The Economist has the definitive read on the future of jobs in America.
Across the developed world, a number of worrying trends continue. Wages remain stagnant, for one thing, with gains mainly accruing to capital owners rather than labor. Inequality remains too high for comfort, while economic mobility is becoming less and less a reality for the poor. The number of working-age people in full-time jobs continues to fall. And the one thread that weaves these data points together is technological change. It seems that the disruptive forces of innovation are outpacing our ability to absorb them. Workers in particular are feeling the pinch.
Many economists dismiss these concerns as a naïve embrace of Luddite fallacies. Every economic revolution introduces disruption as the old ways of working are done away with. Incomes eventually rise as we become more efficient. We demand more products and services as a result, which requires new jobs to be created to fill the demand.
Data, Big Data, data analytics—these terms are a dime-a-dozen in the tech space. Yet their application is often much further afield. Take medical care, for instance. In Raleigh, NC, one emergency medical service is finding how data analytics saves lives.
When a heart attack hits and someone dials 911, a complicated ballet is set into motion to keep death at bay. At each step from the ambulance to the hospital and beyond, medical providers are collecting valuable information to inform their decisions on how best to care for their patients. That data is most useful when the patient is nearest to the provider; beyond that point, it effectively gets shelved.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reads the Internet so that you don’t have to, sharing a short list of curated blog posts for your Friday reading.
Forty-four percent of recent college graduates are underemployed. Worse yet, as Jordan Weissmann finds, “During the last decade, the underemployed have come to look less like administrative assistants and more like dog walkers.”
On a similar theme, Bloomberg points out that over two-thirds of college instructors are poorly paid, part-time adjuncts or graduate students.
A new study from Penn’s Graduate School of Education finds that massive open online courses (MOOCs) have surprisingly few active users, with many disengaging after just a week or two of enrollment. Rare is the student who actually makes it to the course’s end. These findings are drawn from the movement of a million students enrolled at Coursera, one of the largest MOOCs in the business.
The detailed findings:
- Four percent of students, on average, complete their courses.
- Completion rates are higher for courses with lower workloads.
- Course enrollment figures vary widely, from over 100,000 students to just north of 10,000.
- Most students viewed at least one lecture.
- Most students are U.S.-based, educated, male, and wealthy.
The big question for MOOCs is, How do they keep students engaged? I think this is a case where incentives matter, particularly for those who aren’t necessarily self-directed learners. MOOCs don’t usually offer course credit or grant degrees. Employers don’t quite know how to value MOOC learning either. Finishing an online course is like giving yourself a pat on the back—nice, but not worth much.
Education is only one reason we go to college, after all. We also go in order to (a) achieve status and (b) signal our employability. These last two reasons are difficult standards for MOOCs to meet.
Written by Melissa Guay, a Researcher in the Emerging Issues division.
Leaders in the business world tuned in to watch Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, deliver his annual State of American Business address on the morning of January 8. The day before however, another important speech was made. President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association Gary Shapiro gave the State of the Consumer Electronics Industry address at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Shapiro’s speech opened this year’s show and highlighted the bright future ahead for the consumer technology industry. He believes the world is “at the forefront of a momentous wave of innovation,” and has high hopes for the industry in 2014. Consumer technology revenues in the United State alone are expected to be $208 billion this year, a 2.4% growth since last year.