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Did employers in the United States back away from skills training during the early 2000s?

A number of recent studies suggest that employer-paid training is on the decline in the United States. The present study provides empirical evidence on the issue by analyzing data on employer-paid training from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, a nationally representative data set. The findings reveal a 28% decline in the incidence of training between 2001 and 2009. Very few industries were immune from the decline, and the pattern was evident across occupation, education, age, job-tenure, and demographic groups. A decomposition of the difference in training incidence reveals a diminishing large-firm training effect. In addition, the workforce appears to have had the educational credentials by 2009 that, had they occurred in 2001, would have led to substantially more training.