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SB202 Offers the Wrong Solutions to a Real ProblemMy reference to ideological imbalance refers to the creation of an artificial close-mindedness that stifles debate, isolates important perspectives and diminishes the richness of a college education.View archives
|jobs and employment
|state and local government
|budget and spending
|migration and population change
|workforce and human capital
|February 11, 2024
|Some More Truth About Manufacturing and TradeManufacturing employment peaked decades earlier than manufacturing production.
|January 28, 2024
|Do Record Levels of Capital Investment Benefit Citizens?Taxpayers may be appropriately skeptical about business relocation announcements.
|January 21, 2024
|Small School Corporations Face Some Tough ChoicesStudent opportunities and outcomes increase and operational costs decrease when corporations approach optimal enrollment levels.
|January 14, 2024
|Thinking Hard About the IREAD TestAbout one in five Hoosier 3rd graders fail to pass the statewide reading test.
|December 31, 2023
|Education After High School Is the Path to Middle-Class LifeJobs of the future require at least some college training.
|December 24, 2023
|Leaving Behind Dickensian PovertyThis Christmas holiday is not about worldly wealth, but it is a time of giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy.
|December 10, 2023
|Manufacturing Matters, but Not for Creating JobsManufacturing is important because it is the source of a significant share of regional productivity growth.
|November 19, 2023
|Are We in a Period of New Union Activism?The bigger effect of unions appears to be how they influence labor markets outside the firms in which they’ve organized.
|October 22, 2023
|Economic Perceptions Driven by Educational and Geographic Differences in ProsperityThe geography of economic opportunity is shrinking.
|October 8, 2023
|Falling Behind Mississippi Indiana now sends 52.9 percent of high school graduates to college, while Mississippi sends 81 percent.
|September 24, 2023
|Don’t Expect the UAW to GrowThere is no evidence of a resurgence in the UAW or other industrial unions today.
|September 3, 2023
|Work From Home Is Here to StayAt least 1 million Hoosiers work from home at least one day per week.
|August 20, 2023
|Face the Fact: Factory Jobs Aren’t Coming BackFor every factory job Indiana lost since 1973, other industries created seven more jobs.
|July 9, 2023
|Human Capital Is the Source of ProsperitySuccessful places are both good for business and good for families.
|June 18, 2023
|New Labor Market Data Is Eye Opening But Under UsedThere’s been more data created on labor and education in the past 25 years than in the preceding 25 centuries.
|June 11, 2023
|“Of Boys and Men” by Richard Reeves Is a Must ReadThe gender gap in education is larger than any racial or ethnic gap.
|June 4, 2023
|Increasing Importance of Summer JobsThese jobs offer an opportunity to learn as well as earn money.
|May 28, 2023
|Educational Attainment, the 21st Century Fund and the Future of SchoolingIndiana ranks 42nd in educational attainment.
|May 14, 2023
|Re-Thinking Economic Development A large share of the most mobile families—perhaps half—no longer need to live near where they work.
|April 30, 2023
|A Good Post-COVID Run for the Hoosier EconomyIndiana entered COVID with an already weakening economy.
|April 23, 2023
|Economic Opportunity Is Now in High Quality of Life PlacesAs Americans grew richer, we began to value more than just economic opportunity in our location choices.
|April 16, 2023
|What New AI Might Do to Labor MarketsThe human advantage lies in creative intelligence and social organization.
|April 2, 2023
|The Five Skills Employers Tell Me They NeedI’ve asked countless numbers of leaders in business, government, military, and organizations.
|March 19, 2023
|Remote Work Through the Eyes of Three 20-SomethingsRemote work is here to stay.
|March 12, 2023
|Remote Work and Labor MarketsThere are more remote workers today than there are immigrants in the U.S.
|March 5, 2023
|The Amish in IndianaIt is hard not to draw similarities between the Amish and newer immigrant groups.
|February 12, 2023
|What Is Happening to Labor Supply?Wishing to employ someone is not the same as labor demand.
|January 22, 2023
|Some Labor Market Facts You Won’t Read ElsewhereIndiana is simply not producing a 21st century workforce.
|January 8, 2023
|Remote Work Is Indiana’s Biggest Opportunity and RiskThere are now more Hoosiers in remote work than there are in manufacturing and logistics combined.
|January 1, 2023
|The CHIPS Act Was Wise LegislationSemiconductors are a key part of national defense, among other industries.
|December 11, 2022
|READI Grant Is Great for Most of IndianaBusinesses and households value public services more highly than public infrastructure spending.
|November 27, 2022
|Economic Optimism and Worry on ThanksgivingThe balance of power between freedom and tyranny has never been this favorable.
|November 20, 2022
|Black Friday Is ChangingConsumers and businesses alike will adjust to these tighter labor markets.
|November 6, 2022
|Adopt the Governor’s Public Health Commission Report Proposals Hoosier health problems are in areas that are the most susceptible to public health interventions.
|October 30, 2022
|Remarkable Productivity Growth in Hospitality and TourismA more productive business requires—and hires—fewer workers.
|October 9, 2022
|A Recession Is Time to Think About the Long TermManufacturing employment is now a smaller part of our economy than it was in previous downturns.
|September 11, 2022
|Benefits and Costs of EducationFor the vast majority of students, college is among the best financial investments they will ever make.
|September 4, 2022
|Lingering Effects of COVID on WorkThe U.S. is still about 1.0 percent below its pre-COVID participation rate.
|August 14, 2022
|SB1 Will Be Deeply Damaging to Indiana’s EconomyPublic policy is about trade-offs, it is just imperative to know what they are.
|August 7, 2022
|It Is Time to Face the Facts About Factory JobsThe education and skills of today’s displaced factory workers don’t match the many available jobs nationwide.
|July 24, 2022
|Why Are Rich Places Growing and Poor Places in Decline?To participate in a new economy, a community’s workforce must possess the ability to absorb new skills that may be vastly different from what they currently know.
|July 17, 2022
|My 750th ColumnColumns like mine are designed to help people think about issues they might otherwise not read about.
|June 12, 2022
|Time to Dump the Rich States, Poor States RankingsTax policy is the wrong incentive to spur economic growth.
|May 22, 2022
|The Undersupply of College Graduates Is Clobbering Indiana’s EconomyNationwide, about 8 in 10 of all net new jobs go to 4-year college graduates.
|May 1, 2022
|Lilly CEO Speaks to Indiana’s FutureIndiana must better educate a higher share of its young adults and make more communities into places they’d like to live.
|April 3, 2022
|The U.S. Job Creation MachineNo U.S. state, and very few cities, have more ‘global’ jobs than they did in the spring of 1992.
|March 27, 2022
|A Tough Two Decades for the Hoosier EconomyMost of Indiana’s job growth this century has been in low-wage work.
|March 20, 2022
|Quality of Life Spending Is a Conservative PolicyHome prices and wages signal the desirability of communities.
|January 23, 2022
|Indiana’s Long-Term Economic Prospects Are PoorState policymakers should be deeply alarmed about a return to a ‘normal’ economy.
|October 31, 2021
|Who Can Fix Our Supply Chain Issues?Congress could ease logistics problems in any number of ways; the private sector is already at work.
|October 24, 2021
|Deep Worries About Education and Employment Are Still With UsIndiana will start 2022 with three consecutive years of declining educational attainment of adults.
|October 3, 2021
|Automation and Today’s Labor Market ChallengesThe process of workers matching with employers is messy and slow.
|September 5, 2021
|The Evolving Nature of WorkWork has the potential to provide meaning and satisfaction, unconnected to the economic importance of the task at hand.
|August 15, 2021
|More Questions Than Answers About the Post-COVID WorkplaceWorkplaces vary widely in their degree of flexibility and productivity during the pandemic.
|June 27, 2021
|School Choice, Cost Savings and Educational SpendingIndiana adopted universal school choice a little more than a decade ago.
|June 20, 2021
|Looking Back at a Century of Father’s DaysThe lives of our fathers and their fathers are representative of the early and mid-20th century.
|June 13, 2021
|Some Early Census Results for IndianaPeople are the driving force of economic growth.
|June 6, 2021
|What Economists Got Right and Wrong about COVIDShifts in labor, occupational structure, and community amenities influence the degree of recovery.
|May 30, 2021
|Pay Shortage, Not Labor ShortageThe most relevant data is not on the quantity of jobs, but the wages that indicate whether or not there is a labor shortage.
|May 16, 2021
|College Grads and Today’s Job MarketFewer than half of adults with only a high school diploma are currently working, while more than two-thirds with a college degree are working.
|May 2, 2021
|Why Are We Hearing About a Labor Shortage?Government benefits are not to blame.
|April 25, 2021
|Polarization of Jobs and PlacesUnfortunately, short-term spending policies aren't likely have much long-term effect on the decline of middle-wage jobs.
|April 11, 2021
|Economic Development Should Be About Value, Not CostIn the late 1970s–80s, you were taught that low tax rates and capital investment were the key to growth and prosperity, but that theory has not panned out as anticipated.
|March 28, 2021
|What Will This Economic Recovery Yield for Indiana?The quest to better fund schools and improve our workforce cannot become a partisan issue.
|March 14, 2021
|Two Sides of the Minimum WageWhat role should the government play?
|March 7, 2021
|Our Biggest Economic Challenge Is School Funding Better educational attainment both causes and is caused by a better economy.
|February 28, 2021
|Teacher Pay Is the Symptom of Deeper ProblemsState spending per Hoosier student is down more than 7.0 percent since 2010.
|February 7, 2021
|Indiana’s Lagging Educational AttainmentFinancial security without a college degree is possible but not probable.
|January 31, 2021
|How This Recession Is UnfoldingIt appears now that we’ll end 2020 with a downturn that ranks in the top five to seven worst years since the 1920s.
|December 27, 2020
|Some Thoughts on the Coal EconomyMany of the cities and towns born in the Industrial Revolution have lost their original economic reason for being.
|November 22, 2020
|Some New and Better Data About Labor MarketsWorker benefits and child care options may affect labor participation.
|September 6, 2020
|COVID-19 and InequalityThe pandemic continues to exert a historic effect on our economy, and we must confront it with honesty, facts and determination.
|July 26, 2020
|Challenges for Indiana’s Colleges Threaten Long-term GrowthSome of the costs of COVID-19 on US colleges are already emerging.
|July 5, 2020
|More Presidential Confusion on TradeThe Trump Administration is accelerating the trade imbalance in the quickest way possible.
|June 28, 2020
|Visa Restriction Damages EconomyThis action will shrink the US economy by almost $100 billion this year alone.
|June 7, 2020
|What Long-Term Changes Might We Anticipate from These Crises?The first half of 2020 has given us a trade war, global pandemic, economic downturn, and protests.
|May 31, 2020
|The Pandemic’s Damage Is Long TermWe must honestly acknowledge the potential depth and duration of the downturn.
|May 10, 2020
|Mother’s Day and Unmeasured EconomicsA disproportionate share of unmeasured work falls to women, particularly those who happen to have kids.
|May 3, 2020
|What Are Essential Jobs?In normal times there is no such division as ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’ workers.
|February 9, 2020
|Back to Basics in Education, and Away from Vocational IndoctrinationThe only skill that we are certain will be needed by today’s kids in 20 years is the ability to learn and master new skills.
|February 2, 2020
|The College Wage Premium and Indiana’s Slow RecoveryIn the fastest growing urban places, half of all job advertisements are for college grads.
|January 12, 2020
|Fixing Regional InequalityMarket forces dictate much of the advantages and disadvantages of each place.
|January 5, 2020
|Growing Regional Inequality Is the Challenge of Our AgeAn educated workforce began to replace physical capital as a factor explaining economic growth.
|December 8, 2019
|The Recovery Has Not Been Kind to IndianaIndiana should have enjoyed a far more robust economic recovery.
|November 25, 2019
|Time for an Education Tax IncreaseNothing predicts the income of a region better than the average education of its citizens.
|October 27, 2019
|Indiana’s Human Capital Policies Are Causing Brain Drain and Weakening Our EconomyThe nation may not slip into recession, but Indiana now has.
|September 1, 2019
|Ideas, Not Labor or Capital, Made Our Modern EconomyThe focus of economic growth research in the last 40 years has been almost wholly about human capital and the power of ideas.
|August 4, 2019
|Indianapolis’ Wise Move on Tax Incentives Is Only a Start The problem facing America’s heartland cities is not really a shortage of good jobs, but a shortage of effectively skilled and educated workers.
|July 14, 2019
|Economic Research Points the Way for Different Education PolicyThis column is part of my effort to draw out two or three critical lessons from the last two or three decades and tie them to state policies.
|April 14, 2019
|We Need to Send 10,000 More Hoosier Kids to College Next YearIf only 20 percent of the gains of higher education are due to actual learning or acquired skills, it may still be the best investment our state and local governments can make.
|March 24, 2019
|A Frank Column on Education, Subsidies and PayWe should be very careful about promoting job training in careers that offer low wages.
|March 17, 2019
|Beware Panacea for Economic GrowthAs a stand-alone feature of economic growth, only human capital matters.
|March 10, 2019
|Lessons Learned from an Economics ConferenceI found two elements very intriguing, and worth sharing in this column.
|February 24, 2019
|Poor Policy Has Weakened Indiana’s EconomyA return “to trend” is not good news for Indiana.
|February 3, 2019
|Another Brookings Study Marks Indiana “at Risk”Hoosier workforce and education policies have increased our vulnerability to job losses.
|January 20, 2019
|Indiana’s Labor Markets Aren’t Ready for a RecessionThe long-term effect of a recession is mostly determined by the labor market response of businesses.
|December 9, 2018
|Factory Productivity Growth Isn’t About Machines, but PeopleEven if our industry is dominated by technology, we often fail to see how this affects production within our firms.
|December 2, 2018
|GM’s Layoffs Are a Warning to Indiana’s Workforce PoliciesFactory jobs are not coming back and manufacturing employment will be a much smaller share of US jobs in the future.
|November 18, 2018
|Amazon LessonsThe clearest lesson of Amazon is that people matter to business location decisions, probably more than everything else combined.
|September 16, 2018
|Some Advice for High School GraduatesMost young workers will have to look to the private sector for training.
|June 3, 2018
|Workforce Development Problems Are Deeper Than They SeemSince 1990, the United States has not created a single net new job for workers who have not been to college.
|May 6, 2018
|Indiana at Huge Risk in Trade DisruptionsBetween 1818 and 2018, technology essentially killed every existing job and created every new one.
|March 18, 2018
|Low Unemployment Is Time to Rethink Our Economic Development PoliciesThe most important single assumption supporting all our economic development efforts is that labor supply is perfectly elastic.
|November 12, 2017
|Time for More Strategic Thinking on EducationThe skills students need over the long run are those that enable them to master non-routine cognitive tasks.
|October 22, 2017
|Rustbelt Was Losing People Long Before They Lost Factory JobsIn the 1960s, population decline was already evident in the fated Rustbelt cities.
|July 23, 2017
|Automation, Trade and Urbanization Require More Resilient People and PlacesOur study implies that regional inequality might be poised for a big increase.
|March 26, 2017
|A Tale of Two Immigration ImpactsSixty-eight percent of recent economics doctorates in the US were earned by immigrants.
|March 12, 2017
|We Need Better Planning for Automation-Related Effects on WorkersOur workforce must learn to adapt to automation.
|September 11, 2016
|Cut the Tax Cut Debate, Spend the Money WiselyLet’s focus on workers, not businesses.
|August 21, 2016
|The Importers Benefit from TradeUnbalanced trade activity points to an unbalance in efficiency.
|August 7, 2016
|Labor Force Participation and ConspiraciesThe labor force does not include those who are not actively searching for or working in a job.
|May 1, 2016
|The Future of Ivy TechA nearby state sets an excellent example of an efficient community college model.