The Workweek: A Round-Up of Labor Market Links for the Week Ending 12/16/16

This week’s labor market news: global gig work, unstructured job interviews, and tuition grants with strings attached.

Welcome back to The Workweek, the Indeed Hiring Lab’s round-up of the latest research, news, and perspectives that made us think deeply or differently about the labor market this week. It’s your guide to the most important new insights about work.

Here are our picks for this week:

College: It’s not just for students anymore

During this election cycle there was a strong focus on the areas of the US  “left behind” economically as manufacturing jobs have continued their long-term decline. However, new research from the Brookings Institution shows that several geographic areas have experienced strong overall growth despite suffering significant manufacturing job losses. The common thread between most of these areas? The presence of a local university that helped to retrain workers and attract new investment. (Wall Street Journal)

How much should we really fear the machines?

Many presumed that the invention of the ATM spelt the end of the bank teller. However, the number of bank tellers in the US has doubled since ATMs came onto the scene. If you’re concerned about the impact the “rise of the machines” will have on your job, you may enjoy this piece in which several prominent economists remind us why new technologies that automate parts, or all of our jobs, do not necessarily always put us out of work. (Wall Street Journal)

For inspiration in your job, look east

Despite some long-standing issues in the Japanese economy—low growth, deflation and aging demographics, to name a few—there is perhaps a great deal Japan could teach us about work on the individual level. John Lanchester from the New York Times Magazine provides a fascinating look at the level of pride the Japanese take in their jobs, which is termed Skokunin—“the mastery of one’s own profession”. (New York Times)  

The Fed takes action

In a widely expected move, Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates this week for only the second time in a decade and the first time since December of 2015. This can be considered a vote of confidence from the Fed in the strength of the US economy, as rates were raised in order to keep the labor market in check as we near full employment. (Bloomberg)