During her time managing an eight-person research staff at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Deidre Myers has seen data on occupations, skills, and trends take on increasing significance with the shift toward a knowledge-based economy.
So more and more recently, Myers (pictured right) and her team have produced workforce profiles that are an important resource to Commerce partners across Oklahoma. And when choosing which data to highlight and analyze in the profiles, the Department of Commerce often turns to EMSI to give a more comprehensive picture of the regional workforce.
“What we are doing would be more difficult to get at and our output would be far more limited without EMSI,” she said.
Two recent Commerce projects – one related to nursing, the other to helping first-year state legislators – show the value that Myers’ team finds using EMSI over publicly available data sources.
Nursing Profiles Shed Light on Key Segment of OK’s Workforce
What is the makeup and demand for nurses in each of Oklahoma’s diverse regions? That was a question the Department of Commerce helped answer for the Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA) earlier this year.
I prefer EMSI to federal datasets because it’s a more robust dataset in terms of employers who don’t file unemployment insurance. Self-employer data is important to us, particularly because we are an entrepreneurial state.” — Deidre Myers, Oklahoma Department of Commerce
Myers and her staff used EMSI’s labor market analysis tool, Analyst, to create seven regional nursing profiles and a statewide look at the profession for ONA. The profiles included:
- Key demographic trends – which segments of the population are growing, and how will that affect the health care industry;
- Wage comparisons – how do earnings for registered nurses stack up to different Oklahoma counties and the state as a whole;
- Occupation growth – how many new RNs will be needed by 2020, and which counties will see the most growth; and
- Industry mapping – which industries are hiring the most RNs.
“We hear the headline all the time – we need more nurses,” Myers observed. “But we wanted to see the data on regional trends.”
“Some partners may think that the nursing need is going to grow by a factor of two; other partners may think that there will be an incremental growth. There’s a big difference there, and it affects where scarce resources are put to make sure everybody’s needs are met.”
By using EMSI, Commerce was easily able to connect RNs with the industries that staff them. The occupation-to-industry crosswalk (or vice versa, depending on the project) is valuable, Myers said. “Having a tool that has the industry and occupation forecast integrated is very, very important.”
EMSI’s Sub-County Data Helps with Legislative Profiles
Aside from serving as the state’s chief economic development agency, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce also provides research to help inform public policy. With an influx of freshman state legislators in the most recent session, the research staff provided new lawmakers with profiles of their districts.
The reports included pertinent data on population and employment trends, educational attainment (comparing the districts with the state), and a list of top employers by district.
Because legislative districts do not conform to counties or ZIP codes, Myers’ team was able to use EMSI to approximate the boundaries for the district using sub-county data.
“We had to be thoughtful in how we used data,” she said. “EMSI definitely allowed us to be more flexible with ZIP code data while other datasets only let you get to county data.”
Another big advantage from Myers’ perspective comes with EMSI’s complete employment dataset, which includes data for partnerships and sole proprietorships – non-employer establishments not included by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “I prefer EMSI to federal datasets,” Myers noted, “because it’s a more robust dataset in terms of employers who don’t file unemployment insurance. Self-employer data is important to us, particularly because we are an entrepreneurial state.”
Resources and Links
For more on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s work, see its website.
Links to Oklahoma statewide and regional nursing profiles are as follows (as found on ONA’s site):