Business and policymakers must join forces to raise workforce participation
WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Increasing competition from abroad, an aging population, and the slowing growth of the American workforce could have profound consequences for US economic strength and global leadership, a new report from the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) warns.
The report, Growing the American Workforce, calls for business leaders and policymakers to work together to make it easier and more attractive for Americans to find work and remain working.
“Helping Americans who would like to work more to do so should be a critical focus of policymakers and business leaders right now,” said Paul Decker, President and CEO of Mathematica and Co-Chair of the CED Workforce Subcommittee. “It is an important route to ensuring more widely shared prosperity for families, building a more skilled and talented pool of workers for businesses, and maintaining US competitiveness in a global economy.”
The report outlines four specific policy initiatives to advance these goals:
Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for adults without qualifying children, incentivizing more people with initially low-income job prospects to enter the labor force and remain working.
Lessen barriers to participation through improved employee-employer matching and increased mobility, reducing geographical limitations, information gaps, and unnecessary occupational obstacles.
Help parents and caregivers remain connected to the workforce and meet family responsibilities, providing direct benefits such as paid leave and child care, and increasing the benefit for lower-income parents/caregivers through Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Support older workers who wish to remain working, funding public information campaigns, eliminating health insurance cost disparities, piloting a modification of the Social Security retirement earnings test, and supporting flexible work arrangements.
“If we are going to leverage the full strength of our workforce, the private sector must take the lead in providing the necessary conditions and environments in their own institutions,” said Howard Fluhr, Chairman Emeritus of The Segal Group and Co-Chair of the CED Workforce Subcommittee. “But public policy will also be essential to achieving these goals.”
Excerpts from ‘Growing The American Workforce
Four Ways Business Leaders and Policy Makers Can Improve Future Labor Force Participation and Attachment
- Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for adults without qualifying children
Incentivize more people with initially low-income job prospects to enter the labor force and remain working by increasing EITC benefits and expanding eligibility to reach more potential workers who do not have qualifying custodial responsibility for a child.
- Lessen barriers to participation through improved employee- employer matching and increased mobility
Reduce geographical limitations, information gaps, and unnecessary occupational barriers in order to connect potential workers, particularly those most at risk of dropping out of the labor force following a job loss, to a wider set of employment opportunities by:If we are going to leverage the full strength of our workforce, the private sector must take the lead in providing the necessary conditions and environments in their own institutions...
- Pushing states to deliver high-quality, effective reemployment services to help displaced workers quickly find jobs that can make use of and add to their existing skills;
- Funding high-quality demonstrations to improve employee-employer matching, including relocation assistance and wage-insurance pilots; and
- Reviewing and reforming occupational licensing requirements and the inappropriate use of noncompete clauses.
- Help parents remain connected to the workforce and meet family responsibilities
As part of a national strategy to ensure all children can engage in effective, high-quality early childhood education from birth to age five, weigh the participation benefits of family-friendly labor market policies, including funding evaluations of the labor force impacts of different high-quality preschool program designs.
- Support older workers who wish to remain working
Use more of the work potential of older Americans by:
- Funding public information campaigns to counter employer misperceptions;
- Eliminating health insurance cost disparities that may motivate discrimination through market-based health reform;
- Piloting repeal of the Social Security retirement earnings test; and
- Piloting initiatives to support flexible work arrangements, including by increasing access to nonwage benefits and worker protections typically only available to full-time workers.
The full report is available here.
About the Committee for Economic Development
Founded in 1942, the Committee for Economic Development (CED) is the public policy center of The Conference Board, the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. The Conference Board is a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. Learn more at: www.ced.org and www.conference-board.org.
SOURCE Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED)