Labor Day—Time for Leisure!

Labor Day is approaching, signaling the end of summer is near. In the United States, Labor Day—a federal holiday which celebrates and honors the accomplishments of American workers past and present—is the first Monday in September. For most Americans, Labor Day means a day off from work and a three-day weekend. Just what do Americans do for fun when they aren’t working?

The average American (age 15 years and older) spends 6.43 hours in leisure and sports activities on weekends and holidays according to the 2015 results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey. How much time Americans spend on leisure and sports activities and what specifically they are doing with their leisure time varies significantly with employment status, gender, age, and educational attainment.

Those who are employed, for example, spend an average of 5.81 hours on weekends and holidays in leisure and sports activities compared with 7.46 hours for individuals who are not employed. Both groups spend about half of their leisure time watching television. Employed individuals spend more time (0.40 hours) and a larger share of their leisure time (7%) participating in sports, exercise and recreation while individuals who are not employed spend only 0.26 hours or 3% of their leisure time.

Avg Time Spent by Employment StatusAvg Time Spent by Employment Status

Men spend more time in leisure and sports activities on the weekend and holidays than women. On average, men spend 7.02 hours compared with 5.88 hours for women. Men spend 3.75 hours on average watching television on weekends and holidays, accounting for 53% of their leisure time while women spend 2.86 hours or 49% of their leisure time. Women, however, spend an average of 1.13 hours socializing and communicating on weekends and holidays (19% of their leisure time) while men spend 1.00 hours (14% of their leisure time).

Avg Time Spent by GenderAvg Time Spent by Gender

By age group, 35- to 44-year olds spend the least amount of time on leisure activities on weekends and holidays at 5.43 hours while those 65 to 74 years old (7.42 hours) and 75 years and older (8.21 hours) spend the most. Younger individuals spend less of their leisure time reading and watching television and more of their leisure time using the computer and playing games and participating in sports, exercise, and recreation when compared with older individuals.  

Avg Time Spent by AgeAvg Time Spent by Age

Note: Relaxing/thinking time for 20- to 24-year olds was estimated.

Individuals with more education spend less time on average in leisure and sports activities on weekends and holidays. Individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree spend an average of 6.03 hours in leisure and sports activities on weekends and holidays compared with 6.83 hours for those with only a high school diploma. College graduates spend less of their leisure time watching television and more of it reading and socializing compared with those with less than a college degree.   

Avg Time Spent by EducationAvg Time Spent by Education

Pokénomics Sees Regional Differences Among Players

If you’ve seen people walking around looking down at their phone, you’ve likely just witnessed someone playing Pokémon. Since its release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon Go! has exploded as a phone game application, becoming the most active mobile game ever in the United States.

In the original video game version of Pokémon games, players were placed in a fictional region with a mix of characters that helped Pokémon trainers become a Pokémon master. Advances in GPS and augmented reality software enable Pokémon Go! players to now catch Pokémon in their own neighborhoods!  

Pokémon Go! trainers (the players) advance in the game through a number of ways including catching Pokémon, battling at gyms, and hatching eggs that turn into Pokémon.

If Pokémon were real, trainers would be most successful in regions with the greatest concentration of people with the skills to help them become masters.

As a preferred provider of labor market data, Chmura Economics & Analytics set out to answer this question: “If Pokémon were real, which U.S. metropolitan areas would be best for Pokémon Trainers?”

We created the following five industries that have employees best equipped to support players of Pokémon:

  1. Trainers,
  2. Gyms,  
  3. Veterinarians (Healers or Pokémon Centers),
  4. Selected retail shops (or Poke Mart), and
  5. Teachers (Professors).


Each of these industries employ people with unique skills that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified as occupations. We used our JobsEQ® technology platform to identify the number of people employed in each industry, in each of the 381 metropolitan statistical areas in the nation.  (Click here if you are interested in the occupations that are grouped in each industry.)

Finally, we used the location quotient (LQ), a measure of the concentration of the occupations in each metro area relative to the nation, to put large and small metro areas on an even playing field.

If Pokémon were real, then trainers would be best served in Ithaca, New York! It had the highest LQ Score of all the metro areas that take into account the five Pokémon industries.

Dalton, Georgia ranked the lowest with a score of 56.5, primarily attributable to having the fewest concentration of gym leaders and Pokémon professors relative to the nation.

Click on the map below to see how your metro area fares.

For those readers who don’t know much about Pokémon Go!, players advance partly by catching as many Pokémon as possible. Once you get to level 5, you can join a gym where you train the Pokémon and they battle each other. And, importantly, you can join a team with your friends to battle other teams thereby moving closer to “master” status.

The teams are Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), and Valor (red).

Based on the team a particular trainer chooses, a metro area other than Ithaca may be preferred.

Team Instinct doesn’t just go with their gut; they also put a lot of trust in their Pokémon’s instincts. To be recognized as a formidable Pokémon trainer, they need to be prepared for the consequences of following their instincts.

The Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California metro area has the highest concentration of occupations best suited for Pokémon Centers and items to help in those crucial (and instinctive) moments of battle.

Team Instinct
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA169.3
Boulder, CO 157.5
Sherman-Denison, TX 138.9
Columbus, IN 138.2
Austin-Round Rock, TX136.1

Team Mystic is known for its calculation and focus on Pokémon evolution. For these lovers of wisdom, we focused on areas that have a significant concentration of occupations that would be perfect for Pokémon professors. And the professionals in California-Lexington Park, Maryland metro area can help Team Mystic learn about the world and the Pokémon within it, which would be crucial to crafting their mysterious strategies.

Team Mystic
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
California-Lexington Park, MD 296.7
Ann Arbor, MI 282.4
State College, PA 266.3
Ames, IA 257.0
College Station-Bryan, TX 246.2

Team Valor is focused on researching ways to enhance Pokémon’s natural power. They go by the original Pokémon theme song: “…to be the very best, like no one ever was.” And, since training Pokémon is their cause, the best way to do that is by training and pitting them against fellow Pokémon trainers and gym leaders. Which, from our research, is best done in the Hanford-Corcoran, California metro area. Since Team Valor is filled with those who “…will travel across the land…” If Pokémon were real, a lot of Team Valor members would probably move to Hanford-Corcoran.

Team Valor
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
Hanford-Corcoran, CA 325.0
Merced, CA 306.2
Visalia-Porterville, CA 278.6
Madera, CA 222.9
Ithaca, NY 211.9

Conclusions

Pokémon Go! is a very popular game. It’s an innovative application of GPS and augmented reality software.  But what it also reveals is that regions matter when it comes to leveraging skills and occupations to achieve master status. 

Applying this to the real world we live in, some regions stand out as the best investments for success by businesses and workers based on their concentration of real (or imagined) human capital.

Research support for this post was provided by Brent Keath.

Definitions

Location Quotient

The location quotient (LQ) is a measure of the relative size of an occupation in a region compared to the average size in the nation. An LQ of 1.0 indicates an occupation is the same size in the region as is average in the nation; an LQ of 2.0 means the occupation is twice as large in the region compared to average; and an LQ of 1/2 indicates the occupation is half as large regionally as average in the nation.

The location quotient for an occupation identifies the degree to which the occupation specializes in or is concentrated in a region. With an LQ of 1.25 or higher, a region is considered to possess a competitive advantage in that occupation. Firms in a specific occupation often aggregate because of some competitive advantage found in an area such as geographic location, natural resources, and human resources. (A region can have a competitive advantage in a growing or declining occupation.)

By formula, the location quotient is the ratio of an occupation’s share of total employment within the region to the same occupation’s share of employment in the nation:

Location Quotient FormulaLocation Quotient Formula


To get the final scores, we multiplied the location quotient by 100.

Occupations by Industry
Pokemon Centers
Veterinarians (29-1131)
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians (29-2056)
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers (31-9096)
Pokemon Gyms
Coaches and Scouts (27-2022)
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service (33-9092)
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors (39-9031)
Exercise Physiologists (29-1128)
Athletic Trainers (29-9091)
Pokemon Professors
Animal Scientists (19-1011)
Food Scientists and Technologists (19-1012)
Soil and Plant Scientists (19-1013)
Biochemists and Biophysicists (19-1021)
Microbiologists (19-1022)
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists (19-1023)
Biological Scientists, All Other (19-1029)
Conservation Scientists (19-1031)
Foresters (19-1032)
Astronomers (19-2011)
Physicists (19-2012)
Atmospheric and Space Scientists (19-2021)
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health (19-2041)
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers (19-2042)
Hydrologists (19-2043)
Anthropologists and Archeologists (19-3091)
Geographers (19-3092)
Historians (19-3093)
Agricultural and Food Science Technicians (19-4011)
Biological Technicians (19-4021)
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health (19-4091)
Forest and Conservation Technicians (19-4093)
Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other (19-4099)
Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1041)
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1042)
Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1043)
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1051)
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1053)
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1061)
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1064)
Self-Enrichment Education Teachers (25-3021)
Curators (25-4012)
Museum Technicians and Conservators (25-4013)
Pokemon Shops/Marts
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products (41-4011)
Sales Engineers (41-9031)
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks (43-5061)
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products (13-1021)
Bicycle Repairers (49-3091)
Pokemon Trainers
Hunter and Trappers (45-3021)
Animal Trainers (39-2011)
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers (39-2021)
Tour Guides and Escorts (39-7011)
Animal Breeders (45-2021)
Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals (45-2093)
Fishers and Related Fishing Workers (45-3011)
Forest and Conservation Workers (45-4011)
Occupations by Teams
Team Instinct
Veterinarians (29-1131)
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians (29-2056)
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers (31-9096)
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products (41-4011)
Sales Engineers (41-9031)
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks (43-5061)
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products (13-1021)
Bicycle Repairers (49-3091)
Team Mystic
Animal Scientists (19-1011)
Food Scientists and Technologists (19-1012)
Soil and Plant Scientists (19-1013)
Biochemists and Biophysicists (19-1021)
Microbiologists (19-1022)
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists (19-1023)
Biological Scientists, All Other (19-1029)
Conservation Scientists (19-1031)
Foresters (19-1032)
Astronomers (19-2011)
Physicists (19-2012)
Atmospheric and Space Scientists (19-2021)
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health (19-2041)
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers (19-2042)
Hydrologists (19-2043)
Anthropologists and Archeologists (19-3091)
Geographers (19-3092)
Historians (19-3093)
Agricultural and Food Science Technicians (19-4011)
Biological Technicians (19-4021)
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health (19-4091)
Forest and Conservation Technicians (19-4093)
Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other (19-4099)
Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1041)
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1042)
Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1043)
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1051)
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1053)
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1061)
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1064)
Self-Enrichment Education Teachers (25-3021)
Curators (25-4012)
Museum Technicians and Conservators (25-4013)
Team Valor
Coaches and Scouts (27-2022)
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service (33-9092)
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors (39-9031)
Exercise Physiologists (29-1128)
Athletic Trainers (29-9091)
Hunter and Trappers (45-3021)
Animal Trainers (39-2011)
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers (39-2021)
Tour Guides and Escorts (39-7011)
Animal Breeders (45-2021)
Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals (45-2093)
Fishers and Related Fishing Workers (45-3011)
Forest and Conservation Workers (45-4011)

What to do and where to live? Intersecting education, earnings, purchasing power, and return on investment: Part I

Few would debate that there will be an abundance of attractive employment opportunities in health-related industries for the foreseeable future. Chmura Economics & Analytics forecasts an average annual employment growth rate of 1.9% through 2026 for the healthcare and social assistance sector, which is more than three times the average annual growth rate of all industries (0.6%) in the nation. The ambulatory healthcare services industry alone is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 3.1%![1]

However, from the perspective of an aspiring healthcare worker, there is plenty to consider (and debate) when evaluating which healthcare careers to embark upon. Aside from the qualitative aspects that draw workers into healthcare fields, there are of course, quantitative aspects to consider. Chief among these might be questions like “how much will I earn?” Or “what will the return on my investment in the required training be?”

Let us imagine that Marty is our career explorer in this case and that Marty wants to examine three different careers in healthcare, each typically requiring a different level of education: diagnostic medical sonographer (associate’s degree); registered nurse (bachelor’s degree); physical therapist (postgraduate degree).[2]

Through basic research,[3] Marty has decided to pursue training in one of three regions: Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA; Pittsburgh, PA MSA; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA. Moreover, Marty is committed to remaining in the region to work after completing training.

To help guide this decision, Marty first wants to discover what career earnings in each of these occupations might be and Marty assumes these earnings will be amassed over a span of 40 years. Naturally, Marty reached out to Chmura for this data request and received the worksheet below in response:

Earnings and Growth for Select Healthcare Occupations by Region
Occupation MeanCost of Living (Base US)Adjusted MeanCOLA Real Career EarningsAvg. Annual Growth (10 years)
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA
Physical Therapists$73,80091.4%$80,744$3,229,7593.1%
Registered Nurses$60,90091.4%$66,630$2,665,2081.5%
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers$64,70091.4%$70,788$2,831,5102.5%
Total - All Occupations$44,80091.4%$49,015$1,960,6130.8%
Pittsburgh, PA MSA
Registered Nurses$63,10095.5%$66,073$2,642,9321.0%
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers$56,30095.5%$58,953$2,358,1151.8%
Total - All Occupations$47,10095.5%$49,319$1,972,7750.1%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA
Registered Nurses$81,600127.8%$63,850$2,553,9911.9%
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers$86,300127.8%$67,527$2,701,0952.8%
Total - All Occupations$56,900127.8%$44,523$1,780,9081.2%
Source: JobsEQ®
Wage data as of 2015; forecast data as of 2016Q1

Marty was immediately reassured that a career in healthcare was a prudent move based upon the mean (average) wages and annual growth forecast for each occupation compared to the average values for all occupations. Next, Marty’s eyes were drawn down the page to the Seattle region because the mean wages were so much higher than Omaha or Pittsburgh (plus, Marty could finally justify rooting for the Seahawks after spending two decades as a closet fan – bonus points to Seattle!). But wait… “what’s this cost of living stuff?” Marty wondered.

So Marty wrote back to Chmura seeking an explanation. And sure enough, Chmura had one: “The Cost of Living Index estimates the relative price levels for consumer goods and services. When applied to wages and salaries, the result is a measure of relative purchasing power.” Based on Chmura’s cost-of-living index, it turned out that adjusted mean wages for physical therapists were highest in the Pittsburgh area and actually lowest in the Seattle region. Head scratch.

And adjusted mean wages for registered nurses and diagnostic medical sonographers were highest in the Omaha region. This was quite the revelation for Marty… what at first seemed like a simple and clear-cut decision was suddenly begging to become more precise and intentional.

Based on cost-of-living-adjusted (COLA) real career earnings, Marty stands to potentially earn the most by moving to the Pittsburgh region and pursuing a career as a physical therapist. But of course, it’s not this simple. What’s it going to cost Marty to earn a postgraduate degree in the Pittsburgh region? And how will this cost measure up against the potential earnings to be reaped over a forty-year career? How does this cost/benefit ratio compare to the ratios of the other careers that Marty is considering? What other factors must be considered?

These questions and more will be addressed over the next few weeks as Marty discovers reliable new approaches to further informing this decision. Stay tuned.

[1] JobsEQ®

[2] JobsEQ®

[3] Namely that Marty has extended family in each of these regions who have basement apartments available and each of these regions has reputable postsecondary institutions that confer the relevant academic credentials.

Aligning interests with demand and earnings potential can bolster career planning

It is that time of year when high school graduates and rising seniors are making decisions on which courses to take that will impact their work-related opportunities when they graduate from college.

While interest is an important component of career choice, it should be balanced with job opportunities.

High school students often say that they would like to be a photographer or an actor, but job opportunities are scarce in those fields.

Based on estimates made by Chmura Economics & Analytics, 307 photographers worked in the Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene combined statistical area (this area includes Kootenai, Pend Oreille, Spokane, and Stevens counties) in the first quarter of 2016 and 153 of them were sole proprietors.

On the other hand, an average of 233 registered nurses will be needed each year over the next 10 years in the area to fill new jobs or those vacated by retirees or people moving to another occupation.

Accountants and auditors, software developers and teachers also are on the list of top 10 occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree but no previous work experience that businesses in the area will need over the next decade.

Another factor that might help students narrow their career choice is potential earnings, which varies significantly by occupation.

And it also is important to consider the entry-level wage that a new graduate is likely to receive rather than the annual average wage that includes individuals with experience.

Nine of the top 10 occupations (the exception being substitute teachers) requiring a bachelor’s degree in the area receive a higher entry-level wage than the average of $30,500 for all occupations in the region.

Total Annual Demand 2016 - 2026 Average Annual Wages Comparison Regions
WAUSA
SOCOccupation Title MeanEntry LevelMeanMean
11-9111Medical and Health Services Managers22$102,100$61,700$117,800$106,100
29-1141Registered Nurses233$73,400$53,400$78,100$71,000
15-1132Software Developers, Applications17$83,400$52,700$120,400$102,200
11-9199Managers, All Other111$87,100$51,800$117,300$111,200
11-1021General and Operations Managers132$96,600$48,100$119,100$119,500
25-2022Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education27$58,600$43,500$61,300$58,800
25-2021Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education58$57,300$42,400$60,100$57,700
13-2011Accountants and Auditors75$62,500$41,200$73,900$75,300
25-2031Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education45$58,100$41,100$61,900$60,400
25-3098Substitute Teachers26$28,600$24,800$36,500$29,600
 Top 10 Requiring a Bachelor's Degree $71,900$46,900$86,600$79,800
00-0000Total - All Occupations $44,200$30,500$52,600$47,900
Source: JobsEQ®
Occupation demand data as of 2016Q1; wage data as of 2015

The highest paying entry-level occupation is medical and health service managers at $61,700, but it typically requires some previous work experience.

At $53,400, registered nurses earn the highest starting wage without previous experience.

Students who have done their homework to find out if they will be able to find a job in the career of their choice when they graduate along with how much they can expect to make in that job will be in better shape to pay off their student loans when they are handed their degree.

 

 

 

Economic Impact: Component of career choice should be balanced with job opportunities

It is that time of year when high school graduates and rising seniors are making decisions on which courses to take that will impact their work-related opportunities when they graduate from college.

While interest is an important component of career choice, it should be balanced with job opportunities.

High school students often say that they would like to be a photographer or an actor, but job opportunities are scarce in those fields.

Based on estimates made by Chmura Economics & Analytics, 445 photographers worked in the Richmond metro area in the first quarter of 2016 and 276 of them are sole proprietors.

On the other hand, an average 502 registered nurses will be needed each year over the next 10 years in the metro area to fill new jobs or those vacated by retirees or people moving to another occupation.

Software developers and computer systems analysts also are on the list of top 10 occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree that businesses in the Richmond area will need over the next decade.

Another factor that might help students narrow their career choice is potential earnings, which varies significantly by occupation.

And it also is important to consider the entry-level wage that a new graduate is likely to receive rather than the annual average wage that includes individuals with experience.

All of the top 10 occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree in the Richmond area receive a higher entry-level wage than the average of $31,500 for all occupations in the region.

The highest paying entry-level occupation is financial managers at $75,700, which requires previous experience working in finance before managing other workers.

At $58,200, software developers earn the highest starting wage without previous experience.

Students who have done their homework to find out if they will be able to find a job in the career of their choice when they graduate along with how much they can expect to make in that job will be in better shape to pay off their student loans when they are handed their degrees.