Public policy perspectives needed for a jobless era

Assumptions around modern-day employment are increasingly anachronistic in the face of rapidly evolving technologies that are upending traditional job categories and occupations. In order to establish a more viable and adaptive model of employment in the near- and long-term future, which helps workers achieve personal fulfillment while also contributing productively to society, it is necessary for policymakers and leaders to reimagine how the working world will look and function. In a world characterized by rapid change that suggests new applications for our labor, how will we go about preparing for the future?

A thorough analysis of the current state and future of work cannot be fairly entertained without first establishing a basic understanding of what it is we currently know about jobs, how we measure and account for structural changes in employment, and the recognized limitations of how these definitions and measures are used to guide the decision-making of policy-makers.

Most often, policy analysts rely on data points such as the unemployment rate, labor market participation rate, employment-to-population ratio, and monthly job creation reports to inform their view of the current state of employment in the United States and to guide their policy-making choices. It is their fixation on these outcome metrics that discourages policy-makers from grappling with the fundamental shifts that are occurring as part of the evolution of jobs and work. Furthermore, by ignoring the changing circumstances of work, leaders overlook alternative strategies that may have greater public benefit, but might negatively affect these traditional measures of our overall economic health.

The paper includes in-depth analysis on the scarcity of good jobs; Reduction of the Psychological, Social, and Economic Benefits of Work; the Problem of Today; Trends for Tomorrow; Proactive Policy Making and Public Leadership.  Policy considerations for the future include:  New Metrics for Understanding Jobs and Work; Alternative Sources for Family Income; Tax Structures and Social Benefit Delivery; Rethinking the Purpose of Education and Job Training; and More Jobs May Not Be the Answer

Check out the full white paper in the Social Innovations Journal from Josh Copus in collaboration with the National Association of Workforce Boards.  The full paper is online.