This is the final post of our five-part series covering the top five things site selectors are requesting information about. Labor Force is the topic of this fifth installment. The topics covered in this series are based on an actual review of prospect location factors conducted by GOED using 76 RFIs submitted between 2010 and July 1, 2013. Be sure to check out the first four articles covering Available Properties, Local Incentives, Utilities, and Transportation!
Available labor force is a major factor company officials look at when choosing where to open or expand their business. For example, a manufacturing facility that wants to employ 300 workers would not move to a sparsely populated community or county unless it could be shown statistically that workers were available for that region. When responding to an RFI there are certain labor force data GOED gathers from South Dakota’s Labor Market Information Center (LMIC) to show the available labor force for specific communities.
When a local economic development corporation submits their community information for an RFI to GOED, we don’t ask for labor force data since we supply those numbers to the prospect ourselves. I would like to show you what those numbers are and how to get the data if you are responding to an RFI on your own (or would like to keep the most current information on your website).
To get started, go to the LMIC website (www.dlr.sd.gov/lmic/) and click on “Community Labor Profiles” on the right hand side of the screen. Now click on Place Profile, select your city, type in a title and click the button.
- First, we define the labor force area. As you can see, there are several other counties included beyond the county your town is located in.
These additional counties are included based on commuting patterns for that labor area. (If you wanted only your county, you would choose Custom Area Profile rather than Place Profile on the selection page).
- The first set of data we use is Labor Supply. You can find this number towards the top of your community labor profile.
Combining the number of workers who will change employers to take new jobs, the number of people previously not in the labor force who will take new jobs, and the unemployed provides an estimate of the total labor supply.
- Next, scroll down to population. We use area population rather than city population so it coincides with the defined labor force area.
The population information is used to show growth over the latest 10 year period. Since the census is only done every ten years, we use the 2000 numbers and the 2010 numbers. (Formula for showing growth ((2010#/2000#)/2000# * 100=% growth).
- Moving on to existing labor force………scroll down to where it says Resident Labor Force. Since we try to always use the most current data, we use the monthly data as opposed to the annual averages.
This is usually about 1-2 months behind but is still very current. This is where you can find out how many workers there are in your labor force area; broken down into employed, unemployed, and the unemployment rate. Often we use this information to create a graph for visual appeal.
- Looking at the final table, titled Job Seekers, we find available labor.
Available labor is a very helpful tool for someone looking for a large number of workers (say 100 workers in the manufacturing industry). At a glance the potential employer can see how many people in that labor area are actively seeking work and in what fields they are applying. These numbers are more current than the other data and are based on the number of people registered with the Department of Labor.
- Another tool we use is Occupational Wages. This set of data can be found by going back to the LMIC homepage and selecting Wages, Earnings, and Income on the right hand side of the screen.
Occupational Wages are used to show an approximate wage range for the different types of jobs an employer will be hiring for within the state as well as specific regions of the state. When using this tool for an RFI we base the occupations we choose on the company’s assigned NAICS code. If you are putting together an RFI on your own and want to include this information but don’t know which occupations to choose, you can call or shoot us an email and we can provide a list for you.
If you have any questions or need help finding something on the LMIC website, please don’t hesitate to contact me.