Employment and Unemployment

Productive labor markets are the backbone of strong communities. For more than two decades, RAND Education and Labor researchers have conducted studies related to whether labor markets are functioning efficiently, and how they can be enhanced to provide opportunities for all. We have deep experience on both sides of the labor market. On the supply side, our work on human capital and workforce development helps public and private sector decisionmakers understand how to keep workers productive, knowledgeable, and engaged. On the demand side, our work seeks to understand what drives firms’ choices about how many and what types of workers to employ, and entrepreneurs’ decisions about starting and growing new firms.

RAND Education and Labor does intensive research on the ways in which the dynamics of labor supply and demand interact, analyzing wages, employment, demographics, public assistance benefits, and other dynamics; making informed projections of demand for, and supply of, skills; identifying constraints on employment growth; and recommending pathways to progress. We also help decisionmakers understand how to utilize data to inform labor market policymaking.

  • A construction worker in a hard hat carrying pipes


    American Working Conditions Survey

    Aug 14, 2017

    How do Americans perceive their workplace? RAND's American Working Conditions Survey shows workers find their jobs physically demanding, hazardous, and hectic—but also social and supportive, and many retirees would prefer to return to work.

  • Workers in a textile factory in Igdir, Turkey, May 20, 2017

    Research Brief

    Win-Win Solutions for Syrian Refugees—and Their Hosts

    Dec 13, 2018

    Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan have generously received the majority of Syrian refugees. Many are working, but their sheer numbers have strained local labor markets, public services, and social harmony. Which policies might help create new economic opportunities for both the refugees and host-nation workers?

  • The Santa Monica Pier in California, illuminated at night with a reflection on shoreline


    The Effects of Travel and Tourism on California's Economy

    Jun 27, 2017

    California's travel and tourism industry employs a diverse workforce that makes a meaningful contribution to the state's economy. For some, the industry offers a stable career path with good wages and wage growth. For others, it's a launching point into other industries.

  • A woman and two men in hard hats on a construction site


    Bridge to Opportunities: Connecting Probationers to High-Wage Jobs

    May 25, 2018

    Probation agencies face significant challenges to helping their clients find jobs, and earn living wages. One program focused on the construction industry aimed to improve the earning potential of individuals on probation in Sacramento County, California.

Recent Publications