Telling a story to describe and understand your community is the goal of labor market and workforce program data analysis.

CSW developed “Understanding Your Community: Labor Market and Workforce Development System Data Toolkit” for mayors’ offices and other workforce development stakeholders to better understand what data and related resources are available to answer questions about local and regional labor markets, existing and emerging talent pipelines, and the workforce development system in their cities and help inform and improve access to critical workforce development resources, programs, and services. 

Target Audience

This toolkit is for anyone interested in better understanding what data and related resources are available to help answer questions about local and regional labor markets, existing and emerging talent pipelines, and the workforce development system in their cities and regions. 

It is important to determine who the target audience is for the data, and what issues and questions are guiding your focus and attention.

Defining Your Scope

This toolkit was developed to help regions and stakeholders better understand their labor markets.

  1. Research and Planning
    While this toolkit includes research and planning questions applicable in a range of labor markets, each labor market is different and has specific priority issues and policy objectives. Therefore, many of the questions included will not necessarily be a good fit for your purpose. And, similarly, these questions might not be the only questions of interest to or reflective of the priorities of your given region.
  2. Geography
    The term “region” is used throughout this toolkit as a placeholder for the geography that is most relevant to you and your stakeholders. In some regions, the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), neighborhood, county, etc. may be more important to understand. Understanding what data is available for which level of geography may also affect how you define your region.
  3. Demographics
    The data elements provided are especially helpful for understanding equity when parsed out by certain demographics, e.g. age, race and ethnicity, gender, etc. This is not always possible depending on the data source. However, when possible, it will be important for users of this toolkit to determine what data is most relevant or needed based on the demographics of your region.
  4. Timeframe
    Defining a timeframe for your data collection is also critical. Some stakeholders might find that future projections are of great importance, while others would like to understand historical trends. However, you might decide you have a specific range of years you are interested in. Again, this might be affected by what data is available.