What is Labor Market Information (LMI)?
Labor market information (LMI) is a collection of data compiled primarily by government agencies for the purpose of analyzing job trends, wages, employment status, and economic changes related to workforce development. This rich data source contains statistics on hundreds of occupations, including annual job openings, median wages, growth rates, level of education, and more. LMI is particularly useful in identifying careers that are projected to be in-demand within various occupational areas and geographic locations. For educational institutions, the ability to identify high-value jobs is essential in ensuring educational goals and strategies are aligned with current labor market needs.
High value careers are simply high-demand, high-wage careers. So, we just need to look at occupations that have lots of openings and pay well. Easy enough, right? Absolutely! To begin this process, a common challenge must first be recognized in that openings and wages are often at opposite extremes. In other words, jobs for which there are numerous openings do not typically pay well and vice-versa.
Educators can use LMI to:
- Make informed decisions about course offerings and programs that best support employment success for students.
- Center curriculum development around destinations for learning that include employment success.
- Encourage teaching in context with career-relevant applications of concepts that are aligned with high-value occupations.
- Inform school counselors of local career opportunities to facilitate the development of more effective career plans for students.
- Strengthen reports and grant writing efforts with data that accurately reflects the educational and employment needs of communities.
LMI exploration systems are now being designed for explicit use by educators. These systems have the potential to mitigate many of the challenges educators face in accessing LMI. They can provide a single resource for retrieving information about career clusters, pathways, educational requirements, median wages, annual openings, growth rates, and other statistics relevant to identifying high-value career destinations for students. They can also reduce the knowledge barrier to LMI by offering intuitive, easy-to-use tools for exploring LMI, as well as tutorials and guides. For the purpose of policy and practice, systems that can quickly and easily generate LMI reports have the potential to enhance the communication of key LMI findings with others. When these primary challenges to accessing LMI are addressed, there is unlimited potential for LMI to transform the landscape of educational practices today and well into the future.
A basic understand of common LMI terms can open the door to this powerful resource. The terms are labor shed, annual openings, median wages, projected new jobs, growth rate, pathways, and job zone/education. Knowledge of these terms can simplify the search process and enhance understanding of various types of LMI data. Charts and graphs can be demystified, and numerical relationships can be understood at a deeper level. In addition, search efforts can be maximized with the ability to select and concentrate on information that is most relevant to individual search needs. Empowered with this information, labor market exploration can be quick, easy, and … dare we say it … enjoyable.