state job market is still 95,000 jobs short. In fact, even if this strong rate of job growth were maintained –a difficult feat in itself–the state is still half a year from recovering to the level of opportunity in 2007.


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Dec 01, 2015
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, Jobs & Skills
In response to the federal Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA), most states are now in the latter stages of developing federally required plans and policies for operating their systems of workforce development under WIOA. This process creates an unprecedented opportunity to build into each state’s plan concrete ideas for using state and local workforce policy and practice to boost job quality. By developing new policies that help local boards connect workers to the best possible jobs, and supporting employers – individually and in partnerships – with efforts to improve jobs, WIOA implementation can create a “high road in workforce development.” It can make workforce systems an enduring force for better job quality.
This brief proposes three concrete disbursement policies that allow for more effective and focused use of WIOA resources, by ensuring that employer partners are the best possible fit for job seekers in the system.

For more on job quality in WIOA, view article published in National Association of Workforce Development Professionals newsletter, December 2015, page 5.
Chris McCahill, Norman Garrick, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Adam Polinski | Nov 13, 2015
Category: Transportation

Automobile use has been on the rise in cities for nearly a century and so has the supply of parking. Because driving often seems unavoidable, policymakers, developers and the public push endlessly for more parking to meet demand. That push, however, might only be making matters worse.


new study on the subject, co-written by Chris McCahill from our own State Smart Transportation Initiative, strongly suggests that abundant parking in cities causes people to drive more, shedding important light on the question of cause and effect. 


Admittedly, this isn’t a new idea. For the past several decades, a handful of researchers have studied the purveyance of free parking in the U.S., its hidden costs, and its effects on travel behavior. By examining individual streets, buildings and neighborhoods, study after study has shown that people respond to the price and availability of parking by adjusting their driving habits. That’s especially true in cities, where there are usually more options for getting around.


Yet as cities grow, more often than not, so do their parking supplies. City records that we uncovered in an earlier study show policymakers demanding more parking year after year, even as they worry about the impacts it could have on the built environment and car use. And so we’ve been left to wonder whether cities are simply adapting to the automobile in order to grow, or perpetuating urban automobile use. Read more in the full report above.