Employment and Unemployment

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An individual's education, age, and health status may present barriers or opportunities to employability, just as a region's economy, tax base, and number of immigrants and emigrants may affect job availability. RAND research examines the impact of a range of policies and forces—personal, regional, and global—on employment and unemployment.

  • Father with kid working from home during quarantine, photo by len4ik/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How Telecommuting Is Changing During the Pandemic

    Dec 3, 2020

    The ability to telecommute at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic saved many workers' jobs. Some of them are now returning to their workplaces, but most who can telecommute continue to do so. Telecommuting is also spreading to such occupations as health care and sales. Are these changes likely to persist after the pandemic?

  • Woman working from home with young son, photo by ArtMarie/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Women Are Leaving the Labor Force in Record Numbers

    Nov 24, 2020

    The economic downturn during the pandemic is affecting women workers measurably harder than men. There were 2.2 million fewer women in the labor force in October 2020 than there were last October. Investing in childcare and expanding labor laws could keep women employed and buoy the entire economy.

Explore Employment and Unemployment

  • Businessman resting his head on a whiteboard

    Journal Article

    The Effect of Job Loss on Health

    Workers who are laid off from their job have lower health than those who are laid off in the context of a business closure. Research indicates that a layoff could increase annual mortality rates by 10.3 percent.

    Oct 4, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Transforming Employment Support for Those with Mental Health Problems

    In this essay, we look at what the evidence base around interventions is and see what types of options that policymakers could consider.

    Sep 21, 2017

  • People on a bus commuting to work

    Blog

    Exploring the Challenges Facing American Workers

    A panel of experts at RAND discussed changes in the U.S. economy and findings from a survey that asked more than 3,000 Americans about issues they face in the workplace. Frequent hostility, rising inequality, slow wage growth, and changes in the demand for certain skills are some of the issues affecting workers.

    Sep 15, 2017

  • A business man looking at gears and a drawing of work and innovation

    Multimedia

    The State of the American Worker

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of RAND's top analysts discuss emerging trends in the labor market and policy options to address inequality and jobs of the future.

    Sep 12, 2017

  • RAND future workspace office in DC

    Essay

    What Happens When RAND Rethinks Its Workspace

    In an economy that increasingly values ideas over tasks, companies are breaking down office walls, scrapping the idea of a nine-to-five, and doing away with cubicles. A RAND project shows how a modern workspace can be conducive to both collaboration and individual work.

    Sep 5, 2017

  • A young woman holding pliers as she makes jewelry

    Commentary

    Why More Young Workers Are Relying on Financial Help from Parents

    As today's young adults grapple with a difficult job market, high tuition costs, and rapidly rising rents, parents are increasingly providing financial support and other forms of assistance.

    Aug 31, 2017

  • A stressed businesswoman holds her head in her hands

    Commentary

    Many Americans Face Bullying, Harassment, and Abuse at Work, but Bosses Can Help

    Workers are experiencing high levels of hostile behaviors at work. Nearly one in five American workers have been subjected to some form of verbal abuse, unwanted sexual attention, threats, or humiliating behavior at work, with younger non-college educated workers bearing the most risk.

    Aug 30, 2017

  • A delivery driver in the driver's seat with a clipboard and box

    Commentary

    What Autonomous Vehicles Could Mean for American Workers

    Autonomous vehicles are projected to hit American roads within the next few years. They promise safer transportation, greater mobility for millions of Americans, and other benefits. But they will also have enormous impacts on the workforce.

    Aug 29, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    Hispanic Representation in the Department of Defense Civilian Workforce: Trend and Barrier Analysis

    Hispanics are less represented in the Department of Defense civilian workforce than in the federal civilian workforce and the civilian labor force. This report assesses what factors might account for Hispanic underrepresentation in the department.

    Aug 28, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Immediate Hardship of Unemployment: Evidence from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Program

    This paper uses a unique administrative database collected by the U.S. Department of Labor from 2002-09 to examine whether reservation wages fall as workers wait longer to apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

    Aug 22, 2017

  • Three woman talking in an office

    Commentary

    Why the IPS Success Story Needs to Be Unpicked

    The Individual Placement and Support model, which helps people with severe mental illness gain employment, has been a major statistical success. Why does it work and how it might be applied to other vulnerable populations?

    Aug 15, 2017

  • A construction worker in a hard hat carrying pipes

    Project

    American Working Conditions Survey

    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.

    Aug 14, 2017

  • News Release

    News Release

    American Workplace Is Physically and Emotionally Taxing; Most Workers Receive Support from Boss and Friends at Work

    The American workplace is taxing, with workers facing unstable work schedules, unpleasant and hazardous working conditions, and an often hostile social environment. But American workers have a certain degree of autonomy on the job, feel confident about their skill set, and receive social support while on the job.

    Aug 13, 2017

  • Three factory workers standing next to a message board in a factory

    Tool

    The American Working Conditions Survey Data: Codebook and Data Description

    This codebook describes the content and structure of the American Working Conditions Survey data (AWCS) which was fielded on the RAND American Life Panel (ALP) in 2015.

    Aug 13, 2017

  • A business woman working at a laptop in an office

    Research Brief

    How Do Americans Perceive the Workplace?

    For many Americans, the workplace is hectic, hazardous, and physically demanding. But many retirees would still consider rejoining the workforce if the right opportunity came along.

    Aug 13, 2017

  • People working at a stressful customer service call center

    Report

    U.S. Workplace Is Physically and Emotionally Taxing

    Americans face unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, physical exertion, unstable schedules, and have to work during their free time. Despite these challenges, they have some autonomy, most feel confident about their skill set, and many receive social support on the job.

    Aug 13, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India

    Our analysis suggests that the removal of small-scale reservations increased overall employment by encouraging the growth of younger, larger establishments—those that are most likely to pay higher wages, create more investment, be more productive, and generate growth in employment.

    Aug 8, 2017

  • First Sgt. Raquel Steckman, with the 374th Engineer Company (Sapper), headquartered in Concord, California, jokes with her Soldiers before the start of formation.

    Commentary

    Military Power Is All About People: A Return to Personnel Policy

    Ensuring the strength of U.S. armed forces is critical to U.S. national security and the key source of strength is its people. True investment in personnel is a long-term legacy and an investment worthy of attention and policy debate to ensure the United States continues to recruit and retain the most effective fighting force in the world.

    Jul 27, 2017

  • Woman chopping vegetables in a restaurant kitchen

    Commentary

    California's Tourism Industry: A Launching Pad for New Careers

    Travel and tourism jobs in California often serve as an entry point for those outside the paid labor force. Nearly 55 percent leave the industry within a few years, some of whom move to another industry but keep the same occupation. Others change occupations as they change industries.

    Jun 29, 2017

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

    Report

    The Effects of Travel and Tourism on California's Economy

    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.

    Jun 27, 2017

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