How to reform worker-training and adjustment policies for an era of technological change
In this report, the author proposes that, rather than slow down technological disruption to protect a small number of workers at the expense of the vast majority who are benefiting, policymakers focus on doing significantly more to help those who are displaced transition successfully into new jobs and occupations. The report first discusses the recent and current views of technological change and employment. It then examines six issues related to technological innovation and implications for the labor market (overall number of jobs, employment relationships, income inequality, job quality, employment tenure, and worker dislocation and transition). Finally, it lays out an actionable policy agenda to ensure that workers are better positioned to navigate a potentially more turbulent, but ultimately beneficial labor market., Key principles to guide policymakers are proposed: embrace the next technological wave; support a full-employment economy; and focus on helping dislocated workers make speedy and successful transitions. To support these principles, policy recommendations are offered in four main areas that are important to reduce the costs of worker dislocation: (1) supporting full employment, nationally and regionally, not just with macro-economic stabilization policies, but also with robust regional economic development policies; (2) ensuring as many workers as possible have needed education and skills before they are laid off; (3) reducing the risk of income loss and other financial hardships when workers are laid off; and (4) providing better transition assistance to help laid off workers find new employment.