EMSI Data Used Heavily In Georgetown Workforce Report

When the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (the Center) unveiled a report last week with potentially major implications for U.S. educators, businesses, and workers, it generated an enormous wave of media attention.

News outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today highlighted key details from the report — essentially that demand for educated workers will outpace supply by 2018, by an estimated 3 million workers with a postsecondary degree and 4.7 million workers with a postsecondary certificate. And Time Magazine, in its latest issue, included the Center’s research in its top 10 most influential stories section.

For the last year, Nicole Smith, Anthony Carnevale, and Jeff Strohl combed through copious amounts of employment data to produce the report, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018. The authors’ research incorporated EMSI’s highly detailed regional data, particularly state-by-state occupation projections for each year of the analysis.

Smith, Senior Economist and Research Professor at the Center, said EMSI “played a very big role” in the development of the report. “We used EMSI to calibrate the occupation numbers at the micro level. That includes all jobs by state and occupation on an annual basis,” she said.

Specifics on CEW’s methodology can be found in this technical report (PDF), a brief excerpt of which is below:

Our method combines dynamic forecasts of education within occupations with occupational forecasts provided by Economic Modeling Specialist Incorporated (EMSI) that are calibrated to total employment forecasts from Macroeconomic Advisors (MA). That is, we use updated GDP and employment projections from MA. These data become feedstock for an Input-Output (I/O) model developed by EMSI. The EMSI model produces detailed industry and occupational employment data adjusted for the most current and detailed labor market information from the ongoing recession (see Figure 1).

Why did the Help Wanted report make such a big splash nationwide?

Smith said it’s partly because its findings run counter to those of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the authors in the technical document, “The BLS methodology … systematically under-predicts the demand for postsecondary education and training.” Later, they add, “We attempt to address this set of concerns … by enlisting the assistance of EMSI to provide forecasts of employment by occupation adjusted for current and projected industry job losses and calibrated to national forecasts of job decline and job growth to 2018.”

Added Smith, “We project and estimate a substantially higher percentage of jobs requiring postsecondary education and training than the BLS. For particular occupations, we allow education requirements to increase over time.”

For a state-by-state numbers and analysis from CEW, see this page.

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