An innovative approach to measuring labor shortages


Predicting labor shortages is of great importance for planning education and training of the nation's present and future labor force. Malcolm Cohen has developed an innovative approach to measuring labor shortages. Originally sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, his work is presented here, updated for 1994.

If labor market information can be used to determine actual and potential labor shortages, individuals will be able to make more informed career choices and the government will be able to more economically process aliens' applications for labor certification. However the problem of identifying shortages has been a slippery one for economists, because labor shortages cannot be measured directly in the way wages can be.

Cohen develops a theoretical model of labor shortages and provides an efficient and accurate method of determining labor shortages, using labor market information. Actual indicators are developed for 193 occupational groups, covering all civilian occupations. Seven indicators, such as unemployment rate, are used to measure labor shortages at the national level. In addition, a chapter also deals with local market information.

This book will be of interest to any professional concerned to predict career opportunities in their field. It will also be valuable to economics students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as to sociologists, social workers, and educational planners.

Malcolm S. Cohen is Director, Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, University of Michigan.